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The Secret behind Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Guitar Strings

A bedroom rig similar to Stevie Ray Vaughan's iconic choices

SRV was an instant classic and absolute legend. While I’d like to believe tone is all in the hands, I know someone that good wouldn’t be so specific about their gear if that was true. Running multiple amps with the very specific tube screamer and a relatively narrow haul of single-coil guitars, he knew what he wanted and how to get it. The most unique part? Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar strings. We wanted to explore a bit of the history that lead to the many myths and truths behind that highly speculated but essential piece of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s tonal puzzle.

You can get a custom set like Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Guitar Strings here!


(or a balanced version of that set here)

Despite public opinion, SRV actually played as light as 12’s and as heavy as 17’s throughout his career. His most well-known Strats – Number One and Lenny – featured a unique set of 13’s tuned to Eb. A typical set of 13’s you might know for acoustic would look like: .013 – .017 – .025w – .034 – .044 – .056, but this is not what Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar strings were at all. SRV used a more unique blend of .013 – .015 – .019 – .028w – .038w – .058w, the only thing that has in common with the 13’s we know and love (or fear) is the 13 itself! Instead, this provides a more flexible top end, with a snappy mean low end. It makes total sense when you hear him absolutely rip the guitar apart.

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4 Responses

  1. Hello stringjoy!
    My name Van, I have been using your srings for a year or 2 . I have been in joying on my acoustic a set of 11s light nice bright and crispy. I am wondering do you sell 13s set up like Stevie Ray Vaughan, all ready boxed up and ready to play.
    Thanks
    VAN

  2. I play 2 different T5’s with 2 different gauges; one guitar with 12’s ( electric strings on both) & the other with 11’s. Also play a 339 with 10’s but have an 11 on the 1st string so I dont break it as easily. Still can bend!!!! I bought Stringjoy to try on all 3 but haven’t put them on yet.

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