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Thread: Your experience with .010, .013. Breakage.

  1. #1
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    Your experience with .010, .013. Breakage.

    Hey Guys!

    I used: 011, .014, .018p, .028, .038, .049. Because of being able to stretch strings better without breakage, and lower risk of breakage playing live.

    I'm looking to change to: .010, .013, .017, .028, .038, .049. For easier bends on the top 3 strings!

    Do you think the B and High E strings are more likely to break in general? Or it really depends on the brand?
    I say that because i am still trying different strings, but i love Daddario and Elixir's long lasting, even though Elixir's break more easily and have to much tension.

    One of the solutions is to use Reinforced Strings but i don't want to be stuck with 1 brand or gauge only because of breakage workaround.

    So i am asking those of you who have been playing for years and live; what's your experience?


    PS: Do you find that having a low E, ".048", allows for more accurate pitch when pressing? I think when the string is too tick if you press too much, you go a bit sharp. Or itís my impression?

  2. #2
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    Been playing for years, not necessarily live... So, FWIW, IMO string breakage is almost entirely dependent on setup of instrument and body chemistry interaction with brand. I broke D'Addarios all the time, and since switching to GHS nearly never break strings. That said, I also don't allow them to live on my guitar very long - 1 month absolute max.

    Any breakage should be looked at as a whole. Do the same strings break in the same place all the time? Then I venture the problem lies with those areas on the guitar more than the strings. And I find in most cases that either the same string breaks in the same spot constantly, or the player says, "I <KNEW> I should have changed them earlier!", as an admission that they were already too far gone.

    As far as pitch problems when fretting, I maintain that a proper setup will fix it almost every time - nut, bridge, truss rod, intonation, all of it. And any time you change string gauge, have a new nut cut and setup done. One of the joys of Fender - have multiple nuts cut, they pop right out. And yes, there ARE nuances you will have to make in your playing technique. I have learned how to switch seamlessly between guitar and bass. <MY> Tele guitar & Mustang bass. I use a wound .018 with a 10-46 set. Guitars with 9s & a plain G feel like a toy to me. Forget Les Pauls...

    Just my experience...

    Justin
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    " I often feel the need to qualify my lack of tech AND experience equally and avoid any notional considerations so I don't come off like some ignorant half baked amp guru type asshole." - Chuck H -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Been playing for years, not necessarily live... So, FWIW, IMO string breakage is almost entirely dependent on setup of instrument and body chemistry interaction with brand. I broke D'Addarios all the time, and since switching to GHS nearly never break strings. That said, I also don't allow them to live on my guitar very long - 1 month absolute max.

    Any breakage should be looked at as a whole. Do the same strings break in the same place all the time? Then I venture the problem lies with those areas on the guitar more than the strings. And I find in most cases that either the same string breaks in the same spot constantly, or the player says, "I <KNEW> I should have changed them earlier!", as an admission that they were already too far gone.

    As far as pitch problems when fretting, I maintain that a proper setup will fix it almost every time - nut, bridge, truss rod, intonation, all of it. And any time you change string gauge, have a new nut cut and setup done. One of the joys of Fender - have multiple nuts cut, they pop right out. And yes, there ARE nuances you will have to make in your playing technique. I have learned how to switch seamlessly between guitar and bass. <MY> Tele guitar & Mustang bass. I use a wound .018 with a 10-46 set. Guitars with 9s & a plain G feel like a toy to me. Forget Les Pauls...

    Just my experience...

    Justin
    Thanks!

    For live shows i always change strings 1 day before or the same day if i have time
    With 10 46 i broke strings many times streching them when installing a new set. Sometimes the high E when playing; mostly in the same spot, so i agree it's hardware related
    With 11 49 happens much less.
    Daddario NYXL solves this issue but again i like to experiment with different strings. Different feel and sound texture.

    I can't forget Les Pauls; in fact i am looking to have a custom made based on a Les Paul standard.
    What don't you like about'em?

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    Re: Les Pauls, when you play a Tele for 20 years, Pauls are floppy, like a toy. Now, a 335 with 11s? Different story! But - Fender vs. Gibson? Fender hardware & parts changing is MUCH easier. No need to glue a nut in, so just have four or five cut, swap nut with string gauges! I often consider putting 11s or 12s on my Tele. I also find plain Gs harsh and too loud - only thing I really lose is Gilmour-style bending on that string. A wound G also contributes to a tighter/stiffer feel than usual, which I like. I also never "stretch" my strings outside the act of tuning, and I'm VERY meticulous in my winding on the pegs. But others who play my guitar constantly say, "wow, it never goes out of tune!" Well, they just don't play as hard as I do. I can make it go out, but I really have to try at it, and it's always only one string that will go flat and is easily fixed. Most of my friends' guitars go out of tune all the time and on multiple strings. Again, care taken with hardware & setup will fix that, but that also requires patience...

