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  • Loose strings

    For no reason some days ago I decided to down tune my Bumblebee EVH from Eb to C but maintaining the 09-46 strings I have. Initially it felt weird and super loose of course so I bumped it to C#.

    I'm really digging the slopiness of the strings Took a small bit to get used to not overbend but now I go to the other one on E and it seems I'm playing on Bridge Cables. I will eventually order some 10's or maybe 11's and 08's for the E one. Just wondering if you guys also like more relaxed strings.

  • #2
    I don't like 'em too loose, because I'll pick hard or bend and throw it out of tune.

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    • #3
      I'm pretty well-known around here for my love of low string tension. It started when I got carpal tunnel syndrome back in 2000. Going to wimpy strings solved that problem, and it's never come back.

      I've gone away from that slightly in recent years, though, as I rarely play for enough hours consecutively to cause a problem. My normal setup used to be 9-42 in D Standard. Then I moved to 8-38 in E Standard, and now I'm typically in 9-42 in E Standard. For D Standard I typically use either 10-46 or Ernie Ball's 10-48 set. My LPC is currently in D Standard with 11-48 and the tailpiece set high to reduce tension. Sounds pretty killer.

      I can play 10s in regular tuning as long as I'm not trying to shred or do much string-bending. If I do, then my back and shoulder really feel it. I prefer 10s for recording rhythms, though I often don't bother upsizing the strings just for that.

      The main downside of really low string tension is chords being slightly out of tune. You have to practice hard to just put downward pressure on the strings when playing chords, so you don't slightly bend one or two strings.

      Doing (intentional) string bends with loose strings gets better with practice. You learn to use your ear better to stay on pitch, and you can do all kinds of pre-bends and subtle phrasing techniques with them because you're not having to fight the string to do the bend.

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      • #4
        Some people really like super loose strings, whether in standard or in low tunings. I don't fall into that subset of human beings on the planet Earth, but they exist. And I'll admit that it can be fun sometimes to way tune down your normal tuning to something much lower without changing the string gauge. But in my personal opinion, I would not do that if I wanted to continuously do it for a band.

        I don't use the intense tension I used in high school or in college (for example, 56 gauge in E), but I do still use what a lot of people would consider heavy gauge (59 gauge for B on my 7s and 80 gauge for F# on my 8).

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        • #5
          I like how 9-42's feel on my RG550 in Eb, although that isn't all that loose I guess. I once tried an Ibanez 9 string, and the 9th string was so floppy it felt like a playing on a rubber band.

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          • #6
            Lucky I'm a very light picker so I don't hit the strings hard. Also not being in any band but just having fun at home I can get away with some things

            I will try 10's though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Valtteri
              I like how 9-42's feel on my RG550 in Eb, although that isn't all that loose I guess. I once tried an Ibanez 9 string, and the 9th string was so floppy it felt like a playing on a rubber band.
              Since I changed to 9-42's (46's) in E or Eb, I'm never going to use 10's ever again. It's like I rediscovered playing guitar or something.

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              • #8
                Two guitars i own are drop c with 11-50 strings. One of them feels very loose and its a joy to play and has become my main player. The other has similar tension to standard tuning with 9-46, so fairly normal but i prefer the the looser feeling. Similar build specs/construction, break angles and hardware. Im not sure what makes this one feel so good. Way easier to bend but its not so much that i play out of tune when digging in. Wish i could get that feeling on all my guitars.

                For a while i though it was the cheap strings i was using (Orphee) but i've since put daddarios on it and it still feels looser.

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                • #9
                  Traditionally I've gone for heavier gauge high tension, recently I've been dropping gauges and really enjoying the different feel. Live though, I get super-adrenaline and hammer the fuck out of them, so I have to stay heavier gauge otherwise I push everything out of tune.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by playstopause

                    Since I changed to 9-42's (46's) in E or Eb, I'm never going to use 10's ever again. It's like I rediscovered playing guitar or something.
                    I started out with 9's, and used 10's for many years (having been talked into believing the thicker strings, better tone BS), but I've been back to 9's a while now.

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                    • #11
                      I tend to like loose strings then, I guess.

                      I try to create balance in the sets though, the 11 "b" and 42 "e" strings in a set of 9s are just a little too wimpy, so I make sets with 9-12-16-24-32-46.

                      The 46 in a set of 10s is too light in D standard, so I get a 49 to replace it.

                      I'm planning to tune my Xiphos to C standard, and have a set of 11s with a 56 added for the low string to do it.

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