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Does changing a gauge have an impact on action and intonation?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Lebowsky, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Lebowsky

    Lebowsky Effects Forum Resident Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2007
    Lausanne, Switzerland
    Ok this might be a silly question. I want to try a .110 instead of a .105 E string gauge, as it feels too much floppy when tuning DADG.

    Will/might going up a higher gauge have an impact on my action (wider gauge = closer to the frets?), and intonation? I've played the same string gauge all my life, so this has never really been a question before.. thanks!
  2. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow Never Forget. Banned

    Dec 23, 2010
    Horten, Norway
    If anything, a thicker gauge string will give you a higher action as the higher tension will give you more bow in your neck. But if it's just one string, you might not notice a difference at all.

    (And yes, I'm aware that higher gauge does not necessarily mean higher tension, but I'm assuming the OP is going to use the same brand/model string. And in that case it will.)
  3. Generally speaking, you would want to do a setup on the instrument (action and intonation) any time you change string gauge or type.

    In practice, going from .105 to .110 on the E string is a minor change.
  4. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    If you tune a higher gauge string to a standard tuning, you might, depending on the string and the neck, put a little extra bow in the neck. That would cause your action to go up a little bit. Some necks are stiffer than others, as are some strings, so the difference might not be perceptible.
    Based on what you described, you should be fine.
  5. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    If you like the feel of the .105, and you are using a round core string, you might try a hex core .105 instead. Hex cores tend to feel stiffer than round core.
  6. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Thicker gauge doesn't put a string closer to frets - the bottom of the string is still resting on the nut and the bridge saddles. It will possibly bow the neck marginally more raising the strings as others have noted. Always good time to check intonation & setup. A thick string might have marginally more tendency to fret sharp on first 1-3 frets due to string break having more effect with a thicker string. But .005" isn't much, a thick facial whisker is about .004. More noticeable going from say a really light .090 to a .110
  7. Lebowsky

    Lebowsky Effects Forum Resident Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2007
    Lausanne, Switzerland
    thanks guys, that's what I wanted to know
  8. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    When setup the way you like, larger guages will probably end up with lower action. This is because a lot of people ultimately set the "feel" based on when their fingers feel the top of the string. Since a larger gauge is thicker, this means the bottom of the string will be closer to the frets, than a lower gauge set for the same top of the string height.

    with the same brand/type of string, I haven't found significant intonation changes, between gauges.

    But changes brands and/or string types can often change intonation.