String gauges - going for thicker strings without filing the nut slots?

OK, so I think I got to the point where I found my preferred string brand, at least for my electric guitars, in Rotosound. I’m considering to try their acoustic strings as well, but I have second thoughts. The dilemma is the following:

6 string acoustic

I’m currently using D’Addario strings with gauges .042 and .053 for the A and low E strings. They fit in the nut perfectly. However, I noticed that the Rotosound packs have A and low E strings of gauges .044 and .054 (the gauges of the other four strings are the same).

12 string acoustic

I’ve alternated between sets of .010-.047 D’Addario and Martin strings. The Rotosound set I found is somewhat different to the ones I’ve used, with the low octave G, A and E strings and the higher pair of the low E course all being .001 thicker than my usual sets.

I checked their 9 set too, and while the “thick” string gauges are all lower than the ones I’m using (so far so good, I guess), the higher octave pairs of the G and A courses are thicker.

Here comes my question: are these differences likely to cause issues with the sound and tuning in case the nut is left untouched? Buying single strings from Rotosound where I live doesn’t seem to be very easy (I couldn’t find them in online stores), and I’m a bit stingy to take my guitars to a luthier for filing the nuts.

Again, I have no issues with the current strings, but it would be nice to try something else. At the same time, I wouldn’t like to pay for nut slot filing and potentially returning back to the current string gauges.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

I would just try it. On my electrics I’ve gone from 9s to 10s and then to a hybrid set and they were fine.


hi József,

I’m not familiar with acoustic bridges, so I don’t know if they are notched.

You need to verify the nut and possibly bridge notches will accommodate the string diameter you want to try. If you tighten down a string that is a little too big, you run the risk of cracking your nut (or bridge if it is notched). even if the nut doesn’t crack, you need some slop to allow for tuning the string without it binding on the notch.

If you can accurately measure the notch, great, do that before you open the string package. If not then at least test-fit before you tighten strings into tune. If they kind of stick or even sit on top of the notch in the test fitting, they are too tight and the nut/bridge will need some work to widen the notch for the larger string.

In my case, I have an electric guitar that came from the factory with 9s. 10s fit ok, but just barely. 11s will not fit the wound strings without work.

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