    Justin
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    " I often feel the need to qualify my lack of tech AND experience equally and avoid any notional considerations so I don't come off like some ignorant half baked amp guru type asshole." - Chuck H -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Re: Les Pauls, when you play a Tele for 20 years, Pauls are floppy, like a toy. Now, a 335 with 11s? Different story! But - Fender vs. Gibson? Fender hardware & parts changing is MUCH easier. No need to glue a nut in, so just have four or five cut, swap nut with string gauges! I often consider putting 11s or 12s on my Tele. I also find plain Gs harsh and too loud - only thing I really lose is Gilmour-style bending on that string. A wound G also contributes to a tighter/stiffer feel than usual, which I like. I also never "stretch" my strings outside the act of tuning, and I'm VERY meticulous in my winding on the pegs. But others who play my guitar constantly say, "wow, it never goes out of tune!" Well, they just don't play as hard as I do. I can make it go out, but I really have to try at it, and it's always only one string that will go flat and is easily fixed. Most of my friends' guitars go out of tune all the time and on multiple strings. Again, care taken with hardware & setup will fix that, but that also requires patience...

    Justin
    Yes, healthy hardware is crucial but you really need to strech strings well for the guitar not to go out of tune

  6. #6
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    Not so much when you wind them slowly by hand and cleanly... The stretching comes with the mounting in my case.
    I might whack on them for five minutes or so at the beginning. But I find that stretching them in the "normal" way sometimes kills them faster. I only do it if I break one on a gig. Also, if they're more than a few days old, I change the whole set for the sake of one...

    Justin
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    " I often feel the need to qualify my lack of tech AND experience equally and avoid any notional considerations so I don't come off like some ignorant half baked amp guru type asshole." - Chuck H -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    I'll experiment.
    Thanks for the tips so far!

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    I play a LP, a Strat, and a Resonator Electric live a couple of times a week live... usually 3 or 4 sets a night. Most of my life I used an 11 set, but I'm getting old and use a 9 or 10 set nowadays. My favorite strings for electrics is still plain old Ernie Ball Slinkys or Super Slinkys. But, they do go stale and I change strings about every 3 gigs. Otherwise I will break strings. How you mount, lock, and stretch in your strings is very important. IMHO... the new "coated" strings flat out suck. Bare in mind that every guitar is different. A friend of mind brought a Taylor acoustic over to my place the other day. It was strung with a 13 set and played very easily. Not because it was a Taylor, but because that particular guitar had the right mojo or whatever it is that makes a great playing guitar. 13s would normally cripple me.
    Justin Thomas likes this.

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    For many years I've been using "regular" 010, .013, .017, .026, .036, .046 with a .011 replacing the .010. Not because of string breakage though. I just like the way it sounds better. I like D'Addario, Ernie Ball and DMS strings all just fine. I think you have to play on whatever feels and sounds right to you. Be sure there are no acute edges or overly obtuse angles at your string ends and then accept that strings break sometimes. I always keep a spare set of strings in the case at gigs and a couple of extra plain 11's because those are the ones I break most. I would never upsize the .017 because IMHO that string is too loud. And I use a modern stagger on my pickups. Then there are guys using the plain G with vintage staggered pickups intended for use with a wound G and they LIKE the extra punch and use it as an effect of sorts. So YMMV. Always play what sounds and feels "right" to you and carry spares. I don't think the difference between how often a 10 breaks compared to an 11 is significant. After all, the 10 is at a lower tension, right? So the 11 actually has to be stretched tighter on bends and is, it would seem, MORE stressed. So there's that. Don't drink the KoolAid.
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    After using 9s, usually EBs often with a 15 'G' for 20 years, I've moved bit by bit up to a regular 11 gauge set (Gibson branded pure nickel vintage reissue) as I perceived (over time) several benefits-
    1/ light gauge strings are more stretchy, and so (all else being equal) to bend up eg a full tone, they need to be physically moved further across the neck than a heavier gauge.
    That has several disadvantages -
    a/ end up pushing 1 or 2 adjacent strings also in order to move it far enough to get the required pitch
    b/ due to fingerboard radius, especially with my preference for vintage type 12" radius or lower, it requires a higher action (than would be required with a heavier gauge) to avoid the note choking out as it's pushed the necessary distance across the neck

    2/ I noticed that the intonation of heavier top E and B strings is more stable over time and the notes produced seem to be more clear and substantial (much reduced wolf tones).
    When broken E /B strings were slack / removed, I found that light gauge ones quickly seemed to become misshapen, with an obvious bend having being impressed on the strings between the frets, especially in the areas where string bending tended to be done. My hunch is that messes up the intonation and the tonal quality.

