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  1. #1

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    I recall reading somewhere that some well known player, can't recall who, used very light strings, like .009 or .10 E string.

    Also that Mike Stern uses a .38 low E and a .11 high E. That's probably on a 25.5 scale guitar.

    I'd been having trouble playing my Comins GCS-1 because it felt too stiff (arthritis). I'd already gone down a gauge from the factory strings, but it was still too stiff.

    I raised the tailpiece, which may have helped a bit, but not enough.

    So, I got a set of Super Slinky .009, .012, .016 .024 .034 .042.

    The action became much softer, unsurprisingly.

    The .009 sounded okay if I turned the tone control all the way off, but not otherwise. With the tone control full up, it sounded fizzy or twangy - not good for my purpose. Also, it was a little too floppy.

    So, I put on a .010 and a 0.013 for the top two and left the others as they were. I considered trying a .017 for the G string, but I didn't bother.

    This completely changed the guitar. Fortunately, the intonation stayed accurate. I didn't have to adjust the neck. The guitar now feels much more playable and sounds just as good. If there's any disadvantage to having the .042 low E, I haven't noticed it yet, but I don't like a lot of low frequency energy in my sound.

    So, I was curious. Why doesn't anybody make a set that goes from 11 to 38 (like Stern uses) or 10 to 42 (like I've got)?

    Is there some disadvantage I haven't noticed? I can't recall ever meeting a jazz player who used really light low strings.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    There are makers that make 10-42 sets: Curt Magnan, Pyramids, American Strings, probably more if you search for them.

    As for disadvantages in general, I think it's just what you're used to. Thin strings may have a little less of that attack that a lot of jazz players like to hear and a little less of the fundamental vs overtones, and some may feel one is more ideal than the other for their preferred setup. but really, good sounds have been made on anything, and if you like the sound and it keeps you playing, it's good imho.

    Abercrombie, late era Jim Hall, Steve Khan, all play(ed) lighter gauges. Sound good to me.

  4. #3

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    I believe Jody Fisher uses 9's on his Klein, and he sounds pretty good!

    See how "tension" plays into your selections: Stringjoy Tension Calculator.

  5. #4

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    I use light strings and tune down. John Stowell also does both.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  6. #5

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    I use a 10-46 roundwound set on my D'Angelico semi and my strat, 12-52 flats on my archtop. When I first got the semi, I found the 46 on the neck pickup boomy, but lowering the bass side of the pickup addressed that. It's not boomy on my strat, and I think a lighter low E would probably be too quiet for the bridge pickups on either.

    I think that's why lighter string sets are bundled with heavier (ish) bottom strings. They're directed more toward bridge pickup use.

    The conventional wisdom is that lighter strings are thinner/twangier sounding. But I don't think that's necessarily true. In my experience. if I pick hard, I get twang and some pitch bend on a light string, but in a heavier string I get a percussive attack and less timbre and pitch change.

    If I lighten up on a light string, it diminishes those effects, though I never can quite capture the percussiveness of a heavier string. But when I play fast, I tend to pick harder, and I can be back in the twang zone. It's a balancing act.

    John
    Last edited by John A.; 11-13-2019 at 01:37 PM.

  7. #6

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    My preference for string gauge is similar to what Rich Severson describes in this video:


  8. #7

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    Rick,

    Fingertip pain (which started at age 61) has caused me to revisit light strings (which I used way back in my rock and blues days)

    While I still keep most of my guitars strung up with TI 12 flats, I have gone to DR Pure Blues 10's on a few guitars. They are a 10-46 set with a plain third and are pure nickel with a round core. I have to change my attack on the guitars that I have strung up with the 10's, but am able to get a great jazz sound. I would buy a wound third, but the lightest they make is a 24 and I feel that would be unbalanced, so the plain third remains. I can see a day where all my guitars will have the DR's and if I live long enough, I may go down to 9's.

    Getting old ain't for sissies (or guys who like heavy strings).

