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

  • The SRV attack just won't work with slinky strings. But 12s and 13s ...

    As a point of contrast, does anyone know what gauge Brian May uses?


    It's well known that he plays with a coin, but I saw an interview recently where he talked about having such an extremely light touch with picking that at the end of a Queen show the stage was always littered with coins he'd dropped.


    I wonder if he uses heavier gauge because of the weight and inflexibility of the coin, or if he uses light or moderate strings because with a light enough touch it wouldn't matter.

  • Thx for all your inputs , I didn't expect so many answers , I'll give a try to 12 on my E flat strat and let you know

    Defo try 11's or even 10's first. I tried 12's and the neck was so tense, felt like it would snap, and bends were really hard.


    I went back to 10's and found that when I went to bend a semitone, I'd be close to 2 tones as I was used to more fight.


    The point here is there is no right answer, its a balance of fight, ease of playing and sound. As in most cases, so much of the sound is from your fingers that its less about the string sound but more about how you react to the tension. If you play hard, lean towards bigger gauge. If you hyave a delicate touch then you may find a lighter gauge more expressive...

  • If you play hard, lean towards bigger gauge. If you hyave a delicate touch then you may find a lighter gauge more expressive...

    Yeah a compromise will be great , heavy bottom and lighter string where I do lots of bends , I'll go for 11's first

  • I believe I read somewhere that Brian May uses strings that are gold plated. If you search for pictures of his Red Special , you can sometimes find ones where you can see the gold dust on the black scratch plate.
    Either that or they are some kind of phosphorous bronze...

    Anyway, I though I’d add a little ‘gold dust’ to the discussion.

    Pre-Amp

  • I believe I read somewhere that Brian May uses strings that are gold plated. If you search for pictures of his Red Special , you can sometimes find ones where you can see the gold dust on the black scratch plate.
    Either that or they are some kind of phosphorous bronze...

    Anyway, I though I’d add a little ‘gold dust’ to the discussion.

    Pre-Amp

    Probably Optima/Maxima Gold. I used those for years. Great strings. Really helped them last in the tropics where I used to live.


    9- 42...

    https://m.juststrings.com/opt-eg2028-brian-may.html

  • Used gold-plated strings on bass once back in the '80s. Never have I experienced such a quick loss of "gloss". They sounded superb for slap and pop, but that lasted all of 15 minutes!


    Figured the coating was simply too-soft for practical use. For a one-off recording, if I could have afforded it, I'd have used them again for sure.

  • Used gold-plated strings on bass once back in the '80s. Never have I experienced such a quick loss of "gloss". They sounded superb for slap and pop, but that lasted all of 15 minutes!


    Figured the coating was simply too-soft for practical use. For a one-off recording, if I could have afforded it, I'd have used them again for sure.

    Yeah I think it was the same with the Maxima Golds...nice and bright but went dull very quickly....looked ace though!

  • There are a lot of variables including the pick you are using and your picking style but mainly about the tone you are after, how the strings feel to you and what kind of music you are playing.

    I was a huge SRV fan and used .012s and .013s for a while on my strat tuned to Eb, but nowadays use .010s on most of my guitars as I do a lot of bending and tune them to E. I was shocked when I learned that many of my favorite guitarists like Bully Gibbons, Brian May and B.B. King used really light gauge strings, as I think these players get great tones and I thought you needed fat strings for that.


    I use .012 flatwounds on my jazz boxes and instrumental surf guitars as they just sound right for that kind of music. I have a couple of baritone guitars that I use for Spaghetti Western style instrumentals, and they sound better with fatter strings as they are designed to be tuned to B. I have one tuned to C for one particular song, and I wanted to use flatwounds on that, and the biggest gauge I could find was .013s. The strings felt like rubber bands which shocked me because the longer scale length increases string tension and was tuned a step up form normal. I was probably just used to the .014s to .068s that came on the guitars. Anyway, I ended up ordering a flatwound bass string and combined a set of flatwound .013s with the unwound B and E from the bari sets to make .014 to .070s (I couldn't find an .068 single bass string). It feels much better.


    My point is, don't be afraid of experimenting with different gauges.