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Thread: 11's and why

  1. #1

    11's and why

    I haven't read any threads on 11 gauge strings. Do you use them? Why?

    I have 11's on my 22 Semi-Hollow, LTD for extra tension and thicker tone. I use this guitar for jazz and blues in standard and open tunings. My DC3 also has 11's and is kept in standard tuning a 1/2 tone down, mostly for rock, blues, and country. Since it's kept a 1/2 step down, the tension of 11's feels better to my fingers.

    How about you? Which of your PRS is set-up with 11's and why?
    PRS 22 Semi-Hollow, LTD; Tele; Strat; LP; Rivera Venus 3 amp

  2. #2
    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    GTA, or PA, or vacation

    Re: 11's and why

    I have 11s on an HBII because it gives it a jazzy feel, which the guitar is well suited to.
    I also have 11s on my rosewood top guitar because I felt that big dense slab deserved meaty strings and I'm quite happy with the result.

    I keep 12s on my archtop because they feel right using that as an alternative to a classical. To be honest, I couldn't play them all of the time. They are a bit tiring to play for more than a set.

  3. #3

    Re: 11's and why

    I use 11s on all my PRSes, it just seems to feel, and most importantly, sound the best. It started when I began playing DGTs, but I've since used them on all my electrics. I'm a big fan of the PRS DGT official string set too, they give a big fat warm sound!

  4. #4
    DGT Club Vice President
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    Apr 2012
    South Riding, VA

    Re: 11's and why

    11s go on everything I play and have since '87. I can't get along with strings that have too much slink and slap. I still am in the camp of "bigger strings equal bigger tone" - may not be true, but it's what works for me in my head.



  5. #5
    Recovering Bass Player ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! 's Avatar
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    Aug 1985

    Re: 11's and why

    Great wood and a perfected design are critical but you can only harness so much energy from a string. In my head (true or not), small strings negate the value of a great wood. Or, to be more precise, they REQUIRE it. IMO, YMMV, etc.

    smaller string = less energy
    bigger sting = more energy

    Once that concept was locked in my linear brain, increasing string size became a priority. What followed were some experiments that taught me a lot about letting each guitar have its own voice.

    I enjoyed the way many of my guitars came to life with the increased string size. I like to feel the wood vibrate. I also like to bang on the guitar from time to time (acoustic style) without the high-pitched string buzz that is typical of .09's. But heavier strings seemed to dull the sound of some of my guitars. Switching to stainless .11's (I usually use nickel strings) was the trick for those. Some guitars, on the other hand, just sounded better with .10's - so I went back.

    You would think, as an example, that heavier strings (like .12's) on an Archtop 4 spruce top would be the best way to go. I found, however, that stainless .11's with a wound G added some clarity to that guitar that was otherwise missing.

    But, generally, .11's seem to work better for me. ALL of my McCarty's have nickel .11's. My SE One has .11's. My Grissom has .11's. My Swampy has .11's. And... my Siggy has .11's

    And then... there is the impact of string size on shorter scale guitars! Short scale (24.5") guitars get too loose for me with .10's. I play a lot of bass so I tend to grip chords out of tune - especially if the guitar has jumbo frets. Putting .11's on a 1980 West Street Limited (AKA Westy) was a requirement for me. Now that guitar is as close to perfect as it gets. On the flip side, I would almost never run .11's on a 25.5" scale guitar (like a 305). I had to qualify that because I AM running .11's on my SC-J. Writing this out makes me wonder if I would benefit from trying that guitar with some .10's (with wound G). Hmmmmm...
    One Life

  6. #6
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Arizona USA

    Re: 11's and why

    I use 11s on all my guitars, except the baritone (it gets 13s). It's what I started buying once I learned that there were different gauges in the 1st place. Stuck with it, and have been happy.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  7. #7

    Re: 11's and why

    I use 11s on my HB1. A PRS is as easy to play with 11s as most guitars are with 9s, but for me, it is purely a practical decision; I move from rhythm to lead to slide and the bigger strings just work. Even with 11s, I still rarely use the high E string for slide because of the need for heft. [Nobody makes a medium-bottom/heavy top set, like the standard 11s but with a 12 and 15 on B&E.] I tried 12s, but the low end was simply too huge.

  8. #8

    Re: 11's and why

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Duncan
    I can't get along with strings that have too much slink and slap.
    Which is what drew me to set up both of my PRS with 11s. To be completely honest, volume and tone weren't even a slight consideration, it's just that the 10s flopped all over the place (maybe cause I'm used to using 13s on my acoustics). The 11's offerred the increased tension I need to control the strings more accurately.
    PRS 22 Semi-Hollow, LTD; Tele; Strat; LP; Rivera Venus 3 amp

  9. #9
    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    May 2012

    Re: 11's and why

    For all the tremolos i have tried i like the way 10s feel.11s on a blocked trem with bigger frets feels great too.It all depends on the guitar.Actually for the PRS tremolo i found 9s felt the best but too slinky for me.I tried 11s on my custom 22 soapbar and i thought the trem felt too stiff.I had to use 5 tremolo springs.As for the bigger sound it is true but Billy Gibbons use 8s and his sound is nothing but thin

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