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Do you use the same strings on all of your electric guitars?


RABid

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I've been seeing a lot of information on guitar strings and various benefits of different thicknesses. Thin for lead, thick for chunkier rhythm, hybrid sets for a combination. This makes me wonder, do experienced guitarists with more than one guitar use different strings on different electric guitars? Do you string your Ibanez differently than your Les Paul?

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Scale length is a factor. A Strat or Tele has a 25.5 inch scale length, a set of 10-46 will feel a bit "stiffer" on those guitar than it does on a Les Paul (24 3/4" scale).

 

Preferred tuning is a factor, if you drop D or tune to Eb or whatever then different guage strings may work better. At one point I was in a country band and put super heavy strings on one of my Teles - tuned the whole guitar down to B. I never quite got the low B string to intonate correctly so I stuck to the first 5 frets and it was fine. It let me do that "tick tack" sound and play the lead to Guitar Town by Steve Earle.

 

When I was busier doing tech work I adjusted all sorts of different things, from a Les Paul with a set of 8's or 9's to a Martin acoustic with 14-56 (super heavy). I don't judge, people like what they like. If they are happy, I am happy to make things work as best as possible.

 

Last but not least is the difference in sound and intonation from using a wound or unwound G string. I recently tried a set of 11-49 with wound G on my Gibson 335 and it's a great sound and feel on that guitar. It probably sounds great on a Fender but might feel a little tight.

 

I guess the bottom line is - if you are curious, try something different. Be aware that you may need to adjust your truss rod and your intonation if you try something quite different. I've got a set of flatwound strings I am consdering for the Tele because I have a Fishman Triple Play installed and I am wondering if it might be less likely to "glitch" with those strings as opposed to roundwounds. There is only one way to find out!

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Thanks. Very informative. I do happen to have an extra Strat around. I got it at Sweetwater Gearfest on sale a few years ago. One of those with the little cards that you plug in to change the pickup wiring. Might be a good one to experiment with. In fact, it is probably time to change strings in my main Strat. What would you consider standard, default strings for a Strat and what would be a good alternative to try? Standard tuning, though I might be tempted to try drop tuning on the extra Strat.

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Do you use the same strings on all of your electric guitars?

 

Yes D'Addario XL 110's on all of my electric guitars regardless of string length (24-3/4" & 25-1/2" are all the scales I have ever used)

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Nope.

 

My Gibson ES335 has DR Pure Blues 10's.

Guild Starfire has flats on it; been so long I've forgotten the maker & gauge. Every now and then I say I'll change that, but never do.

Carvin has D'Addarrio NYXL balanced tension 10's. as it has a Floyd Rose. I hope that the balanced tension set helps with the tuning & tension stability; but I've never done any scientific testing on that theory.

My LTD Tele copy was using D'Addarrio 10's as well, but I recently switched to a light top/heavy bottom set. Partly because I had a set of those lying around; partly because I've known other Tele users who use that gauging. (I almost put a set of heavy's/12's on to tune it baritone; but I'm not ready to take that step just yet).

My PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow has D'Addarrio NYXL 10's (standard gauge). Something about them seems just a little bit stiffer than regular D'A's, which works for me on this slightly slimmer neck profile.

 

Hope that adds to your confusion!

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Yes, I use GHS Rollerwound (half way between flatwound and roundwound) pure nickel strings that squeak less. 10-50's with a wound 18 gauge 3rd string on all of my guitars. :cool:

 

ps. I now order singles for the 1st and 2nd strings by Elixir as they have a special alloy that prevents rust, and tolerate my acidic fingers...

Take care, Larryz
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No. Guitars are too different. Scale lengths, bridge break angles and tailpiece styles decide. I use 9-42 on a lot of guitars. I usually use 10s on Juniors but 9s on standard Les Pauls and 335s. The Casino needs 11s, sometimes 10s. The shorter scale plus the trapeze tailpiece makes the guitar sloppy and practically unplayable with 9-42s.

 

9-42 on all Teles except my black top loader With the benders. Without the sharp break angle of the string through body bridge it needs 10s.

 

I"m not particularly brand loyal on electrics. I"ve used SITs and D"Addario a lot. Clear tones for a while. The core is stiffer but I got a bad batch and they were breaking like crazy. I just don"t break strings.

