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Sorry for the resurrection. Playing around with silk and steels and thinking on action, & possibly bridge. I love both the V/27's and GSL's, but I don't know if it's just me, but man they seem to die fast. I'm getting a couple of weeks max before a die off in volume, dead. Weirdly - and this is probably me - solo lines still sound, but rhythm has lost a bass "crunch" and overall volume has let off, and very dull. I can't explain it, or don't know if I'm just daft.
At any rate Michael, in searching, I came across another thread where you mention the S & S's can go really high - Stochelo is apparently 4MM? - yet here, Nous'che goes low on his Mac. If you see this, would you mind talking about the difference here?
Also, just a note, but I'm currently playing GSL 11's. I actually prefer the tone of the V/27's, and getting about the same life, 2 weeks or so.
Titi's set up aside (also please note his busato has been with 11's and lower action, and he sounded damn good on every guitar I've ever handed him including all of mine - even the 7 string - which he just tuned up to b and used like it'd be there for years. . . after which he called me a absolute crazy man.
There are a couple of points I'd get into here:
Generally most rhythm players use 10's (not all . . . by any means!) in my experience. Also most have quite medium action - around 4 or 5mm; rather then the 3mm and .11s for soloists. I used to jack my action up to 6-7mm, but a conversation with Remi about getting more bass out of the guitar and he recommended a much lower set up around 4mm - and it totally worked to punch up the bass response! Finally, one silly technical difference (though Bob Holo and Michael and several others may have better and more real advice) - make sure there is at least a tiny bit of neck relief so the strings can freely oscillate. Lead players may perhaps set their necks more flat . . Pick choice often matters here as well - using the pointy end of a wegan 6mm might not give you the sound you want, but a dunlop 206 or tortex black, purple or green might. . . Finally, your 'pick choke' how close to the strum point you hold the thing may make a difference too . . .
just make it sound beautiful and swing good!
Disclaimer - this is focused on electric rock guitar, but the physics are still the same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGXj_NQONYM
TL;DW: Lighter gauge strings have a tighter base response
Your technique in how you play the strings does change, and your guitar may sound better with heavier gauge. But speaking in generalities, rhythm guitar is usually played on the lowest strings, focused on a deeper register, and have a tight response is important to locking in rhythm. And using lighter gauge strings will improve this.
@bbwood_98 boy, I just can't imagine using 6-7mm action. I played with 5mm for a while, out of necessity, and I liked the sound but it's just not something I could or want to do for the long run.
@buco - yeah. It was a carry over from emulating Mr. Green. If I had a good acoustic arch top I might still be there with that.
As to the sound, the "best" rhythm sound might depend on whether or not you have a bass player.
But more importantly, if you want to keep playing 20 years from now, there is no reason to stress your hands. Your tendons' health is supreme. Repetitive motions during a two-hour gig, or over a period of years, can produce injuries. A few whacks at a stiff setup may seem tolerable, but it's the prolonged movement -- especially if you're in the middle of a gig and have no choice but to continue -- that can cause permanent damage.
Scale, string gauge, action, and neck relief -- don't go difficult with all four variables! Pick two, and ease up on the other two.
If I had the right tool, I'd test a setup something like this: how much force (lbs.) Is needed to push a metal bar down on all six strings at once at, say, the 7th fret, down to where the strings touch the fret? That would be sort of a guide to compare different setups (though some setups might feel easier up the neck or down the neck than others).
Thank you for the insights, guys. I think I've always leaned to heavier gauges just because I like the volume coming out, but pdg in the middle as I am with an overuse issue, longevity is paramount for me, yes, and I hear you. Right now we're at 3.5mm and on board are some La Bella lights (0.11-0.47). I've had an issue with the last two sets of ultralights in that one or more of the strings have to small a loop and I've snapped them, but Buco thanks for the workaround as I'm looking forward to trying the La Bella XL's. I am very partial to the V027's, but am also interested in the Lenzners and will be getting some.
As I'm not playing for awhile the guitar is in the hands of my friend, a luthier, just to get his thoughts. His basic conclusion was, "I can't see anything to do with this. Intonation's great, setup was well done (thanks Josh and Michael), action can come down maybe (I insisted on staying gypsy on him. I don't know that I want to drop down from 3.5, esp. with 10 S&S's on board)."
Considering a No. 2 bridge, but maybe just d!cking around as I'm going crazy already not practicing.