    HTH
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  9. #8

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    Jim Hall used pretty light strings, I just had to put .10s on my tele, because it's just what works, It sounds great when I play jazz on it... still using .12s on the gibson.. .10 or .11 on a hollow body sound fine to me too... i think it all depends on the size of the frets, the shape of the neck and the scale length

  10. #9

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    I guess string gauges are "standardized" based on something.

    But I too, mix sets. I like my strings a lot heavier than you, but I'm in agreement of not liking a super heavy bottom end. So I (on a 24.75" scale guitar) use a set of .012's, but replace the E and B with those from a set of .013's. Might even try a .014 high E next go around.
    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

  11. #10

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    I just cannot go with those light strings. Possible a .11 to .52 but ideally I have to have .12 -.52. I can do with a .13 on the top too depending on the guitar. If I use anything lighter I feel like I am pulling the strings out of tune easily. So far in my old age at 58 I have fortunate with no loss of hand strength and no pain. On my own Barker which is a 24 27/32 scale length I find .12 .54 to be prefect because the shorter scale length compared to the 25.5. The high E at .10 I just cannot do that but maybe SS has the upper hand ( so to speak) and when 61 ( hopefully too) I might feel different. I do play acoustically much of the time so maybe that has something to do with it and of course I don't have monster chops so add another element.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  12. #11

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    There are a lot of variables re: hand fatigue. I never had any in my 3-hours-a-day years, but I was mid 30's then. In my 40's now and found that I did get some hand fatigue when playing my 1.75" nut width, 24.9" scale, full depth archtop over the past year if doing longer practice days (virtually never hitting 3 hours anymore). I'm now mostly practicing on a 1 11/16" nut guitar with a very slightly shorter scale length - and in fact now with rounds vs flats previously - and I think mostly due to the smaller nut width/overall narrower neck, I'm not getting any fatigue despite ramping up my practice recently. Also the guitar is a thinline so my hand is just a bit closer to my body.

    Lots of variables.

    btw I play 13 - 54's currently with a 14 high E, and a 24w G.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    See how "tension" plays into your selections: Stringjoy Tension Calculator.
    That's pretty nifty, tnx!

  14. #13

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    Give a look to Dogal Strings, Red Tag flat wound, R67C set (010 013 018c 024c 032c 040c; 'c' stands for 'wound').
    I use Dogal Expressive Jazz Strings, R40C set (012 016c 020c 028c 034c 046c) with a fantastic wound B on my 175.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple View Post
    Give a look to Dogal Strings, Red Tag flat wound, R67C set (010 013 018c 024c 032c 040c; 'c' stands for 'wound').
    I use Dogal Expressive Jazz Strings, R40C set (012 016c 020c 028c 034c 046c) with a fantastic wound B on my 175.
    A wound 2nd!!! I’ve never noticed these before. I think I’ll order a few sets just for fun. My osteoarthritis isn’t getting worse, but I’m not getting any younger

  16. #15

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    I also think tension is relative depending on the day and what is going on. I have notice if I play for maybe 2 hours straight then take a break and play later in the day the guitar feels much easier to play. Warming up has much to do with playing too especially as we age. The guitar is a physical instrument and requires use of muscles, tendons, and energy even. From a purely physical standpoint the body does better as blood flows through better and aging make warming up all the more important. It is also important to warm up slow. Play a higher action acoustic guitar for days in a row and then return to a Les Paul with 10-46. That takes an adjustment and it works both ways.

