SRV is said to have used some REALLY fat strings and legend has it that those fat strings contributed to the tone he got out of his guitar. Zakk Wylde signature strings are so fat that they are practically bass guitar strings and the nut of the guitar needs to be re-cut so that they will fit. (been there, done that.) Dave Mustaine, Alex Skolnick... the list goes on; the names of guys who are said to be playing some REALLY fat strings on their electric guitars.
But are the benefits of fat strings simply an urban myth? Over and over lately I have been running across video interviews where Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top has been telling and re-telling the story of how he met BB King who asked him, something like, "Man, why are you working so hard?" implying that those really fat strings make the guitar player work much harder than he should have to. So, Billy Gibbons took that advise to heart and begun to install thinner and thinner strings on his guitars. Right now he is down to 7's on his guitars. I've seen many recent performances by Billy Gibbons and I would have never guessed that he had such thin strings on his guitars.
So my question to myself now is, Do I dare go to thinner strings on my guitar? Will people question my manliness if I were to install 9's on my big fat Heritage H157? Or 8's on my big beefy Les Paul? Would it be cheating to have a guitar that plays even more effortless than it already does now? If I ever do interviews for Guitar Player magazine, do I have to tell everyone if I am using teeny-tiny strings or do I just tell them that I've got a really big fat E string when in fact I really have a little tiny e string? Oh the humanity! Decisions, decisions! What to do!?