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nickel or stainless, What's the big deal?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Manfred_Bass, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. Manfred_Bass


    Mar 16, 2005
    ponce, PR
    nickel or stainless, What's the big deal? I prefer nickels, because they feel just right in my fingers.
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    nickel rounds feel slimey and sound dead to me. With rounds I've got to have that bright crunch of stainless.

    flats. I prefer nickel though.
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Roundwound nickels lose their tone faster than steels. D'addario XLs, for instance, sound incredibly good when fresh, but not for so long. I use LaBella Hard Rockin' Steels, which are the best strings I can find here, although I bought a set of DR Hi Beams once through JustStrings.com and I must say that those are the best strings I've had in my life. It's a shame that shipping and customs make me think twice about getting more sets.

    About nickels feeling easier in the fingers... that's true, but in my case there's no much difference between them since I'm learning to slap in my double bass with steel strings (started like one week ago). That's the real treatment for your plucking hand's fingertips, man. Mine are on fire right now! :(
  4. steels are much better than nickles in my opinion.

    when i went from ernie ball (nickle)


    DR lo-riders (stainless steel) the sound was so much better.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I don't like the sound of nickels at all. And my body chemistry makes them corrode quickly. The longest I have had an uncoated set last is a couple of weeks.

    I like a very bright tone, so stainless steels are for me. And my body chemistry has little or no impact on them. Out of good brands(DR, Dean Markley, etc) I usually get 3 or 4 months of use before they need soaking or replacing.
  6. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I am in James's Camp- Rounds have to be Stainless, flats are nickel. It is Zing versus Thump. Fretted and fretless, respectively.
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I made that switch on my Sterling as well. When i got it, it had ernie balls on. The sound was a little lacking in definition and punch. I put dr lo riders, stainless, on and love em.
  8. bluemonk


    Dec 17, 2002
    Steels are much brighter and sustain longer. They have a more pronounced attack.
    Many people find them to be rough on the fingers, though (probably esp. the flats, since the friction contact between string and finger is higher).

    Nickels are smoother sounding, warmer sounding and sustain less.
    Most people find them to be very easy on the fingers. Nickel flats are a necessity for older soul/motown and even older jazz sound. They thump.

    It really depend on what sound you want.
  9. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    It's personal preference really. I'm a big fan of nickels, I find they have that fat, warm tone, but still with enough snap for slap and I don't have any problem cutting through the mix. I find stainless strings have a brighter but thinner sound.

    In my experience nickels are much more consistent too, I've had my Elite Nickel roundwounds on for over a year (with an average of about two hours playing every day). Only now am I thinking about replacing them whereas in the past stainless strings have pretty much died after a couple of months...