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Anyone using 11's on their acoustic guitars. how do you like them?

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  • Anyone using 11's on their acoustic guitars. how do you like them?

    I have 3 inexpensive (read: cheap, lol) Yamaha dreads I'm very fond of. I've always had 12's on them but lately am thinking of switching to 11's to make playing a bit easier, and also to put less stress on the necks. The thing is I really like the full sound of the 12's, and am wondering if the 11's will be a bit lacking.

     

    "A guitar saved my life"

  • #2

    Try it and see. 

    I actually use 10's on my dreadnoughts - I find that the lighter gauge improves the sound balance - reduces that "bassiness" that dreds often exhibit. At least to my old ears anyway.

    Howard

    Comment


    • DeepEnd
      DeepEnd commented
      Editing a comment

      I went from 11's to 12's a few years ago and didn't notice a difference. As they say, your mileage may differ.


  • #3

    Give it a go but based on my experience of playing for nearly 40 years (including a long stretch of playing electrics strung with .008s then switching to acoustics 20+ years ago) I think you're going to find that it will actually be a hindrance. Here are my observations:

    1: the lesser string diameter of ultra light strings in a nut with slots cut for regular light gauge will allow the strings to slip more easily, leaving accuracy of tuning in the hands of the tuning machines. If you have tuners with a lot of "play" then you will have to retune more frequently

    2: the lesser tension of the ultra light strings and the imprecise intonation of an acoustic guitar's compensated saddle will mean that you will have to adjust your technique to fret notes without inadvertantly pulling individual strings sharp.

    3: there will be a change in the string height that you will have to take into account and it may cause strings to buzz more easily. A tweak of the truss rod might aleviate that but ideally a taller saddle is in order. Intonation will also be affected because most acoustics' bridges are not adjustable; intonation is hand-set in the profile of the top of the saddle. Shimming the saddle is an alternative (to adjust the overall string height) but the shim has to have 100% contact with the underside of the saddle and the base of the saddle slot in the bridge in order for there to be full transmission of vibrations to the soundboard and bridge plate underneath.

    4: extended play with ultra light strings and any desire to "bend" notes will wear out the frets more quickly.

     

    Essentially, I think it's best to just take the guitar to a tech who knows enough to ask the right questions in order to set it up to your preferences. A change in string gauge may not even be in order and generally the cost of a setup shouldn't cost more than 2 or 3 sets of strings.

    Nigel Hawkins

    Comment


    • billybilly
      billybilly commented
      Editing a comment

      kwakatak wrote:   1: the lesser string diameter of ultra light strings in a nut with slots cut for regular light gauge will allow the strings to slip more easily, leaving accuracy of tuning in the hands of the tuning machines. If you have tuners with a lot of "play" then you will have to retune more frequently
      Someone of your experience should know that you "want" strings to move more freely in the nut slot. It's when they don't that you have tuning problems.

  • #4
    I always use .11's, except on my archtop. I use .10's on it.

    Elixir Nanos or EXP's.
    Youtube , ​Murika , France

    Comment


    • Freeman Keller
      Freeman Keller commented
      Editing a comment

      Two things will happen.   First, the tension will drop about 7% from about 163 to about 151.   That is distributed pretty evenly over the strings - you should be able to feel that, they will be easier to bend.   The other thing that will happen is your guitar will be slightly less loud - the decreased tension will not drive the top as hard.   If you stay with the same composition they should sound the same - ie there shouldn't be a change in brightness or mellowness, and in theory, they should retain the same balance from string to string.

      Neil points out some considerations - since most dreads were originally set up with mediums (0.013 - 0.056) you are actually changing two steps and there may be some setup issues.  One simple way to test is to tune your 12's down one semi tone (to D#) across all the strings - that is approximately the same tension.  Play it, see if you like the feel, see if the guitar sounds OK (obviously it is lower but listen for rattles, buzzes, etc).   Play all the way up the fretboard - buzzes might occur up the neck.   If you are satisfied then go for it, strings are cheap.


  • #5
    After all of my personal experimentation I've settled on 12-54 PB. Any heavier and I fight the guitar and worry about speeding up the deformation process. Any lighter and I can't drive the top the way I want. I'd use 11s on an acoustic electric, no problem.

    Comment


    • quackystrat
      quackystrat commented
      Editing a comment

      i always use 11s on my acoustic. and have absolutely no problem with it. on my electric guitars i use 9s.

