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It may be something as simple as having a greater mass of metal moving increases the signal strength out of the pickup. Compare .008s and .011s. If you can't tell the difference in tone, then what I heard may have had some other cause. I tried .011s instead of .010s because my open string hammer-ons were not producing nearly enough volume. With .011s it is much better. As for scale lengths, it sounds like I need to do an experiment with different scale lengths so I can understand the trade-offs better (not sure how I'm going to do that, though; maybe a piece of wood and some nails).
I am on the warpath of trying to figure out what scale I should use for the 1st and 6th strings on a multiscale electric guitar. I used to use .009s, but after trying .010s and liking the tone (and using them for a long time), I recently tried .011s and discovered (much to my surprise) that they weren't noticeably more difficult to bend. So now I am wondering what gauge strings I should use for the "best" tone (perhaps thicker is better to a point), but this post is not about that. If I settle on .011s, does that dictate an optimum scale for the 1st string to get very good tone? 24.5" to 25.5" seems like a bit too big of a range to arbitrarily choose just based on how close together I want the frets to be. Presumably there are tradeoffs and people differ in the qualities they prefer, so I am speaking in general terms. Then I wonder, having chosen X for the 1st string scale length, does that dictate an ideal scale length for the 6th string (which would be a .049 in my case)? (Math doesn't bother me.)