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  1. #1

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    Dear Deadre,

    Following a few twinges in my fretting hand and a changeover to a more slurred technique I have started moving down a gauge or so in most of my string set ups, down to as little as .11 roundwounds on my telecaster.

    The problem is all the macho bebop players are kicking sand in my face and laughing at my wimpy little stick fingers. Even Pasquale Grasso apparently uses gauge .21s made of barbed wire (flatwound of course) and he is the Yngwie Malmsteen of bebop.

    What shall I do? I fear I will never have mighty sausage fingers like Jimmy Bruno and I've been lured away by the legato siren song of the filthy likes of Mike Moreno. I feel I'm in danger of losing all my bebop street cred.

    I'm badly in need of guidance and especially validation.

    Yours,

    The wimpy bopper.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    who the hell is deadre
    White belt
    My Youtube

  4. #3

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    I'm happy to make you feel like a true he-man. I'm using D'Addario Chrome 10's on a 25.5" scale length ... tuned down a minor third to Db standard. That feels something like using 8.5's on a Tele.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  5. #4

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    Dunno what you're worried about. You've already got the beard, the knackered 175, and the lydian b7 licks. Just get a Jazz Hat.

    Er, well, you're not the only one. I moved to 11s this year, as a present to my elderly small fingers. No-one has noticed so far, I just turn the amp up slightly louder. The only problem was having to get some new sets of TIs. I commented on the cost to my saxophonist partner, who sneered and told me he pays a tenner a reed. Still don't know if he's serious; I can't tell the difference when he changes them twice a gig.

    11s worked for JH. Stay Strong.

  6. #5

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    Tone doesn't really care all that much if you go down in gauge. Left hand loves it, while right hand gets a little grumpy due to the loss of bounce

    Potato - Potata if you ask me

  7. #6

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    Wimpy strings-segovia-jpg
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  8. #7

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  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    .11s are light??
    Thanks for the validation!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Franz 1997 View Post
    Dunno what you're worried about. You've already got the beard, the knackered 175, and the lydian b7 licks. Just get a Jazz Hat.

    Er, well, you're not the only one. I moved to 11s this year, as a present to my elderly small fingers. No-one has noticed so far, I just turn the amp up slightly louder. The only problem was having to get some new sets of TIs. I commented on the cost to my saxophonist partner, who sneered and told me he pays a tenner a reed. Still don't know if he's serious; I can't tell the difference when he changes them twice a gig.

    11s worked for JH. Stay Strong.
    Still .12s at least on the 175... Shorter scale length.

    Apparently it's impossible to get a good reed. You go through a box of them to find one.

  11. #10

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    Not to worry. In the course of my career I've gone from 0.015 -0.60s > 0.013s > 0.012s > 0.011s > 0.010s. I am currently contemplating stocking up on 0.009s and 0.008s. Age and circumstance have me cornered, but giving up playing is not an option. I endeavor to persevere.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 06-03-2019 at 07:34 PM. Reason: Zeros
    Best regards, k

  12. #11

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    Yeah it's these young twenty somethings. Can't keep up with their total lack of minor ailments and weird twinges.

  13. #12

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    Glad to see that Segovia's hands weren't much different than mine from a physical standpoint. Unfortunately that is probably the only similarity.

    I swear that I may be fooling myself, but the low pull of the magnets on a set of Kinman Jazzmaster pickups that I have is a game changer as far as string feel. TI 12's on it and they feel like buttah. My Strat with three single coils feels much different with the same strings as the JM. The difference is subtle, but it is there (unless I am imagining it.)

  14. #13

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    You really have given me some chuckles this afternoon.

    Reminds me of a guy who wore TWO "FitBit" exercise bands. Why?

    He burned twice as many calories!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  15. #14

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    I guess you have to do what works for you. I could buy heavier running shoes thiniking I will build speed and could even add weights to the shoe, but in the end you just run faster in lighter shoes.

    Seriously for me .11 is too light I like a .12 and even a .13 depending the guitar. I don't like heavy bottom .52 or .54 is plenty mostly .52
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  16. #15

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    Well reading this thread is making my aging fingers feel more....normal. I am turning down some gigs (I have averaged close to 200 gigs a year for the last 15 years and am going to trim down to about 150) and have gone down from 13's to 12's in the string department. All due to discomfort in my fretting hand (which seems to have started once I crossed 60).

    I have 4 downsizings left in the string department (though once I go below 10's, I am pretty sure my tone will suffer) and I can reduce the gigs to zero if need be (I am hoping to play out for another 3-4 years).

