If the strings are too big you will not have the necessary power, control and ability to play fast and bend and shake as easily as Stevie did.You won’t sound like Stevie at all, more like an amateur – you will not be able to make the bends and shakes as precise and quick as they should, all your notes will be flat without nuances, vibrato and touch’n’feel.Stainless steel frets in some custom made necks make it even easier to bend and shake.A good, fat/big neck will enhance sustain, punch, harmonics and richness in your tone, which is you want when going for the SRV tone.Stevie used initially JBLd130f and JBLe130f in his Vibroverbs and then switched to EVM 15L with huge clean headroom and massive bottom.Stevie did not want speaker cone breakup and there are many suitable alternatives today in 10″, 12″ and 15″ size that will do the SRV thang for you.
Yes, you need the bigger 40W amps to achieve the same stage volume as Stevie, but for miced gigs (and recordings) you don’t need any volume.But by endless practicing of the SRV technique, energy and power, you will achieve both great guitarist skills and tone. An important factor to his big and powerful tone was that he used several amps both in studio and on stages, each delivering their thing to the table.Only a clean’ish amp can give you the edgy sparkly clean-sound attack that we hear on many of Stevie’s recordings.Do not worry that you had to give up the 013 strings. Guitar setup and frets You need a high string action to allow big strings to vibrate freely without buzzing.Tall and large frets will make it easier for you to bend and shake, since your fingertips are raised from the fretboard and thus reducing friction.
But you can experiment with two, three or maybe four amps that are dialed in differently, some cranked, some clean, some with pedals in front, some that gives you tight and punchy bass response and some that gives you singing lead tone.