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Warmer Stainless Steel or Brighter Nickel?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by DeadbeatLine, May 7, 2017.


  1. DeadbeatLine

    DeadbeatLine

    Nov 13, 2013
    Hey all!

    So to sum it up quickly: I'm a bass player who plays in an alternative rock group that play aggressive grungy/alt rock/ metal, often with chilled or jazzy verses or bridges.

    For my sound I use an Ampeg SVT with an overdrive for a very aggressive clanky/grindy hi-middy big tone with a big but tight bottom end and then switch off the distortion for playing chords or arpeggios which have a nice definition with my current amp settings. With regards to this sound in studios it's easier to achieve with the use of different basses for the two different sounds, however not so easy or efficient to swap basses mid song.

    My aggressive sound suggests I should use stainless steel (in past I have favoured rotosound swing 66's and D'addario Pro Steels) but these days I am also looking for an additional warmth to the string. I realise these are two essentially opposite tones but just curious as to what can be suggested.

    I recently tried using Dunlop Nickel Super Brights which when worn in seemingly sound fantastic and seem to be a good middle between nickel and stainless steel, however they are so ridiculously bright at first that I have to aggressively cut treble and high mids on my amp to get back to my 'usual' clanky grind.

    I'll stick with these if no one else can come up with anything, but just curious as to what you all might suggest!
     
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    If you find SuperBright Nickels too bright, you definitely don't want Stainless Steels of any brand. SuperBrights are some of the warmest strings you can get, they have a very subdued high end, but are very clear in the mids. You might try DR Sunbeams which are overall darker but still feel similar to SuperBrights.
     
    BrentSimons and eriky4003 like this.
  3. DeadbeatLine

    DeadbeatLine

    Nov 13, 2013
    Interestingly, I find Stainless often less bright (though obviously still very) out of the pack than SuperBrights (which I would say personally are out of the pack the brightest strings I've heard). However, when settled in SuperBrights have a great warm but bright sound that lasts so much longer than any SS string I've tried. The initial brightness on SuperBrights is absolutely crazy though and requires some serious EQ reshaping
     
  4. DR Fat Beams or probably better for you would be the Lo-Riders. I'd go with Mmbongo's DR Sunbeams first - if they are too warm go to the Lo-Riders first, then Fats. I would categorize the Fat Beams as the closest to Dunlop SuperBrights.
     
    klokker and BrentSimons like this.
  5. Toptube

    Toptube

    Feb 9, 2009
    Fodera stainless have a curiously warm tone for a stainless. Get the best price at BSO.

    Super bright steels trade some of the mid warmth of the nickels, for a very defined low mid voice. You might try those, as well.

    How about Elixirs? Their tone is unique, but good. And if it works for you, they keep a consistent tone for a few months. Maybe more, if you aren't changing tunings a lot or removing the strings for maintenace/cleaning.

    DR stainless low riders actually sound pretty good. I'm not usually a DR tone fan. They have a little more tension than superbright steels. Tone is more scooped.

    Ever tried Roto nickels? They, are my current second favorite nickel tone. Warm and punchy, but without that raw edge of the roto steels. Can be a good thing. Dean Markly blue steel nickels are similar, but a little better balanced in tension.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  6. Toptube

    Toptube

    Feb 9, 2009
    Man I have tried a lot of strings >_>
     
    BrentSimons likes this.
  7. Catbuster

    Catbuster

    Aug 25, 2010
    Louisville, KY.
    I would try Rotosound 66 nickels.
     
    BrentSimons likes this.
  8. Rollin Thunder

    Rollin Thunder

    Mar 20, 2017
    second this, tried loads of different types and just put these on and they are my new favorites, also like ernie ball cobolt but roto are great/better value as well. dont get the cheap roto they are poor if you ask me.
     
    BrentSimons likes this.
  9. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    eriky4003 likes this.
  10. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    California
    What is it that's lacking with the Pro Steels?

    Have you tried the XLs? I very much enjoy the mids they provide and they are very reasonable price wise.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
    BrentSimons likes this.
  11. DeadbeatLine

    DeadbeatLine

    Nov 13, 2013
    Thanks all for your replies!

    To be honest, I sound like i'm just being picky because I was very very happy with the Super Brights nickels, I found them to be very much personally like a best of both between stainless steel and regular nickels. Its just that initial SUPER over-zingyness that I hated (seemingly for me far, far beyond normal new string zingyness) but I could always EQ that out if needed.

    Currently got the Super Bright steels on just to give them a shot. All I can say is I find them Ok. Nothing really screams amazing at me but they are as 'super bright' as the name suggests.

    I've used ProSteels briefly once in the past and I remember liking them quite a bit but it was a situation where I broke a string and needed a new set ASAP before a gig so just grabbed whatever I could, then with a recording session quickly approaching I changed to what was my regular go-to set at the time (Roto Swing 66's) which I used for a good few years, but have since then found them to be a bit average as compared to other Stainless Steels. I play grungy alt-rock and sweat like a waterfall at nearly every show (I like to call it liquid tone) so I stopped using these as I was needing to change set every month or so to retain a clankyness that I was happy with.

    That all being said, I'll be sure to try ProSteels again at some point in future!
     
  12. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    California
    I play in an aggressive rock band and kill strings bi weekly. I know what you mean. XL's might be what you seek. I find the Fender NPS strings to be quite mid forward and aggressive when newer as well.
     
  13. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    NY
    That's why we like reading your posts.:thumbsup:
     
  14. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    I think some bright nickel strings, including Dunlop Super Brights, can seem brighter than stainless because they have more emphasis on the upper mids. This translates into a sizzle tone. Stainless steel strings tend to have more treble, which translates to more ping and bell tone. I certainly find this is the case with Kalium hybrid vs steel.
     
  15. DeadbeatLine

    DeadbeatLine

    Nov 13, 2013
    I think you may have just summed this up perfectly. I like high mid clank (roughly 1khz - 3khz ish) but not super pingy treble, so maybe I was confusing 'bright' (i.e. trebly) with grindy/clanky (i.e. high mids)
     
  16. 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.

     
    Apr 18, 2021

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