A while back someone posted a Beato video where he and his crew do a pretty convincing job of demonstrating the advantages of .008 and .009 gauge strings. Granted, very subjective topic and there are lots of variables. But a few things to bring out in particular are that they were using a fair amount of distortion (if memory serves).
Cray I know plays (or least used to) 011s; Dan Erlewine measured his Strats years ago. A quick search shows Knopfler (post-Dire Straits) and Albert Lee using .010s, if that’s to be trusted. I’m getting ready to overhaul my guitar and I tend towards using less effects. I bend okay on .010s, so I’m wondering if I should set-up that way too (maybe even .011s). The .008s/.009s thing threw me a little, though.
This is my electronics naivete showing, but I’m wondering if given the relatively clean tone of those players, that’s a vote for .010s over something lighter if you like playing clean. Beato talked about the ‘SRV effect’ of people thinking that bigger’s better tone-wise (because of SRV’s beefy strings) and how that didn’t necessarily hold up in his test. But I did notice a pleasing difference when I went to thicker strings; I imagine some folks must still think there’s something to it.
(BTW, I don’t want to distort Beato in any way; what I’ve quoted is part of a larger, more detailed discussion they were having.)
One more piece… I’m willing to figure my nascent voyage into the world of USX into the equation. (I think some of you have said that string gauge doesn’t affect your picking much, but maybe for me at my level it does.)
Also, this is a Squier Strat that I’ll probably leave SSS but will upgrade to better PUPs.
So any thoughts on which gauge to go with?