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pcalia davegross GypsyBassGuitar Sultan_of_Swing

Thicker gauge silk and steel

ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH6, AJL Silent Guitar

Can’t seem to find my favorite silk and steel strings in my preferred gauges (.11 to .47 Lez Fisoma). I have a few Galli sets, but they seem to go dull pretty quickly. So, picked up two higher gauge sets: La Bella in .11 to 51 and Lez Fisoma in .12 to .50.

These are small and incremental increases in string gauges. I put on the Labella set and the action rose from 2.5 to 2.75. Did a little truss rod quarter turn and I’m playing with a pretty straight neck at the moment.

Strings are sounding good for now with a little more heft in the low end. Doesn’t seem too hard on the fingers just yet, last night’s practice for a couple of hours didn’t seem any more difficult. Will keep tabs on longevity. I’ve been known to keep on the same strings for a month or more, if I’m not gigging. I’ll try the Lez Fisoma set next. My guitar is the long-scale DuPont MDC50, so it seems to be able to handle the heavier strings.

Anyone else playing with heavier gauges, especially in Silk and Steel?


  • Posts: 4,181

    Both have been on my guitar with LaBella being a favorite for a long time. I really liked that added heft in bass.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • ArcticguitarArcticguitar Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts: 22

    Not silk and steel, but I’ve been using the LaBella 13-56 silver plated copper strings for a few weeks. I haven’t tweaked my setup from the savarez 11s yet, so the setup isn’t optimal for the heavier strings, I just threw them on and have been watching the top to make sure it is okay. So far so good. Just got back from a 3 hour jam and the strings feel/respond great. I might be a weirdo, in this regard, but I find heavier strings so much easier to play. I am more relaxed and loose with heavy strings. Long term this might be a terrible idea, but so far so good.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 353

    I don't know about the danger of using those strings. But two other variables to consider and adjust for are:

    (1) The added pressure on the top may result in a lower action (which might be desirable); and

    (2) The neck relief may increase, which may increase the action but will probably result in too much neck relief. You can adjust the truss rod to optimize the neck relief, though.

    Bill Da Costa Williams
  • ArcticguitarArcticguitar Anchorage, Alaska
    edited November 13 Posts: 22

    pgd, I just (between my last post and this one) adjusted the guitar. My goal with the heavy string experiment was, among other things to drop the action a little. I also adjusted the truss rod to get back to my preferred relief (I like a straight neck). Now it is everything I had hoped for, with this experiment. It feels great. But even before the adjustment it was okay-ish and totally playable, but a little stiff.

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