The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone ever heard of this term. I just read something interesting. There is claim that as the strings get thicker, in other words from high to low, the tension in the strings should increase. He talks about how the light top heavy bottom set came about (to compensate for the non optimum gauging in regular sets). Anyway here is what he describes as the normal vs the optimum guage

Strings tuned to pitch. Tension is measured in lbs.

NORMAL

1............................2........................3....................4

(.010 - 16.2)-----(.013 - 15.4)----(.017 - 16.6)----(.026 - 18.4)


5...........................6

(.036 - 19.5)----(.046 - 17.5)




OPTIMUM


1..............................2.......................3......................4

(.010 - 16.2)----(.0135 - 16.6)----(.017 - 16.6)----(.026 - 18.4)

5.......................6

(.036 - 19.5)----(.049 - 19.7)

Notice how in the optimum set the tension increase, while in the normal set it jumps all around.

Well I currently use an Optimum String Gauge set for my 7 string, 8.5, 11.5, 15, 22, 30, 44, and 59 for the low B, and of course increasing in tension.

I find chording to be much easier and of course lead work.
Think about it, as you strum down, your initial contact with the lowest string, contains the most force and will then subsequently weaken as you contact the other strings, thus the tension decreases, to match the force. It also makes for a happier bridge , set up and intonnation.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,967 Posts
Its only "optimum" from one point of view, and thats the problem. If you compalin about uneven tension then yes its great, but when was the last time you heard a player make such complaints? I'll stick to regular 8s...........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Accept2 said:
Its only "optimum" from one point of view, and thats the problem. If you compalin about uneven tension then yes its great, but when was the last time you heard a player make such complaints? I'll stick to regular 8s...........
They don't complain because they do not know any better. If innovation had to wait for a complaint department, then we'd still be reading books from candle light!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,967 Posts
I agree, I use 8s because I dont want to fight my guitar to play it, but most people seem to think that if they put thick strings on their guitar they will somehow get great tone. For them, "optimum" is a set of bass strings...........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,274 Posts
Accept2 said:
I agree, I use 8s because I dont want to fight my guitar to play it, but most people seem to think that if they put thick strings on their guitar they will somehow get great tone. For them, "optimum" is a set of bass strings...........
Dude, I have pubic hair thicker than 8s. :tongue: :tongue:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,492 Posts
Accept2 said:
I agree, I use 8s because I dont want to fight my guitar to play it, but most people seem to think that if they put thick strings on their guitar they will somehow get great tone. For them, "optimum" is a set of bass strings...........

Well I think you're going from one extreme to the other.

8's are just WAY to flimsy feeling to me and I would think to most players.

On the other hand 12's feel pretty heavy.

10's are a nice balance. I don't use them so much for tone as I do for playability and because they suit my manner of playing. I do use 11's on my Tele because I find that the added tension really makes the guitar ring and resonate better than 10's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I once fell into that category where I thought thicker strings meant greater tone, but once I discovered the Optimum Gauge, I learned that method of thinking was false. If you want to discover TONE, then trust me and give this set a try. Think about it logically just for a sec. When applying an even force to your guitar strings, those strings which have greater tension, will not ring in the same fashion as those strings with less tension, so in an unbalanced set, you will often get an unequal representation of tone. However going back to the OSG set, you will get a nice evenly displaced force thus creating a more uniform tone. You can still go for a heavy gauge, but you will end up with a thicker top end. Again this is one of the reasons players chose to use the top heavy light bottom set of strings.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,492 Posts
ILUVMYJP7 said:
I once fell into that category where I thought thicker strings meant greater tone, but once I discovered the Optimum Gauge, I learned that method of thinking was false. If you want to discover TONE, then trust me and give this set a try. Think about it logically just for a sec. When applying an even force to your guitar strings, those strings which have greater tension, will not ring in the same fashion as those strings with less tension, so in an unbalanced set, you will often get an unequal representation of tone. However going back to the OSG set, you will get a nice evenly displaced force thus creating a more uniform tone. You can still go for a heavy gauge, but you will end up with a thicker top end. Again this is one of the reasons players chose to use the top heavy light bottom set of strings.

Well if it's THAT great an idea I suspect the major makers will adapt.

In the mean time, where's a guy supposed to find a set with a .135 second and a .049 sixth?


