stainless vs nickel

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Flounder102Bass, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. Flounder102Bass


    Jul 6, 2008
    i dont know how to tell the sound between stainless or nickel can you help me out :help:
  2. Stainless steel strings are the brightest. They have a lot of highs and upper mids.

    Nickel strings are "darker" sounding and sometimes have higher output (I think). They don't sound dead though. It's more like the "zing" of the high overtones is tuned to a lower frequency range.

    So if you are going for an ultra-bright sound, you will probably prefer stainless steel strings, but if you like a more traditional tone, nickel may be better for you.

    Personally, I love the DR "SunBeams" nickel roundwound strings.
  3. 4-string


    Jul 23, 2006
    To really generalize; to my ear and IME, nickels are just as bright and zingy treble wise, but ss usually have stronger mids/hi mids. Just my $0.02.
  4. I like to think that the SS strings give a bass a more modern tone where a set of nickels would be more for a vintage sound. That also depends on your pickups and preamp but it's a general idea.
  5. Flounder102Bass


    Jul 6, 2008
    i know what your saying but truly im looking for somthing warm i can get
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    For me, it's about 'feel'-
    SS strings feel "sticky" to my touch.
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I've noticed this also, though some SS strings are slicker and less sticky than others. I've always preferred nickel and nickelplated steel, but on some basses that I've owned steel works better.

    I prefer nickels and nickelplated rounds personally. FWIW from a raw materials stantpoint, the difference between good and better stainless steel is nickel content, and as far as raw materials are concerned nickel is substantially more expensive and/or precious than stainless steel.
  8. heinpete


    Apr 9, 2008
    Hesse, Germany
    One difference I found out is that nickels don't grind the frets as much as the steels do!
  9. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Nickle for me.

    Stainless steel strings seem a little "over the top" in the brightness department, with a slightly "harsher, in your face" tone and dont feel as comfortable under the fingers.

    I'll use them in a pinch though. Alot of folks swear by them.

    Try lots of different strings. You'll be amazed at how different types of strings and brands will make your bass sound.
  10. ganga


    Jul 14, 2005
    Nickels all the way baby. :) I can especially recommend DR sunbeams.

    The thing about nickel strings should increase the output, is there any truth to this? I've seen manufacturers say this.

    For great feel and tone, nickel is my choice.
  11. phunku


    Jan 9, 2008
    London, England
    try rotosound Swing bass, they never feel sticky

    also, ive had them on my bass 4 3 months now, still damm brighT!!
  12. phunku


    Jan 9, 2008
    London, England

    If u want seriously warm, get yourself some flatwounds, or better yet Tru BAss roto's. they feel super slick!
  13. funkboy5

    funkboy5 19mm + 35" = :-) Bass'd on a true story

    Jan 4, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    I love stainless steels and use Carvin strings and they are reasonably priced. Only downfall is you have order'em on line unless live in Cali and have a Carvin store in your area. Three 5 string sets will run you about $47 bucks but they're worth it. That's about $15.66 per pack. You can't beat that. I also like Zon stainless steels if you can't find'em you can order direct from Zon Good luck.
  14. Flounder102Bass


    Jul 6, 2008
    so flatwounds are the ones to get the nice warm tone. just to know i got a Fender P Bass USA Made and Flatwounds will be good for them Right.
  15. Nikoubis


    May 3, 2007
    Athens, Greece
    And neither does a chainsaw. Both will have roughly the same effect on your hands and frets/fingerboard... :D
  16. @ Flounder - P bass + Flats = :cool: Classic, fat, traditional tone.

    I also prefer nickels, both tonally and in feel. They are a little less bright straight out of the packet than stainless steel, but after a few hours playing the difference is negligible. Plus they wear frets and boards a whole lot less than steels.
  17. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    For those of us whose sweat is so acidic that it completely wastes SS strings in about two days, nickel is the only strings to use.
  18. yes, it's all about the feel... nickel rounds 'feel' slimy to me.

    Nickels always sound / feel dead to me coming out of the package... Stainless rounds just have the 'tone' I'm after.
  19. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    I guess using them on a fretless is out
  20. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Not necessarily. I play steel strings on a fretless, and they're working out great. But they're not Rotosounds - they're DR Fatbeams - compression-wound for a smoother surface than Rotosounds. And my bass has an ebony board that's been epoxied, so the surface is very hard and durable.

    Even so, I could use Rotos if I really wanted - with minimal wear of the board. As far as finger abrasion is concerned, you adjust. If I was playing Rotosounds, I'd have calluses on my fingertips by now. As it is, I haven't had calluses in years. My strings don't cause 'em, and my technique doesn't make 'em necessary...

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