Ernie Ball- Pure Nickels, M-Steel, Cobalts

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Benz2112, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    I've been playing green Slinkies forever, and they treat me well. I have been curious about trying the Rock N Roll pure nickels, the M-Steel, and Cobalt strings. Anybody regularly use these? Pros and cons? I am thinking of just ordering up a few packs of each, and giving them all a spin.
     
  2. darkphader

    darkphader Member

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    I use a different brand of pure nickels (only the wrap on the wound strings are different, the plain strings are the same). Pure nickel is warmer, vintage type sound and I do find with some guitar/pickup combinations (more often with humbuckers) that the wound strings can sound "too warm" (being kind), bordering on dull (not so kind). I find them easier on the fingers, and suspect they're easier on the frets.
     
  3. Musicmaster

    Musicmaster Supporting Member

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    I've been exclusively using the Ernie Ball Rock N Roll Pure Nickel sets (9-46 hybrid, mostly) for a few years, now... I'm definitely a fan. I agree that they are slightly easier on the fingers and likely easier on the frets. Also, I like that they sound remarkably consistent throughout their lifespan. I usually just wait until I break one to swap the whole set. Unlike the standard nickel wounds, which sound noticeably duller and more lifeless after breaking them in, the pure nickels essentially always sound the same...
     
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  4. disconnector

    disconnector It's been swell, but the swelling's gone down. Silver Supporting Member

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    The M-Steels and cobalts are definitely brighter which I like for humbucker based designs. I like pure nickel wraps on my Strats though.
     
  5. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    M-Steels was painfully bright on a strat. I ripped them right off.
     
  6. panther_king

    panther_king Supporting Member

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    As far as Ernie Ball strings go, I really liked the Paradigm strings; preferred them to the Cobalt or M-Steel myself.
     
  7. Tony Done

    Tony Done Member

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    I like bright, so I don't like pure nickel, too warm. I've recently switched from Slinkies (nickel-plated steel) to Cobalts, whose bright aggressive sound I prefer. I plan on trying M-steels and Paradigms some time.

    What did you think the difference was?
     
  8. panther_king

    panther_king Supporting Member

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    I felt like the Paradigms were brighter than regular Slinkies, closer to the sound of D'addario NYXL strings (which I also love), but not 'higher output' like the Cobalt and M-Steel due to the different alloy. Both the Cobalt and M-steel to me also had a rough texture that I didn't like the feel of (you can google search this; it's pretty well discussed). Some people like the grippy feel of the wound strings on the Colbalts and M-steels, but I didn't; I also got alot of finger noise from the grippier texture. The Paradigms are like 'regular' strings in that regard.

    Right now I'm using D'addario NYXL 10-52 on my mulit-scale Strandberg tuned to Open C, and Dunlop Heavy Core 10-48 on my PRS (tuned to Eb), which is my preferred string gauge, but Dunlop is the only company that makes it without doing a custom order from Mangan or Pyramid or something. I'd probably use NYXL if they had a hybrid 10/11 set since I prefer the slightly higher tension in the NYXL over the EB Paradigms, but it's mostly a function of my tuning down to Open C, or Eb on a 25" scale. If I were on a 25.5" or in standard, Paradigms would be great.

    ... and that's probably more of an explanation than you were expecting.
     
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  9. ieso

    ieso Member

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    Cobalts are great on my shredder guitars
     
  10. Sweat

    Sweat Silver Supporting Member

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    I like the EB pure nickel, the others are fine but was not a big fan of the M-steels
     
  11. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the input, all. I ordered up a couple of packs of each, and will see how they get along with my variety of guitars.
     
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  12. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    Received my sampler of strings, and I started with the M-Steels. These are the most expensive strings that I purchased, 3x the price of an ordinary set of slinkies. I randomly put them on the first guitar that needed new strings, my Kiesel Sh550.

