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Are stainless strings stiffer than nickel strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Mesa Man, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. I just put on Fender 9050 (M) flatwound strings (stainless) on my MIA Jazz fretless and had to lower my bridge to the lowest position AND adjust the neck relief a lot. This in order to make it playable at all. The strings that were mounted before were some flat black nylon coated set of unknown origin, although fender is not a bad guess.

    Anyway these black strings were a lot softer to play, not that stiff, or high tensioned that is. The gauge seem to be the about the same. Now my question is actually simple: Are stainless steel strings stiffer, or higher tension at the same gauge than nickels? Perhaps if I wanted stainless with the same feel as nickels I should go with one size lighter gauge, to compensate for this "stiffness" caused by the higher tension?

    I have always used nickels before by the way.

  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Stainless strings are not necessarily stiffer or higher tension than other strings. Having said that, however, the Fender 9050M's are a very high-tension set of strings. I think this has more to do with core design than anything else. Dean Markley flatwounds are also stainless, and they don't feel so stiff, IME.
  3. Bummer, Thats why I had to do all that adjusting.. does anyone know anything about the Ernie Ball flatwounds the 45-65-80-100 set. I didnt like the tension of the Fenders much really. :(

  4. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    Generally speaking, w/ identical sets of nickel and stainless - the stainless will be stiffer.

    As mentioned before, once you start comparing different brands the rule doesn't apply because of different core to wrap ratios and windiing techniques.
  5. slugworth

    slugworth Inactive

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Depends on the core wire more than the type of
    outer wrap.
  6. I concur with slugworth.

  7. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Don't really know about the tension, but have you ever tried Dean Markley Stainless Flats? I've got a set of DMS_2619's on one of my five-strings and really like em'. The stainless sounds a tad brighter than similar nickels, which is kinda neat for flats IMHO.
  8. No I havent tried anything else but those Fender 9050's (s for stiff i guess ;) ) There was this set on it before that was black plastic covered, maybe fender maybe not.. dunno really. Been thinking lately much about the EB 100-80-65-45
    (nickels) since that is what I used for my fretted but those are roundwound.
  9. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    If you are talking about black nylon tapewound strings, they typically are roundwound underneath the nylon wrap, even though the nylon wrap is usually flat. And even though tapewounds are large diameter, that's because of the nylon's thickness. The steel strings beneath are skinny. They usually are not high tension strings.

    Like others have said, the outer wrap has almost nothing to do with tension. The core wire carries all or almost all the tension load.

    More often than not, flatwounds are higher tension than roundwounds of the same gauge. But there are exceptions.
  10. Well back to the core then.. but does anyone know anything about the EB 100-80-65-45 flats, are they high or low tension? Compared to those Fender 9050s that is.

    Thank you.
  11. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    I used them both on a Jazz I used to own. The Ernie Ball (Group IIIs) didn't feel as stiff as the Fenders (ML) but I didn't have to adjust the trussrod after changing them, so my guess is that there's not a significant difference in tension.
  12. Primary

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