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Discussion Starter #1
I've done some research in this forum but I cannot find any discussion about the effect if any that 10's's might have over 9's on guitar necks. That this topic is seemingly not discussed at all may be answer in itself to my question. Anytime I've had to restring any of my collection of used electric guitars, I've done so with 10's, never giving it a thought. But I have seen discussions as to the merits of 9's over 10's and versa so I've tried a few sets of 9's and I like both feel and sound. But I've developed a nagging concern over how much extra stress the 10's must place on a neck compared to 9's. Does that difference have a bearing on the longevity, the well being of that skinny piece of wood? Our guitars spend so many years of their lives in storage with that unrelenting stress caused upon them by tuned strings. Can we extend their useful lives by taking it easy on them by using 9's? Shouldn't we relax the strings in storage to stop that bowing pressure?
 

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Acoustics run 12's and you can find classicals that are probably pushing triple digits.

I wouldnt sweat it, though I wonder what tests have been done.
 

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I was just looking at string tension a couple of days ago.

Have you tried 9.5s?

You can calculate different tension from this PDF. I calculated a set 10s at 103.6lbs. Let me see what 9s would be. The work's already done, the package says 84.44lbs. The package for 10s says 102.5lbs, 9.5s are 89.93lbs.

https://www.daddario.com/globalassets/pdfs/accessories/tension_chart_13934.pdf



Remember the old guitars would have much higher tension strings than we ever use today. On an acoustic, a medium set could be 14s [or 16s!].
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was just looking at string tension a couple of days ago.

Have you tried 9.5s?

You can calculate different tension from this PDF. I calculated a set 10s at 103.6lbs. Let me see what 9s would be. The work's already done, the package says 84.44lbs. The package for 10s says 102.5lbs, 9.5s are 89.93lbs.

https://www.daddario.com/globalassets/pdfs/accessories/tension_chart_13934.pdf



Remember the old guitars would have much higher tension strings than we ever use today. On an acoustic, a medium set could be 14s [or 16s!].
9s and 10s are nothing; one of my guitars has a thin neck like an electric and it has had 13s on it for the last 46 years no problem.
Thank you for that! I'm now going to replace the factory 9's on my Indio Telecaster to 10's.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was just looking at string tension a couple of days ago.

Have you tried 9.5s?

You can calculate different tension from this PDF. I calculated a set 10s at 103.6lbs. Let me see what 9s would be. The work's already done, the package says 84.44lbs. The package for 10s says 102.5lbs, 9.5s are 89.93lbs.

https://www.daddario.com/globalassets/pdfs/accessories/tension_chart_13934.pdf



Remember the old guitars would have much higher tension strings than we ever use today. On an acoustic, a medium set could be 14s [or 16s!].
It was surprised to see that string tension info on the string package you posted. Of course it never occurred to me to look there!. I checked the link you posted and was shocked at the mathematics and the science in guitar string manufacture. But that kind of analytical information would be essential to consistency and to measure progress/improvement. We're lucky to have really good cheap guitars nowaday and cheap hi quality strings to put on them.
 

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On Strats I prefer 9-46 rather than 9-42. Easy on the fingers for bends on the unwound strings. A bigger sound on the wound strings (which are easy to bend regardless). I used to play 10-52s but 10s (on a Strat scale neck) just feel like SO much work on the unwound strings.
 

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Billy Gibbons uses .008’s and he sounds pretty good, but yeah, I wouldn’t worry about neck tension. Use whatever works for you.
 

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I know that 9’s have saved my fingers..
This is something that I’m starting to think about. I play a lot and pretty much every day and I’ve been doing this for many years. I still have lots of mobility in my left hand but when I wake up my hand takes awhile to loosen up so there’s some wear and tear happening with that. There’s a reason why so many old guys start going to lighter strings .. lol
 

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1) Gauge choice is somewhat relative to scale length. At the tension required for proper pitch, 10s can be too stiff for some folks on a 25.5"-scale neck, even though bend-ey enough on a shorter-scale neck.

2) All other things being equal, thicker strings elicit more output from pickups. Of course, just as important, they may elicit less output from the player.

3) JBFairthorne is spot on by noting that adjustable truss rods are for "tuning" the neck to the string gauge, when the wood alone may not be stiff enough to handle the task itself.

4) Optimal string gauge also depends on your style of playing. Last year I tried out Winnipeg guitar-god Joey Landreth's guitar. He uses .019-.063 gauge. I couldn't fret anything on that beast, but it suits his slide playing perfectly.
 

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I have 11s on my Tele and LPJr but I recently put 10s on my Firebird to try and get double stop bends working like on the solo from Simple Man. This thread has inspired me to play the Firebird a bit more during the lock down since it has 10s on it that need to be used up .. lol
 

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I’m of the opinion that a lot of issues with intonation and physical response in electric guitars (especially those with tremolo systems) are due to excessively light strings.

Case in point - Fender Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars have a trem that was designed to have geometry similar to an archtop jazz guitar. When strung with 12 gauge flatwounds, these guitars are wonderfully stable. Put 9 or 10 gauge roundwounds on them, and they buzz, the trem doesn’t return to pitch reliably (giving rise to all of the aftermarket add-ons like the Buzz Stop and various replacement bridges).
 

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I have 11s on my Tele and LPJr but I recently put 10s on my Firebird to try and get double stop bends working like on the solo from Simple Man. This thread has inspired me to play the Firebird a bit more during the lock down since it has 10s on it that need to be used up .. lol
A nice option can be the light top heavy bottom guages and the x.5 guage options. I use a 10-52 in a couple of guitars because I love digging in on the low strings, but want some flex on the high strings.

The 10-52 seems to work well on my guitars with a Les trem and a bigsby as well.
 

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Ive ran 10-52 on nearly everything since 04? Love them. Give me my XL's and all will be fine. Highly recommended if you like to pick hard on your wound strings.
 

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A nice option can be the light top heavy bottom guages and the x.5 guage options. I use a 10-52 in a couple of guitars because I love digging in on the low strings, but want some flex on the high strings.

The 10-52 seems to work well on my guitars with a Les trem and a bigsby as well.
Given that, and just out of curiosity, do you find any need to either adjust the pickup height on the bass side or keep your amp's setting a little light on the bass?
 

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Given that, and just out of curiosity, do you find any need to either adjust the pickup height on the bass side or keep your amp's setting a little light on the bass?
I have never had an issue on the guitars I use these on. I play primarily Filtertron and P90 equipped guitars.

My new experiment I am going to try is 9.5 - 48 guage. They arrive in the mail next week. I just thought I'd play around s bit while I'm stuck in anyway.
 
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