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Stainless or Nickel

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Bassfrog, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. Bassfrog


    Jun 2, 2002
    What's the best choice of strings when you're playing different styles in different settings. Nickel or stainless? I always have used nickel but I understood that stainless gives you a more bright and punchy sound?
  2. i'm 100 % stainless user :)

    They don't feel as smooth as nickels, and have a little less tension ( mostly )..

    i've always experienced that stainless strings have more defined sound.. good lows, very strong mids and snappy highs. perfect for fingerstyle and slapping imo..

    Personally i totally prefer Richard Cocco stainless strings, coz they feel smooth as nickels, but provide the sound of stainless ones.
  3. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've tried both and I prefer stainless steel particularly because of their high end. I find that string tension varies between brands. I like strings with a moderate amount of tension so that I can get a tight articulate sound. I use MTD, DRs, and GHS, depending on which bass I'm playing.
  4. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Be aware that stainless rounds are absolutely murder on your frets.

    A number of techs have commented on this and sure enough, they're right.
  5. so ? put new frets on and rock-on ! :D
  6. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've been playing bass for 31 years, and I played professionally 6 nights a week for over a decade. Yes, I know their hard on your frets, but I prefer the sound of stainless steel roundwounds. I've never had to refret a bass yet (although I see some grooves in my frets). Granted that's my preference, I still respect those that go for nickel round wounds or even flatwounds.

    I finally bought "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" book and CD from Amazon for $25. you gotta check out the analysis of what James Jamerson did with dead flatwounds (he did say he'd leave the strings on for years)! Absolutely awesome. He's a God.
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Ditto, I've never found nickels I like.

    And stainless steels are not that much harder on the frets, I had to redress the frets on my bass once in almost 10 years. That's no valid reason to shy away from using them.

    Most nickels are nickel-coated stainless steels btw.
  8. Bassfrog


    Jun 2, 2002
    Hi guys,

    Thanx for your replies. Last time I ordered strings I tried D'addario nickel XL, therefore I tried Rotosounds stainless. Altough I like nickel when they're new, I 've got the idea that they sound dead after a few gigs. Is this a wrong idea or am I right? I am not sure but it look like stainless keeps a longer lifetime. I usually play rock and popsongs. And I'll keep my strings in a good and healthy condition with a cloth and fastfret of GHS.
  9. ARGH !

    fastfret.. the stringkiller.. no wonder your strings sound dead after few gigs :)

    my advise.. drop the fastfret and use a piece of cloth ! :)
  10. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Unfortunately, the bass I started noticing the fretwear on was my otherwise very nice 1963 Thunderbird II.

    You don't refret something like that.

    I imagine I'll go to flats on that one. I don't like twang anyway. I have a big stock of stainless steel rounds that I suppose I'll dump on EBay.
  11. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    A redress usually is sufficient, if the frets are not too low or worn.
  12. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I only use nickels on my Pentabuzz. I've never used them otherwise. It's only because anything else would screw up the epoxy finish and sound like gnats.

    I haven;t played the Pedulla for long. I may go to flats down the road, but I'm not sure if that will be any time soon.
  13. Hey ArendJan!

    This is really funny! I am from Zwijndrecht, Netherlands too! Unbelievable! Such a small town in such a small country...... I like nickelwounds very much because of their musical sound but they DO die very quick. D'Addario XL's also have high tension. R Coco (stainless) strings are indeed very fine. They make my Stingray 5 sound very "natural".

    Groeten, Werner
    (Ik zou willen dat je in Walburg snaren kon scoren, haha).
  14. Hey man.. will you marry me ? :D

    Cocco's are tha BOMBA !!!
  15. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I tend to string to match the character of the bass. Many basses sing with stainless. Others, it's nothing but nickel.

    All things being equal, perhaps steele would be harder on the frets, but fret wear has much more to do with setup, technique and playing style. And of course, the quality of the fret wire.

    I have used stainless strings on many basses. Some of which I played everyday for several years with no noticable fret wear.


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