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  #1  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:56 PM
audiosoul audiosoul is offline
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Default Difference Light And Medium Gauge Strings

Hi everyone, I am new hear and have checked through 25 postings and have not seen a question like this. What is the difference between the two string gauges tone wise? I get that med. gauge strings will not be as easy to play as light gauge. My thought is I am just starting out with guitar and feel that if I start out with med. guage strings I will grow into them. The med. strings will go on a Taylor 214g guitar.
Thanks to all that respond....
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:21 AM
epaul epaul is offline
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Start out with lights. Grow into them. After you have your calluses and chord changes down, then try mediums.

This is good advice. Take it.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:23 AM
jseth jseth is offline
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I have always felt that a player should use the heaviest gauge strings that they are comfortable playing...

My experience tells me that medium gauge strings (.013's) are fatter, fuller and louder than light gauge... of course, this is on guitars that can accept that gauge. The action can be lowered a bit, and the guitar can be played more brusquely with a stronger attack, without buzzing or fret rattle...

Unfortunately, my weak little hands really do best with light gauge (.012's), so that's what I use... I keep my action a bit higher than most so I can play harder without any of the attendant buzzing...

Mediums are great if you can handle them... but whatever gauge you choose, you must play firmly enough to make that string/top vibration happen, in order to really hear what your guitar sounds like... you just have to MOVE SOME AIR!!!
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:31 AM
bkharmony bkharmony is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiosoul View Post
Hi everyone, I am new hear and have checked through 25 postings and have not seen a question like this. What is the difference between the two string gauges tone wise?
Well, if you've checked 25 posts, you've clearly seen everything on the site.

Mediums are louder, and some say contribute more toward better tone than lights. If you can play mediums, use them. If not, string your guitar with lights.

This is good advice. Take it.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:42 AM
buddiesorg buddiesorg is offline
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Medium gauge strings are not best for every guitar, whether you can handle them or not. With some guitars, they help move the top and bring richness to the tone. With others, it chokes the life out of it.

I usually stick with the gauge and composition of the string if I like the sound and feel of the guitar. If I feel like a different string can complement it more, I'll try others. Your 214 probably came with lights, so if you like it the way it is, I'd suggest sticking with them. It won't hurt to try mediums, though, and you can always switch back. Just remember that mediums aren't necessarily better.
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:19 AM
DNestler DNestler is offline
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1) Check with Taylor to see if they made the 214 with medium strings in mind. If Taylor recommend mediums strings, give them a shot. If Taylor do not recommend medium strings stick with the lights.

2) The greater mass of the medium strings will force the top of your guitar to move more than if it were strung with lights.
2a) Usually this is a good thing, but lightly built guitars can suffer from the slightly increased string tension (hence item #1). Sometimes mediums strangle the tone of a guitar. I have a Rainsong OM1000 that just hates mediums. It goes quiet and loses sustain.
2b) Most dreadnoughts can easily handle mediums and will sound better with the greater pull on the top. I am not as confident about that statement applied to modern (Taylor especially) concert sized instruments. FWIW, I have a SCGC dreadnought and would not consider putting anything BUT mediums on it.

3) If you use mediums and like the tone, but find them difficult to play, take the guitar to a luthier and have the set up adjusted to your playing style. That will certainly help you fell more comfortable when playing.

Hope helps!
Daniel
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:56 AM
xuoham xuoham is offline
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Anybody feels that even though mediums definitely make a difference when strumming, when fingerpicking, especially the treble strings, the light gauge has more life and response ?
Or are my right hand fingers just too weak when fingerpicking ?
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:39 AM
Masao Masao is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xuoham View Post
Anybody feels that even though mediums definitely make a difference when strumming, when fingerpicking, especially the treble strings, the light gauge has more life and response ?
I don't think there is a sound difference per se as you have commented. This is just my opinion. Having said that the 'bluegrass' strings are something of the sort you are describing ... medium wound strings and light unwound strings. To me the 'bluegrass' sets have more to do with ease of play then sound ... light unwound strings are easier on your finger. But there are many variation on the 'bluegrass' or 'medium/light' gauges depending on the brand - so plenty to experiment with.

