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"Crash" sound/distortion on attack


I find the difference between heavy and light strings to be a tonal trade-off, but I actually believe the lighter gauges have a slight edge. While heavier strings sound naturally thick, they often lack sustain and finesse. The lighter gauges provide smoother/more accurate bending, and the high harmonics are more extended and effortless. The only problem I have with light gauge strings is the way a heavy pick causes them to deflect more, making articulation a bit more demanding...

All of this assumes the player has made all the necessary playing-touch and tonal adjustments to maximize the effect of the particular string gauge they have settled on...

Having said this, I believe a great player can make *any* gauge of string sound heavenly, and I have seen numerous demonstrations at either extreme, light or heavy... Pick your Poison! ;)
I tried 8's for a while years ago..
I loved soloing with them but found riffing difficult.. especially if you hit a string a little too hard and they sharpen for a moment before returning to pitch..
then I switched back to 9's.. that was until I discovered Ernie Ball Hybrid 9's with the thicker wrapped strings..
seemed like the best of both to me..
now that I tune to D-standard, I took the same approach and created my own custom set..
Ernie Ball Power Slinky, but I swap out the 5th and 6th strings with a 40 and a 50
when these are tuned to D-standard they feel like Hybrid 9-and-a-smidge tuned concert..

Sean Ashe

I find that 10s sound better (Subjective word, but to me fuller and more harmonically rich = better) and yes with higher action you don't get much buzz, i set all my guitars at a fairly medium action and just make sure my frets are crowned and dressed properly. no buzz, and great sound :)


Ultra-low action is very overrated.
Tangenitally...what IS "ultra-low action"?

I know how I set up my guitars, in terms of neck relief and string height at (insert fret here, I use 12th), so I have numbers. But there's no "rule" that says "lower than X is low, higher than Y is high, and lower than Z is ultra-low".

The lowest I've seen factory setup guides recommend is about 4/64" at the 12th fret (about 1.5mm for our non-USians). Erlewine's setup books have a section where he measures the action on some pros' guitars, and IIRC Jeff Beck had the lowest - again IIRC 4/64" on the low side and maybe 3/64" or 3.5/64" on the treble. I think any lower than that and you'd have to play with a really light touch to avoid buzz.


"All the Pro's use heavy strings and high action" - sorry mate, but that's codswallop and a bloody reckless statement, especially coming from the head of this Forum. Just because the Axe is a great tool does not mean that we are delegated to letting stuff like that get by us un-challenged, walking on tippy toe.

There is only ONE rule when it comes to "Pro's" and tone, as you and Radley have mentioned, and maybe others are reluctant to mention, which is to use whatever suits you, just as the "Pro's" do. 8's or 13's, it makes little difference to the sound, but a BIG difference to how you and I feel about what we do.

And if we are not having fun, why bother?

BTW, AdmiralB, I love that you did the PAF experiment! More power to you.

tas meao fuera'l tiesto, chulo.


8s have always sounded thin to me. I've heard them side by side on two of the same guitars (strat) in a music shop I used to work at back in the 80s.


Power User
I'm not at a place now where I can try things, will be in a few hours

But now you're heading towards "why would you want to do that" territory. Does it matter?

Something in the power amp can't handle large amounts of treble. I want to know how to fix it.
Because there are limitations to all things, including digital modelling. If your pushing the treble into the extremes because your cab IR is too dark your are going to get undesired results.
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