to strat owners , I keep mine in Eb ,is it worth changing to heavier strings ?

  • I keep my strat downtuned D# or Eb , I wonder if a set of 11-52 vs my usual 9-46 would help getting a better tone ?

    I don't fear any action problem , I just wondering how much my tone could beef up, with more spank for instance.

    Let me know your experiences

  • I personally feel that tone doesn't improve with heavier strings. Not beefier, not nothing. When you have too light strings, you can get some floppiness but once you're over that threshold you're set.

    I keep 9-46s on my SG in Eb so I would suspect that with a longer scale and all, you would be just fine! It's all a matter of preference though and a pack of strings are not too expensive so it might be worth a try for a week.

    Edit: I ran 8-42s on my strat in standard tuning for a couple of months and it still sounded glorious, even when doing rhythmic SRV stuff. I changed back to 9s before I like the feel better. I do not hear any difference.

  • I think It is a matter of feel in your fingers more than anything else. Plus the more or less strength you need for bends. I use 10s in both Strats and LPs, and obviously the latter are less demanding. I find 9s a bit too floppy for SRV style strumming with short scale guitars, but I have used 9s with an SG and bending is so comfortable that I can live with the floppiness. Still, I prefer 10s overall. Soundwise, heavier strings may demand a bit of a more aggressive attack, but it also depends on the kind of pick you use. You are already using a light top moderately heavy bottom set, I gather, since you use 9s and 46s . I would perhaps try 10 to 50 or something, and then decide.

  • Yeah, just what Frikeer and CJGOMEZ wrote.

    Heavier strings don’t make for a fuller sound, and in the end it’s all about the feel with a certain guitar.

    With a Strat you also always have to take the vibrato into account. The feel will drastically change with a different string gauge.

    Personally I tend to play heavier strings with the shorter Gibson scale guitars and lighter ones with the long scale Fender ones (Jaguar excluded ;) ).

  • I think 10's would be the best option. Even tuned down a half step 11's are more of a fight than 9's in standard. Heavy strings are a waste of time and effort on an electric IMO.

    I still use 12-54 on acoustic, because that does make a big difference to driving the top.

  • I use 10-52's in E in all my guitars including the strat.

    I cant go back to the floppiness. I pick fairly hard with 4mm V-Picks.

    And I like the steadier feel on the trem and I think it might even stay in tune better. It also has a tremsetter and it can do some pretty wild trem stuff without going out of tune.

  • Agree with what's been said, you won;t get much better tone but slightly heavier will help maintain the feel/fight.

    10's sound about right to me and I use 10-52's on all my guitars regardless of E or Eb.

    Note Stevie used 13's!! I tried some 12's once, blimey that hurt doing a full tone bend, plus you could feel the tension on the neck!

  • There are definitely benefits to higher string gauges but those might not matter much depending what you do. Stability is the big one. A lot of jazz cats are on .013s (myself included back in the days) - there is definitely a specific type of archtop tone that can't be obtained without big gauges imo but that's probably not what we're talking about here. If you have .009s on a strat in E, I'd go .010-52 in Eb.

  • On an acoustic I would say play as heavy as you can stand, (for me that's 11-52's), electric play whatever feels best.

    Half a step is never worth a string change imho, I personally think your playing style and string bending/vibrato technique should dictate your string gauge choice.

    Look up a string tension calculator on google if you're curious to see how different tunings and scale lengths will affect string tension compared to changing string gauges. Changing gauges usually always has a more drastic affect on string tension (and therefore feel)

  • would help getting a better tone ?

    Not a "better" tone, but a heavier gauge set of guitar strings is going to have a little bit more output than a lighter gauge set of guitar strings.

    Not if you go from 009 to 010, but if you put on a set of 012s you will here the difference.

    For some guitar pickup/amp combinations this might be good, for others not, just try it.

    For me the feel of the string tension is more important.

  • Ive just put 10's on my new Silver Sky where as I normally use 9's. I instantly regret not sticking wit the 9's.

    I should have listened to my 35 years of experience. When I was in loud bands I always used 9's and we would always drop the tuning down half a step.

    I guess a lot depends on how far one plays up the neck.

    God I miss being in a band!

    'You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead' - Stan Laurel

  • I suppose heavier strings are more influential on semihollow guitars, as they are clearly on acoustics. They push the top more. I think a Gretsch will sound better with 10s than with 9s; more volume , a more lively and responsive sound. But with your Strat you will feel rather than hear the difference. I agree that 11s will be too radical an increase for you.

  • Thx for all these answers , long short story , I've got to test by myself ;)

    However the Rick Beato vid shows that 8's are probably the best sounding to me , as I prefer clarity over punch :)

    And yes semi hollows sure need some thicker strings , a well as acoustics.

    That was a very nice insight from all of you

  • That vid was really thing that was mentioned but not really expanded on, was that the string tension will affect your approach/technique, and this probably has a bigger impact than the string mass itself.

    So going back to what was said, its more about how comfortable you feel which will have the biggest effect, hence there is no right answer, only what you prefer. I use 10's on all my guitars because I get comfortable with those....its like which pick gauge and material you prefer and then you tend to stick with it as you build your technique around it.

    Also note most of what they played was on the low strings, so whilst we reference 8's and 9's, what you were really hearing was the 42's vs 46's etc... :)

  • It seems I am the exception ;). I like the sound of heavier strings better, to me the sound is much fuller. Right after that vid of Beato came out, I tried 9-42's but the sound was way thinner to my ears, the difference was too noticeable for me so I went back to my 10-52's. I have them on most of my guitars (both 24.75" and 25.5" scale guitars), all standard tuning. Actually I played 11-52 for some time, still have them on a few of my guitars but they are too hard on my finger tips when playing lead during gigs. 10-52 is a good compromise for me.

    That Pedal Show also has a vid on string gauge, their conclusion was that heavier strings (they played 11-48's in Eb tuning) sounded better IIRC.

    As in most things, it's a matter of trying yourself to see what you like best :).