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All you need to know about string gauge

For a long time, I used to think a thicker string gauge would lead to a heavier sound and better texture. Until recently, I watched an interview of Yngwie Malmsteen, which made me drastically change that perception. It is true that back in the days, when tech was not that advanced, guitar tone was predominantly shaped by string type and gauge, body type, pickup etc. Those still play a huge role in shaping the tone but a lot less than they used to. Now with the help of amp simulators and all the different FX pedals or plugins, it is possible to modify the tone in such details that string gauge plays a negligible role. Meaning the thickness of the string should depend on your playing style and hand dynamics and less on the perceived tone that the gauge can create. There is no need to go for heavier strings just to get a chunkier sound or more sustain. Both these can be attained with the help of FX pedals and plugins. If you are a player who is very expressive and rely a lot on various types of bends, your playing will be so much more fluid if you go with lighter gauge such as 9-42. 10-46 or higher would make sense for someone who mostly plays riffs and rhythm sections on the lower strings, The hybrid strings may seem very useful in this scenario, where one can get the best of both worlds, but my personal experience with hybrid is not that great. I feel it confuses the hand giving it the feel of two different sizes on bass and treble part. I personally recommend sticking to one size and decide more on playing style than considering the impact of that on the tone.

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