string gauge

Rig Rundown: Buffalo Nichols

Although this singular stylist is based in country blues, his music reaches for the cosmos! Check out his dazzling array of pedals and rhythm boxes, and the classic instruments he uses to make trailblazing sounds live and on his new album, The Fatalist.

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Conventional wisdom says a heavier set of acoustic strings will make a guitar louder, but let’s not forget the other competing variables.

In the world of guitar, there are surprisingly few absolutes. We naturally want to understand what makes our beloved guitars work, and we often get lost in theories and formulas in an effort to draw irrefutable conclusions. In practice, theories can be clouded by exceptions and experience, and stir up confusion instead of adding clarity. One such debate explores whether a heavier set of strings will make a guitar louder. It seems logical that larger strings would draw more volume from a guitar, and this is certainly a commonly accepted notion. However, the reality is far less definite, thanks to the range of opposing factors involved in how a guitar produces volume.

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Rick Beato gets the string-gauge experiment started with a Les Paul Standard running through a Marshall JCM2000.

...There's a lot more to it than whether Billy Gibbons or SRV was "right."

Greetings, tone hounds! I'd like to discuss two terrific YouTube videos Rick Beato and Rhett Shull recently made regarding string gauges. In Rick's video, a group of players recorded themselves playing the same Les Paul and Marshall JCM2000 setup with the only variable being four different gauged sets: .011, .010, .009, and .008. Both videos reveal the differences in tone between different gauges, and I'd like to expand on this by adding a few observations I've discovered over the years.

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