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Best nickel-plated strings for 7-string?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by MistaMarko, May 14, 2011.


  1. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko

    Feb 3, 2006
    USA
    I've been using stainless steels for the last few years and I've just grown to hate them. The highs are so untameable when playing at any performance volume and using any fuzz/distortions makes them liable to rip my tweeter in half. I've just grown to hate the EQ imbalance, so I'd like to try some nickels that are a bit more mellow.

    Thing is, for most 7-string sets, they're all stainless steels. The Dean Markley set had my eye for a bit but I noticed they were steels. I was going to try Circle K strings but I think I remember reading that those were a hybrid and I'm afraid they will be too. I wanted to try the Conklin Snakeskins but I'm not sure how I feel about dropping $80 on a set of strings.

    Most of the good nickelplated strings (Ernie Ball, Fender, etc) don't even have strings that run that small. Any suggestions from any ERB'ers here?
     
  2. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    You didn't mention if you string your 7's low F# or high F. If I'm not putting Elixirs (which are nickels under the coating) on my 7's, I use D'Addario XL sets. With either brand I buy the 6-string set, then I use a D'Addario XL plain (unwound) .020 for the high F. I did some experimenting with high F strings, and this one seems to match both the XLs and the Elixirs fairly well in both tone and loudness.

    The plain .020 is not coated and tends to wear (and rust under my body chemistry) sooner than the other strings, but they only cost like $1.50 each at juststrings.com so they're not a hardship to replace.

    I would strongly recommend looking at Elixir. They are *almost* as bright as brand-new nickels, but the advantage is that they don't change tone for months of even heavy use, so the somewhat higher cost easily pays for itself in longer life -- you'll only need one set of Elixirs for every three or four sets of uncoated strings you currently use.
     
  3. tylerwylie

    tylerwylie

    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    The Circle K sets mellow out really nice. They're not as bright as say, Hi Beams or Rotosounds. Big midrange too, I like them a lot.
     
  4. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko

    Feb 3, 2006
    USA
    I'll check out the Elixers/D'Addarios! Thanks. And I string B-F. What gauges do you use?

    And I was strongly considering Circle K but I'm just not sure if I'll like the gauges for their balanced sets. I currently have a .135 B and the string is a little too big for the nut and doesn't sit all the way down, and I was going to go with their 136 set. If I go one notch down to their 130 set, the B string is fine but then the other strings seem super thin and wimpy (like a 30 something for a G???...) so I'm just on the fence.
     
  5. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Oops I guess I didn't say, BEADGCF. The Elixir medium set is 130taper, 100, 085, 065, 045(?), 032, 020p. I'da preferred the Light set with .080 and .060, I like 'em a little on the lighter side... I'm not one of those "no pain no gain" masochists.

    My biggest issue with my 7's has been trying to get some real beef out of the high E through G on the G string. To that end, I also tried some D'Addario XL Half Rounds, bought the ENR71-5 set plus the NHR030 high C and the .020p, so gauges 130, 100, 080, 065, 045, 030, 020 (outer wrap is pure nickel). Helped some, and I really like the balance across the set, but the fact that the G is like in the middle instead of on the outer edge keeps me from getting it really close the the pickup and the real "booty" isn't quite there yet. Anybody have any suggestions for that?
     
  6. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko

    Feb 3, 2006
    USA
    Hmm. There are just certain gauges for each string I prefer and no set I find really has them all. Is it bad for the neck if I just mixed a ton of gauges with individual strings to my liking? I figure it might, tension wise.

    I prefer like a .125/.105/.080/.060/.040/.030/.025, but I'm thinking that violates some rule of string sets.
     
  7. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    To answer the question directly: no, I don't think a mix/match approach is in any way bad for the neck. I believe that's a Groove Tools Billy Dickens you have, and I believe they have two truss rods (my GT7's do), so even if there is any tendency to twist (fairly unlikely), it can be corrected.

    There may be others, but juststrings.com sells all of their strings individually as well as in sets, so you can try D'Addario XL's and DR nickel Lo Riders (nickel-plated steel wound on hex cores) or Sunbeams (nickel-plated steel wound on round cores).

