String materials

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by SlowRiot, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. SlowRiot


    Jan 5, 2002
    I havent had much experience with different strings - i've had the same set of nickel strings for as long as i can remember. I bought those cos i heard someone say they were better than steel. Can someone tell me the differences between the different string materials you can get? Not just "which is best" but what difference it actually makes. What do you use and why?
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yeah, there is no "best." Your choice is dictated by your needs and your taste. So, whomever said "nickel are better than steel" was really just saying that's what's better FOR THEM.....(they probably also think all blondes are hotter than brunettes, too! :D ).

    Nickel is probably the most common type. Actually, the windings and core on nickel strings is steel. But that steel is nickel-plated to prevent oxidation, and it makes for a softer feeling coating, and softens the tone. They sound "darker" although the wrap can be over-tensioned to make them sound brighter.

    Stainless steels, (my preference), are brighter, edgier, and sound more "biting." Stainless steel roundwounds are harder on your fingers, your frets, and produce more finger noise as your fingers glide over them.
    But for brilliance and glassy-clear highs and lows, there is no substitute. Over time, their brilliant tones and piano string-like "zing" tames down and they sound more like nickels.
    I use them because I sometimes need a tone that cuts like a knife through the mid-range sludge of a guitarist using a Les Paul through a Marshall.

    I would strongly encourage you to try both types. It shouldn't break the bank and experiencing both types is valuable.
  3. Pharmecopia


    Jul 31, 2002
    what are GHS Bass boomers, nickel or steel? cause i like the feel of those, but then again i like the feel of warwicks strings too, and theyre stainless steel arent they? (red and black label) :)
  4. SlowRiot


    Jan 5, 2002
    thanks rickbass, very informative post :)
  5. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Accordin' to the website (, Boomers are
    Nickel-plated Steel.
    You are correct sir! :p Again, goin' by their website - - red and
    black label are stainless steel, yellow label are nickel plated.