Speaking of 35-95 bass strings...why are they all steel and not nickel?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JimmyM, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Is there something inherent in the design of nickel strings that doesn't allow manufacturers to make sets in the crazy light gauges that you can get steels like 35-95 or 30-90? I see nickel 30 gauge strings all over the place but only as a C in 6 string sets.

    Now I get why a lot of manufacturers don't want to make sets in those gauges because there's not a lot of demand for them, but some manufacturers do make them so someone must be buying them. I just want to know if there's a metallurgic reason they're not made in nickel or just a general lack of demand.
  2. BLDavis

    BLDavis May the Tort be with you.

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    My guess would be lack of demand. I like lighter gauges too but 40-95 is usually about as low as can be commonly found in 4-string sets. And even then I have to hunt for them. Especially in flats. 45-105 seems to be the de-facto norm so that's what manufacturers make the most of.
    There might be a physical reason having to do with metallurgy, but I don't know enough about that to say for sure.
    JimmyM likes this.
  3. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Eventide, GHS Strings, G&L Guitars, NS Design, Tsunami Cables
    It's demand, plain and simple.

    Material has absolutely nothing to do with it. Most nickel (read: nickel-plated steel) strings use an NPS with 8% nickel plating over steel as the FINAL cover only, with a couple companies using a 2% nickel plating.

    That said, I'm sure Jason at Fret Nation would be able to put together a 30-90 nickel set from nearly any company, provided they have the available singles.

    45-105 outsells nearly everything else in a 10:1 ratio, and that's probably a conservative estimate.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Being that they make nickel guitar strings, which are much smaller, I can't imagine there being any reason that has anything to do with the manufacturing process.
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  5. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    I'll refer you to this e-convo we had:
    Strings that sound and feel like Dunlop Super Bright Nickels
    Warwick Red Label Nickel Plated Steel 4 String Set 035

    The 30-90 set (pt. no. 46220 L 4) exists,
    and might be orderable from the Framus/Warwick USA shop.
    spatters and JimmyM like this.
  6. Tom Bomb

    Tom Bomb Hypocognitive

    Apr 23, 2014

    Never fear. Man of Steel sounds so much better than Man of Nickel, anyway ;)

    Stick to your guns, Jimmy. It's good to see, you do have the option — learning as I go :ninja: That's rewarding :) I just may go this way, one day, just for fun. Never know until you go. Always on the look out for an advantage :ninja:
    EatS1stBassist and JimmyM like this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i use 30-90 rounds. some are steel (rotos, DR high beams), some are nickel-plated (ghs boomers). i also use TI jazz rounds (43-89) and they're "pure nickel."

    per the OP: my own choice of string sets would seem to work against the idea of "metallurgic" limitations...must be "demand."
    starKee likes this.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    How did I miss those? Boomers are nickel over steel...could have sworn I checked their website.

    To everyone else, thx for the answers...I had a feeling it was lack of demand, but just wasn't sure since it seemed you could only get them in steel, except for Boomers :D
    Real Soon and tbz like this.
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  10. EatS1stBassist

    EatS1stBassist In Memoriam

    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    Man of Nickel! Too funny!!:laugh:
    JimmyM likes this.
  11. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
  12. Ks68jazz


    Jan 31, 2014
    I have both the Boomers and Roto's ( Funkmasters). I prefer the feel and sound of the Boomers.
    JimmyM likes this.
  13. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    It's not metallurgy, it's market demand. If you want a bass set that light, you're not looking for the warmth of nickel-steel. You want zing, and all-stainless is zingy.
    SasquatchDude and JimmyM like this.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Stringjoy down in Nashville TN makes nickel rounds from .025 to .145

    I’ve used their strings in the past for custom sets and I’ve always been happy with their tone and quality.

    Here’s a factory visit video by Dylan Talks Tone where the founder gets into their history and manufacturing process. It’s an interesting and informative half hour:

    Obligatory disclaimer: I’ve got zero affiliation. I'm just a happy customer.
    Funky40, spatters and JimmyM like this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    In some cases I’m sure this is true. In my case it’s not.
  16. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Fodera, Rotosound, D'addario, TI, GHS, all make nickels with 35-95 gauges. Your question doesn't make sense to me. 30-90 I've only seen from Rotosound so I wouldn't use that one example as gospel.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Well I'll tell you...maybe I didn't exhaust every single website in the world, but wherever I looked last night, including certain manufacturer websites, 35-95's or 35-90 sets were barely listed, and I couldn't find any that were nickel plated. So maybe my Google Fu isn't as Googly as it used to be.

    Anyway, thx for setting me on the good foot, folks. Still not decided if I want to try them because of how much work it can be setting up a bass when you're comfortable with it as it is, and then if I like them I'll have to re-setup 6 basses, a couple of which are very hard to do because of their Kahler bridges. But it won't be the first time I've done it, and I've got the leftover unused sets to prove it. Did try a set of Pro Steels in those approx gauges when I had only one bass to worry about, but while I loved the thinness, I wasn't a fan of the tone. Nickels have always been my jam for rounds.
    Bass4Brkfast, Ks68jazz and matante like this.
  18. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    For what it's worth, when I tried the Funk Masters i adjusted right away and did clean recording takes the same day, but i never liked the G. I think it's truly a slapping set and I don't slap, I pick.
    JimmyM likes this.