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I might go back to 9s on my guitars


Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky's .009 - .046 here. Was thinking about going to .010's, but my Mom gave me 20 sets of strings as a Christmas present a couple of years in a row. Looks like I will be staying with the 'Hybrid' set for a while...:D
Yea. The kids give me string packs for my birthday, Father’s Day, etc. so I feel a little bad not wanting to use them up by changing gauges like this.


Power User
Interesting. No issues breaking on bends? I bend a lot.
Once I became an 'adult' i really stopped breaking strings... I can't remember the last time I broke one, and every time I have it was doing stuff I know would break them... like- depressing the whammy bar- bending up 12 half steps and letting it go.

I used to mess with 7's live but i stopped because i couldn't FEEL them


Fractal Fanatic
9.5s here too. They are perfect for me. I practice on 10’s then they seem just a bit easier come play time but not too big of a difference like 10’s to 9’s


Fractal Fanatic
Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky's .009 - .046 here. Was thinking about going to .010's
I use Ernie Ball 0.010's. Nice and 'chimey' for U2 stuff. Took a while to get used to, but once the calluses toughened up, I find they're easy to play. I tried 0.011's, but they were like trying to play telephone pole guy-wires.


Power User
My last two, new guitars have come setup with extra light guage strings and I think I prefer them to the EXL110s I've been stringing my guitars with forever now.

Is that crazy?
If that's crazy, then I'm crazy too.

Have been pretty much playing 10's since 1980, there has been the few times were I went to 9's or 11;s but always came home to 10's.
BTW more of a Gibson guy, but do have some Ibanez's with the same scale length as Fender.
But then I got my first Fender (Strat) in 2013, it came with 9's and the first thing I did was throw some 10's on there, love the guitar but there were times I just felt I was missing something, though about trying 9's again from time to time, and then just dismissed it.

Then a few years later I got a Tele, like all Fenders (to my knowledge) came with 9's, so I left the store with the Tele and a few sets of 9's. Went home and put a set on the Strat did the setup. For whatever reason I just liked the guitar better, it wasn't that it sounded different or, easier to bend strings or, any like that. Weird as it sounds, "it just felt right". I never fought wit the 10's on the Strat, hell my acoustics's have 13's. ha ha

So for a brief time I tried 9's on my Les Paul's after a few weeks went back to 10's, wasn't hitting chords out of tune or anything like that but didn't like the overall feel.

The Ibanez guitars I switched them back to 9's also, kind of liked it a little better but although the same scale length as the Fenders, didn't affect me the same way. On those guitars 9, 10s whatever would have been fine. But those guitars had a difference from the Gibson's and fenders. Floating trems.


I like EB Slinky 10s. But I play mostly rhythm. I strung up another guitar with slinky 9s to learn some lead and it’s way easier to do anything in lead guitar realm. But 10s are what is on my main guitar for the cover band work I do.


Power User
@6L6C i like where you’re going. Maybe I just need to go 9 on my 25.5 guitars?
Yeah in the end that is what it has turned into for me, all my Gibson's have 10's and all my Fenders have 9's.
Like I said above the Ibanez's with the trem's, also 25.5 scale length, 9's 10's doesn't matter that much to me but had settled on 9's.
Basically thinking to myself "if the different gauges don't bother me that much on those guitars, might as well give the knife blades on the trem a break with a little less pressure.

As far as changing gauge, throw a set on, live with it for a few weeks weather you hate it or not. Then make an evaluation.


Depends on the scale, on shorter scales I do like 10's, but on strat's I find 9's still work well. On my black strat I always buy the Gilmour 10's and darn if I don't think I can do better "Gilmour bends" with lighter strings lol

Been really curious to try a Hendrix gauge set too, with the 38 on the low E... seems backwards from the decades of "heavier=better tone=what better players use" mantra I had in my head, but... Hendrix, Gibbons etc sure sound better than me, and they used lighter gauges, so might be something to it.


string gauge always seemed kind of what I call the "chocolate martini" effect...

If we could pick what we really liked, what we thought was easiest and most enjoyable to play, what would we pick, VS., what do we use just to fit in with the crowd...

At a popular happy hour I used to go to after work, they had specials on beer, and they had cheap chocolate martini's. I'd typically order a beer, like all the other guys from the office, but honestly I would of enjoyed a chocolate martini better lol. Just didn't want to be the only guy sitting there without a beer as dumb as that sounds... We've all been there I'm sure though right ?