    Catalog (Bass Strings) | DR Strings
    DAddarioFretted Strings ยป Bass Strings
    Single Bass Guitar Strings
     
  8. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    It's a very simple task to widen a nut slot. The fact that a .135 B-string doesn't fit it very well tells me that it probably too narrow to begin with. I personally wouldn't play with anything LESS than a .135.

    I can tell you that you will not be dissatisfied with either the 136 or 130 Balanced sets, whichever way you choose to go. They are a bit light for my tastes, but the "wimpy" G-string will sound just as powerful as your "manly" 40 or 45.

    Nope, that's perfectly fine. You'll need to do some truss rod adjustments for the light bottom/heavy top, but that's about it.
     
  9. Another vote for Circle K. I have the balanced 136 set on a 5 string. I decided not to sweat the gauge of each string, but rather to trust that the balanced set based on my preferred E-string gauge would work. It did. Getting ready to order a second set for another bass.

    BTW, I'm a long time Nickels user who doesn't like Stainless either. These hybrids feel great and sound even better, without the run-away highs.
     
  10. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Cheapest way is to use a piece of the .135 string as a file! AND: Be sure to make a pencil mark on the bottom of the slot before you start, and make sure you do not file any of that mark away (work slowly and keep checking) to avoid letting the installed open string hit the 1st fret.
     
  11. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko

    Feb 3, 2006
    USA
    I wanted to try the 136 set, but I think I'll need to file the nut slot. Is there a detailed guide on how to do this (although your easy description above seems adequate, I just don't want to mess anything up).
     
  12. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    You might check projectguitar.com to see if you can find anything. Tons of tutorials over there.

    Really, you wont need more than a few passes to do it. Even a drill bit with a slightly smaller gauge than the string and a strip of sand paper, a few passes will work just fine.


    EDIT: BTW, I just saw that you're the bassist from Tetrafusion. Gotta say, I'm enjoying your music. It has a Muse-esque feel to it, but sounds much better.
     
  13. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    Circle K's have a nickelplated outer wrap and steel inner wraps.

    > I prefer like a .125/.105/.080/.060/.040/.030/.025, but I'm thinking that violates some rule of string sets.

    I can tell just looking at the gauges that will be fine, there's no danger to the bass. The F will be very much tighter and might break though. The Circle K .025 is not strong enough for F as I recall Skip saying.
     
  14. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko

    Feb 3, 2006
    USA
    @FunkMetalBass - I'll check the site out, thanks! And awesome, glad you enjoy our music. Where'd you hear about us, if not here?

    @ixlramp - Cool, thanks. I currently use this set of JustStrings.com Stainless Steels:

    135/105/80/55/35/30/25 -- the top two feel really strong and tight but the 35 G string feels like freakin' fishing line and has NO presence to it. I can't stand it. I could probably bend up three full steps with it. Then the rest are fine. I'm just worried if I get a set of all custom gauges to my liking as such, a few strings will be really tight, others really flexible, volume string-to-string might be different. It just seems like there's no easier way to find this stuff out than to go trial/error and drop my wallet contents on a bunch of sets and check them out, haha.
     
  15. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    Well those gauges will have EA tightest, tension falling across ADG to G, the loosest of the set, and then sharply rising tension across GCF, is this how it feels? So you want a more balanced tension with looser CF and a .040 G? I recommend buying singles 135 105 80 55 40 27/28 plus a plain .018 or .020 for the F. Some plain guitar strings are long enough, just thread an old bass ball-end onto it.

    Or of course a Circle K balanced set, this one looks perfect for you:

    7 String Set - Balanced Standard 136
    .136 .100 .076 .055 .040 .029 .020p
     
  16. MistaMarko

    MistaMarko

    Feb 3, 2006
    USA
    You nailed it. I wish I had that knowledge. Haha.

    The set is fine, just the G string seems way out of place. The rest is fine. I'm definitely going with the Circle K 136 set then; that was my first choice anyway. I hope this is a well-spent $55...
     

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