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String gauges for JTV 59


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Just curious what people have found over the years. I am getting a JTV 59 if it ever comes in. Pretty sure it will come with 10s. What is the collective experiences here on other gauges from 8s to 12s? mostly I am thinking of 9s up to 11s but wondered what they are capable of using and if anything is needed to go up or down gaue-wise.

thx

rick

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Wen you say 9s are too light, does that mean that they glitch out in some way? I have 9s on my LPs as a rule now and they pay and feel great. The variax tech is completely new to me so I am not sure what to expect.

Thanks for the reply!

rick

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16 hours ago, rwinking said:

Wen you say 9s are too light, does that mean that they glitch out in some way? I have 9s on my LPs as a rule now and they pay and feel great. The variax tech is completely new to me so I am not sure what to expect.

 

 

Official recommendations notwithstanding, I seriously doubt you'll have issues with 9's. While 10's are usually touted as the most commonly used  gauge, 9's are a very close second. So it's a virtual certainty that there are plenty of Variaxers out there using them... and if it were really causing widespread mechanical problems, believe me, we'd know by now... because legions of unhappy "9-ers" would have been screaming about it from the rooftops for years, especially around here. We'd be drowning in "I can't believe I spent $1K on a guitar that I can't put 9's on!" threads... but I digress.

 

If you've been playing 9's forever and that's your comfort zone, it's far more likely that you'll have difficulty playing on a heavier gauge, than you are to have a problem with the function of the guitar. Maybe you'd get used to it, and maybe you wouldn't. Going down a gauge is easy... up, not so much, unless you've got young fingers. By the time I was 20, I was playing on 11's exclusively. Now with (nearly)  50 year old hands, bending on 11's ain't as easy as it used to be, so I'm back to 10's...c'est la vie.

 

Bottom line is, use what's comfortable... either way, you have nothing to lose but 6 bucks on a set of strings... and that's if you actually experience a problem with 9's.  Go back to 10's if you find it necessary, but there will be no permanent damage to the guitar.

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19 hours ago, rwinking said:

Just curious what people have found over the years. I am getting a JTV 59 if it ever comes in. Pretty sure it will come with 10s. What is the collective experiences here on other gauges from 8s to 12s? mostly I am thinking of 9s up to 11s but wondered what they are capable of using and if anything is needed to go up or down gaue-wise.

thx

rick

 

Hi Rick -

 

I have 4 JTV's - two 59's (1 USA and 1 Korean as a backup) and two 69's (1 USA and 1 Korean as a backup). I was an early adopter of the JTV Variax platform (purchased my first JTV-59 in 2011) and have used all 4 of these guitars extensively on the road and in the studio. I have experimented with most of the typically-used string gauges and brands. 9's, 10's, 11's, etc. 

 

Over the years, I have consistently come back to 10's for use in the JTV59 and the JTV69 for one reason - voicing and tracking accuracy on acoustic models. The electric models do fine with 9's or 11's and the difference in tracking or tone isn't noticeably different in my experience.  D'Addario does make a 9.5 (hybrid) string set in their NYXL line and I do occasionally use those and they're OK too. If you want something lighter than a 10 you might try those. 

 

My recommendation is to stay with 10's and - if you can stand paying a bit extra, go with the NYXL D'Addario 10's. I haven't found a better playing, better sounding, or more durable string set for my JTV's than the NYXL. 

 

Congrats on your purchase of the 59. I have never regretted my Variax purchases. The 59 is just a beautifully crafted and playing guitar, even without the Line 6 Variax hardware. 

 

Hope this helps!

 

Bradley

 

 

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Thanks everyone. A lot of differing opinions but overall it sounds like 10s are the best but 9s or 11s tend to work pretty well. I will let you know my experience when I get the guitar. Hopefull soon....

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15 hours ago, rwinking said:

Thanks everyone. A lot of differing opinions but overall it sounds like 10s are the best but 9s or 11s tend to work pretty well. I will let you know my experience when I get the guitar. Hopefull soon....

 

There's really no magic formula that'll work equally well for everybody. Much of whether or not you'll take to the whole Variax thing, particularly with regard to success with the acoustic models, boils down to your mechanics... the dynamics (or lack thereof) in your playing, and how much you tend to "dig in" to the strings. I find that the acoustic models need a much lighter touch to be convincing. All of this is directly related to your comfort level with how the guitar is set up, which of course involves your personal preference for string gauge. I don't know about you, but when I pick up a guitar that isn't set up well, or even one that is properly set up, but with a string gauge that's out of my comfort zone, I can't play for sh*t. The action, proper intonation, neck relief, etc  are all critical...more so when using piezo pickups than traditional mags. Proper intonation is especially important, as this will affect how well the alt tunings algorithms work. Action and relief, with an eye towards minimal to no string buzz is a close second.

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  • 4 weeks later...

'59 player for 6 years now.  Never had a problem with 9's but I don't play super sensitive acoustic sounds very much. It's likely that various styles require various differences, but for me, in the blues/rock/country genres, 9's are the best.  No tonal differences, track well, and offer the flexible utility that I need.  What I do know is that 9's tend to break in a shorter period of time but if you change strings regularly (every holiday, eg) then that's not an issue.

 

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Thanks, Jryholder....My JTV-US is arriving tomorrow. I will try the 10s but prefer 9s. It is weird that you would break more 9s. I tend to bend the lollipop out of  strings so 10s always break more often, which is why I use 9s. Plus they are easier on my aging hands.

I played last night and I don't mind carrying 4 guitars, What gets me is having to change tunings, so I can't wait to use the Variax. Plus, I already use a Helix Rack (for the FX only) and will be able to use it to control the Variax.

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On 3/20/2022 at 11:21 AM, JryHolder said:

'59 player for 6 years now.  Never had a problem with 9's but I don't play super sensitive acoustic sounds very much. It's likely that various styles require various differences, but for me, in the blues/rock/country genres, 9's are the best.  No tonal differences, track well, and offer the flexible utility that I need.  What I do know is that 9's tend to break in a shorter period of time but if you change strings regularly (every holiday, eg) then that's not an issue.

 

 

Just for my own morbid curiosity, which holiday(s) are we talking about? I can destroy a set of non-coated strings in less than a week.... can't wait till Christmas to change 'em out. ;)

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