A question that often crops up with a considerable number of eager guitar players is “what gauge of guitar strings should end up being employed with a Les Paul style guitar?” The truth is that precisely what suits one guitarist may well not suit another, it’s a very personal thing. Here are some examples of why there is no straight answer to this question.
Deciding on the right gauge of guitar string is always a balancing act. A heavier gauge string can give a louder, fuller sound, but a lighter gauge will for a lot of people be easier and more comfortable to play. Fast soloing and string bending is unquestionably less difficult with less heavy strings, but there can be just as many admirers of the heavier gauges who will no doubt insist that the heavier string comes across as being better on the fingers and gives you something to get hold of. Guitar players who like to strum aggressively also are inclined to go for the heavier choice.
A lot of fans of Les Paul guitars are insistent that heavier gauge strings are a must. It is believed that the popular Les Paul rock and blues tones are just impossible with lighter electric guitar strings as they sound too feeble and flimsy for that kind of guitar. To counter the discussion, one of the most effective rock guitar players of the Les Paul guitar was Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, and he was famous for employing incredibly light strings. No one got a better sound than Jimmy Page so I guess that scuppers that argument.
A further fascinating fact is that numerous of the world’s top guitarists continually change their gauge of the strings. In fact Jeff Beck is stated to use a variety of gauges according to exactly what stage of the tour is on. His playing method clearly changes throughout a tour with all of the gruelling performances night after night, and I presume he changes the gauge as his fingers and hands feel different as the tour continues.
One other serious aspect that may determine whether or not a particular gauge string will sound good or bad will be the guitar pickups being utilised, and also the amplifier. When you are playing using a weak humbucker pickup or a poor amplifier, it won’t matter precisely what strings you use, the sound can end up being bad.
All of the points covered here show that there definitely is not a right gauge a string to utilise on a guitar like Les Paul. If a large number of the world’s best guitarists differ with their choice, that basically confirms that this is an individual selection based on exactly how you want a guitar to feel and also the exact sound you are after.