A few of observations regarding my week at SXSW: First, Rock is alive and well, if not on your local radio dial. I saw roots bands, funk bands, metal bands, Americana bands, soul bands. I liked all of them. The whole trip was worth it if only to see so many good bands, playing good songs on good instruments.
Second, by far the most popular style of guitar that I saw was the semi-hollow body: Epiphone Sheratons and Casinos, Gibson ES-330, Es-335, ES-125 and their many variations. Jazz Metal monster Alex Skolnick was playing a full-sized Heritage. Intersting trend.
Third, heavier strings are the most popular. Down-tuning is no doubt a large part of it, but we were giving out free sets of strings to attendees that joined our mailing list, and had very few requests for electric .009 gauge strings at our booth. This might be a good time to remind y'all about the sets D'Addario offers in the more hefty gauges:
Two sets in the "Medium Top-Heavier Bottom" category. The EXL116 is essentially the perennial favorite EXL115 set's E, B and G strings with a beefier D, A and low E. The EXL117 gets heavier starting with the G string.
If you want a more balanced set, you can try the EJ21 set. It has a wound G string, great for rhythm tracks.
If you still want to bend that G, try the EXL145 set. It has a plain G and a heavier low E. Once you try some of our pre-made sets, you can swap out various gauges and make up your own custom set using our single strings.
Check out more string gauges at www.daddario.com.