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Using .008's

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Postby Cat » December 24th, 2011, 4:19 pm

Cool! Hey, I wanted to come up with a post that got a conversation on the run. Looks like I picked a GOOD one! 8)

Thanks for the continuing tete-a-tete, Mr Note! I respect what you do and understand where you're coming from. I do think I'm having trouble articulating the "why" of ultra-lights to everyone...

So...

Actually, what's WRONG with "buzz and consistency of tone" being different than used to? This is my whole point. YES...it DOES have so many aspects that are traditionally not wanted out of a guitar. As a good teacher...I certainly see your position. But if you go at it right...these things are in key and you get used to it. But, again, won't suit a beginner...or even an intermediate player. :wink: All these vagaries add up to a very personalised sound.

The biggest consideration deals with fresh strings. My company buys in a large number of case lots direct from the company every year and I see about 4 hours of intense use is about all I get...with a usual high E going at least once. :( But I guess if I'm dealing with some players that try to nurse a YEAR out of a set...I'm never gonna get my point across, huh??? :?

The consistency of tone I get is MARVELLOUS. Going through a split pickup panned extreme L & R (EAD & GBE) directly into the board further enhances the amount of finger touch and nuance you get to hear. The buzz I get off the frets comes as I lift off a chord...so I'm aware of this and will purposely lift off of a chord (sometimes all my fingers at once, sometimes splayed, one by one) which leaves SELECTED harmonics hanging in the air until my hand comes down on the next chord...(AGAIN, all fingers at once or splayed, one by one). Not an easy technique, by any means...but I can't help but grin from ear-to-ear when I'm right with my touch!

Lots of good players reach a point...where they are becoming "bored"...and lose some desire. Nothing beats chocolate after so much vanilla! Six months, I say. The techniques are split-hairs, I guess...but it passes the time well enough!

Merry Christmas...

Cat
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Postby Vic Lewis VL » December 28th, 2011, 4:14 pm

Interesting points made for and against. I've always used the lightest strings I can get away with - I tried 8's a few years ago, but although I enjoyed the FEEL of them - and the playability - I'm just too heavy handed. I could not, for the life of me, make those top E's last more than a couple of days....bend, bend, SNAP!

For me, it's a trade off between playability and tone - the heavier the strings, the fuller the tone, but harder to fret....no point at all having the fullest tone in the world if you can't hold the strings down on the fretboard! I've had 10's on my acoustic for a few months now, I thought I'd give them a fair try - yes, I've got a slightly fuller sound, but it's harder to play barre chords, especially F, Bb, Bm...my reduced hand strength makes it difficult to hold barres down for any length of time.

So, next time I change strings, I'm going back to 9's - D'Addario 9's. Never been a big fan of EB's, they don't seem to last 5 minutes, whereas with the D'Addarios I'll get about 3 months out of a set. The slightly thinner tone of 9's, as opposed to 10's, will be more than offset by the increased playability and ease of fretting.

I'll only use 10's again if I can afford another acoutic guitar which I can keep in open G - the slightly reduced string tension across the board offsets the heavier gauge strings.

One last point - I've never had a problem playing slide with 9's, either on acoustic or electric - that's all about touch and feeling. Takes a while to develop that light(er) touch, but once you've got there, it's like any other style of playing guitar - muscle memory kicks in and you're almost playing on autopilot.

String gauge, at the end of the day, are like single coils versus humbuckers, or Gibson versus Fender - it's down to what the individual guitarist likes, and it'd be a borin' old world if we were all the same!

:D :D :D

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Postby Cat » December 28th, 2011, 9:36 pm

Vick/Vick/Vick/Vick...NO! Heavy handed issue #1. You're 99% there! Pay attention to your pick hand, matey! If you pick too hard you are generating too much swing in your strings...they'll buzz and fart like nobody's business. Get as light a pick as you can...and come across the strings as softly as possible...BUT USE HEAPS OF GAIN...have it lurking there. Don't play loud...it'll happen as you lean harder into your picking with the ebb and flow of the emotion at hand.

Like my bulldozer... :? :?:

When it gets lugged up against a tree stump or a boulder too buried to come out...WHAT freakin' good is it for me to grit my teeth, stand up, lean forward, and push harder at the controls??? NONE! Now I keep a cooler with ice and brewskis handy and just lay back and let my pinkies run the thing amok. (What a toy! I LOVE this thing!)

So DON"T lean into your strings...it does no good other than eliminating all the personal nuance you are ALMOST getting out of lights...

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Postby Vic Lewis VL » December 29th, 2011, 7:47 am

Cat wrote:Get as light a pick as you can....


I don't use picks/plecs AT all! I use my nails....must be at least two years since I last used a plec. If tone really is in your fingers, why introduce a lump of plastic or whatever into the equation? When I'm picking, I like to use my thumb for the E A and D strings, and my index, middle and ring fingers for the G B and E strings respectively. Hard to change from strumming to picking with a plec between your thumb and index....

But....that's straying away from the point. The light strings. I dunno if it is just heavy-handedness, but like I said, a couple of bends on the top E and it's gone. I'd use 8's if I could, but I'd have to have a good supply of spare top E's! 9's are a compromise - the lightest I can get away with using, given that I do play a lot of guitar!

:D :D :D

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Postby Crow » December 29th, 2011, 9:08 am

I've made my choice & I'm sticking to it. I only care about other peoples' string gauges if I'm sharing a stage or studio with them, and only then if it becomes necessary. Chronic E-string breakage during rehearsal or gigs? Lots of...