Unless such sets are available in pretty much ANY music store it's not practical.

I change my strings often (two weeks or two gigs, whichever comes first) and can't take the chance of not being able to walk in and grab what I need whether I'm in Toronto or Cochrane. Buying them in large quantities doesn't appeal to me either as this only delays the inevitable "oh sorry, we'll have more in a couple of weeks" scenario.


I could easily adjust to the small difference in gauges as far as feel goes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
I use 9's for standard tuning's EADGBE, 10's for DGCFAD etc. I think people put on heavier strings to compensate for the lack of control both in picking/strumming and the amount of pressure applied to the fret board. Heavier guage strings should only be applied for lower tunings.

I've known guys that play 11's in a standard tuning. IMO it's to much stress on the neck and not what that gauge was intended for. My self I use 11's for drop B tunings. Almost every string company provides tension charts on their web sites. I think it's a safe assumption that they've done the research.

The most common tension problem I see young people having is when they drop their low E to a D for heavy stuff. Right away the intonation is out and the higher up the fret board they go the more noticeable it gets. Also the string flops all over the place giving them buzz and notes that dont ring out like the others. You cant play both on the same guitar if you're at all concerned with intonation and string tension. The solution I found (ie:light set 9-42)was to switch out the low E/42 for a 46 which brings the tension back up and move the saddle back to correct the intonation.

But in most cases I've found that a lot of guys just don't give a sh!t and would rather complain about intonation/tension problems than have someone show them a solution. While I had my studio I would say 75% of the guys coming through would have way too heavy strings on their guitars and the saddles would be lined up in a neat, straight line because it looked better:confused-smiley-010 And then they wonder why the recording would sound like sh!t!!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,492 Posts
Metal#J# said:
I use 9's for standard tuning's EADGBE, 10's for DGCFAD etc. I think people put on heavier strings to compensate for the lack of control both in picking/strumming and the amount of pressure applied to the fret board. Heavier guage strings should only be applied for lower tunings.

I've known guys that play 11's in a standard tuning. IMO it's to much stress on the neck and not what that gauge was intended for. My self I use 11's for drop B tunings. Almost every string company provides tension charts on their web sites. I think it's a safe assumption that they've done the research.

The most common tension problem I see young people having is when they drop their low E to a D for heavy stuff. Right away the intonation is out and the higher up the fret board they go the more noticeable it gets. Also the string flops all over the place giving them buzz and notes that dont ring out like the others. You cant play both on the same guitar if you're at all concerned with intonation and string tension. The solution I found (ie:light set 9-42)was to switch out the low E/42 for a 46 which brings the tension back up and move the saddle back to correct the intonation.

But in most cases I've found that a lot of guys just don't give a sh!t and would rather complain about intonation/tension problems than have someone show them a solution. While I had my studio I would say 75% of the guys coming through would have way too heavy strings on their guitars and the saddles would be lined up in a neat, straight line because it looked better:confused-smiley-010 And then they wonder why the recording would sound like sh!t!!!

I think you're painting with a very broad brush there.

I assure you that not everybody and I would hope very few people use 10s or 11's to compensate for either a lack of technique or to facilitate a meatheaded "I don't know about or care about intonation" paradigm.


I don't think heavier gauges result in better tone ALL the time. it really depends on the guitar to a large extent, but different people have different levels of strength in their hands. To me 8's and to a lesser degree 9's feel like crap. I can hear and feel the difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,274 Posts
Metal#J# said:
But in most cases I've found that a lot of guys just don't give a sh!t and would rather complain about intonation/tension problems than have someone show them a solution. While I had my studio I would say 75% of the guys coming through would have way too heavy strings on their guitars and the saddles would be lined up in a neat, straight line because it looked better:confused-smiley-010 And then they wonder why the recording would sound like sh!t!!!
Where do you get your information regarding heavier gauge strings and intonation problems? From my experience it's the opposite and my tech agrees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
Milkman said:
I think you're painting with a very broad brush there.

I assure you that not everybody and I would hope very few people use 10s or 11's to compensate for either a lack of technique or to facilitate a meatheaded "I don't know about or care about intonation" paradigm.


