String gauges and action height


Hey Steve,

I read somewhere that you have dropped down in terms of your normal string gauges. Can you give us some insight into what you’re running on the strat and Les Paul? Brand would be cool too! Also wondering where you like your action nowadays. Thank you as always!

Rick, Scenery Hill, PA

One Thought on String gauges and action height
    3 Jan 2022

    Strat: .012 .016 .017p .032 .042 .052w
    “Pyramid Pure Nickel Round Wound Standard Jazz Electric Guitar 12-52”, with the .024w replaced by a .017p.

    Les Paul: .010 .013 .015p .026w .032 .038w
    “Pyramid Pure Nickel ‘Jimi Hendrix Inspired’ Set 10-38, Full Set”

    The quotation marks enclose the description of those two sets from the website I order from: Strings By Mail.
    The Pyramid description or labeling is probably a little different, but if you follow the quoted terms, thats the one’s. . .

    The Les Paul recently has .016p for a G string, which feels a little better balanced with the D than the stock .015p.
    I tried dropping the D down to .024w to work better with the .015, and I think that might be even better, but it’s right on the cusp of unplayably light for me onstage.

    The action on both those guitars is at least a little higher than it needs to be if “needs to be” means being able to bend a string at least a minor third.
    So the action doesn’t impede any bending, and then there’s just a little squeeze up from there looking for anything interesting to happen.
    If something interesting does happen when I raise it, I’ll keep going, but only in the tiniest increments, literally just squeeze the thumbwheel or wrench.
    I get the work in the right light and look for reflections, the adjustments are impossibly small.
    If I move anything related to height adjustment enough to show up on a tuner, I figure I’m starting over.

    The trick with action height for me is it has very little to do with the fretting hand, it’s all about a dynamically playable balance of noise-like to musical timbres with the pick and fingers.
    There’s always a spot below which I’m just crushing everything so completely the guitar sounds one-dimensional, and a spot just the tiniest bit above where everything sounds open.
    Anyway, it’s a pain in the ass because it’s not about string height for the left hand, it’s about attack with the right hand.

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