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Does anyone understand the science?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Freez, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Freez


    Nov 8, 2008
    Specifically, the science behind why some people get better life from nickel strings over stainless, and vice versa? I used to buy GHS bassics strings (nickel plated) because they were $12 at Walmart, but I stopped using them because they went dead on me so much faster than SS roto's and D'addario SS strings. Based on this, I adopted the stance that I must play stainless strings over nickel if I wanted the strings to retain any brightness at all. But I'm wondering about a couple things:

    1) Will I neccessarily have the same bad luck with any nickel plated string? Or are Bassics just crappy strings?
    2) Is the deadness I'm experiencing coming from the material itself (in this case nickel), or is it because of the thin plating? For instance, would I have the same trouble with a gold plated string? I ask because if the problem is the plating, I may be able to try some of these alloy strings. They have nickel blended with stainless in the outer wrap, but they aren't plated in a thin layer of nickel, at least that's my understanding.

    So, if anyone understands the science, please chime in. Is it a ph issue? Acidic/Alkaline? Or it more to do with oil content in skin? And if you can, tell me, what can be done to counteract it, if anything? I'd like to try Circle K strings, and the new D'addario balanced sets, but don't want to waste the money if I'm going to have the same issues that I did with Bassics.
  2. KodyAudette


    Apr 30, 2012
    I don't know all of the contributing factors, though I assume it is a combination of the hardness of the wrap material, cleanliness/oiliness/ph of the fingers, fret material, and how much playing time the strings get. I'll tell you this though, I recently tried a set of Circle Ks and I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about them. I've had them on for about a month and haven't noticed any diminished brightness and the clarity of the upper harmonics is astounding, not to mention how comfortable the strings are to play. I've since started outfitting the rest of my basses with Circle K sets and the balanced tension is phenomenal.

    A month isn't long enough to really get to know how well a set of strings hold up, but normally I would have noticed a difference and so far they still sound great to me. They're not the most expensive strings in the world so unless money's really tight, I'd say give them a shot.
  3. Freez


    Nov 8, 2008
    thanks cody, 114 views and 1reply, so it appears nobody understands it! maybe I should post this at a science forum?
  4. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Honestly, the quality of the strings probably had more to do with it than anything else. I would try a better quality nickel string before writing it off.
  5. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    When people sweat it also can contain a lot of gunk, so it might not so much always be a chemistry issue, but a dirty string issue. There are string cleaners on the market you could try if you like a string but want to try and make the new sound last longer.
  6. Ian_Flash


    Jan 17, 2013
    Just kidding; this might help: Body chemistry does vary, however: it's more likely that skin oil, sweat and dirt in the windings or maybe even the core will dull a string rather than pH. In fact, many people have an allergic reaction to Nickel which prohibits them from wearing jewelry made from metals with a higher Nickel content. If you feel that SS strings hold their brightness longer, it could be that they are brighter initially, and break-in to a brightness that appeals to you. In fact, Nickel is less corrosive than Stainless Steel (it's stain-less not stain PROOF) but Nickel is less MAGNETIC than SS which could account for the brightness/longevity issue. String construction and the resultant tonal properties are a combination of core diameter, core profile (hex vs. round), wrap material, single vs. multiple wraps, taper vs. full wrap and even WINDING SPEED! DR Fatbeams and D'Addario SlowWounds for example, sound different than equivalent gauges, merely because of winding speed. If you like Nickel, try Fodera Diamond Series Nickel.... my personal choice for longevity. What gauges do you use? If you like 'em light, try the Fodera Victor Wooten Signatures. Nickel don't come no brighter than that Son!!! Oh... and keep them clean!!!!
  7. I like the deadness ... I have the same issue as you, except I want that. It causes me to use hex core nickel roto swing bass that are stiff. The advantage is that it causes me to play heavy handed with lots of energy.

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