    3/ string breakage is much reduced, and almost invariably only occurs on the Strat's D, likely due to trem use.

    The only downside of heavier gauge strings is that extreme bends, eg 2 full tones as in the Whole Lotta Love lead break, aren't feasible.

    I initially started to move up the top E gauge to help with slide use, especially after tuning down half a step help with vocals.

  11. #11
    rjb
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    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    A friend of mind brought a Taylor acoustic over to my place the other day. It was strung with a 13 set and played very easily. Not because it was a Taylor, but because that particular guitar had the right mojo or whatever it is that makes a great playing guitar. 13s would normally cripple me.
    Yea, but, but, but- acoustic guitars are a different animal.
    With acoustic guitars, 12s are LIGHT gauge. For dreadnaughts and jumbos, 13s are "normal".
    Regarding string breakage- before switching to Martin SPs, I popped wound G strings with great regularity.
    https://www.martinguitar.com/strings/sp-acoustic

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    Yea, but, but, but- acoustic guitars are a different animal.
    With acoustic guitars, 12s are LIGHT gauge. For dreadnaughts and jumbos, 13s are "normal".
    Regarding string breakage- before switching to Martin SPs, I popped wound G strings with great regularity.
    https://www.martinguitar.com/strings/sp-acoustic
    Not sure what the deal was. I've played a lot of Taylors including the #1 and the #6 ever made. He's from San Diego. There were also several other Dreadnaught style acoustics in the house and a Martin D18. It just got my attention because it was the easiest guitar to play with that heavy of strings I have ever had in my hands. A 2010 model I think.

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    g1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Pauls are floppy, like a toy.
    Toys have to have their neck screws tightened when you use the neck like a bigsby.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    In my ideal world, I'm not too loud - your room is too small!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    t. I would never upsize the .017 because IMHO that string is too loud. And I use a modern stagger on my pickups. Then there are guys using the plain G with vintage staggered pickups intended for use with a wound G and they LIKE the extra punch and use it as an effect of sorts. So YMMV..
    Not a correction, but to empasize a point for anyone following along who may miss the details:
    I upsize the G string. But I use a WOUND string to do it.
    Along with the fact of vintage vs. modern pickup magnet positions, etc., the main reason I have read for the PLAIN G being so loud is that the plain wire is not under enough tension for the wire gauge, relative to the other string sizes under standard tuning pitch. A wound string is under more tension than an unwound of the same gauge, because the CORE is a lighter gauge, and the core is what carries most of the tension. If you replace the wound G on an acoustic with a plain G, it will become louder and brasher also.

    I use a Burnished Nickel Rocker set, but my WOUND .018 is a Guitar Boomer, steelwound. It hits a perfect balance for me, because the Booker is louder relative to the Nickels.

    Just for clarity...

    Justin
    Chuck H likes this.
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    " I often feel the need to qualify my lack of tech AND experience equally and avoid any notional considerations so I don't come off like some ignorant half baked amp guru type asshole." - Chuck H -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    For many years I've been using "regular" 010, .013, .017, .026, .036, .046 with a .011 replacing the .010. Not because of string breakage though. I just like the way it sounds better. I like D'Addario, Ernie Ball and DMS strings all just fine. I think you have to play on whatever feels and sounds right to you. Be sure there are no acute edges or overly obtuse angles at your string ends and then accept that strings break sometimes. I always keep a spare set of strings in the case at gigs and a couple of extra plain 11's because those are the ones I break most. I would never upsize the .017 because IMHO that string is too loud. And I use a modern stagger on my pickups. Then there are guys using the plain G with vintage staggered pickups intended for use with a wound G and they LIKE the extra punch and use it as an effect of sorts. So YMMV. Always play what sounds and feels "right" to you and carry spares. I don't think the difference between how often a 10 breaks compared to an 11 is significant. After all, the 10 is at a lower tension, right? So the 11 actually has to be stretched tighter on bends and is, it would seem, MORE stressed. So there's that. Don't drink the KoolAid.

    11 49 gauge is fuller and louder but tuned to E the guitar gets quite stiff!

    I have no problems with a .018 for a 49 set. It's just balanced; but as you said it's a matter of preference...

    Personally i think 010, .013, .017, .028, .038, .048/0.49 will work great. Diminished tension, easier bends on the top 3 strings and overall less fatigue and painfull finger tips.

    You're right on the 11 having more tension but for some reason at least in my experience it breaks less. In fact i broke no 11 49 string at all with all the gigs i played.

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