Cat wrote:...fingers generating heaps of noise (scrapes/slides/fret farts/détache) all these "pops 'n squeaks" are evident...


:?:

Unless random noise was part of the act, we'd have to talk, the guitar player and I.
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Postby TRGuitar » December 29th, 2011, 12:44 pm

I use 9's and haven't broken a string in over 25 years. (I think thats when I tried some 8's) :lol: I wouldn't think to try to tell someone what strings to use and they better not try to tell me either. It's a personal choice like the brand of underwear you buy. :mrgreen:
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Postby Cat » December 29th, 2011, 9:22 pm

Ha! Thanks for that post TR :roll: ...but that's "me 'n strings" for ya!

HNY>>>!

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Postby Elecsluther » February 25th, 2012, 7:29 am

My favorite set currently is the D'Addario EXL 110 (10-->46), think that is about as light as I want to go. I have a set of Ernie Ball Power Slinky (11-->48) that I'm going to try the next time I re-string, just to see how I like them. If you like light strings, then go for it--different strokes for different folks!
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Postby Rocket Dog » February 25th, 2012, 9:02 am

Elixir 9 to 42's on my electric guitars. - Good tone, never had a problem with the E string snapping as I have done with other brands.

D'Addario EXP13 Custom Light, 11-52 on my acoustics. - My acoustic strings don't have to work as hard as my electric stings but I still want strings that keep their tone, and these do, far longer than any others. Might be my imagination but they seem to give a warmth to the tone.

Over the years I have tried many different brands and gauges and I'm really happy with my choice. I change my strings every 8 to 10 weeks and and happy that the above do their job.
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Postby Cat » February 25th, 2012, 7:12 pm

Look at the thread where people have a difficult time hanging onto their pick. It can be held quite easily if you don't jab at your work...which you can't do with lights. Eight to ten weeks beteen string changes? I get eight to ten hours...

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Postby Rocket Dog » February 26th, 2012, 9:55 am

Cat wrote:Eight to ten weeks beteen string changes? I get eight to ten hours.


Wow! That doesn't sound a lot. Do they lose their tone?
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Postby Cat » February 26th, 2012, 12:04 pm

The tone goes and they won't stay in tune. Normally, the tone and retuning's not really a hassle...I have standby guitars that don't worry me...but when you go over your work with your mainstay axe it's hard to EQ it as before...and record it the same...unless they are in the same condition. So...new sounds new, no matter what the gauge. There's no question about having them sound the same. Besides, changing them out's become a ritual...and as I get them on, tweak 'em, and tune them...I get into the work mode.

Actually...I'd like to ask everyone: "How long do you hear that newness in a fresh set?" Certainly, they can be played for as long as they don't break...but that "electric" sound??? That goes away PDQ... :?:

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Postby NoteBoat » February 26th, 2012, 2:12 pm

How long do I hear the "newness"? Three days, tops. But I don't lose intonation until between 40-120 playing hours, depending on other factors like humidity and temperature (at the music school I use programmable thermostats - string changes are cheaper than heating bills for Chicago winters).

I should probably better define 'playing hours' though - I usually have a guitar in hand 45-55 hours per week. About a third of that is 100% playing, as I practice for myself or learn songs for students. The other 2/3 I'm playing maybe 35% of the time or less; during a lesson I''m only actually playing if I'm demonstrating something, comping for a student, or playing a duet. So my 40-120 hours of playing time translates to something like 22-68 hours of actual fretting and picking.

The 'newness' doesn't matter to me so much for teaching, because that's not about my playing - as long as I can be in perfect tune, it's workable. But for gigs & recording sessions, I tend to put new ones on the night before. Right out of the package is a little too 'twangy' for me; letting them settle (unplayed) overnight gives me the balance of tone I like.
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Postby Chris C » February 26th, 2012, 7:27 pm

TRGuitar wrote:It's OK to use different sizes, thats why they make them.


I'm with Terry on that one.

I like light high strings but reasonably chunky bass strings. The choice used to be limited to sets that were mostly thick, medium or thin across the pack, but it's now easier to buy packages with more of a spread such as heavier bass and lighter tops. But I also like to experiment with a range of things anyway.

One the subject of picks, I have an instructional DVD of Tommy Emmanuel in which he says "If you use light picks I have some advice for you. Burn them". :wink: I didn't burn mine, but then I use mostly my fingers anyway. It's all good.... :)
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Postby deeaa » February 26th, 2012, 10:32 pm

I played .11 to .52 or even .54 for well over a decade, being mostly a singer/guitarist.

Always hated the light strings for feeling like noodles in hard-played chords...also used thick Dunlop Jazz III picks. And I still think in order to coax proper, chunky and strong sounds of the instrument, you need properly thick low strings.

BUT when I become a guitarist/backing singer for a few years, I begun to hate also the thick top end, because I wanted to play lots of bends, full and doubles too, and bend up a step and THEN apply a crazy vibrato to it, and that just won't happen with .11's no matter how tough hands you have. Or maybe if you had the hands of a thatcher or something. Also, while you need thick lows to get a proper ringing tone for chords, the leads scream the better the slinkier the strings used. Think Angus and Gibbons, both 008 users and both my tone heroes for leads.

So..the solution 4 me was to get the tops from a 9 set and lows from an .11 set. Now I've played those for a decade and love it.
Also swapped to much softer, .50 Tortex picks.

My set it: 9-11-17-20-40-48 now, and it's pretty much perfect for me. I can hit them windmill style even and they won't wobble but I can still bend and apply crazy vibratos when I like.

I might try eights but it seems incredibly hard to find them, only by ordering online it seems.
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