    On another front as a runner for 42 years now I need to warm up. From my 20's -30 I just went out and starting running no thought sometimes pushing pace right away. These days approaching 60 I walk fast for about 5-6 minutes then begin slow running. It now takes 2 miles before I even feel like I am loose. I find playing the guitar pretty much same at least for not playing sloppy. I find 15 minutes of precise arpeggios and clean playing does wonders for the session. No matter what anyone claims our physical skills on the guitar begin to get worse as we age. It probably is nothing like heavy athletic stuff but it still drops off. My instinct says that if we make it to age 70 we will begin to really notice. What is hoped is that experience can actually offset this problem. The hands may not move like we want or even hurt after awhile but experience should allow us to be musically as interesting.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  17. #16

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    given the choice between playing the guitar happily or avoiding it or playing less because of hand/finger pain....i'd play with 07's if i had to!!! like billy gibbons does!!...james burton one of the greatest tele pickers of all time used 08-38...clapton and page cut much of their classic stuff with 08 sets...

    once you plug into an amp or monitor with headphones, and are hearing less of the actual guitar acoustic projection, the need for heavy strings diminishes...

    light strings also change your touch...what you lose in some respects you make up for in others

    luck

    cheers

  18. #17

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    Play the strings you want to play. I don't think you have to play a certain set of strings for a certain genre--like "I gotta have 13s on my guitar because I'm playing Jazz." Bah!

    Just realize that certain strings are gonna have certain tone. Don't expect 9s to sound like 12s. 9s sound like 9s, not better, not worse than any other gauge, just different. And you can "heavy up" with EQ and by playing louder, to a certain extent.

    I like heavier strings for Jazz (12s for me) because they influence my playing technique in certain ways, but not that they sound "better" than any other gauge.

    For example--my vibrato technique with 9s and 10s is the vertical, move the string up-and-down type, while my technique with the 12s is more like the "violin" technique. I just go by the feel.

    I do believe though, that in most states, there IS a law against playing Jazz with round-wound strings, or a plain 3rd.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by krusty View Post
    A wound 2nd!!! I’ve never noticed these before.
    the wound b was very common early on...the first charlie christian pickups were set up for a wound b!!...a holdover from pre electric days....they soon realized with a pickup, you can use an unwound b and still have presence...as a result the next version of the cc pickups had the notch under the b string!!



    cheers

  20. #19

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    one more thing!! the biggest problem when suddenly going from 12's or 13's to 09's is due to the nut and saddle slots being worn to large for the lighter strings..that's why you hear comments like it sounds fizzy or buzzy...these issues have to be addressed...(also trussrod, pickup/pole piece height issues)...but once you set up your guitar for dedicated use with 09's (or whatever light strings)...these problems will disappear

    if you have serious pain issues and want to go to lighter strings, the guitar must be tweaked to accommodate them!!!..not difficult at all, but often overlooked....& entirely worth the effort!!!

    cheers

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    I use light strings and tune down. John Stowell also does both.

    Very interesting, Do you tune down to Eb?

    I recall hearing that Jimi and SRV did that, I assume to help with aggressive string bending.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    I also think tension is relative depending on the day and what is going on. I have notice if I play for maybe 2 hours straight then take a break and play later in the day the guitar feels much easier to play. Warming up has much to do with playing too especially as we age. The guitar is a physical instrument and requires use of muscles, tendons, and energy even. From a purely physical standpoint the body does better as blood flows through better and aging make warming up all the more important. It is also important to warm up slow. Play a higher action acoustic guitar for days in a row and then return to a Les Paul with 10-46. That takes an adjustment and it works both ways.

    On another front as a runner for 42 years now I need to warm up. From my 20's -30 I just went out and starting running no thought sometimes pushing pace right away. These days approaching 60 I walk fast for about 5-6 minutes then begin slow running. It now takes 2 miles before I even feel like I am loose. I find playing the guitar pretty much same at least for not playing sloppy. I find 15 minutes of precise arpeggios and clean playing does wonders for the session. No matter what anyone claims our physical skills on the guitar begin to get worse as we age. It probably is nothing like heavy athletic stuff but it still drops off. My instinct says that if we make it to age 70 we will begin to really notice. What is hoped is that experience can actually offset this problem. The hands may not move like we want or even hurt after awhile but experience should allow us to be musically as interesting.