    Getting old ain't for sissies. Or jazz guitar players who like heavy strings.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    ...Getting old ain't for sissies. Or jazz guitar players who like heavy strings.
    Haha! I bet 9 out of 10 rockers would call us sissies even if we were still in our twenties. Wait, that happened.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200 View Post
    Haha! I bet 9 out of 10 rockers would call us sissies even if we were still in our twenties. Wait, that happened.
    Well surely the reason we started stringing them so heavy was to deal with that whole ‘hey man can I borrow your guitar, I got a song’ situation.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    who the hell is deadre
    It probably means "Deidre" who was an imaginary Agony Aunt....... Do try and keep up !

  20. #19

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    What's an agony, aunty?

  21. #20

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    Too much swing playing. Lower that action and ease up on the fretting hand. You'll be back to big boy strings in no time.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200 View Post
    Haha! I bet 9 out of 10 rockers would call us sissies even if we were still in our twenties. Wait, that happened.
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  23. #22

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    I suppose that we all must make concessions to infirmity and age. Lighter strings and lower actions are such concessions. Many of the greats that we celebrate in this forum moved to nine and ten gauge string sets with age.

    However, with these concessions it becomes more difficult to play in tune. Light gauge strings almost require that you just wave a fairy wand over them, rather than actually touch the strings, to have any hope of keeping them in tune--a _very_ light touch is in order.

    Also, Strat pickups (which have six magnets, rather than steel or iron pole pieces set over one or two magnets) are notorious for pulling light-gauge strings out of tune, unless you lower them almost to the face of the guitar.

  24. #23

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    Buy a 335!

  25. #24

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    I use Thomastik 12-50 Jazz swings on nearly everything whether it be on archtops or solid bodies.

    I've tried using 13s and 14s on occasion but found no real improvement in tone... in fact on some guitars it can 'strangle' the sound a bit. There's a point of diminishing returns with heavy strings. Depends on the guitar.

    For the OP I don't think 11s are 'wimpy' at all - the 12-50 TI set is really more like a 'normal' set of 11s anyway.

    For what it's worth I used to use the TI 11-48 JS set on my Tele - it sounded incredible with those strings.

  26. #25

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    Man, Christian, two angry, rant-posts in a day?! Are you ok??

  27. #26

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    ,11" is pretty thick. That's 2.794 mm, which is what I would call a very big treble E string. I'm surprised it doesn't buckle your neck to tune just that one, nevermind the other 5, which much be at least as big.

  28. #27

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    Light gauge strings require a very delicate touch to sound tuned, and more volume to sound substantial. That makes it much easier to hit a very loud clunker in the midst of all the fairy dust. Playing well softly is a difficult skill to learn, but necessary for us old guys whose left hands barely work any more. Or maybe we should just take up keys? Enjoying all of the sardonic and ironic humor, btw.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Well surely the reason we started stringing them so heavy was to deal with that whole ‘hey man can I borrow your guitar, I got a song’ situation.
    I started using heavy strings (influenced by Vic Juris) for that reason. Nobody ever asked to play my much-abused (before it got to me) LP Custom twice.
    Best regards, k

  30. #29

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    One guy I know saw Martino playing at a club. After the set he came over to the bar where his buddies were waiting for him. He bragged to them that he was using .017s. They all gave him a slap on the back and said,

    "Way to go, Pat!" My friend said it reminded him of a bunch of football players, congratulating a fullback after he just scored a touchdown.
    When you go down to .011s, be prepared to lose some friends, and hear the word poofter being spoken behind your back.

  31. #30

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    At university, I played in a situation where I used a Stratocaster and the other lead guitarist used a Les Paul. I noticed that the LP, strung with .008 gauge sets, never played in tune. The guitarist was very talented and the guitar was killer. The string gauge though made chords a huge issue.

    I started paying close attention to gauge and discovered that my Gibson needed elevens to play properly...Fenders could get by with tens, but sounded better with elevens.

    My Gretches worked best with twelves.

    Then, I got a ES 125 and a ES 175. They, too, needed twelves to sound good.

    Moving to 17" and 18" carved archtops, I went to thirteen gauge strings.

    I still follow these formulas. Nothing lighter than elevens.

  32. #31

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    .09's did this-




    cheers

    ps- segovia played catguts & nylons

  33. #32

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    Keef?

  34. #33

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    why les paul invented electricitycheers

  35. #34

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    I use 11s on a tele, 12 on a hollowbody. Roundwounds, pure nickel. Feels perfect to me!

