What exactly does a chrome coating do?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Daniel Baskin, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. Recently, I have been studying up about strings so I can find a string that is best suited for me, rather than simply choosing between medium gauge stainless rounds to nickel rounds to flats. I have heard that a chrome coating gives strings a smoother-than-normal sound and based on my knowledge of chrome, it would make the strings last a very long time and they would have the shine of stainless strings.

    So is this all? I mean did I actually hit the mark? There has got to be at least a little more. Thanks.
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I have never, EVER heard of a chrome-coated bass string. Can you give me an example of a manufacturer? Or is this theoretical?
  3. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    chrome, interesting....
  4. SummerSoft


    Jun 17, 2005
    D'Addario Chromes
  5. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I think you are probably talking about D'Addario Chromes. Yes they have an outer chrome ribbon. But the real reason they are so smooth is because they are flatwound.

    Roundwounds have a core with a wire wrapped around it. Very bumpy. Flatwounds have a core with a flat ribbon wrapped around it to give a smooth surface.

    I believe that the chrome gives them a brighter tone than most flatwounds. Not as bright as a roundwound though.
  6. I do not believe the string is "chrome-coated". Chrome by itself is very brittle--ever see an old chrome bumper that's been dented? The chrome immediately flakes off where the dent is, because chrome does not bend well.
    Not good for a string that must be bent over a tuning peg and over a bridge saddle.

    However, chrome can be mixed into steel to form an alloy. The resulting steel is not necessarily brittle--that depends on the temper (the heat treatment) of the steel.

    I believe D'addario Chromes makes their strings with steel that has chrome alloyed in it.
  7. Thanks, this helps. I was just curious about this because I found it hard to find any hard information about this. I was probably also thinking about chrome in its steel alloy combo as well. Again, thanks for clearing that up too.
  8. Optima, who makes the gold plated strings formerly known as Maxima, makes a string called Chrome. Don't know if it's chorme plated or just a name, but the Golds are gold plated so it could be. I can't find their website.
  9. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Steel with chrome in it is indeed an alloy - it's called stainless steel.
  10. Strings *could* be plated with gold--gold is malleable, which means it can bend and deform (unlike chrome).

    But the big question is "why would you coat a string with gold?" Sure, the gold resists corrosion, but pure gold is incredibly soft, the frets would wear right through it. After a while all the gold coating would be worn off...Kinda like those "elixir" strings that were polymer coated, IIRC.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    The Elixir polymer coating holds up surprisingly well IME. I've never tried the gold Maxima strings, but you're certainly right that gold is very soft and I'm suspicious about how long it would last against nickel frets.