    The Kiesel is a solid wood semi hollow, mahogany neck and body, maple cap, low output humbuckers. It is on the brighter side of neutral. The M-Steels are definitely on the brighter side, and they aren't kidding about being higher output. Loud strings seem to be an answer to a question that I never contemplated. I had to twist a few knobs to compensate for the high output. On the plus side, they hold tune nicely, string articulation is good, sustain is very good. I did not feel a significant difference in string feel from regular slinkies, string noise isnt noticable, they bend just fine. Unless they get significantly better string life, I dont see the value proposition in these. They sound good, particularly if your thing is bright and articulate, but they dont sound better necessarily.
     
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  13. Darth Weller

    Darth Weller Member

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    I never had luck with EB's Started with them at first but i broke them left and right. When I first got my Carvin, I tried Colbalts, broke the A string in 2 days.

    I've played GHS Nickle Rockers, great sound but the get sticky feeling to me, also wound strings were tighter than other types, 26,36,46 felt like 28m38,48. Liked that part.
    GHS Boomers, the baseline for me.
    Right now on the Carvin (25") you see I have 3 types of strings from 2 makers High E D'addario NYXL .10, B GHS Plain 13, G GHS plain .17, D GHS Boomer .26, A D'Addario XL .37 and Low E D'Addario NYXL .47. Like it alot. Prefer the sound of GHS Boomer 10.5, 38s and 48s but I made a comprimise for my fingers that I am living with, might go back to a 10.5 high E though, I use rthe NYXL there to offset volume loss from using a 10 instead of 10.5.

    On my G&L (25.5") I have High E D'Addario 9.5, B GHS Plain 12, G GHS plain 16, D, A and E are GHS Burnished Nickle Rockers 24, 36, 46. The Burnished are nice. They are not as tight as Nickle Rockers (black pack) but they do not have the tackiness I feel either. Great on the G&L.
     
  14. Vcaster

    Vcaster Member

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    I recalled Paul Riario of Guitar World doing a comparison video of Ernie Ball strings.

     
  15. mc5nrg

    mc5nrg Member

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    Wow...talk about putting together a custom set! That mix and match approach is what some classical players do.
     
  16. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    This. I just went through a string sojourn and have come to the Paradigms. Stable, resistant to fret Niks and they sound great. For my 3 live guitars, I have been rehearsing with the same sets for 2 months and I give them a workout every day in my home studio. They sound great and are stable in terms of tuning. Best thing, pickslides are nice and loud. More so than other coated strings. They also don’t feel coated. I’m a stickler for strident sounding strings. They must balance the full/acoustic warmth and timbre with just the right amount of brightness and attack.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  17. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    Just put a set of the cobalts on my Grosh Retro Classic. I like these a lot more than the M-Steel's. They aren't as extreme with output, but have a nice snap. What I am impressed with is tuning. It is like they were stretched before I ever put them on. They keep tune really well, might be worth the premium.

    Side note on the m-steel's, they do mellow decently with a little time, but I still dont see the value proposition here. The cobalts are cheaper, sound better, and keep tune even better.
     
  18. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    Wanted to give an update on these. Both the Cobalts and M-Steel's have good durability, and have taken a while to wear down. However, the odd thing with both sets is that instead of getting muddier over time, they have gotten plinkier and buzzy as they wear. Neither of them mellow out enough for my taste, when going back to normal strings, it almost sounds like I had a preamp in the guitar, because of how exaggerated the highs were. I cannot think of a use case for either formula, other than if you have a dark sounding guitar that you want to brighten up, and you are looking for a durable string that isn't coated.

    I put the pure nickels on my 335, and I really dig them. They have less bite than the regular slinkies, but make up for it with being warm and clear, violin like sustain with a little saturation. I think going forward, I will probably mix in a few of these sets with the regular slinky sets depending on the guitar. I have not tried the paradigms, but I am guessing they are similar to these other "modern" formulas. It seems as though Ernie perfected the guitar string a few decades ago, and there is no need to mess with a good thing.
     
  19. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Tried most, not the paradigm....Still love the slime green slinks. It's obvious to most, but when someone saying one is warmer or brighter, it's only the wound strings. Plain strings are same. So if your usual gauge is same, it's only the three strings for most of us using a plain 3rd.
     

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