If you think it is better (sound) to use light gauge on the treble strings ... try it. With some strings you can buy individual strings and create your own custom gauge set. If i remember correctly Strings and Beyond sells some of the brands that way.

And to the OP ... i thought the Taylor 214 took light gauge. I would check with Taylor. If that guitar was built with a light gauge in mind but okay for medium then you might need some neck relief adjustment (truss rod) to handle the medium gauge.


Ken
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:06 AM
xuoham xuoham is offline
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You're right Masao san, i was actually for referring to the playability than the sound, even though it definitely has an influence on the sound. Thnx

Some brands are smart enough to make custon light sets, for example the elixir nanoweb have a blend with medium bottom / light top, it's what i use usually but i just tried the medium gauge on my last set. Yes, for me, the G string is just too rigid !

I like to try everything, and also got some nice playing time with electrics with a 20W wound G string
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:14 AM
JCook1 JCook1 is offline
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Quote:
Anybody feels that even though mediums definitely make a difference when strumming, when fingerpicking, especially the treble strings, the light gauge has more life and response ?
Or are my right hand fingers just too weak when fingerpicking ?
I've used mediums all my life, and they sound great for fingerpicking. I have gone through phases of using lights, but didn't like the feel of them, or the tone. My guitar does not like lights, apparently. I find the tone of mediums, for fingerpicking, to be ideal - full and bell-like, louder than lights, and just more "solid" sounding. But it's really all in what you prefer; it's a very personal thing. Try both lights and mediums and see which you like best. But I'd say try each one for a few months, through a couple of string changes, to get a good impression of each kind of string. It's true that medium strings require a little more effort to play, but really it's minimal.

And then there's the question of Phosphor Bronze, or 80/20...or Nickel, etc. It's a big world of strings, and you've got plenty of time, so dive in.

Jack
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  #11  
Old 07-20-2012, 07:57 AM
JannieA JannieA is offline
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I played the Bluegrass strings on my GC3 and had to alter the nut because the low E string wouldn't reach the bottom of the slot. Then I filed just a hair too much and had to have a new nut made and quite frankly everything improved then but I had it made to use light guatemala instead. A lot if not most guitars that have shorter necks are set up with light gauge strings and there are technical reasons bu it doesn't mean you can't experiment.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:06 AM
xuoham xuoham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCook1 View Post
I've used mediums all my life, and they sound great for fingerpicking. I have gone through phases of using lights, but didn't like the feel of them, or the tone. My guitar does not like lights, apparently. I find the tone of mediums, for fingerpicking, to be ideal - full and bell-like, louder than lights, and just more "solid" sounding. But it's really all in what you prefer; it's a very personal thing. Try both lights and mediums and see which you like best. But I'd say try each one for a few months, through a couple of string changes, to get a good impression of each kind of string. It's true that medium strings require a little more effort to play, but really it's minimal.

And then there's the question of Phosphor Bronze, or 80/20...or Nickel, etc. It's a big world of strings, and you've got plenty of time, so dive in.

Jack
Thanks, good to know. you're right, i guess a month seems a nice timespan to stick to a gauge, it's not even a week with the medium and i kind of get used to it.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:08 AM
Vornan19 Vornan19 is offline
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It took a little searching but I found this on the Taylor site

GS, Dreadnought, Jumbo, GS Mini

ElixirŪ NANOWEBŪ Medium Gauge (.013-.056)
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:12 AM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
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I like Lights over Mediums -i believe their easier to play ( i have a touch of Arthritis ) and have a slighly less volume to them, which is OK by me . i also dont like the extra tension on the neck , i believe that no matter how perfect a balancing act is between the truss rod and the string tension -one or the other gives .Over the past 40 years of playing not one of my guitars has ever needed a neck reset ( except for one that was screwed up before i bought it ) I have the thoughts that if its a great guitar , lights will sound great. Mediums can help a less than great guitar , maybe more with the PB's with increased Bass response -some guitars lack in that category .This is my opinion of course.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:24 AM
Bwana Bwana is offline
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Refer to the 2nd post.

Bwana
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