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Slayer's Kerry King string tension confusion

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  • Slayer's Kerry King string tension confusion

    So in a rig rundown by Premier Guitar it's stated that he's using 9-42s for Eb/D# and I was like wow that's light thinking it was a Fender 25.5" on his shred sticks. Then I looked up the scale length and found that his Dean signature has a scale length shorter than a Gibson at 24.625". Am I missing something here? This is Billy Gibbons territory lol!

  • #2
    Well, the beards k8nda match...

    Seriously, there is some typo, because the description on the page you linket they say it's 24.75, then at the bottom in the data sheet it's 24 5/8, which is 24.625 ... Unless there is some "logical" explanation for it rooted in the depths of the imperial system... The thing I don't understand though is that why on earth does someone want to boost an EMG81's preamp... Is he running his Marshalls on the clean channel? LOL
    Last edited by nexion218; 03-21-2021, 08:07 AM.

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    • #3
      Yeah but Eb with 9-42s is loose even on a Fender scale. Is he really doing that?

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      • #4
        Well his Dunlop singanture strings are 10-46 plus a 52 for drop tuning. I'm pretty sure he didn't change a single string in the last 30 years or so, so he just said what he last changed himself back in '87, which was apparently 9-42.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nexion218 View Post
          Well his Dunlop singanture strings are 10-46 plus a 52 for drop tuning. I'm pretty sure he didn't change a single string in the last 30 years or so, so he just said what he last changed himself back in '87, which was apparently 9-42.
          He says that's for when he tunes down 1 and 1/2 steps for C# tuning with the extra 52 for Drop B, so still pretty light!

          Originally posted by nexion218 View Post
          The thing I don't understand though is that why on earth does someone want to boost an EMG81's preamp... Is he running his Marshalls on the clean channel? LOL
          I recall him admitting he uses the booster pretty sparingly. The times I've seen them live (including the classic lineup with Jeff and Dave in '06) I definitely could not tell you when he had the preamp booster on. I met Dave at a drum clinic. He's a super cool, nice, talented guy. He has no idea how the demons on the Reign In Blood cover have visible erections though
          The opinions expressed above do not necessarily represent those of the poster and are to be considered suspect at best.

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          • #6
            Was that 15 years ago already? Jeez... I saw them shortly after Jeff's problems started, but Gary is a BEAST and they still had Dave. There was a huge storm during the gig and a lightning killed the PA, so they finished Raining Blood on the backline. After seeing them on their last tour I kinda understood why Kerry called it quits. I wouldn't wanna be on stage as the band's leader when the replacement axeman is playing circles around me every night.... LOL
            Good story about the demons, never noticed it!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nexion218 View Post
              Was that 15 years ago already? Jeez... I saw them shortly after Jeff's problems started, but Gary is a BEAST and they still had Dave. There was a huge storm during the gig and a lightning killed the PA, so they finished Raining Blood on the backline. After seeing them on their last tour I kinda understood why Kerry called it quits. I wouldn't wanna be on stage as the band's leader when the replacement axeman is playing circles around me every night.... LOL
              Good story about the demons, never noticed it!
              Have you seen the video where Kerry literally forgot how to play one of their new songs and messed up the clean intro a dozen times? Poor guy just looks so done by the last time he can't get through it...

              Yeah man, go take a closer look at your Reign In Blood album cover! Those demons full on have their wangs out!
              The opinions expressed above do not necessarily represent those of the poster and are to be considered suspect at best.

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              • #8
                It IS surprising, but a lot of high gain metal players play extremely light strings

                I guess they run pretty high action though? And use pretty processed sound. And leave the lows to bass and drums.

                Then again... some bands just don't give AF. For every act that has a serious live performance with extreme excellence, there's a few slackers who play simplified solos or even 3 chord BS versions of what you hear on the albums.
                Last edited by Adieu; 03-21-2021, 10:05 AM.
                "New stuff always sucks" -Me

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                • #9
                  Ouch.... Though I must say that guitarist like him and Kirk Hammett (last time I saw tallica he messed up the Nothing Else Matters intro...) are the ones who give me hope. Watching Kiko Loureiro or Guthrie Govan and the likes is just plain intimidating at times... And here's these two, making a carrer out of being mediocre (but still better than me) players in a great band.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nexion218 View Post
                    Ouch.... Though I must say that guitarist like him and Kirk Hammett (last time I saw tallica he messed up the Nothing Else Matters intro...) are the ones who give me hope. Watching Kiko Loureiro or Guthrie Govan and the likes is just plain intimidating at times... And here's these two, making a carrer out of being mediocre (but still better than me) players in a great band.
                    We're all human and even the most talented humans are still human at the end of the day and it's nice to be reminded of that once in a while. That's why so many people thought This Is Spinal Tap was real. Those things really happen. There was this one gig where I was wearing these huge platform boots covered in straps and bullets and the heel detached in the middle of a solo. I fell straight on my ass but didn't want to stop playing and our manager and his mate ran on stage, picked me up so I could stand again, still mid solo EXACTLY like Nigel Tufnel! As angry as us metal guys are, there's no escaping it's pure comedy sometimes. Sabbath's Stonehenge monument was WAY too big and barely fit into the venue. Dee Snyder went through the wrong corridor and could hear the crowd of Cleveland cheering only to open the door to the wrong, crowd-less and completely empty stage.

