I've had an exciting couple of weeks! As an admitted string junkie, I was stoked to find two new types of strings on the market recently. Also as an admitted electronics junkie, I finally got the opportunity to upgrade the electronics in my Warwick Streamer Jazzman. The stock MEC stuff was replaced by Delano pickups with an Audere Z-Mode preamp, so I've been having a blast playing with this stuff.
First let me say thanks to Bill at Elixir for giving me the chance to test the new Elixir Coated Stainless steel strings, I really appreciate it.
Second, let me say thanks to Jason at Bass Strings Online for giving me a shot at the first shipment of Cobalts he got in. Like I said, I am a string junkie and I felt like a lost sheep until I found Jason's site
So whether you want Elixirs, Cobalts, or other strings (hey, all my other basses have custom DR sets from Jason!) you won't find a better place to get them from than Bass Strings Online. Don't forget to register as a TalkBass user on his site to receive special discounts and VIP pricing! Welcome to Bass Strings Online - Your Custom Bass String Shop...
So, on to the strings!
I've always liked brighter strings for my Warwick Streamer Jazzman 4 string. I liked the sound of various steels I tried (especially DR Fatbeams) but just didn't like the rougher feel. I like to glide across the strings.
Eventually I discovered GHS Progressives which are great sounding strings for my Warwick. They are brighter than nickels, but not rough like steels. Perfect! Except that for some reason, GHS packages them with the E string a shorter scale than the rest of the strings. I had to order a single long scale E string to make them fit, which is around $10. I can't see doing that every time since that raises the cost of a set to around $30, then I have to throw away the short scale E string.
I then discovered that Elixir was coming out with a coated stainless steel string. Sounds perfect...stainless steel sound with a slick feel. I was VERY pleased to find that these strings sound pretty much like those beloved Progressives...bright and snappy, with a great smooth slick feel like you would expect from Elixir. I really like these strings, they are better than I expected. I can't say they are as bright as steels, but I don't want them to be. They are in between nickels and steels. More snap than nickels, but not clangy like steels. Love the slick feel. However, the only thing that turns me off of Elixirs is the price. The $35 price tag is quite hefty if you ask me. I thought the Progressives along with buying the extra string was too much at $29, but that's cheaper than Elixirs. DR also makes a coated Stainless Steel (Dragon Skin) that I have not tried....yet. They sell for $29. They are next on my list.
And now for the most hyped string in the history of strings...Ernie Ball Cobalts! Considering the hype, I was expected huge things from these strings. Did they deliver? Read on...
The first thing I noticed about Cobalts is the feel of the string taking them out of the package. They literally feel like wet spaghetti noodles! 'Slinky' to say the least! I also noticed they they have a very rough feel...much rougher than I expected. So, how do they sound??? Punchy! They definitely have a low end punch. Compared to Elixirs and Progressives, they have more in the lows and low mids and less in the highs and high mids. They are not as snappy as Elixirs or Progressives. Probalby a little lower tension than both of them as well. If I had to sum up the Cobalts, I would use the word 'deeper'. Everything is like it's shifted down a notch.
What about the much hyped output level of the Cobalts? To find this out, I recorded each string. We are learning 'Yesterday' by Guns N Roses, so I played along to some of that track with each string in it's own track. Please excuse the bass player. He means well
I didn't find Cobalts to have more output than the Elixirs. In fact, have a look at the graphic of the recording levels. As you can see the volume levels are pretty much the same, and if you look closely, the Elixirs have a little bit fuller output, probably due to lower midrange output of the Cobalts.
Overall, the Elixirs are a more balanced sounding string with more snap and a smooth feel. The roughness of the Cobalts took me by surprise.....about as much surprise at how much I liked the Elixir Steels. If I had to choose one of these right now, I would choose the Elixirs without hesitation. Price is the only negative thing I can say about them. Of course that's my opinion and that's for this one bass. Opinions vary!
Here are the sound clips. You know what..let's have some fun. Listen and see which one one like better, or if you can tell a difference at all with these recordings. I suggest using headphones.
Okay, we'll go back to playing the game! I'm not going to reveal which is which, so listen and see which you like better.
If you need to know, PM me, OR the answer is given if you read a few posts down. So if you don't want to know yet, don't read any posts below! http://www.chuckamuck.com/guitars/elco/blk.mp3 http://www.chuckamuck.com/guitars/elco/grn.mp3