 

Before 2013 I used Webstrings. With all the open air venues we played I had to change string every week anyway. My tech hated them said the oscillated funny..... it was fresh steel and cheap and sounded fine.

 

 

https://www.webstrings.com/

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So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I used to use Ernie Ball Super Slinky's, 9-42, because that's what Jimmy Page uses on his guitars. When I got my Carvin, it came with Elixir 10-46 strings. Due to the high quality of the Carvin, along with those stainless steel frets, bending strings was so easy that my style of playing changed. Since then, I have used nothing but 10-46 strings on my electrics. My Kiesel also came with 10-46 strings, and that guitar plays like a dream.
I rock; therefore, I am.
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[font:Verdana]These days, yes. GHS Boomers, .010-.046. 2 24-3/4" scale guitars and 1 25-1/2" scale. Switched from Boomer 11s a few years ago to ease up on my wrists, and so far it's working. I used to use DR strings on my Ibanez Talman, but I sold it years ago. Tried them on my other electric guitars, but I didn't like the sound. Something about those DRs and the Talman's lipstick-tube single coils really clicked, especially once I had the Wilkinson Convertible vibrato bridge installed.[/font]
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I loved Boomers as a kid. I quit using them because I played vintage Strats (well they weren"t Vintage back then) with nickel frets. The Boomers chew up those old nickel frets. But they sound great. The high steel content sound bright and chimey. If I had stainless frets on everything I would have never quit using them.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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That is a good question-so far yes but, my guitars have different sounds.

One of my challenges is taming a snappy sounding maple fretboard. Everything else for that guitar is great.

I try to be conscious of the PET bottle syndrome-well that set didn't work, toss them out.

Recently it's Dean Markley Blue Steel 10-46-ya, I heard about the hardness issue-or D'ddario NYXL. Same gauge.

I have a few sets I keep aside, one is Optima, the 'gold plated' string. Another is Caribe. They can make custom sets on any gauges.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

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Having gone through a couple of sets of D'Addario XT strings (the second set is still on the guitar and doing well), I will eventually be moving to those for my primary gig guitars.

These are the new ones in the black package with the big X on the front.

 

They stay in tune after installation very quickly. They keep their tone longer and they last much longer than previous sets I've tried (long list!).

 

They cost more but not if you take into account the time you save not tuning or changing strings. They seem to easily last twice as long as previous choices. I don't have corrosive sweat and don't change my strings very often if I can avoid it.

 

For other guitars, all bets are off. I start with a D'Addario XL 10-46 (these have gone on sale every Xmas and I buy enough to last over a year, including various buy and flip projects).

From there, I decide if I want to try a different set for a particular guitar.

 

Acoustic guitars are different, so are nylon string, banjos, etc.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I deliberately use different strings on almost everything I own, to further accentuate the differences in the sonic template. I make a few exceptions as I do use the same Power Brights on two different solid body guitars, and a couple of acoustic guitars (for now) use the same strings.

 

I also use different gauges, reserving some guitars for mostly-lead duty and others for mostly-rhythm chores. And I try to have at least one with flat-wound at all times. Currently I have flat-wound on my Danelectro electric sitar and 12-string, and on my Ibanez Pat Metheny arch-top. maybe one other as well; I can't remember. My basses are a mix of flat, round, and tape. My main mandolin has flats and the lower-voiced ones are round-wounds, all D'addario's.

 

Lots of listening, trial and error, and study, went into each decision, and I have a back-list of future experiments after more studio work and analysis of the results. But I haven't tried D'addario New York strings on ANYTHING yet, and Martin recently reformulated most of their acoustic strings so I don't know if that will affect my decisions there.

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  • 3 weeks later...
"Do you use the same strings on all of your electric guitars?"

 

No, I do not.

 

I really like finding the perfect string type, brand, and gauges for a given guitar, for my uses. Though I have found that I tend to prefer round-core strings, as opposed to the MUCH more common, "normal" hexoganal, "hex" core-wire used in almost all guitar strings.

 

My overall favorites are DR Pure Blues round-core, pure/solid-nickel wrap 11's, .011" - .050" on my Les Paul. Maybe 10's if I were to put 'em on a longer-scale axe, maybe still the 11's. Very rich mids, "normal" nickel-plated strings sound scooped by comparison. Great feel, too. Excellent for warming up and fattening a cold, overly bright, thin sounding "metal" guitar like many ESP LTD axes, for example- they have bright, thin sounding pickups.

