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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I been reading up about tone and somewhere along the line I came across the wisdom that "all lps want heavy strings." *scratches head* what's all this about then? I'm still running lights because of sensitive fingertips while learning. (
Coincidentally I needed new strings for what I like to refer to as my guitar starter kit, my Epiphone Les Paul Ultra I ( no stereo jacks or nanomag pickup ) so I thought I'd do a little experimentation. Went downtown to the store ( kinda like Amazon but IRL ) and bought some Elixer nanoweb 12-52 heavy gauge strings. As I do with most things I went onto youtube to watch some string changing videos to see if there are any good tips out there and down the rabbit hole I went. First time I ever heard that the stop bar height on a les paul is adjustable, it doesn't have to be screwed all the way down. It can be, many claiming increased sustain, but it doesn't have to be. Quite a blind spot, can't believe this is the first I'm hearing of this.

So when I first changed the strings I tried the wrap around mod but the ball ends of the strings were rattling in the stop bar, so I redid them in the traditional manner. I then proceeded to tune and play. It definitely sounded better already and that was unplugged, but the strings were also a lot taughter, especially near the bridge. So then I plugged it in and I was very pleased with the sound. The pickups seemed to come alive with a thicker tone and far better clarity under distortion, being more noticeable on the gbe strings. In the past I have adjusted the height of the pickups and have even gone so far as to adjust the separate pole pieces of each pickup. These new thicker strings had a far greater impact on tone that all the previous adjustments combined.

So after playing with that for a while I decided to adjust the stop bar, take it off the deck, try to match the break angle at the nut and go from there. Well here we go again! The strings felt as though I went down a gauge or 2, chording and fingering becoming easier on the fingertips and now a "honk" has shown up in my tone and I like it!

I can't believe I learned so much from a simple string change.

p.s. the intonation issues I had with the high e string are gone and so is the rattle that I assume was from the bridge but I suppose it could have been a bad string. The nut also needed work on the low e, the change may be permanent.
 

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I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with string gauges too... I’ve only got 2 guitars but play in a wide range of tunings from drop B to E.. so I’ve been trying to find 2 sweet spot sets. It’s taught me a lot about doing setups as well lol
 

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Congrats on all that you are learning, trying/experimenting and discovering!

Nice to read that you are having such positive results form your efforts.

If you want to go down a REAL RABBIT HOLE start reading up on the break angle on acoustic guitars...I gave up after 30 -40 pages of physics and arguing/discussing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply guys, thing is, I've been doing this for a while, just a total blind spot, especially the tail piece on the les paul. Then there was the "what's your tail piece made of?" rabbit hole.
 
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