    Should aim for 80. :0

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    one more thing!! the biggest problem when suddenly going from 12's or 13's to 09's is due to the nut and saddle slots being worn to large for the lighter strings..that's why you hear comments like it sounds fizzy or buzzy...these issues have to be addressed...(also trussrod, pickup/pole piece height issues)...but once you set up your guitar for dedicated use with 09's (or whatever light strings)...these problems will disappear

    if you have serious pain issues and want to go to lighter strings, the guitar must be tweaked to accommodate them!!!..not difficult at all, but often overlooked....& entirely worth the effort!!!

    cheers

    would that involve a new nut and bridge?

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    would that involve a new nut and bridge?
    it could..but not necessarily....wooden- ebony/rosewood bridges and even metal/brass bridge saddles can be slightly sanded to accommodate lighter strings...nuts can even be refilled and recut...all without any severe impact on the guitars look or value!!

    of course outright replacements will also work...but, why i wrote once you dedicate the guitar to lighter strings it can be made to work well!!...

    i have played guitar much of my life..everyday...live and breathe guitars...surrounded by them...all my friends are musicians...will do anything to be able to continue to, within my power..if that means super light strings..so be it!!! like i wrote billy gibbons 07's!!...(tho i have used 07's before!!! dan armstrong made'm in the early 70's!!..i liked 'em...hah)

    cheers

  25. #24

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    This doesn't actually relate to string gauge as such, but I've started (on my electric guitars) having the action lower on the bass side than the treble side. This is the complete opposite of what I usually would do.

    For the treble strings I like them slightly higher as I like to "dig in" to them more, and I feel they have richer sound with the action fractionally higher. Particularly on some solid body guitars , the high strings can sound a bit thin.

    The softer feel on the bass strings makes playing so much easier. Tonally, I don't really hear a disadvantage. If I was playing big band rhythm guitar it would obviously be terrible, but there are laminated arch tops or solid body electric guitars being used in a small jazz combo setting - mainly playing swing/bop and chord melody.

    Recently I had a marathon of a gig, 5hrs - had little breaks here and there but I was really please to not have fatigue in my hand at the end of it. Having the action low on the bass side helped considerably.

    I would imagine putting lighter gauge bass strings on would have a similar effect.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by entresz View Post
    This doesn't actually relate to string gauge as such, but I've started (on my electric guitars) having the action lower on the bass side than the treble side. This is the complete opposite of what I usually would do.

    For the treble strings I like them slightly higher as I like to "dig in" to them more, and I feel they have richer sound with the action fractionally higher. Particularly on some solid body guitars , the high strings can sound a bit thin.
    yes this is known effect...but also has to do with improperly cut nut/bridge saddle slots...to get the high b & e strings to sound correctly and in tune requires slightly higher action..the fundamental lower notes ring truer despite being slightly lower action...

    also affected by the fact that the higher strings are the most likely to be played higher up the neck...not many people are playing 22nd fret d note on low e string! hah

    cheers

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Rick,

    Fingertip pain (which started at age 61) has caused me to revisit light strings (which I used way back in my rock and blues days)

    While I still keep most of my guitars strung up with TI 12 flats, I have gone to DR Pure Blues 10's on a few guitars. They are a 10-46 set with a plain third and are pure nickel with a round core. I have to change my attack on the guitars that I have strung up with the 10's, but am able to get a great jazz sound. I would buy a wound third, but the lightest they make is a 24 and I feel that would be unbalanced, so the plain third remains. I can see a day where all my guitars will have the DR's and if I live long enough, I may go down to 9's.

    Getting old ain't for sissies (or guys who like heavy strings).

    HTH
    All things being equal (strings that is) do you notice your ES-175 with its shorter scale length, to be more comfortable than your longer scale guitars in terms of the pressure require to press the string down?

    I notice a big difference between my Gibson semi and archtops (short and long scale respectively) but the strings on the semi are much lighter so that's not apples to apples. The feel on the semi is downright rubbery and like someone above said, I too have to be careful not to bend them out of tune by playing heavy handed. I may move a couple of my archtops to a shorter scale, so I'm curious.

    I have already moved down from 12s to 11s on my archtops and may move to 10s, although I am dreading it.

