1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Nickel Allergy

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Dantreige, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    I was wondering if anyone other then myself has an allergy to nickel and is forced into using stainless steel strings?

    I had been playing for five years (now at twenty+) before I realized what was causing my hands to breakout in a nasty dermititis. My fingers iched like mad and often would crack and bleed. I had taken a six month break from playing when I realized that it was my bass strings that were causing the problems. Luckily, I found some stainless steel strings and they seamed to solve the problem.

    I can't play around with too many basses at the music store for this reason. Most seam to be strung with cheap nickel rounds. Even playing my friends guitar for short periods will give me a rash the next day. (Just annoying iching, not full blown bleeding.)

    It has made string choices a real pain in the butt.

    I am looking for a set of flats right now that I can use. I was thinking Chromes, but I need to research if there is any nickel in those.

    Anyone else has this problem?
  2. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    I have the same problem and the same problem within your problem. I'm also looking for nickel-free flats. There are nylons, I heard... Not sure...

    What I do know is that chrome is rarely an allergen, but some people are allergic to chrome salts which shouldn't affect you with chrome-nickel-free strings.

    I would also like to know if strings like D'Addrio Flatwound Chromes have any nickel in them.
  3. jgroh


    Sep 14, 2007
    I have a really sensitive nickel allergy too. I cant wear belt buckles, certain watch straps, jewelry, or anything with nickel or I break out in minutes. I usually use stainless steel strings so I havent had that issue, but I do have a couple of sets of Chromes that I throw on occasionally and didnt have a problem.
  4. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Doesn't someone make a set of flats with a black coating on them? DR maybe?

    And no, I'm not talking about tapewounds.
  5. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Me too...I use Rotos....
    .For flats..Fender SS flats.......good sound!
  6. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Have you tried putting superglue on your fingers? It's like protection + instant callous.
  7. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    Super Glue? Haha, never heard of that.

    It will not work. The problem comes when you sweat and the nickle or salts from the metal mix with that sweat. I never have problems on the very tips of my fingers. Probably because of heavy calluses. It happens between the fingers and on the sides and palms if it gets really bad.

    Good to know that the Chromes do not cause problems. I think I'll give them a try.
  8. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    There are not many nickel flats at all. As far as I know, there are only 2 brands: TI and Pyramid. Zeta used to have a nickel set made for their Crossover bass, but I don't think those are available anymore. So, any flats other than TI and Pyramid should be fine.
  9. My skin is very sensitive when it comes to allergy, actually. when I was a kid the skin on my hands would pretty much vanish if I touched the inumerous things I react to. I can tell you that having 20% of your hands in bare flesh isn't nice at all. so when I started playing bass 3 years ago I was a it afraid of the nickel in the strings (i had to put clear nail polish on the back of my watches or my wrists would get a rash in a 10 seconds flat). surprisingly, strings never did anything to my fingers. when I started, the skin on the tip of my fingers got really worn out and sensitive, but thats just normal for beginners.
  10. jgroh


    Sep 14, 2007
    Im the same way, Ive done the nail polish thing on everything...watches, belt buckles, glasses, you name it. And during the winter when I was younger I played basketball, there was something from the balls that I was allergic to and I literally had no fingerprints! The skin was so messed up that it was completely smooth, I used to say that if I was going to pull off a jewelry heist I would get away with it lol Ive outgrown it but playing bass back then was painful.
  11. I have a nickel allergy (can't wear certain belts, or else my stomach will break out), but I've never had any problems with nickel strings, though I do prefer SS anyway.
  12. I have a nickel allergy, but not as severe as yours. I use nickel strings and chromes and haven't suffered any adverse affects. My hands also don't sweat very heavily though.
  13. mremic01


    Nov 29, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I've met guitarists with this problem. They use the color coated DR strings and it seems to work for them.
  14. I have the opposite problem. Due to some component in my sweat, stainless steel strings die really quickly on me. Not a health problem, but I was changing strings every 3 - 4 gigs until I bought a cheap set of Vinci nickel rounds. Solved the problem right away. I've been using DR Sunbeams since the week they came out.
  15. Brent Hahn

    Brent Hahn

    Jul 25, 2009
    I have it, but it shows up in the corners of my eyes and on one side of my neck, not on my hands. The dermatologist who diagnosed it gave me some nasty cortisone cream which worked pretty well on the belt buckle rash, but the eye and neck stuff were very stubborn.

    My wife had been seeing an acupuncturist, and on a whim I let him take a crack at it. When I explained my situation, he stopped and thought for a moment, and then said... "Don't touch nickel." But three treatments later... all gone!

    Every once in a while it starts to sneak back again, so I go for an acupuncture "booster." But for the most part, as long as I scrub my hands really well after I play (or handle suspicious metal), I'm fine.

    I'm in LA, and the acupuncturist is in Hacienda Heights. If you want his info, email me at brent at radioactive dot la.
  16. Cameronj279


    Sep 25, 2010
    i have the allergy to nickel (this was discovered about 5 years ago when i got a piercing done that got rather badly infected) but i've never had a problem with using nickel bass strings......admitidly i'm actually not sure if my strings are stainless steel or nickel (second hand bass and not replaced strings yet) but i've never had the problem that you're explaining.
  17. elarsen797


    Dec 30, 2010
    I also have nickel allergy. I even have trouble with certain stainless strings (stainless usually has nickel in it, the nickel is just tightly bound by the steel atoms). I sweat and it causes a problem so I dry my hands a lot. Does anyone know of a titanium string maker?

    You can learn a lot about nickel allergy at www.nickelfreelife.com. they have a lot of information and I buy my belts there :)
  18. M5Yates


    Feb 7, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Have any of you tried the gold coated Optima strings?
    They make flats and rounds.

  19. Simply do not use nickel plated strings. Your options are:
    1. Stainless steel rounds or flats.
    2. Coated strings.
    Be sure to check the packaging before buying. I wish you well in your search.
  20. allergy is a process due to stress...a very complex problem...i had this problem several years ago....back in 1989...solved with nylon tapewouns...crhome flats are also a good choice...both are great strings.
    anyway, these days i play nickels without allergy. it´s all about phisical and mind balance.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.