    Now, not to sound controversial, but... wait, lemme just double check... yep, confirmed- I really don't give flying bollocks what anyone thinks I should use!

    Ok ok it's a fun thread, tell me more about the 50s string situation.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    .09's did this-




    cheers

    ps- segovia played catguts & nylons
    I think Keefs wrinkly hands have more than just strings to blame haha.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    I think Keefs wrinkly hands have more than just strings to blame haha.
    yeah...high action!


    cheers

  38. #37

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    Chris '77, why ya gotta be so wimpy?

    Brave Sir Christian ran away, away

    When danger reared its ugly head, Sir Christian hide his fingers under the bed

    Brave, Brave Sir Christian


  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    yeah...high action!


    cheers
    Yes! A lot of it!

  40. #39

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    50s...

    Strings lighter than 12s were banjo strings, which some guitarists mixed in on the sly.

    Factory electric guitars came with 12s. They sounded great.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Yes! A lot of it!
    yeah it's a terrible thing



    cheers

  42. #41

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    yeah 50's sets were all heavy...gibson mona steels...fender mastersound flats...heavy...

    guitars came from the factory with beefy strings well into the mid 60's!!!

    in late 50's/early 60's james burton was one of first guys to legitimize the practice of putting a light banjo string on the high E..and then going up the pack..discarding the low E string... he had some west coast street cred by being part of ricky nelson band...so ernie ball stepped up and made his "slinky" set based on burtons variations...the rest is slinky history

    cheers

    ps- clapton used eb slinky 08's layla & other assorted era!

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74 View Post
    I endeavor to persevere.
    Ah yes. An obscure Outlaw Josey Wales reference.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    50s...

    Strings lighter than 12s were banjo strings, which some guitarists mixed in on the sly.

    Factory electric guitars came with 12s. They sounded great.
    Teles sound great with any strings. It's a fact. They didn't have a choice in the 50's, and they sure wish they did!

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74 View Post
    I endeavor to persevere :^)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Ah yes. An obscure Outlaw Josey Wales reference.
    I wouldn't call Lone Watie obscure. "...and when we'd thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union." Ha. Dan George was a comic genius.
    OTOH, I'd call George Wootton obscure.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 06-04-2019 at 03:16 AM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Too much swing playing. Lower that action and ease up on the fretting hand. You'll be back to big boy strings in no time.
    The action is pretty slinky.

    I have no excuses.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    I have trouble imagining feeling physically intimidated by Mark Knopfler.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    One guy I know saw Martino playing at a club. After the set he came over to the bar where his buddies were waiting for him. He bragged to them that he was using .017s. They all gave him a slap on the back and said,

    "Way to go, Pat!" My friend said it reminded him of a bunch of football players, congratulating a fullback after he just scored a touchdown.
    When you go down to .011s, be prepared to lose some friends, and hear the word poofter being spoken behind your back.
    Haha, good story.

    Well I don’t have any friends and if I did they would be woke millennials. ;-)

  49. #48

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    I agree with opinion that it depends on the guitar, My Tal plays
    very well with Ti's 11's, the Byrdland ( short scale ) , 12-50's
    On my L5ces & Wesmo I used to always have 12-50's also .
    The term "Wimpy strings " is ludicrous , with age 13's & 14's
    are nigh on impossible to play comfortably

  50. #49

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    I know this is a bantering thread, but just seriously for a second....my feeling is that for an archtop conventional jazz sound, 11s are about as far down as you can reasonably go, AND that it depends on the pickup and amp settings you are using to some degree. I think you can get a reasonably fat sound on the 11 and 14 top strings( and it's all about the top strings, sound-wise) with a humbucker and a bit of 250hz boost, but that if you're playing P90s or other single-coils, especial with a Fender amp, it's going to sound noticeably thinner on top.

    As noted though, for older players there's not a lot of option, as the fingers crunch and crumble. For young thrusters like Christian, it's a choice.

    Re banjo strings, in 60's london one only found out about the banjo string option by word of mouth. Clifford Essex in Soho sold banjo and other strings to clean-cut acoustic players, and were slightly appalled at the long haired types suddenly crowding the counter and demanding them. This was long before Amazon, and when even 2 decades later, to get hold of the ( paper) Real Book you had to go to a certain shop in Ealing and mumble furtively to the bloke who had them stored under the counter.

  51. #50

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    I feel uncomfortable with the reference to Christian as a "young thruster".

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'