                    On the other hand, I noticed Metallica have been killing it recently, right under our noses! They played Battery on the Howard Stern show and came up with a workaround for what I assume is their age and wisely giving up trying to play like they did in 1989 by playing just a tad slower and to a click. Everyone was spot on, Kirk's solo, Lars was perfectly in the pocket and did not bail out on the double-bass parts! James has still got it, just goes without saying. I gotta hand it to them for working with what they have and adapting.

                    Here's poor Kerry's fingers refusing to obey and is just like "nope screw this" and gives up. I do love the crowd rooting for him though. "We love you Kerry!"

                    Last edited by Beer$; 03-21-2021, 10:27 AM.
                    The opinions expressed above do not necessarily represent those of the poster and are to be considered suspect at best.

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                    • #11
                      Back to topic: the 24.625 scale seems accurate as per Wikipedia (guitars sold have a 25.5" scale while his guitars have the shorter scale) and he explicitly stated that he tunes down a half step with 9s. That's slack as a mofo...

                      In the rig rundown of Power Trip lead guitarist stated that old thrashers recommended him 9s for E-standard and I've heard that before the heavy gauge craze light strings were very common across genres.

                      I just thought 9s were the standard for Fender and 10s for Gibson scale but hey, whaddya know. I myself own only one guitar which ironically is a Fender with a Gibson scale that came with 9s and I would stick to 9s but since it's my only guitar I need at least 9-46 for the occasional drop d excursion...

                      EDIT: I use a Digitech Drop for lowering pitch.

                      EDIT2: Gary Holt seems to do the same thing with 9-46s, Eb on a Les Paul.
                      Last edited by h3r3t1k; 03-21-2021, 02:49 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Kerry King is laughable at best....always has been.
                        The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bogner View Post
                          Kerry King is laughable at best....always has been.
                          I don't know that I'd go that far, but he was certainly not the core of Slayer. Hanneman wrote all their best tunes. Araya has even hinted that Hanneman helped King with songs on which King appeared as the sole songwriter.

                          But hey, that's JMO. I thought Repentless was mostly a ton of crap and an embarrassment to the legacy of Slayer. King's lack of songwriting prowess on full display.

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                          • #14
                            Jeff brought the musical substance and Kerry brought the image and persona IMO.
                            Kerry was one helluva player and almost always on his game live until the mid 90's, then there was a marked decline IMO, probably just due to slightly reduced dedication.
                            Some players (myself included) have to practice very often in order to speed-pick for long without cramping. Age and/or carpel-tunnel can vastly affect this too.

                            Classic Slayer might not be rocket science or technical flash,,,,,,but I'd just love to hear some of the bashers due a valid War Ensemble cleanly at tempo, and then continue right into another ten songs,,,,,and no ballads in the middle for a break. It's not a just a normal set, it's a guitar sprintathon.

                            His guitars used to be all BC Rich USA, and they of course used 24 5/8" on many of those original models back in the 80s.

                            Low string tension and EMGs both promote a very soft playing touch, and that alone greatly reduces flop, thereby negating the need to raise the guitar's action.

                            When you use larger gauges and/or tighter tension there is the natural adaption of touching the string slightly harder in order to have the same attack sound.
                            I've never found that larger gauges and/or tighter tension allow for lower action, in fact the opposite ends up being true because you must compensate attack. (IMO)

                            Personally I prefer turbo slinky 9.5-46 for Eb on 25 and 25.5" scales. Never had a 24 5/8".
                            Slash uses 11-46 at Eb.

                            I've always assumed that Kerry only used the EMG gain-booster for leads. His riffing tone was usually quite dry and crunchy.
                            His Marshall heads were kt88 loaded from about the time he became friends with Zakk. Those lend a drier bark than the typical EL34's more saturated gain.
                            Last edited by dave74; 03-21-2021, 09:22 PM.

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                            • #15
                              tony iommi uses 8-38 tuned down to C# and it sounds heavy as hell. 9s down a half step isn't completely crazy.
                              Quality riffs in about a minute...
                              https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2B...Y3EewvQ/videos

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