Broken Guitar Strings String Gauge

So does string gauge really make a difference to your guitar sound?

Straight to the chase today – it’s about string gauge.  Does string gauge really make a difference to your guitar sound?  For the last maybe 20 or so years I’ve only used 10-46 strings across all my guitars from Stratocasters to Telecasters and Gibsons to Rickenbackers. They feel right to me (plus I buy them in bulk, so it kind of makes sense to use the same string gauge for everything).

When I first started out playing I used 9s and then as I came up, switched to 10s.  As a side note, I use 11-52 on my acoustic guitars.  As for brands, I started with Ernie Ball Slinkys and then flirted with a bunch of manufacturers (D’Addario, Dean Markley) and now am firmly in the Elixir camp.  They last forever and always sound good.  I know some folks have issues with the whole coated string thing, but I don’t.  I think they sound great.  Plus they sell them in a massive range of string gauges, from super light to super heavy and even some combinations…

So, this was the state of play when I had a spare half hour and decided to watch my fave guitar show, The Pedal Show.  Mick and Dan of The Pedal Show have put out heaps of great pedal and other gear related demos. The shows are thoughtful and professionally put together.  It’s easily the best guitar related content on YouTube, plus they seem like top fellas.

So start with this episode, and then delve into the archives for some brilliant demos of all sorts of stuff, from delays to fuzzes and amp wattages to vintage guitars.  They never talk down to you, whilst always making the content super accessible.  There is something in this channel for everyone who plays guitar.

So, check out the difference in guitar sounds at 41:08 and 41:25.  Same guitar, same pedal, same amp, same pickup. It is amazing to hear how different the tone is.  I guess it is subjective as to which sound you prefer, but there really is a huge difference – blew me (and Dan by the looks of things) away.

11 gauge strings –

8 gauge strings –

So maybe I’m off to buy some 11s for the Telecaster…

Whilst you are here, check out this note on how often you should change strings…

Cheers, Simon