 

I've used custom mixed-gauge sets of those for Open Tunings, like Open D/Open Dm/DADGAD (just a half-step twist up or down on the 3rd-string for all three!).

 

If I felt that I needed brighter, scoopier strings on a given guitar, I might go with a DR Tight-Fit set, basically the same but with nickel-plated steel wrap.

 

 

If I wanted something very similar to the Pure Blues but even warmer, smoother, more Jazz and R&B, I've used Thomastik-Infeld BeBop sets- round-core, pure-solid nickel wrap, different thickness of core-wire and wrap-wire for the same overall diameter gauge, giving a different feel, response, and tone. Excellent strings! A true Jazz and R&B round-wound alternative to flat-wound strings.

 

 

Speaking of which... I string my hollow-body arched-top Jazzbox with Thomastik-Infeld Swing flat-wounds, round-core, pure/solid-nickel flat wrap ribbon-wire, with a wound 3rd/"G"-string, 13's, .013" - .052" .

 

 

The Thomastik-Infeld strings are quite expensive, BUT they REALLY DO last ridiculously long (and they also REALLY DO sound and feel different and quite excellent!)- I've still had the same T-I Swing flat-wounds on that axe for a year and a half, two years... ?! And they still sound and feel like the just broke-in after a few days of playing.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

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_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I've still had the same T-I Swing flat-wounds on that axe for a year and a half, two years... ?! And they still sound and feel like the just broke-in after a few days of playing.

 

To me, that's still a new set of strings. After maybe a half dozen years I might change them out whether they need it or not.

Scott Fraser
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I've still had the same T-I Swing flat-wounds on that axe for a year and a half, two years... ?! And they still sound and feel like the just broke-in after a few days of playing.

 

To me, that's still a new set of strings. After maybe a half dozen years I might change them out whether they need it or not.

:laugh::D

 

There was a time when I'd change strings on my electric and my acoustic very two weeks, sometimes weekly.

 

I love the crisp new-string zing and feel, those swirling harmonic-overtones on the wound-basses. You can take away the highs and overtone-swirl, with your playing "touch" and a knob adjustment, but you can't add 'em back in when the strings have gotten dull with age.

 

 

The DR Pure Blues begin to dull fairly soon, and I should change them more often, much more often than I have been (I can get 'em pretty cheap, and actually had stocked-up- and I love their tone and feel!). The Thomastik-Infelds last and last, especially their Swing flat-wounds... ! :crazy:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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With a few exceptions, I mainly buy strings on sale. Usually, that translates into GHS or similar brands. Occasionally, I feel like trying something different, and buy Auroras or other fancy-schmancy strings.

 

But when I use the plain-janes, I use whatever comes to hand while digging around. And for my NST-tuned guitars (CGDAEG), there"s no single mainstream set that has the gauges required. So I mix & match as needed.

 

So the answers is...sorta, but not really.

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Oddly, I find I like 10s on everything except my Tele - I prefer 09s on that.

 

dB

 

Not odd at all. Your Gibson scale length guitars (Melody Maker, Epi 335 etc) are all 24 3/4" scale length. 10's feel great on that.

The Tele is a 25 1/2" scale so 10's might feel a little "tight" and the 9's will feel more like your other guitars.

 

Actually pretty common.

 

With the scalloped fretboard, 10's on my Strat feel pretty slinky, considering an 11 - 48 set on there. My Tele has a standard board, I'm pretty used to 10's on there.

I put an 11-49 set on my 335 with a wound G string. I like that too.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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That's definitely interesting Dave, primarily because I have that ratio inverted. But it's because I use Strats more for funk rhythm playing and Teles more for lead. Oh wait, that's supposed to lead to the opposite string choices. :-) Basically, I just use what feels right for the instrument. I now use one of those Balanced Tension sets on the Tele and a ".5" set on the Strat (can't rememeber but think it's 9.5, maybe 10.5).

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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That's definitely interesting Dave, primarily because I have that ratio inverted. But it's because I use Strats more for funk rhythm playing and Teles more for lead. Oh wait, that's supposed to lead to the opposite string choices. :-) Basically, I just use what feels right for the instrument. I now use one of those Balanced Tension sets on the Tele and a ".5" set on the Strat (can't rememeber but think it's 9.5, maybe 10.5).

