12 x 56's to less on an Ibanez AF75 archtop?

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StrumitStrumit Frets: 49
edited April 15 in Technique
Following on from my Bigsby discussion, I bought an Ibanez with a Bigsbyalike and am finding the whole experience fascinating after my Burns and Strat.  I am struggling with the 12 x 56 strings compared to the 9 x 42s on my stratalike.  It's like playing on steel rods to me!  Should I persevere or just go with some new, lighter strings? I am in my seventies, with some arthritis and partial deafness, so ease of playing takes priority over sound quality for now!  :) All advice appreciated.
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Comments

  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 3394
    I'm not an authority on this but let's get the ball rolling so someone smarter can chip in ;)

    Looks like Ibanez ship the AF57 with 10-52 gauge strings.

    I would certainly not hesitate moving to a set of 11s (at least).
    If you've got a wound third string at the moment, getting rid of that might feel nicer.
    You can also think about trying Eb standard tuning.

    Whatever you go for, you'll have a bit of setup work to sort out but nothing too scary.

    I made a little reference chart using an online string tension calc
    [ https://www.evertune.com/resources/string_tension_gauge_calculator.php ]
    to give me an idea of where certain changes would get me.
    For example, the top-E string on your Gibson scale AF75 (tension in pounds):
    • .010 : E = 15.26 / Eb = 13.59
    • .011 : E = 18.46 / Eb = 16.44
    • .012 : E = 22.00 / Eb = 19.60
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  • StrumitStrumit Frets: 49
    I'm not an authority on this but let's get the ball rolling so someone smarter can chip in ;)

    Looks like Ibanez ship the AF57 with 10-52 gauge strings.

    I would certainly not hesitate moving to a set of 11s (at least).
    If you've got a wound third string at the moment, getting rid of that might feel nicer.
    You can also think about trying Eb standard tuning.

    Whatever you go for, you'll have a bit of setup work to sort out but nothing too scary.

    I made a little reference chart using an online string tension calc
    [ https://www.evertune.com/resources/string_tension_gauge_calculator.php ]
    to give me an idea of where certain changes would get me.
    For example, the top-E string on your Gibson scale AF75 (tension in pounds):
    • .010 : E = 15.26 / Eb = 13.59
    • .011 : E = 18.46 / Eb = 16.44
    • .012 : E = 22.00 / Eb = 19.60

    Those figures are amazing!  So presumably, the lighter strings will make the vibrato operation a bit easier/ less stiff too.  I ordered a set of 10-46 as an experiment, so will see how they feel.  SWMBO is not happy with the new addition as it makes noise! (Well, It's me making the noise).  She came in and asked me to put my headphones on and didn't get why I was chuckling! Oops!

    Thanks for the information which is much appreciated.  She also doesn't get why I keep spending money on "bits"!  :)

    Ah!  The joys of married life!
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 14953
    tFB Trader
    The first bit of good news is that you can fit a plain 3rd if required - It will need a tweak on the G intonation which we can help you with, if required - As you have an adjustable bridge that will be easy to do 

    Archtops' as an overview are 'historically' designed to work with heavier strings - Yet most of us will find 12's a bitch to play after using 9's, or even 10's, on a Strat based guitar - As you say, age and arthritis are no longer your friends - There is probably not a definitive answer as you need to play and feel and adjust accordingly

    My first advice is try 11-49 with a plain 3rd - If this is great then so be it - You could try tuning it to Eb as well, just as an experiment, to give you a kind of guide line as to what it might feel like with 10's - ie 11's at Eb will have a similar tension to 10's at E - hope that makes sense 

    If you go to 10's then IMO try 10-52 so you have a bit more 'meat' on the lower wound strings, that will favour such a guitar 

    Bottom line is to have fun playing it and if 11's or even 10's are to stiff, then don't be worried about going to 9's - No one will tell you off 
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