Here's why I generally use light gauge strings
Dec 18, 2000
Since I am not a professional, or rather, I don't make money at it or do it for a living, my gear is not the top rated expensive kind. I own a Yamaha 345 II acoustic 6.Bought new for $175 in 1984. A 1980 Ibanez 12string, maple sides + back w/ spruce top, used in 1999 for $180. A Fernandes 4 string P bass,$200 in 1997. And a new 2000 model Yamaha electric SGV800,$500.
I have tried medium gauge strings just once on the acoustic Yamaha. A very fine instrument in it's own right( for the money ). I believe you get a lot of value for your money with this brand but mine, being a student model,'it's the one I learned on', has a thin neck while great for learning on, can put be put under undue stress with anything more than light gauge strings. I have tried out several Martin guitars. The necks on those are very rigid in comparison. I won't discuss the sound differences. I've also tried some Taylors and absolutely love their sound. I know they can be had in 2 different width necks, with the wider version able to accept the Medium gauges as listed in the brochures. I wouldn't hesitate using Meds on the Martins. I have a sentimental attachment to my Yamaha so I'd hate to see something happen to it.
You'll get a little more volume but at the expense of it being harder to play due to the extra effort require to play bar chords and string bending just doesn't have the same affect when they won't...
I don't know of a manufacturer who makes or recommends anything but light gauge on 12 string acoustics. While the neck on my Ibanez is very strong, I wince at tuning it to standard pitch as the saddle starts pulling up on the top. Some guys will tune down to an Eflat or a D to save face.
My electric Yamaha has a 'whammy bar'. I haven't tried anything higher than .010 gauge(the thickness of the small E string). It came with .009's.
Any more pull from thicker strings will only stretch the bridge springs and put the action too high. This can be compensated for with saddle heighth but then again the SGV800 has a thin neck as well. Gibson Lespauls an' such would be more suited for heavier strings if the person was playing rythym.
So to reiterate, I mainly use light gauge strings because my guitars are on the light duty side of expression.