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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / History question... In the 50's what gauge strings did strats ship with?



Nov 26th, 2008 06:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

History question... In the 50's what gauge did strats ship with? Were they 12's, 11's, 8's. Anyone know?


South Florida, USA

the blues had a baby...
Nov 26th, 2008 06:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

Interesting question. 10's used to be considered special light strings; I would think they came with at least 11's, and probably 12's, which are to this day fairly standard on acoustics. But, to repeat, anyone know?

Contributing Member


I love my '56 strat!
Nov 26th, 2008 06:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

You might be right, I remember hearing something about a wound G string being standard on the first Strats, so 11's or 12' would make sense



Nov 26th, 2008 07:31 AM   Edit   Profile  



South Florida, USA

the blues had a baby...
Nov 26th, 2008 07:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

cedarcoper58- Thanks. Not doubting you, but just curious- how do you know?

Contributing Member

Motor City, USA

Better get hit in yo' soul
Nov 26th, 2008 08:09 AM   Edit   Profile  

This doesn't really prove anything, but here goes anyway. I have a '65 Fender catalog and price list, and they include only two sets of roundwound electric "Spanish" strings:

- No. 10: .013 - .055 (listed first in both the catalog and price list)
- No. 150 "Light gauge rock 'n roll": .010 - .038

I'd say the 13 were likely standard - my recollection of guitars back then is that heavy was way more common than light. Probably more so for the '50s.

List price was $3.00 a set, by the way. $5.50 for flatwounds (three different sets).

Contributing Member


Nov 26th, 2008 08:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

There was no such thing as "light gauge" string sets as we think of them today in the '50s. I don't think there were even sets with a plain G string until the '60s. When string-bending started to enter the standard electric guitar vernacular in the late '50s, players would throw out the low E, use a (comparatively) light banjo string as the high E, and shift the rest of the set down one string (i.e, the .013 E string for B, the B string for G, down to using the A string as the low E).

Johnny Storm

Dublin, Ireland

Flame on!
Nov 26th, 2008 12:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

Many people including some original owners said 13s in this similar thread from a while back

Great minds think alike.....


Buda, TX

Shiny dog
Nov 26th, 2008 01:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

I read an interview with John Fogerty where he says he used to do exactly that, use a banjo string for the high E because light strings weren't available back then.



Nov 26th, 2008 02:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

So they sold a 13 set and a 10 set, and most assume it would be the 13 set from the factory....

Here's a more interesting question, when did they change to light gauges and eventually down to 9's.

the george


Nov 26th, 2008 02:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

The wikipedia article on Ernie Ball mentions how he got into the business because Fender's stock strings were too much for many players.

Ernie Ball on Wikipedia. See "Slinkys" section



Nov 27th, 2008 07:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a book called "The Fender Stratocaster" by A.R. Duchossoir and it has a Factory schematic for a 67 strat and it list 12-52 strings. .012,.016,.026,.034,.044,.052 so that is what they used in 67 so I just assume it would be in the 50's


South Florida, USA

the blues had a baby...
Nov 27th, 2008 08:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

Big difference in music and playing styles from 1954 to 1967. Consensus seems to be 13's in the 50's, this is perfectly plausible. My two Strats only wear 9's!

Contributing Member


Nov 28th, 2008 09:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

The 5 springs in the trem cavity were there to balance out those heavy strings...

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / History question... In the 50's what gauge strings did strats ship with?

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