       

       


    • Graeca
      Graeca commented
      Editing a comment

      koiwoi wrote:
      After all of my personal experimentation I've settled on 12-54 PB. Any heavier and I fight the guitar and worry about speeding up the deformation process. Any lighter and I can't drive the top the way I want. I'd use 11s on an acoustic electric, no problem.

      12-54 is my preference, as well, but most of the sets I use are 12-53, which is so close I can live with them...tuning the Low E down to C on a few songs is the only issue (a trifle floppy).


  • #6

    In addition to what others have said, the brand of the string also makes a difference. Now I am big fan of Elixirs.

    I went from 11 to 12 to 13 and noodling back with 12 these days. I think on dreadnaughts, 11 may not be sufficient thickness to create the right tone (balance) but your mileage may vary so give it a shot and let us know what works out!

    Comment


    • Professor Tom
      Professor Tom commented
      Editing a comment
      Interesting thread with a lot of good information.

  • #7

    Not really a Fan of 11's -

    One of the brands i use is Dadarrio EXP's - and the .011 on the high E makes that set a

    Custom Light - they just dont seem to drive the top enough -I loss sound quality and volume.

    I have been trying to use the 4 or 5 sets i have here by p[utting the strings on

    different guitars - but their not my cup of tea . One benefit is that they are easier to play .

    So my vote - thumbs down ......

    Comment


    • thewthrman
      thewthrman commented
      Editing a comment

      I don't play hard all the time, but there are certainly times that I dig in.  I find that 11s can't really handle it.  the low strings tend to pull a little out of tune on attack.  Not out of tune to adjust with the tuner.  at the initial attack, the string sounds a little sharp, then settles back down.  If I played delicately 100% of the time, I'd love to use lighter strings.  But when I do dig in and the guitar sounds out of tune, I can't live with that.

      I had a gallagher that had some issues and I couldn't use 12s or 13s with it anymore.  I put lighter strings on it to help limp it along.

      Granted, I am not likely normal or average.  I am just saying that if you're ham fisted like me, light strings have some issues you have to work around.


  • #8

    Disregard; the Elixir Nano Lights I thought were 11-53 are in fact 12-53.

    Yamaha BB404Fender Mexi Jazz, customizedYamaha TRB-1005Fender Highway-1 Strat, customizedEpiphone Les Paul, Worn BrownTakamine Jasmine acousticTaylor 114ce acoustic/electricPeavey 210TX+ext 2x2x10 comboFender Bassman 150 1x12h comboWhen shopping for an axe, you will probably find yourself negotiating with your checkbook. This is normal, but do refrain from talking to it out loud.

    Comment


    • #9
      Great question! I am just a guitar bangin string stretcher playing because I love it guitar player here. I have always loved to play old acustic's with 9's. I love the floppyness and the sound I get from playing these guitars. I only play for myself and can only talk for myself, but I would put 9's on a Martin or Gibson in a heartbeat, if I thought that was what was needed for the sound I am looking for.

      Comment


      • garthman
        garthman commented
        Editing a comment

        roofdog wrote:
        Great question! I am just a guitar bangin string stretcher playing because I love it guitar player here. I have always loved to play old acustic's with 9's. I love the floppyness and the sound I get from playing these guitars. I only play for myself and can only talk for myself, but I would put 9's on a Martin or Gibson in a heartbeat, if I thought that was what was needed for the sound I am looking for.

        Good for you. I've been saying for years that it's all a matter of personal preference. 


    • #10
      roofdog - there are no right answers. The main thing is that you're playing.

      Comment


      • #11

        try this.

        try this.

        011 

        015  

        022

        030

        034

        036

        Comment


        • isitnormal?
          isitnormal? commented
          Editing a comment
          I prefer 12s and 13s.

      • #12

        Hi ya'll. New to the site. I use 11's on my Larivee D-03 and they sound just fine.

        I own my Larivee, a Norman as well as a home grown f-style mandolin and a Fender Squier p-bass for when I want to rock out with my stereo.

         

        Do I dare mention that I discovered this site while googling Zager. No I don't want to rehash that lol! Anyway I'm glad I found this site and great forum.

         

        Comment


        • Freeman Keller
          Freeman Keller commented
          Editing a comment

          Welcome HMBlue.    Hope you found what you needed about the Zager, probably better stick with the Larry.



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