    Thanks!

  28. #27

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    await ss's reply..but will comment...the longer scale gives you more room for error...the note will not be pulled out of tune with light strings due to fingering as noticeably...

    basically its a re-learning experience...you have to work towards a lighter touch...let the electricity do the work..thats why it's an electric guitar!!! takes time and rethinking..but worth it..given the alternatives

    after that a short scale jaguar or byrdland can have all the nuance of a long scale guitar...it's up to you ultimately..not the guitar!!

    play on friend

    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 11-13-2019 at 10:24 PM. Reason: typo

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    await ss's reply..but will comment...the longer scale gives you more room for error...the note will not be pulled out of tune with light strings due to fingering as noticeably...

    basically its a re-learning experience...you have to work towards a lighter touch...let the electricity do the work..thats why it's an electric guitar!!! takes time and rethinking..but worth it..given the alternatives

    after that a short scale jaguar or byrdland can have all the nuance of a long scale guitar...it's up to you ultimately..not the guitar!!

    play on friend

    cheers
    The tailpiece and bridge are relevant to feel. The more string available to stretch, the softer the feel. That includes the non-vibrating portion of the string, as long as it can slide over the bridge and, to some extent, the nut. The breakover angle may matter too, if it's so sharp that it inhibits sliding.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Very interesting, Do you tune down to Eb?

    I recall hearing that Jimi and SRV did that, I assume to help with aggressive string bending.
    Not sure about Jimi but SRV used super heavy strings and tuned down. To go to lighter strings and also tune down seems wrong to me...then you're just compounding the reduced tension.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny View Post
    Not sure about Jimi but SRV used super heavy strings and tuned down. To go to lighter strings and also tune down seems wrong to me...then you're just compounding the reduced tension.

    Ah, yep. As opposed to compounding the PIP and DIP joint inflammation.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    All things being equal (strings that is) do you notice your ES-175 with its shorter scale length, to be more comfortable than your longer scale guitars in terms of the pressure require to press the string down?

    I notice a big difference between my Gibson semi and archtops (short and long scale respectively) but the strings on the semi are much lighter so that's not apples to apples. The feel on the semi is downright rubbery and like someone above said, I too have to be careful not to bend them out of tune by playing heavy handed. I may move a couple of my archtops to a shorter scale, so I'm curious.

    I have already moved down from 12s to 11s on my archtops and may move to 10s, although I am dreading it.

    Thanks!
    Yes. My 175's strung with 10's are incredibly easy to play, more so than my L-5's. But the ease of play requires a very light touch.

    I prefer the feel of 12's and 13's and the thicker tone. But I love to play. Not experiencing pain outweighs great tone.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny View Post
    Not sure about Jimi but SRV used super heavy strings and tuned down. To go to lighter strings and also tune down seems wrong to me...then you're just compounding the reduced tension.
    SRV used 13's and tuned down a half step. Jimi used a 10-38 set and tuned down a Half step.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    The tailpiece and bridge are relevant to feel. The more string available to stretch, the softer the feel. That includes the non-vibrating portion of the string, as long as it can slide over the bridge and, to some extent, the nut. The breakover angle may matter too, if it's so sharp that it inhibits sliding.
    This is interesting. I noticed my Telecaster feels quite stiff to play compared to my Epiphone Emperor. The Epi has a frequensator tailpiece ,so there's a lot more string length there. Both are 25.5'' scale, but tension-wise there is a difference.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    Yes. My 175's strung with 10's are incredibly easy to play, more so than my L-5's. But the ease of play requires a very light touch.

    I prefer the feel of 12's and 13's and the thicker tone. But I love to play. Not experiencing pain outweighs great tone.

    Thanks for your reply. I agree completely with all of your points as well.

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by entresz View Post
    This is interesting. I noticed my Telecaster feels quite stiff to play compared to my Epiphone Emperor. The Epi has a frequensator tailpiece ,so there's a lot more string length there. Both are 25.5'' scale, but tension-wise there is a difference.
    Glad it was interesting.