 

That's the way to do it...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I've found that it is possible to get used to just about anything.

Currently considering flatwounds on the Tele that has the Fishman Triple Play to see if that tracks better with those strings. There would be fewer string squeaks and the tone would be more of the fundamental without so many harmonics.

It wouldn't be my ideal for playing through the pickups but I might end up liking it.

 

I am also considering flatwounds on my Silvertone U1 Dolphin Nose, that might sound really nice with them. Standard 10 set on there now and it's pretty cool but I have other guitars for that sound.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I've found that it is possible to get used to just about anything.

Currently considering flatwounds on the Tele that has the Fishman Triple Play to see if that tracks better with those strings. There would be fewer string squeaks and the tone would be more of the fundamental without so many harmonics.

It wouldn't be my ideal for playing through the pickups but I might end up liking it.

 

I am also considering flatwounds on my Silvertone U1 Dolphin Nose, that might sound really nice with them. Standard 10 set on there now and it's pretty cool but I have other guitars for that sound.

 

Consider some Thomastik-Infeld BeBop "Jazz Round-Wound" strings; they're wound with smaller-diameter wrap-wire over larger-diameter round core-wire, so they're smoother in feel and tone and 'Jazzier', while still being brighter and crisper than flat-wounds. Less finger-noise, too. Sort of similar to DR Pure Blues, but warmer and slightly darker.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I've found that it is possible to get used to just about anything.

Currently considering flatwounds on the Tele that has the Fishman Triple Play to see if that tracks better with those strings. There would be fewer string squeaks and the tone would be more of the fundamental without so many harmonics.

It wouldn't be my ideal for playing through the pickups but I might end up liking it.

 

I am also considering flatwounds on my Silvertone U1 Dolphin Nose, that might sound really nice with them. Standard 10 set on there now and it's pretty cool but I have other guitars for that sound.

 

Consider some Thomastik-Infeld BeBop "Jazz Round-Wound" strings; they're wound with smaller-diameter wrap-wire over larger-diameter round core-wire, so they're smoother in feel and tone and 'Jazzier', while still being brighter and crisper than flat-wounds. Less finger-noise, too. Sort of similar to DR Pure Blues, but warmer and slightly darker.

 

 

Thanks for the recommendation, I'd love to try them. Maybe someday I'll get through this amazing string stash I have already. Since guitars come and go here - making the world a better place one guitar at a time!

I have more strings already then I know what to do with.

 

I have a set of D'Addario Flatwounds, they are 11-50 which suits my preference. I played the Silvertone tonight at low volume with a "clean dirty" tone and fell in love with the sort of "acoustic guitar meets Strat neck pickup" tone I was getting with 10-46 rounds so I'll probably leave it.

 

For the Fishman, I want to try a duller sounding string because the Triple Play will false trigger at the first sign of a note. Sliding your finger on a string at all could result in some weird synthesizer flatulence or worse.

It is an experiment, there will be pluses and minuses. The sustain now is great for pads but that may change with flats.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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+1 Caevan, Thomastik-Infeld strings are exceptional and I loved running their flatwounds, but the prices are off the charts for me. +1 Kuru, on D'Addario Chromes at half the price. They will get the job done ($30.95 vs $14.99). The GHS Nickel Rocker Rollerwounds will accomplish the same less squeak and brighter than flatwounds jazzy tones like the BeBops at a 3rd the price ($25.95 vs $6.55). I think GHS Rollerwounds are worth a try too. The Rollerwounds really work great for me as flatwounds are a little too dull and stiff on the wound strings IMHO. :cool:
Take care, Larryz
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Thanks Larry, I found my set at Goodwill, sealed package for $3. They've been sitting in my string storage area for 3-4 years at least. Sealed D'Addario strings will last forever pretty much.

I do the D'Addario Players Circle thing so I can get strings with players points too, have a set of Heavy groundwounds coming for one of my basses. I LOVE the Rotosound Trubass strings on my basses but I thought I would try these since I have enough "Players points."

 

As many guitars as come and go here, I just sent my first shipment of strings for recycling to D'Addario. My bassist has started giving me his old strings too, those add up pretty fast.

 

The GHS groundwounds sound interesting, I'll have to give them a spin sometime soon. Thanks! Kuru

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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