Nickel allergy dilemma

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by thenothing, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. It turns out I have a severe allergy to nickel. It could have saved me a lot of pain (and swelling) if I'd known that about 15 years ago. Oh well :meh:

    I much prefer the tone of my old nickels, especially after they've been worn in after two or three weeks. Since switching to stainless (recently using DR hi-beams), my hands feel awesome, but those extra harmonics from the new string twang, for lack of a better term, seems nigh permanent. They just never feel like they break in.

    I guess my question is, before I spend hundreds of dollars testing everything there is on the market, I'm curious which stainless strings others may have tried that sounded closest to their beloved nickels.
  2. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    If you like the feel of Hi-Beams, you may want to take a look at Fat-Beams... They sound a bit darker than Hi-Beams...

    Of course there are many other stainless steel strings to try out.

    What were your old nickels that you want to attempt to get a sound similar to?
  3. One of the brighter SS Flats might fit your sound. TI Jazz Flats (rather low tension though) or Chromes?
  4. Craig_S

    Craig_S Inactive

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Fat Beams are great sounding strings. I'm a long time nickel player and I like them a lot.
  5. Are made of nickel IIRC.
  6. Your options are limited. Besides stainless, you might try nickel strings that are coated, but remember when the coating comes off you are back to square one. Tapewounds are another possibility, but they do not sound exactly like a nickel round either. Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.
  7. Usually DR Sunbeams or Nickel Lo-Riders and GHS were my go-to's. I don't expect anything else to sound exactly the same but it feels like there's a certain lack of warmth coming from these stainless that no amount of EQ tweaking has been able to reproduce.

    There's an interesting suggestion that hadn't occurred to me :cool: I'm not sure if ti jazz flats or chromes are stainless. They aren't advertised as such so I'm assuming they're probably nickel. Has anyone happened to have tried GHS or La Bella stainless flats for comparison?

    Either way, I appreciate the input. Thanks again :D
  8. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    Well, it is going to be hard to get that Nickel warmth out of Stainless strings...

    T-I Jazz Flats are Nickel ... Thats a no no...

    Stainless Flats:
    DR Hi-Beam Flats
    GHS Precision Flats
    LaBella Deep Talkin'

    I am pretty sure Sadowsky Flats are Stainless Steel though it does not say it on the packaging...

    Not sure about chromes, it doesnt say it on the packaging...

    Ernieball say "Chrome plated Steel"... not sure if there is any nickel in "chrome"

    A middle of the road string may be Rotosound SoloBass 55's... They are Stainless Steel Pressure Wounds... So some of that round wound stainless steel bite is rolled off...

    Also LaBella Deep Talkin' Quarter Rounds... Stainless steel and not completely Half Round, but 1/4 of the outer windings are machined off... This gets rid of that stainless steel edge as well...
  9. AmadeusXeno


    Mar 8, 2011
    Maybe the DR color coated strings might help. They are basically just a coated highbeam string, but the coating does have an affect on the strings tone. The best part with them is if you like their tone out of the box it stays that way for quite a while. They kinda sound like highbeams that have been played for a month.
  10. RedsFan75


    Apr 26, 2007
    I'm there with you, Nickel allergy, so here's what I've gone through and found.

    Rounds - I've not tried as many rounds as I have flats, but the ones I like the most are the DR Fatbeams. They have that darker sound, but they are still much brighter than most nickels. However I do like them a lot.

    Flats I've tried all the ones SLaPiNFuNK mentioned

    I like them all, and it's really a toss up as to which one I like best. I've got LaBella flats on my P bass right now, because I love that deep fundamental they provide. I think they are some of the warmer ones out there in the stainless. For a Jazz style I really like the GHS but the DR's were really good too. both sounded very nice and I'd have no problem using either.

    I've been a big DR fan, but I'm starting to be a big LaBella fan too.
  11. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    They are coated more like coated "SUNBEAMS" (Nickel Plated Steel over Round Core).

    So this is Not a good idea for someone with a nickel allergy I am afraid...

    This goes for all the K3 Coated DR Strings... (Neon's, Black Beauty, Red Devils, Cool Blues, and Silver Stars).

    However, The Black Beauty Taper Core Low-B's are Stainless Steel over Hex Core (Like Long Necks). But that is only one string so that doesnt help us any here... :-/
  12. TIJFs are nickle. I apologize for my mistake, especially so given the allergy!!
  13. You are correct & I am wrong. TIJFs = nickle.
  14. I have tried a lot of strings including Sunbeams and Nickel Lo-Riders. In my opinion La Bella Deep Talkin' ROUNDS are the SS equivalent of Sunbeams and La Bella Hard Rockin' Steels are the SS equivalent of the nickel Lo-Riders.

    The DTRs are a little mellower and less aggressive in the low mids than the HRS but both sets have a subdued high end. They both start a little bright fresh out of the pack but it does not take long for them to settle into a nice warm tone and they last a really long time.
  15. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Out of curiosity, do you have any piercings? I'm a biomaterials scientist in my daytime life and most nickel allergies arise in patients after exposure to studs on pierced jewelry. For years, nickel allergies were *much* more common in women than in men since few men had piercings. Anyone have a nickel allergy and no piercings?

    Also...nickel is a very common component of stainless steels.
  16. RedsFan75


    Apr 26, 2007
    I have a nickel allergy and no piercings.
  17. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Try DR black beauties. They are coated hi-beams and have a lot less twang.
  18. no piercings other than an ear lobe (standard) which was taken out after the 6 week healing period.

    but i have had nickel allergies since before the ear piercing.

    as to strings, i prefer the tone from steels so i am lucky in that. i love status graphites hot wire strings and warwicks steel strings (warwicks with taperd B are great for 34" 5 ers that can tend to get muddy..... you know the cheaper ones :))
  19. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    DR Black Beauties and all K3 Coated DR Strings (Silver Stars, Black Beauties, Red Devils, Cool Blue, NEON's) are all NICKEL PLATED STEEL on Round Cores.

    However, DR Black Beauties Tapered B strings are Stainless Steel coated on Hex Cores...

    Bootzilla's are DR's only Stainless Steel Coated string.

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