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I'm thinking about switching to stainless steels...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Stephen Soto, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    Ok, the last time I played stainless steel strings was at Tyler Hole's house... But I wasn't really thinking about switching to them until now... What exactly are the benefits to them? I really dig roundwounds, but it's time for a change...
    Does anyone have any sound clips with a bass with roundwounds, and the same bass with stainless steel at a flat EQ. Actually, the EQ doesn't really matter that much to hear the difference, as long as each EQ is the same...
  2. stainless steel strings are roundwounds too..
    Ok.. I don't have any clips.. The benefits of them is brighter sound, mainly.. But it depends also in what brand of steels you choose and what brnad of nickels you compare them to.. But.. that's basically the most important thing about them..

    Secondly.. I'l advice you not to swicht to stainless steels permanently if you play a lot and you have a sort of aggressive technique in both hands.
    They can eat up your frets easlily.. I've just used stainless steels twice and cannot set up the action as low as I would like in my bass because some of the frets got scalloped under certain strings, and I get a lot of fret buzz.
  3. I agree! Stainless steel strings are brighter cleaner sounding and they also are know for eating up frets and fingers.

    They also come in round wound, half wounds and flats. Steel is just what they are made of!

    These guys do a great job and you can find Accurate specs to.........

  4. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    So wait, don't switch to them because they will eat up my fingers, and ruin my fretboard!?!?
  5. I didn't say don't switch, I merely pointed out some issues to consider before switching.

    I use the thomastik power bass series.

    Powerbass strings are different. They start with an ultra-flexible, high-carbon steel core, then wind them with nickel-plated steel. This added steel makes the windings magnetically reactive, adding gain at the pickups.

    You can Read More Here.

  6. Every brand will say that their string is unique in one way or another. What matters is how you think they sound and feel. Personally I'm not worried by SS strings at all. I've been using DR steel strings the last 1½ year, and I have both my fingers and my frets in good shape! Mayby steel will feel different in the beginning, but you'll get used to it. So choose your string by the sound they give you. (and btw. - what sound do you prefer?)
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    In trying different strings over many years - stainless steel are more abrasive on your hands and bass. They do sound brighter straight out of the pack - but they go "off" more quickly than nickel roundwounds.

    I find nickel roundwounds last much longer are "smoother" to play, but still have prominent harmonics and can get that kind of sounds suitable for all techniques - like slapping,tapping etc .

    Flats are good for fingestyle, fretless and more of a traditional sound - but they don't really get the sort of sound you want for slap, for example.

    Nickel roundwounds retain this ability and I find they are overall the most versatile and longest-lasting strings - although they aren't as bright as stainless steel, I often find this is an advantage. So - when strings are too bright, you get more finger noise and when shifting positions - makes you sound "sloppier"!

    So - nickels are bright enough for any style, but don't over-emphasise the trebly noises of your bass.

    I would only go for stainless steel if you want really bright trebly tone and are prepared to change them every few weeks, or every gig if you want a John Entwistle type sound! I found that after a few weeks, stainless steels actually start to sound less bright than nickels - so you might as well have bought those! ;)
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Stainless are the only way I've gone since Rotosound (Howe) came out with Swing 66's in the 70's (later switched to DR SS's),

    Nickels are too "blah" for me.

    The core-to-wrap ratio is another very important aspect and should be considered........although your ear is the best judge. Here's a link to a good article that deals with that aspect -

    CAUTION: This is one of those articles where the more you know, the less you understand.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    These were the only decent strings around in the UK then and I used them throughout the 80s - but I was always frustrated at how fast they would go "off"!

    The only advantage I suppose, was that I was always going in the local music store and built up a good relationship with the guy who ran it - so he told me about good basses, bargains they had in.

    However, that all changed for me with the internet and the possibility of ordering strings from the US - I tried lots of different ones and finaly decided that D'Addario Slowounds had the best tone and last for 6-9 months and still sound great!

    This also coincided with that music shop I was talking about going out of business - so whereas before, he was making money out of all of us coming in regularly for strings - now we all buy them off the net at half the price and in some cases, (i.e. me) change them less freqeuntly!
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  11. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    I mean, I don't know exactly what you guys mean by eating up my fingers. I mean, they are obviously harder on your fingers, but do they damage them!?!?
    The sound I like is bright, low, and clean.
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    CRIMINY!!!! IME, if you haven't gone through the "blister stage" - you ain't no "bassist."

    All this crap about,

    > "how lightweight is the bass?" and
    > "will the strings hurts my fingers?" and
    > "neck dive"

    is the pussification of the bass world.

    IMO, if you can't handle the weight, the strings, and the blisters, go join the other 100,000+ jerks playing Stevie Ray Vaughn tunes on their sad-ass factory Strats who can't get a steady gig.
  13. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    Damn dude, believe me man, i've gone through many blisters... But i've only used roundwounds, and just wanted to know if it was JUST harder on your fingers.
    I think I'll make the switch on my next set soon...

    And personally, I don't really care how light a bass is... I could handle a lot of weight. It's sad about people who complain about 10 or 15 pounds, no offense...
  14. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Well, you're obviously a good man Stephen. Some wusses just won't put up with blisters............but hey...that's how you get those good callouses that allow one to play like a monster.
    Upright rockabilly bassists accept them as inevitable.

    When the going gets tough, some super glue or one of the new products being sold as "second skin" are of great help in sealing off the worn down skin.
  15. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    Thanks man... Yeah, that's insane dude. I remember this thing that Flea said, that when he was on tour once, he played so hard, that his hands would bleed, and they had to fill holes in in his fingers so he could keep playing... lol.
  16. Steve, I don't care what anyone says about me being a wuss because I don't care to stand for 2 to 4 hours a show with a bass that weighs more then 6 to 8 pounds. Nothing is written in stone that says you are a MAN if you can handle the pain........music isn't about pain!

    Lighter basses are being made all the time that sound awesome!

    Strings don't have to make your fingers bleed for you to be considered " the best"

    Get a clue people!

  17. As a general rule I don't let weight and blisters decide what instrument or strings I play - sound is my main priority, and I'm sure it is for most bassists. Of course you should't suffer when you play, but developing "callouses" (?) (learning a new word here!) isn't suffering or an ergonomically hasard. It's just a part of becoming a bassplayer. And neither is it a subject to gender issues! If you like the sound of steel, go with steel. You'll adapt to them (I know, coz I played Roto's for the first 10 years of my basslife).

    So people, get your priority right! ;)
  18. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I've found that some string brands last longer than others regardless of what they are made of. One theory that kept popping up as I was asking around it that it depends on the shape of the core. Apparantly a hexagonal core will go off quicker because the air pockets between the core and winding are a perfect place for sweat and dirt to settle.

    It may seem like a scientific explaination but the results aren't as clear cut. I use Ernie Ball because I believe they last longer, but I know people who say the exact opposite. The same results abound for other brands.

    Back on topic. I'm about to give Steel another try. I tried them many years ago but have completely forgotten how they sound and feel. I say you should try them out and let your own ears/hands decide.
  19. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i change string types like underwear - i just can't decide which one's to use :eek:

    ooopss! that was just a little too much wasn't it..
  20. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Not at all. I always have clean strings! :rolleyes:

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