String gauge change, big tone change

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by cmtd, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. cmtd

    cmtd Regular

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    Jan 5, 2016
    St. Louis, MO
    When I ordered my Skervesen, I spec'd out the string gauges for the Daddario EXL 117 11-56 set. Skervesen uses GHS strings, so the set I got on the spec card was an 11-56 set, with a few variances from the Daddario 117 set, the G string was a 18 vs 19, and the A string was a 42 vs a 44, otherwise identical gauges.

    The guitar always sounded somewhat muddy to me, and I had slight issues with holding tuning. I had swapped the GHS set for the Daddario 117's and had continued to use them with the same results. I assumed it was the BKP A-bomb that I didn't get along with, and I actually have a different set of BKP's on the way to swap them out.

    I recently decided to put a set of Daddario 140's (10-52) on the guitar. I did a slight truss rod/intonation tweak to compensate for the reduced tension, and it totally changed the sound of the guitar. The clarity is there now, tuning is rock solid, and the tone is much brighter. I still play the 117 set on my Jackson HT6 in the same tuning, and it sounds fine on that guitar, so I'm not convinced it is a property of the gauge of the strings.

    My only assumption is that the nut must have caused this issue? Possibly cut slightly narrow for the heavier gauge strings and binding, causing tuning problems and muddying up the sound?

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