Ernie Ball Cobalt vs Elixir

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by campbems, Mar 3, 2014.


  1. campbems

    campbems Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    Location:
    Jackson
    The coated Elixirs are good strings no doubt but how do they compare to the Cobalt coated strings? I've used the Cobalt strings in the past and liked them but I was wondering what other users think?
  2. campbems

    campbems Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    Location:
    Jackson
    One Eason I'm asking is that I seen some new Cobalts that usually sale for $36 a pack on sale for $25 a pack. That's a great deal unless the Elixirs are that much better for clarity and overall value? What's the opinions on this.
  3. grunge_freak

    grunge_freak

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    I've used elixirs and ernie ball. Many people say that elixirs are far superior but in all honesty, I actually prefer the tone of ernie ball strings and they are somewhat cheaper than elixir too. in the end I think it really boils down to the tone you want. just because one string is more expensive, it may be a great quality string, but it just might not have "the tone" you're looking for. it's too bad that theres no way to try out strings before you buy them, because I feel like strings are one of the most important contributing factors to your overall tone. its easy to just plug in a different amp or effects pedal or pick up a different bass, but to try out strings you really just have to bite the bullet and buy a set.
  4. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Location:
    Delawhere
    I've have Cobalts on my SR5 for the past 3 months and I love them. Still sound great and no dark spots or oxidation. They are super loud and very distinct sounding. I tried Elixir polywebs about 7 years ago and did not like them. They were too zingy for me and the coating started to peel off within a few months.
  5. campbems

    campbems Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    Location:
    Jackson
    I just want clarity and punch. I've played the Cobalts on a stingray 5HH for years and liked them. However I have a new BTB 1405 with Nordstrand pickups and the clarity is amazing. I wonder if it's the pickups that make the huge difference or is it the Elixirs that are on the BTB?
  6. funkybass

    funkybass

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana

    Cobalts aren't coated.
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo I like turtles. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Upstate, South Carolina
    Cobalts are definitely not coated. I can't imagine two more opposite sounding and feeling strings. Elixirs are smooth and slick, Cobalts are rough and raw feeling.

    Get your strings from www.bassstringsonline.com if you want the best price.
  8. funkybass

    funkybass

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Location:
    Indiana

    And fast shipping to boot. I got my order in 3 days California to Indiana.
  9. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Location:
    Delawhere
    That's something we can all agree on.
  10. stinky634

    stinky634 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2001
    Location:
    Riverside CA
    It depends on what sound you want and your bass. I have been a dedicated Elixir user for years. All my Warwicks have loved them. A P bass I was using for a couple months sounded really good with them. My Peavey T40 however just doesnt mesh well at all, so it gets the flatwounds.

    Our opinions don't mean jack in this case. Bass strings are expensive, so do your research and try them both if you can. That's the only way to get a 100% answer for your questions.
  11. bassmanstooge

    bassmanstooge

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    I haven't used Elixers because I don't want coated strings. I have used two different sets of Cobalts and loved the sound but they went dead fast and rusted unlike any other strings I have used so I was disappointed with them. They look and feel like stainless steel. I have a couple new sealed sets on hand for special gigs or recording because I like the sound so much.
  12. natw42

    natw42 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Location:
    South Jersey/Philly
    Hmmm... I've had a different experience with Cobalts. I've had the same set on my Lakland for almost 2 years now. They still sound pretty darn lively. They lost the new string sheen within a few months but still have an appreciable amount of treble even now.

    FWIW, my ideal sound is broken-in (but not dead) rounds. If you swing towards a new string sound, your perception of when strings are dead is going to be completely different than mine. So the usual YMMV with all this.

    edit to add: My only beef with cobalts are their slightly higher tension/feel than I prefer. Makes bends and vibrato a little more difficult for me. Other than that, love them. When I order again (from BSO.com of course) I'll probably get them in hybrid or super slinky vs. regular.

    Also, I did a recording date recently. I used my 4-94 in passive mode favoring the front pickup with old cobalts into a 70s B-15. Sounded absolutely killer - the engineer kept raving about the sound being warm and full with plenty of complex mids to keep the instrument present in the mix.
  13. stinky634

    stinky634 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2001
    Location:
    Riverside CA
    All strings are gonna go dead. The newer formula of elixirs are great and you'd never know they were coated if no one told you, they feel like normal strings but last waaaaay longer. Hopefully you can try them out!
  14. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    I used Cobalts before, I thought my finger ends were gunna get cut off due to how sharp they are
  15. cstar

    cstar

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    I tried the cobalts a while ago. I loved them, but they weren't really what I was going for sound-wise on the bass I had them on. They were very vintage-modern (strongly leaning to the modern side of that mix). Very clear, punchy, and they played very nice. I actually found them very smooth and silky to the touch, and they bent nicely.
  16. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Location:
    White Plains
    Elixir always sound slightly dead to me on a bass, I'm not a fan. I have Cobalts on my SR5's and I really like them. They are very lively, bright, and aggressive.

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