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Strings to Replace Sadowsky Blue Labels

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bigjames, Sep 22, 2020.


  1. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Jan 25, 2005
    Burnaby, Canada
    Hey all,

    I have been a devoted user of Sadowsky Blue Label SS strings on my Sadowsky NYC 5 since I bought it in 2012. Earlier this year, I wanted to try the nickel version to see how they sounded. As near as I can tell, Warwick is now solely distributing Sadowsky strings and the only place I can seem to order them is ridiculously expensive in my opinion ($90 CAD for one set including shipping)

    So, my question is, does anyone have a suggestion for a string I might try that has a similar fit, feel, tension, and tone to the Sadowsky Blue Label strings? I am thinking nickel this time as I think I will prefer the warmer tone and don't do much slapping. Any NYC users that have swapped for something and swear by it?
     
  2. If I were you, I would get in touch with Jason at Fret Nation by email, [email protected], and ask him what he might be able to do for you. He's always been very good to deal with for flexible pricing for me as a Canadian to offset the added cost of international shipping.

    Sadowsky Blue Label Nickel Bass Strings Sets
     
    tindrum, Arthur U. Poon and bigjames like this.
  3. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Jan 25, 2005
    Burnaby, Canada
    This worked like a charm...I actually just paid the rate on the website as it seemed far more reasonable to me than the Warwick option. Thanks!
     
    tindrum likes this.
  4. ShawnG

    ShawnG Supporting Member

    May 2, 2020
    Ft Worth, TX
    Plz report back with your thoughts on the Blue Nickel Rounds! Thx
     
    bigjames likes this.
  5. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Jan 25, 2005
    Burnaby, Canada
    First off, the nickel vs stainless debate is quite literally part of TalkBass legend. Here is one of numerous threads on the topic for anyone interested: Nickel vs stainless and Stainless Steel vs. Nickel Plated Steel – Sound Demo

    I got my @Sado Sadowsky Blue Label Bright Nickel Rounds (SBN45B-Blue 45-65-85-105-130T) in my hands today. These are the same "line" (Blue Label) and gauge that came stock on my Sadowsky NYC PJ. First impressions: I cannot recall how old the stainless set on my bass were...I would guess at least 1 year, maybe older...but these Nickel strings are much brighter visually and the wrapping on the string is royal blue (compared to the navy blue wrap on the stainless strings). Maybe this is standard, but it looks awesome on my roasted maple headstock. :)

    Before I swapped them, I played a little on the stainless so the feel and sound would be fresh in my mind. One of the reasons I wanted to try the nickels is that it seemed to me that the E string was a little thin (sonically) compared to the other strings and I hoped that the different ferrous properties of nickel would change that.

    Installed, tuned up. As literally everyone before me as said, the nickel strings are slightly warmer and I would suggest the low end sounds fuller or maybe rounder is more accurate. I played through a few different warm up exercises.

    SOUND: Warmer as I said, but they are easily as bright and crisp sounding as any new string I have played. The top end sounds different than the stainless; very clear and more bell or piano like to my ear. I tried some harmonics (Wooten's Amazing Grace). Though perhaps not as piercing as the stainless (I really need to clone my bass to do this properly), but certainly clear and again, bell-like. The "thinness" I mentioned in the E string was definitely reduced, especially on the 3rd and 5th fret.

    FEEL: There is some debate as to whether nickel stings have more tension than stainless if you are interested in digging in; related to the higher mass of the winding forcing a tighter core tension to produce the right notes. The science makes sense to me, but I am not noticing this so far. I did not have to adjust my truss rod or string height and it feels the same as usual. The strings do feel smoother...which again has been endlessly debated in other threads and has been attributed to the nickel coating on the string which is smoother than the exposed stainless steel on a stainless set. All of that aside, they had the same "finger noise" that I attribute to new strings and that lessens with use.

    Overall, I like these strings so far. I have a gig on Sunday and will put them to the test. Same venue I have played countless times over the last 3 plus years (no amp, bass to pitchblack tuner to radial bassbone to PA). I will update this "review" after the gig when I have 1) feedback from the band, 2) feedback from the engineer, and 3) a YouTube livestream to watch later.

    If you are interested in more info on this topic, use the search. There are some very entertaining reads in there.
     
    bassclef04 likes this.
  6. ShawnG

    ShawnG Supporting Member

    May 2, 2020
    Ft Worth, TX
    Excellent review. Thanks!
    SPG
     
    bigjames likes this.
  7. Dave rosener

    Dave rosener

    May 7, 2017
    Thanks for the detailed review. What was the info from the gig? I am trying to figure out the best strings for a bass I just bought (2016 Sadowsky NYC, J Bass in 60s position) and would love to know how this story ends...


     
    bigjames likes this.
  8. bassclef04

    bassclef04 Bass and Beyond! Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2006
    Bronx, NY
    Getting good results with DR Pure Blues on my Sadowsky metro.
     
    bigjames likes this.
  9. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Jan 25, 2005
    Burnaby, Canada
    Thanks for asking! This completely fell off my radar with everything else going on in the world. Here are my thoughts having played for people and been able to listen to it myself as well as having about 6 months of playing on the nickels in general.

    The tone of the nickels sounds bigger and fuller to me. Perhaps a bit warmer, but I noticed that all the notes from D string down to low B were rounder and packed more tonal punch, if that makes sense. The engineer at the gig had mixed my bass with SS strings previously and made the same comment about this. Fuller low end off the bass for sure.

    The strings do feel "smoother" or "softer" to the touch than the SS. Less grippy, but this is not a hugely noticeable thing after a while of playing. Less string noise on slides I think, but that might be my imagination. The tension is higher and the strings feel a little stiffer...not as much as a true high-tension string, but enough that I was able to drop my string height at the bridge. Sadowsky's generally play well with an almost dead straight neck. I did not have to adjust the truss at all, but I think I dropped all 5 strings a quarter turn on the bridge saddles (maybe less and maybe not all strings, I cannot recall now)...not because they pulled the neck forward, but rather because the string tension could support lower action, which I generally like.

    There is some discussion on TB re: SS vs Ni brightness and a comment that Ni strings are less bright in the high end or become so more quickly than SS. I am not noticing any issues like this at this point. One of the tunes we played was Crush by Bob Reynolds which intros with Am chord played at the 14th / 17th frets and the notes rang out beautifully.

    My 2 cents for your J-bass would be to give the nickels a try. The 60s position PUPs will be a little further from the bridge than the 70s position (as I recall), but with the inherent brightness in J bass PUPs I would think the Ni strings warmth might allow you to add some fullness that I personally like. My NYC is a PJ for that reason (I like the option of the P bass fullness) and I believe my J PUP is closer to the bridge than yours would be, but I am not sure.

    Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any specific questions.
     
  10. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    Jan 25, 2005
    Burnaby, Canada
    Oh, and you can take this or leave it, but my 17 year old daughter is a multi-instrumentalist and loves stealing my NYC to play in her room...after I swapped from SS to Ni, she didnt like it anymore. She has more delicate hands than I do and perhaps there is something in the feel she senses that I do not, but since the swap, she prefers to steal...err...play my Warwick Corvette, which has SS strings.

    On that note, the Warwick was also very popular at the same venue mentioned above because it cuts through the mix like nothing else, but that is pretty much what Warwick's do so I am not sure it counts. ;)
     
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 9, 2021

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