Nickel-Wound Strings vs. Plain Steel

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Crunchy, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. Crunchy

    Crunchy Member

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    Hi,
    I've been playing plain steel strings (.10-.46) on my single-coil strat (usually elixir polywebs) for the last couple of years. Now, I am wondering if I should switch to nickel sets.

    I was actually looking at the snake oil strings nickel formula set (which is actually cheaper than the elixirs), but I have some questions before I switch over...


    1. Will pure nickel strings increase sustain?
    2. Will pure nickel strings wear out / break faster, and because they are harder, will they wear out / erode the saddles and nut quicker (or more so over a long period of time)?
    3. What are the impacts of pure nickel strings on playability / flexibility? Are they harder to bend or vibrato with?
    4. Do they still chaff / flake all over the pickguard like plain steel strings?


    Thanks for reading, guys!
     
  2. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    I like nickel wound strings because they don't sound as brash as nickel/steel alloy or stainless steel. Just try 'em and see what you think.
     
  3. davidmullis

    davidmullis Member

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    Hi,
    I've used nickel strings (10-52) for as long as I remember on all of my electric guitars. I have tried steel sets, but personally prefer the sound, feel and wear of nickel sets.
    To my ears, nickel sets are not quite as bright as steel, but the sustain is better and they last longer, in terms of sound quality, in my hands.
    In my years of playing (30+ years), I have never broken a string during a performance and I have never suffered greatly from saddle or nut wear.
    As previously mentioned, I prefer the playability of nickel and I certainly have had no problems with string bending / vibrato, even with a reasonabily heavy set, and I do a lot of string bending in my style of playing.
    As for your last question, I have never noticed any string flaking. I do, however, clean my strings (usually with "Fast Fret") before and after playing.
    For info. my preference is to use DR, GHS or Dean Markley sets.
     
  4. hb_nz

    hb_nz Member

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    All i can say is nickel has the best tone - bar none..the other's (stainless steel, elixers) last longer but IMHO don't have the warmth and "singing" touch of nickel...the only compromise I've found is Everlys' B52's
     
  5. kovachian

    kovachian Member

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    Lesson #1: Never, ever EVER put stainless strings on an acoustic <<shudders>> The ghastly, horrible sound made me want to stab myself in the eye socket with a screwdriver. Oh and, give nickel strings a shot (on your electric that is). You may just like them.
     
  6. spyeman

    spyeman Supporting Member

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    How do you find Snake Oil Strings???
     
  7. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Crunchy:

    Try a set of SIT Nickel Power Wounds. Should be fairly available at most gear retail stores. To my fingers, they are softer to the touch and actually last several hours longer than sets like D'Add, GHS or EB string sets.

    dave
     
  8. HandOfTheHost

    HandOfTheHost Member

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    One vote here for nickel strings. IMO they sound a little better, and the nickel itself is softer than steel and won't eat into the frets as much (at least on the wound strings.) Plus they're not as prone to rust if you've got crazy corrosive sweat.
     
  9. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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  10. spyeman

    spyeman Supporting Member

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    Thanks, just ordered some sets to try em.
     
  11. gdomeier

    gdomeier Supporting Member

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    I used to like the pick package Ernie Ball nickel strings, but the high E ball end kept unwraveling. Switched to DR nickels, which are great. Tried the low cost web strings and have been playing them ever since.
     

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