Heavier gauge strings and the reason for tuning down 1/2 step

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by living room rocker, May 14, 2018.

  1. living room rocker

    living room rocker New Member

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    All these little nuances from the experienced vets. Thanks, it makes sense that the attention to details like string gauge, drop tuning, open/fretted strings, muting, etc has such an effect on sound. I'm not at you boys' level yet; I'm still working on speed and cleanliness of notes.
     
  2. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Active Member

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    It's all part of the art
     
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  3. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    It may have worked for BBking and BG but it's not for everyone. (BBking may have had diabetes neuropathy in his fingers too, so it may have influenced his choice of string gauge). I have big hands and I'm a big guy so for me a 10 might feel like a 9 for someone else. I like 11s with medium-high action (2-2.5mm at E and 1.75 to 2 at e), it all ads up to lots of tension and lots of "meat" to hold onto. Makes me feel more secure. I feel like I can bend BETTER with this set up. That being said, there is nothing wrong with an 8 or 9 gauge string.

    Suggesting that people who play thick strings have bad technique is as ridiculous as saying that people can't get good tones from thinner strings.... Both are absolutely untrue IMO. (Though I think it undeniably makes a difference unplugged and on acoustic... but given the function of an electric guitar, I don't think anyone can tell what gauge strings a player is using... but they WILL notice if the player is uncomfortable or missing their bend notes...)
     
  4. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    We all had to start somewhere, and none of us are "done" learning. Much like life, there is always something to improve. So whether you're playing Smells like Teen Spirit or Cliffs of Dover don't forget to enjoy what you are doing :)
     
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  5. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Active Member

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    Just realize that if you decide to experiment with different string gauges, that your guitar will need to be adjusted for the changes. Intonation, truss rod, and nut slots for the most part. Intonation and the truss rod is easy to change back, nuts, not so much.
     
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  6. living room rocker

    living room rocker New Member

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    Thanks for the input and advice guys. I had in mind that tuning down and string gauge selection was more a function of tonal preferences, but you've clearly shown it's more about the mechanical function of string tension and your fretting/picking touch. And now I also know why one can't just "drop your starting point" vs. detuning by a half/whole step.............I've seen the light.
     
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  7. living room rocker

    living room rocker New Member

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    So if a nut is cut for thicker strings, going back to lighter gauge strings will require a new nut with thinner slots to match? What happens when one plays lighter strings with a nut cut for heavier gauge; too much side to side movement?
     
  8. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    You often get a bit of buzzing and can have tuning/intonation problems.
     
  9. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Active Member

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    ^^ What he said! A lot of people don't realize how much a nut is part science, and part an artform. Width, angle, depth, material, if done wrong, will buzz and affect intonation and tuning. The angle of the nut slot will effect how it frets in the first positions. A string too wide in the slot, won't tune right, since it will bind up. (That "PING" we often hear while tuning.) Too wide a slot, the string will move, vibrate, and lose tuning while bending. This is why the average price for a tech to cut a bone nut is around 60 bucks.
     
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  10. sazista

    sazista Active Member

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    Zappa used 9s.
     
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  11. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    lots of excellent answers here, great thread.
     
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