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I tried out a few Nickel Round Wound strings (shootout?)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by dnp41, Sep 3, 2017.


  1. dnp41

    dnp41

    May 10, 2016
    So I decided to order the top 3 selling nickel round wound strings to try out on my new dimension bass, but also gave them a go on my P bass after I initially tested them.

    I just wanted to share my thoughts about these strings, and will go from my least favorite to my preferred string. All sets are 105-45.

    The competition is: EB Slinkys, GHS Boomers, D'addario EXL, and the stock fender strings that come on the dimension american elite bass.

    coming in at number 4. The stock fender strings. (@ EUR 19,90 /set)
    Hate is a very strong word, but it came pretty close. These are my least favorite strings. Especially on the dimension bass, but also on the P bass. For my taste they tended to over emphasize the treble. They sounded clanky and harsh.. Not my cup of tea. I gave them a solid 10 hours of playing time before putting them in the round archive. If you're looking for that high mid and treble sound, stainless round wounds will serve you better. Well at least, I like the tone better of those strings.

    Tension: average to high
    Tone (L/LM/HM/T): 5 / 5 / 7 / 8
    Rating:
    2/5

    #3 EB Slinkys (@ EUR 24,90 / set)
    Numbers 1,2 and 3 are all a very close call and it might all depend on what you are looking for. This is a very middle of the road string. The tone is clear and very well balanced. You know when you go to a fancy restaurant, get your plate and think: "Okay this is good. I have actually no comment on it, and have no idea how to improve it, but somehow... it doesn't excite me."? That's how I feel about these strings. Sound is good right out of the pack, and after a solid 10 hours it tames a little bit but not very noticably. Also I feel these strings sound great with a pick.

    Tension: low
    Tone (L/LM/HM/T): 5 / 5 / 6 / 5
    Rating:
    3.8/5

    #2 GHS Boomers (@ EUR 23,00 / set)
    It's almost wrong to rate these strings above the Slinkys. Like I said, there is nothing wrong with the slinkies. These strings however bring something new to the table. Is it thump? Is it low mids? Is it.. character? Whatever you call it, these strings will make a change to your sound and probably most noticable different from all the other round wounds. Will your bandmates notice the difference? I would like to say yes, but those ignorant fools will hardly hear the difference between flats and rounds so... But you will probably still hear the difference. The strings settle in with playing, and I'm verry afraid that they will die fast. We'll have to wait and see (logged only 10 hours so far).

    Tension: high
    Tone (L/LM/HM/T): 8 / 7 / 5 / 3
    Rating:
    3.9/5

    #1 D'Addario EXL (@ EUR 26 / double pack = 13 / set)
    All IMO and that sort of things. Also a very balanced tone like the slinkys but not as crystal clear. It has some more character. Some might consider that a flaw, but there is sort off an emphasize on the mids but not as low centered as the boomers. I love the tension and feel, but am used to these strings, so that might work in their advantage. To me they have some growl or bark to them which I like and I feel like that stands out in the mix. They have some brightness to them but once you've put in your first playing hour, it is tamed to a point where it's not harsh or to clanky. One of the reasons I've rated them higher is since they are dirt cheap in Europe for about half the price of other round wound strings. I know from experience that they last very long, but for the test I also kept this set for 10 playing hours.

    Tension: medium
    Tone (L/LM/HM/T): 5 / 7 / 7 / 5
    Rating:
    3.9/5

    For now the Boomers stay a little longer on my dimension bass and the EXL's are back on my P bass.

    Round-up
    Tension (from low to high): Slinkys, EXLs, Fender, Boomers
    Tone (dark to bright): Boomers, EXLs, Slinkys, Fenders
    Smoothness: It's splitting hairs (at least for me)
    Tuning stability: no issues with any of the sets
     
  2. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    I'd recommend trying some round core strings.

    Thanks for the rundown.
     
  3. My experience is with the Boomers (45-60-80-105) and the D'A XL Nickels (45-60-80-107). And I do agree with your assessment that the Boomers are stiffer and less bright than the XL.

    My personal preference is for the Boomers over the D'A for their meatier tone with punchier low-mids with a little more grunt and grind. I found the XL's to be a little too "vanilla".

    The next on my shopping list is the Round Core Boomers (45-105).
     
    TC.65 likes this.