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Thread: Stainless Steel Strings

  1. #1
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    Default Stainless Steel Strings

    I'm trying something new. We don't have any gigs for a couple of weeks so I put on a set of Mapes stainless steel strings last night just to try them out, At first glance, they seem to sound pretty good. I'll reserve final judgement 'til I've played them a while. (I put them on the Breedlove Legacy FF.)

    I wanted to try the stainless because I'm tough on strings. Something in my system starts to corrode most strings within the first 3 or 4 weeks and I end up changing them every month-and-a-half or so. I'm hoping the stainless will be a little more resistant to the corrosion. I know there are varying qualities of stainless steel so I'll see what happens.
    David Hopkins

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    I use pure nickel from GHS and they seem fairly corrosion resistant.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Curious to hear what you think of the stainless steel strings. By accident, I came home from a local shop last week with a set of D'addario medium stainless steel strings (meant to get the phosphor bronze). I'm new to the instrument so I figure I'll use it as an opportunity to try another type of strings.

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    I bought 'em just to try out. These Mapes strings are only $5.00 a set (plus shipping) from the company. I've been using other Mapes strings with success. Before, I was using Gibson Sam Bush strings but my supply is running low and Gibson quit making them.
    David Hopkins

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    rock in rôle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Monel is corrosion resistant alloy, and is used to make coat-less strings. Martin, D'Addario and Mangan all make mandolin sets of standard (11-15-26-40) and other gauges. Tone is similar but not identical to that of phosphor bronze. Quite a few of us have switched to monels.

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    I’ve been thinking about trying stainless steel. What lots of people don’t realize is that stainless is not as hard as plain carbon steel. So, theoretically, the plain strings should produce less fret wear if they are stainless.

    I don’t know if anyone makes a a stainless plain, model wound set, but seems like it would be ideal. All strings corrosion resistant, plain strings easier on frets, no coating necessary.
    Don

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Stainless steel has varying qualities of corrosion resistance, depending on the alloy. Most do just fine, however.

    I put a set of Mapes stainless steel strings on one of my Breedloves to check it out. They've only been on for a couple of weeks so it's a little early to say yea or nay. However, they seem to be working quite well. I'm sorta impressed...so far.
    David Hopkins

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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    I was using stainless-wound for a while on my electric---the Ernie Ball strings were good for a thick C that still held some tone after use. The overtones are different, not as sweet as nickel.

    The unwound strings are not stainless, but regular hard steel, as are the cores of the wound strings, as I understand it.
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    I regularly use D'Addario's stainless steel strings, and they are excellent. I haven't noticed any corrosion/oxidation after even months of use. The strings are more likely to wear out from metal fatigue in the core before anything else. Tonally, they are on the brighter end of the string material spectrum though, so it may not be the sound everyone is looking for
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    rock in rôle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    I’ve been thinking about trying stainless steel. What lots of people don’t realize is that stainless is not as hard as plain carbon steel. So, theoretically, the plain strings should produce less fret wear if they are stainless.

    I don’t know if anyone makes a a stainless plain, model wound set, but seems like it would be ideal. All strings corrosion resistant, plain strings easier on frets, no coating necessary.
    My understanding is that while the wound strings are of the material/s stated in the set's name, the plain strings remain the same. Plain old music wire, drawn and plated mild steel.

    I stand to be corrected on any of this, as they are only my own assumptions!

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    My Mapes "unwound" A and E strings appear to be different than most others' strings. They're not shiny and somewhat darker than others. All of the strings are slightly darker in color making me think they may be stainless steel.

    Usually, within a couple or three weeks, my A & E strings will begin to show some discoloration. (My system is tough on strings and I have to change them every couple of months, +/-. These strings are showing no discoloration yet. I want to leave them on for a while longer before I try to make any kind evaluation but so far, I'm happy with them.
    David Hopkins

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    rock in rôle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Could it be that the Mapes plain strings are not plated? Most sets appear to have a shiny coating on them. Years ago that used to wear off after a few hours, showing a dull, slightly red hue to the plain strings.

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by mandopixie View Post
    Could it be that the Mapes plain strings are not plated? Most sets appear to have a shiny coating on them. Years ago that used to wear off after a few hours, showing a dull, slightly red hue to the plain strings.
    The strings are consistent in color from end to end and have been since I put them on. They are not dull or even matte but it's not a bright shiny. Don't ask me to look for a "slightly red hue" because I'm partially colorblind (red-green). (As a matter of fact, I was married for 15 years before I found out my wife's eyes were green and not brown but that's for a different forum.)
    David Hopkins

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Somebody here on MC suggested mixing PB and SS, every other string. I tried it and it seems to work. I think the idea is that PB gives one response and SS gives another, creating a synergistic response, a wider bandwidth.

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    rock in rôle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Romansky View Post
    Somebody here on MC suggested mixing PB and SS, every other string. I tried it and it seems to work. I think the idea is that PB gives one response and SS gives another, creating a synergistic response, a wider bandwidth.
    Do you mean 'mixed' as in one of each material in the wound courses? Fascinating!

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    I was using stainless-wound for a while on my electric---the Ernie Ball strings were good for a thick C that still held some tone after use. The overtones are different, not as sweet as nickel.

    The unwound strings are not stainless, but regular hard steel, as are the cores of the wound strings, as I understand it.
    Most stainless alloys are not ferromagnetic. I would think that would detract from their performance with mag pickups?

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    I can't speak on the stainless, but on the corrosion....my hands are awful on phosphor bronze strings, coated or not. Lots of green building on both hands, fretboard, behind the bridge, etc.
    I have switched to using D'addario Nickel Bronze and totally solved that probably. I have also been using Martin monels and not had a problem with those either.
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    Most stainless alloys are not ferromagnetic. I would think that would detract from their performance with mag pickups?
    Apparently guitar strings use a ferromagnetic version of stainless. No problem with signal strength, maybe even a bit stronger than nickel-wrapped.
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by mandopixie View Post
    Do you mean 'mixed' as in one of each material in the wound courses? Fascinating!
    Yes, I forget the guy who posted it, but he’s a genius. He also added you get two sets out of the purchase.

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Romansky View Post
    Yes, I forget the guy who posted it, but he’s a genius. He also added you get two sets out of the purchase.
    Am I missing something? Won't I get two sets if I click on the "2" with any one style of strings instead of "1" on two different styles of strings?
    David Hopkins

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    rock in rôle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    Am I missing something? Won't I get two sets if I click on the "2" with any one style of strings instead of "1" on two different styles of strings?
    As I understand it, one has to purchase two sets: one each of PB and SS. After mixing and stringing up using one half of each set, what is left is one more mix set just like it.
    Last edited by Paul Statman; Sep-20-2018 at 5:47pm.

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    I understood it in the first place but it was presented as some type of advantage.
    David Hopkins

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    Smile Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    I'm curious to experience the results from pairing (coursing?) monel with PB on my next string change. I just restrung yesterday, but I'll re-post when I do it.

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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    This strikes me as an exercise in frustration. For those who get “months” of use out of a set of strings, I applaud you. If I’m really working a set of strings, I can’t get more than eight sets (45 minutes) plus, a like number of rehearsal hours. What are you complaining about?
    Splitting sets? What is that advantage? Find the set that you like, and PLAY MUSIC! Quit whining about a set that ONly lasts three months! Sheesh.
    Strings are cheap, c’mon. Really!?
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    Default Re: Stainless Steel Strings

    The best method for getting your strings to last longer is to buy more mandolins to spread your playing across.

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