Nickel allergy?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Dredmahawkus, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    Whenever I use my basses with nickel or superalloy I can feel them start to get itchy/swollen feeling on my fretting hand not really my picking hand.....then after an hour they hurt and really sore and cant play for a day or 2.....whenever I use my bass with chromes or labella flats they dont hurt at all. I mean even after playing 10 minutes I can start to feel them getting aggravated! Am I allergic to nickel? and if so whats the warmest round steel string can I use? I have sadowsky blue nickels on my EBMM sterling classic and love the tone! But I can only play it for an hour before it knocks me out of commission! Someone please recommend me a warm steel round. for my sterling.
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    People do have allergies to nickel. I stopped wearing a wedding ring because of it. A friend of mine who is a jeweler told me that most gold rings have contain amounts of nickel. Whenever I wore my ring, my skin would break out around my ring, middle finger and pinky. I never really had a problem playing nickel strings though due to the fact that the nickel wasn't in contact with my skin 24 hours per day.

    Try Ernie Ball Cobalt strings. I just bought a set and love them. They are the best sounding string I have ever played. More output and response than nickel and stainless. Very equal tone and volume on all strings. Nice tight, punchy sound. Plenty of low end and just enough mids and highs to cut through.
  3. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    Yeah I had those on this sterling for 6 months before I just put these sadowskys on. I liked the cobalts a lot....but some reason I really like the tone of these blues....I should probably go back to the cobalts....I dont remember them ever hurting my fingers. If I remember right I think my low E died on the cobalts...but they were on here quite a while.
    I am on vacation this maybe I will go down to GC and pick up a set.
  4. Any kind of coated string like Elixers or tapewounds will be your best bet. Some stainless strings will work depending on how much nickel is in the makeup of the string.
  5. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    I am pretty sure Infeld superalloys have a lot of nickel in them they make my fingers hurt almost as much as the nickel sadowskys. labella flats and chromes must have a ton of steel my fingers never hurt with them.

    what about DR lo rider steels? are they warm?
  6. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    Cobalts are nickel iron and cobalt alloy. No good for anyone with a nickel allergy.

    You need straight up stainless steel strings.

    You may also want to look into the frets on your bass to make sure they are stainless and not nickel.

    If you want a warm stainless string...

    Dr fat beams
    La Bella deep talkin quarter rounds
    Rotosound solobass 55

    Or some kind of stainless flat wound
  7. markanini


    Jun 25, 2008
    How about Fodera. Very warm for stainless rounds IME.
  8. GK Growl

    GK Growl Inactive

    Dec 31, 2011
    To the OP, nickel allergy certainly sucks. Stainless steel strings still contain some nickel usually but it is bound up so tight in the alloy that the majority of nickel allergy sufferers do not have reactions. My symptoms are mild/moderate with nickel strings but more severe with belt buckles, watches, jewelry, etc. So fortunately I have no reaction to the frets on my bass. I'd be a little wary of coated nickel strings as well because eventually you will expose the metal and may have a reaction.
  9. sonofabass


    Feb 10, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    I recently discovered that I have an nickel allergy and have been playing through the same swollen, itchy fingers for about a year.

    The itching at night caused me to scratch so furiously that I have nearly broken my pinky on two occasions. Yup, that bad. I'd post a pic but its pretty gross. Raw fingers.

    Doc had me use some ointment an rock cotton gloves for a few days. Made a world of difference. Needless to say I'm trying steel strings now in addition to coated strings. I played some cleartones that are nickel BUT coated. Felt and sounded good with no reaction.

    It's a dilemma. Good luck.
  10. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I don't have an allergy, but my perspiration does corrode nickel. So I have the situation in reverse. I can't use conventional nickel plated rounds because they go dead after one gig and don't feel good. I also recommend either stainless rounds, or chrome flats, or tape wounds.

    I can only say that the strings that have lasted the longest for me are the new Fender 9050CL flats. That means something in their alloy is less reactive to me. That's the whole point: get something that is less reactive. So that is a set I would definitely recommend to try.
  11. PbudderD


    Mar 11, 2014
    I also have nickel allergy. It is a total pain. I only buy from clothiers that make them with nickel free findings (i.e. Levi's), I only wear sterling silver jewelry, I buy my belt buckles from, and watch what I eat (there is nickel in certain foods!). On the belt website they have a blog that talks about something you eat that will slowly desensitize you from the affects of nickel allergy. The blog link is in the footer for some reason, so easy to miss, but I am going to give it a try. I'll post about if it works or not.
  12. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    I has initially assumed nickel allergy is a 'you have it or you don't have it' thing, but discovered it can be acquired through contact, take note!, anyone with the slightest hint of a problem should avoid at all costs, even then it may be too late. So now i avoid nickelplated strings and even refret my basses to EVO nickel free frets.