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Re-setup for switch to lower gauge?

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  • Re-setup for switch to lower gauge?


    I own a Ibanez RG321. Factory setup gauge of strings on it are regular light gauge (.01 to .046). I use Daddario regular light gauge. I would like to switch to a lower guage, ernie ball super slinky (9 - 42).

    I am not expert on this stuff but would i mess up setup of my guitar if i go ahead with this switch. Any other possible problem i should be aware of?

    If it would then can i fix/re-setup guitar on my own, especially if i do not have much experience in this area. How complicated a job can it be and should i consider doing it on my own with guidance from more experienced and expert people on this forum.

    Any advice is really appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2

    Too many variables to be able to answer that question. It will depend on your playing style, which gauge of pick you use, how you have your tremolo arm set up, etc, Best thing to do is put the strings on and address any problems.as they occur, if any.

    There are lots of people on Youtube who can show you how to set up a guitar.


    • #3

      A change from 10's to 9's is not very significant, so nothing has to be done with the neck.

      If you don't change the action, the intonation will stay approximately the same for the three plain strings (since they are the same material under the same strain), but will likely need to be tweaked over the three wound ones. Intonation refers to moving the bridge saddles back or forth so that the strings are also in tune in the high positions of the neck when the low positions are tuned.

      You might want to play with the pickup height.

      Since the RG321 has a fixed bridge, that basically covers it. 

      If you were going the other way, to much heavier strings, it might be necessary to take some additional steps, like for instance tighten the truss rod a little bit to counter the increase in tension, so that the neck's relief (upward bow) does not increase. The larger strings won't fit into the nut, so the nut would have to be slotted to accept the strings.

      On a guitar with a floating tremolo bridge, when you change string gauge, you have to adjust the springs, otherwise the bridge will not be level. The details vary depending on the bridge system. On traditional bridge systems like on Fender Stratocasters, or the Floyd Rose bridge, you can add or remove springs, or change the angle of some of them by using different hooks on the anchor plate, or turn the anchor screws to add or release tension in the springs. 

      Getting a classic bridge level is a bit of a trial and error process: tune the guitar with the lighter gauge strings, then release tension from the temolo springs to let the bridge dive forward, then tune again and repeat until you find the solution.  Some trem systems simplify the process by letting the bridge be locked in the level position so you can tune it up, and then just adjust the tension so that the bridge stays in that position by itself.

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      • Rain85
        Rain85 commented
        Editing a comment

        kazinator and weasel, thanks a lot for your replies, they were very helpful!