Sometimes simple changes can lead to big results
by Craig Anderton
Want a bigger sound from your guitar? Consider using medium gauge strings (.011 top instead of .010). Sure, you won’t be able to fly around them as fast as lighter-gauge strings – at first. But over time, you’ll not only get used to them, you’ll find that your guitar has a bigger sound, less of a tendency to “fret out,” and might even stay in tune a little better. Just remember to adjust the intonation to take the changed string diameter into account.
In fact, why stop there? You can create a custom set designed for your playing style. You might want a thicker gauge for your lower strings so they really ring out, and lighter strings on the top for bending (remember, you can angle the pickup, adjust the pole pieces, or both to compensate for differences in volume). You can even do something like use only one string for the first and second strings of a 12-string (as opposed to doubling them) so you can get big chords, but also bend strings easily.
Craig Anderton is Executive Editor of Electronic Musician magazine. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.