Power User
Been really curious to try a Hendrix gauge set too, with the 38 on the low E... seems backwards from the decades of "heavier=better tone=what better players use" mantra I had in my head, but... Hendrix, Gibbons etc sure sound better than me, and they used lighter gauges, so might be something to it.
Yeah me too, and I think I talk myself out of it since I can imagine that 38 flapping away like a rubber band (at least with my hands) not to mention he was also a half step down. o_O


Yeah me too, and I think I talk myself out of it since I can imagine that 38 flapping away like a rubber band (at least with my hands) not to mention he was also a half step down. o_O
The reversed string length might of made a little difference, but then again, maybe that flappy low E was part of his sound.... I'm sure his tremolo arm wasn't coming back to pitch very well either the way he used it lol, but darn if it didn't always sounds great; controlled chaos.

Maybe sounding a little thinner one the low end helps too.... I know my JTM and Fuzzface tones can sometimes get a bit muddy and maybe a lighter gauge on the bottom balances that out... Maybe it will make zero difference, but be fun to try it out, and now that a few brands are offering custom gauge packs won't cost but a few bucks to put it to the test


Been using Boomer 9-42 for over 30 years, perfect size and longest tone for strat scale guitars.

I've used 10s on Gibsons, but wrap them over the tailpiece to feel like 9s.

Mitch Lavin

One of my students brought me a pack of Stringjoy 9.5-48s. I haven't looked back since. For me it's the happy medium of easy bending and low end punch. I would seriously give hybrid gauges a run.


Fractal Fanatic
Played with 9s for years with main guitars being a Les Paul and a Floyd equipped Charvel pointy jobby. Preferred the Stainless Steel Ernie Balls on the LP.

Then early to mid-nineties I splashed out and visited the Patrick Eggle factory in Coventry (England) to see what was hanging in their showroom. Their Berlin range was being touted all over the place at the time in the music mags and was to all purposes a British PRS. I fell for a nice Berlin but was finding the 10s it was equipped with a bit of a struggle.

The sales guy disappeared into the back rooms and came back with the actual luthier who built the guitar and offered to get him to change the strings to 9s - but the luthier said that while he would gladly do it he reckoned it would wreck the tone too much as it was a bright sounding guitar due to the woods and bridge hardware used. He urged me to just keep playing it a bit more because it was a 25" scale and shouldn't really feel much tighter than the Charvel with 9s and 25.5" scale albeit that the floyd was obviously moving when finger bending strings.

So after a few cups of coffee and plonking around on the guitar and a bit of craic with the backroom luthiers I took it.

Curiousity made me try a set of 9s on it when I got it home - but the guy was right - 10s suited it much better.

After a month of gigging the Berlin I grew to dislike the feel of 9s on my Charvel so I just retired it (it was pointy and bright red so a bit 'out of fashion' by then anyway).

Now all these years later I've expanded the stable and have added amongst others a couple of EBMM Lukes, a Strat and a couple more Floyd Rose equipped axes. The only non 10s guitars are the Floyd Rose ones which just seem to stay in tune better with 9s and I went for 9.5s on one of the Lukes (Luke 3 one with 2 HBs) - they don't feel any different to 9s if you ask me.

I much prefer the feel of 10s under my fingertips to be honest. Going down to 9s equipped Floyd Rose guitar is a bit of fun too - but I find my fingertip calluses catch the lighter strings a bit

Bit of gossip I heard recently from a guitarist mate who is quite well in with the Moore family due to his tribute gigs and efforts to get some sort of permanent recognition memorial to the legend in his home town of Belfast ... apparently Gary Moore had given up the heavy gauges and was using 9s prior to his demise.


Fractal Fanatic
I find that 10's and 11's behave better in my guitars with floating trems. Hybrid string sets with 9's get wild sooner and tuning stability becomes an issue. My own opinion and experience. I just found that strings lasted longer, guitars stayed in tune better and trems are more stable with heavier gauge sets. I got off the "9's are easier to play" train when I figured this out. I also (may totally be placebo) noticed that with the heavier strings, by bending technique became more, I dunno, mature i guess. It's difficult to describe. When I stopped playing 9's and went to heavier gauge (and NYXL's by the way, which may be a part of the deal) things just got better.


I've got a 110 set of NYXLs sitting on the desk here and I'm trying to decide what to put them on or if I want to try them at all. So many variables...
Give em a go. I was just gifted a couple of sets of the same. Those I know who use them love them. Just need to decide which guitar to try them in.
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