    The rest of the story is about bending. To bend to a specific pitch, you have to push the string a greater distance if you have a trapeze. That's because some of the stretching takes place behind the bridge and nut. That may be an advantage for everybody but Albert King (who bent several half steps routinely.) If you deflect the string a little by accident, you don't sound as out of tune.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    Very interesting, Do you tune down to Eb?

    I recall hearing that Jimi and SRV did that, I assume to help with aggressive string bending.
    Mostly D and C#.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  38. #37

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    Standard tuning is just a suggestion. A lot of singer/guitarists use capos to get their cowboy chords to work with their voices. I use .13 top E and .48 bottom E tuned down a half or full step depending on the guitar. I kinda feel that the guitar is partly responsible for determining the tuning.

  39. #38

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    D'Addario does a set of Chromes which are flats and are 10-48 gauge. They're generally brighter than most flats in my opinion but they're not a tense feeling string on a Gibson scale length. For Jazz playing I have a preference for Rotosound Monel Flats which only come in 12 gauge and are very easy to play although I prefer lighter strings (9-40 or 10-38) on most guitars.

    If the whole sonic spectrum is limited for you and you really need to have lighter strings then you could try an electronic solution by changing pots or caps on your guitar. For example change out a 0.022µF cap with a 0.033µF, 0.047µF or even 0.1µF (which would be very dark). Or, if the pots are 500k's switch to 300k, 250k or even 100k (the latter being very dark).

    Up to 1967 Telecasters shipped with a wiring scheme that included a preset dark neck pickup tone that used a 0.05µF cap. It wasn't particularly liked by anyone except for Leo himself but Jazz players are said to have used it:
    Factory Telecaster Wirings, Pt. 1

  40. #39

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    Great info. What are some more favorite 9s and 10s for jazz? I have trouble with 9s staying in tune.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildschwein View Post
    D'Addario does a set of Chromes which are flats and are 10-48 gauge. They're generally brighter than most flats in my opinion but they're not a tense feeling string on a Gibson scale length.1
    I've been using these on all of my guitars for the last few years. I prefer the softer sound of TI's but I used a custom set and they eventually became too hard to get after I left the US. I think the D'Addarios intonate better than the TI's especially for the bottom strings when I'm tuned down and I seem to be able to get where I want tonally with them.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  42. #41

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    I may be a fool, but I use Earvana nuts on my Fender style partscasters and Hosco nut shims on my Gibsons and my Guild. I like the intonation results that they provide.

  43. #42

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    Having switched to fingerstyle 95% of the time, I find lighter strings work better for my right hand. 10s on some guitars but 11s with wound G on most. I've never tried 10s on my archtop...
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  44. #43

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    Someone set up my Tele and with .11s it’s now absurdly slinky. I can’t imagine finding that set up ever being hard to play, but there’s time eh?

    I actually find guitars with rock gauge strings really hard to play. I have a bashy right hand I guess....

    I think set up plays a large role....

  45. #44

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    I played a Hondo strat copy with D'Addario .010s for a number of years, and it sounded fine. I even played on an album that got a good review in Downbeat.
    It's all a matter of touch. If you've got a light touch, you might sound better with a lighter gauge of strings.

  46. #45

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    10s on all my guitars for 35 years. When I got my tele, it had 9s on it, kept them on for a long time, even with big band. I use my thumb a lot.

  47. #46

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    For me it was about consistency going between electrics, archtops, acoustic and classical guitars. So I have 10s or 11s on strats and teles, 11s on Gibson scales, 12s flats on archtops, 12s on acoustics, extra hard tension on classical and flamencos. But I had 10s rounds on my Elferink and I have tried 11s on a Taylor 810 dreadnaught. Hated it at first but as you become used to it, you adjust your touch and it works fine. I would definitely use anything without thinking about it if there was a medical or comfort reason. Same thing with guitars, if your hands can only handle a small solid body with 007s, just go for it! It can still play all the music in the world..