I don't think heavier gauges result in better tone ALL the time. it really depends on the guitar to a large extent, but different people have different levels of strength in their hands. To me 8's and to a lesser degree 9's feel like crap. I can hear and feel the difference.
Lets put it this way then. It becomes obvious when the strings are so heavy they wont intonate properly. I've had 12's on a guitar before and I had to shave the saddles so they would go back far enough.

I've read that SRV, on one end of the scale, played with a super high tension and action where as Jimi hendrix played with a strange super light custom gauge. Both sounded great but as far a physics goes, I'm sure there is an optimum way to set up a guitar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
Jeff Flowerday said:
Where do you get your information regarding heavier gauge strings and intonation problems? From my experience it's the opposite and my tech agrees.
What do you mean by " the opposite"?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,492 Posts
Metal#J# said:
Lets put it this way then. It becomes obvious when the strings are so heavy they wont intonate properly. I've had 12's on a guitar before and I had to shave the saddles so they would go back far enough.

I've read that SRV, on one end of the scale, played with a super high tension and action where as Jimi hendrix played with a strange super light custom gauge. Both sounded great but as far a physics goes, I'm sure there is an optimum way to set up a guitar.

Well I honestly can't comment on 12's as I've never used them, but my Tele has 11's (Ernie Ball Power Slinkies) and as I set up all my guitars I can tell you that I had no such problems in intonating it.

10s of course present no problems in and of themselves in terms of intonation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,274 Posts
Metal#J# said:
What do you mean by " the opposite"?
I'll use my non intonatable R4 and my non compensated saddle on my Martin as examples. The lighter the gauge of strings the more out of wack the intonation becomes.

It sounds like the issue is your guitar(s) you don't have enough saddle room to intonate the G properly. On my ABRs i just reverse the saddle and and have lots of room for 11s or 12s. No problems with my PRSi or my Fenders with 11s or 12s.

PS) I like SRVs fat strat sound much more than Hendrix's tone. Just thought I'd throw that in there. :tongue:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
Milkman said:
Well I honestly can't comment on 12's as I've never used them, but my Tele has 11's (Ernie Ball Power Slinkies) and as I set up all my guitars I can tell you that I had no such problems in intonating it.

10s of course present no problems in and of themselves in terms of intonation.
All that I am trying to say is that if your using 11's, the optimum tuning for that gauge IMO would be DGCFAD. But if you tend to have a firm grip on the fret board and tend to press harder then I guess 11's are fine. I'm sure it sustains great. But I'm not saying it wont intonate. The problem comes when people switch from 9's to 11's thinking the saddles don't need to be adjusted as well as the neck to correct the bow which the heavier tension has created.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,274 Posts
Metal#J# said:
All that I am trying to say is that if your using 11's, the optimum tuning for that gauge IMO would be DGCFAD. But if you tend to have a firm grip on the fret board and tend to press harder then I guess 11's are fine. I'm sure it sustains great. But I'm not saying it wont intonate. The problem comes when people switch from 9's to 11's thinking the saddles don't need to be adjusted as well as the neck to correct the bow which the heavier tension has created.
Oh, you are talking about setup issues not heavier gauge string issues, you were getting us all worked in a knot over nothing. :tongue:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,492 Posts
Metal#J# said:
All that I am trying to say is that if your using 11's, the optimum tuning for that gauge IMO would be DGCFAD. But if you tend to have a firm grip on the fret board and tend to press harder then I guess 11's are fine. I'm sure it sustains great. But I'm not saying it wont intonate. The problem comes when people switch from 9's to 11's thinking the saddles don't need to be adjusted as well as the neck to correct the bow which the heavier tension has created.

I can't argue with that.

Jumping from 9's to 11's is probably a bit out of the norm though. I would think most guys would go up or down one gauge (9's to 10's et cetera), but yes you do have to set up your guitar. I even tweak the intonation when changing brands with the "same" gauge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
Jeff Flowerday said:
I'll use my non intonatable R4 and my non compensated saddle on my Martin as examples. The lighter the gauge of strings the more out of wack the intonation becomes.
I think that's a case of matching string guage to scale length.
The way I set up my acoustic was to tune to pitch, then make sure the fretted 12th and the harmonic 12th are the same on your tuner. If the fretted note is higher or lower you will need to change the strings to suit. When it comes to non intonateable guitars I think you just have to find a set that's close.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top