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Thread: 009's or 010's - tone

  1. #1
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    009's or 010's - tone

    when i started playing guitar i used 009's, as did everyone else i knew at that time, late 60's early 70's.

    in the 80's it seemed like alot of guys were switching to 010's, so i gave them a try and didn't much care for them. it wasn't so much the feel, but i didn't like the tone... low strings just seemed too bottom heavy to my ears.

    when some companies started making 0095 to 044 sets i tried those and liked them alot, so that's what i've been using for the last 20+ years.

    i've recently tried elixir strings and love them. they don't a 0095 - 044 set so i tried both the 009's and 010's and i guess i still hear things the same way, so i'm going with 009's.

    anyone else have this similar experience with string guage?
    Last edited by kevin h; 08-10-2010 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #2
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    Similar, but opposite

    I started out in the mid 70's with 9's also. Used them for quite a few years. I switched to 10's and never looked back. To me the 9's sound kind of weak (unwound strings mostly). I've played a few PRS guitars that feel better with 9's, but still prefer the tone of 10's.
    TAG C+2 & HDT , Godin A12, Homemade Koa/maple top hollow body electric, Gibson Chet Atkins CE, Ovation Breadwinner, Ovation MM68 mandolin, Alvarez/Yairi DY87 dbl neck

  3. #3
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    I never really paid attention too much to tone due to gauge. I switched from 9s to 10s because I was breaking strings all the time (pre Andy) and I just never looked back.

  4. #4
    tom is offline Supreme Commander of the Anderson Empire
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    i have gone back and forth with .010's and a hybrid .011 set for the last year or so. but i play all the guitars so i get to play .009 vs. .010 regularly. i prefer the more solid lows of the .010's, but the .009's have a slippery smoothness to single note lines that is fun too. i think it all depends how you play. i used to be a ".009 players are whimps" guy, but i see a place for both depending what speaks to you. it's all subjective, and i've heard way too many guys get great tones from .009's.
    i did ask elixir in the early days if they'd do .0095's, but at the time they didn't want to go there. it's a matter of stores only allowing so many sku's for their string shelves and sadly that one just didn't generate enough volume for them to make it worth doing.

  5. #5
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    For me increasing RSI issues mean I HAVE to use .009s on 25 1/2" scale guitars; otherwise I get serious pain issues. It didn't used to be this way but it has been getting worse over the past decade. Depending on the guitar I might be able to use .010s on a 24 3/4" scale (or more properly 24.625" scale on a Les Paul or similar set-neck) but I still find myself using a hybrid set on those (.009-.046 where the plain strings are from a .009 set and the wound strings are from a .010 set).

  6. #6
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    I know I'm the odd duck in this forum. I used 008's for at least 25 years. I just switched to 009's for a few reasons. 1. Elixir does not make 008's. 2. Using shorter scale guitars like Atom and Cobra was too floppy with 008's. 3. I commonly tune down a half or whole step.

    I read an interview with Allan Holdsworth around 30 years ago where he stated that he preferred 009's but he used 008's because they sounded better. I know that's a minority opinion but it's all in how you play and the way your amp is set up.

    Update:
    Here's a link to that old holdsworth article if anyone's interested:
    http://ofeuillerat.free.fr/documents...icle%2082.html
    Last edited by pdicristina; 08-10-2010 at 01:49 PM.

  7. #7
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    I can't stand anything below 010s, for feel and tone.
    LOVE YOUR AUDIENCE GTRS: Tom Anderson Crowdster + 2, Hollow CT Atom, T Classic Wechter Acoustic
    Other Toys: FBT, Fishman, Line 6 (Helix Rack beta tester), Lava, Peterson, Planet Waves, etc...

    Electric & Acoustic AT THE SAME TIME Electric AND Acoustic With the Variax
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  8. #8
    tom is offline Supreme Commander of the Anderson Empire
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    years ago we did a guitar for billy g and it had to have .008 with even smaller strings on the bottom. it was crazy strange to play.

  9. #9
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    I can't imagine what a light touch he has to have to play those strings.
    LOVE YOUR AUDIENCE GTRS: Tom Anderson Crowdster + 2, Hollow CT Atom, T Classic Wechter Acoustic
    Other Toys: FBT, Fishman, Line 6 (Helix Rack beta tester), Lava, Peterson, Planet Waves, etc...

    Electric & Acoustic AT THE SAME TIME Electric AND Acoustic With the Variax
    My Music ~ Listen for free, buy for cheap. Electric and Acoustic at the Same Time with Helix

  10. #10
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    it is not strange if you tune it to E flat and play it with scalloped neck.
    I am using 8,11,15,24,34,48(or 50 sometimes) on my YJM strat , and it is amazing to play it !

    The trick is in the E,A and D string , they should have to be fat ,especialy E . .

    8,11,15,24,34,48-YJM strat ,SOB's ,Eflat
    9,11,16,26,36,46 JEM 7wvh, Elixir's
    10,13,17,26,36,46 TAG DT ,SOB's
    11,14,17,28,38,52 hand made short scale Strat ,Elixir's ,D

    That's what I am using ,there is no better or worse gauge , just a gauge which suits your guitar and your style the best .
    Need lots time to find it out .
    Last edited by Big Harry; 08-10-2010 at 03:07 PM.
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  11. #11
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    I hit 'em pretty hard. So, I really need 10's or better. Lighter gauge strings "give" too much.

    I can see, however, how fun it'd be to play 9's, esp. for leads. I too have heard some AMAZING tone come out of guys playing 9's, or 8's.
    Don

    "There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

    http://www.thestringnetwork.com/index.php

  12. #12
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    For me switching from 9's to 10's was not so much about tone but how much more my chords stayed in tune as well as the double stop stuff. I didn't have a "WOW" moment with the tone and it did take some time getting comfortable with them. Since the change I never looked back.
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  13. #13
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    well said John , same for me on my DT .
    But , different brands in 9's or 10's are not the same . Some are more stiff , another are more soft .
    Sometimes 10's are more pleasant and easier to play than some 9's in other brand , regarding bending and double stops .
    Last edited by Big Harry; 08-11-2010 at 03:25 AM.
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  14. #14
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    I use Ddad 10s and have for the last 15 years or so. When I met Luke a few years ago, I was astounded to learn he plays 9's with one of those thumbnail picks! It all in what your're used to I guess..

  15. #15
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    I have been thinking about going down to 9's from 10's on my TAG classic. I know Tom and crew set it up with Elixir 10's in mind and I have always played 10s because I was scolded that 9s are for wimps. Having said that, my hands start to ache and I can not easily hit a full bend up consistently like I used to with the guitar, the note ends up just flat. As such, I am becoming a wimp. Sorry Tom and crew I have tired to hold it together, but it ain't smoothly working anymore. So this weekend I am heading up to the music store and buying some 9s and restring and adjust the truss rod to handle the 9s. In addition, I have been considering dropping my acoustic gauge down from 13s to 12s. The hands are getting tired and I can hold the note to get a clear ring. IMHO, irrespective of whether you get tone, if you can get the note, great tone from a 10 set is worthless because you can't get the tone and note together.

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