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Thread: Nickel wound strings.

  1. #1
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Nickel wound strings.

    Anyone use nickel wound strings? I know Sam Bush use a Gibson brand thats advertised as Monel an nickel alloy. D'Addario makes a nickel wound version thats advertised for acoustic or electric. Wondering how they sound and play on an acoustic. Whats the advantages and disadvantages?

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    I tried a couple of sets of D'Addario nickel wound strings & while they sounded ok,they looked dull in appearance & they also felt rough under my fingers.These are not 'mirror polished',tape wound strings like the D'Addario 'Chrome's' that Jazz Guitarists use. Personally,although they sounded ok,i wouldn't go back to them - the ONLY thing to do if you're curious,is to try a set for yourself,you might just love 'em !,
    Ivan
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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    I'm a recent convert to Gibson Bush strings, and couldn't be happier. Actually, yes I could. The A strings are .014, and are too light. I have tuning and intonation problems with them quickly. When I order the Bushes, I order singles @ .015, D,Aquisto. Plain wire is plain wire, and I don't see much difference from one company or another. The wound strings, however, are where the diff is. None of that zingy twang like a bronze string. I think I get more volume, but I haven't measured decibels. Very percussive chop. I used Monels back in the 70s on a plywood mando and didn't try them again until recently, when I played a Bush mandolin at a dealers showroom. Tone, volume, sweet when picked delicately, push 'em hard- they'll knock yer hat in the creek. I've intended, for a long while, to try the Tomastic heavy strings, but they would have to be pretty good, at THAT price, to beat out the Bush strings. IMHO. My F5G doen't sound as good as that Sam Bush did, but it's close, and it's a Gibson sound, the sound I'm looking for. Discribing sound is difficult, but the Bush strings are dry, minimal overtones, quick decay. I hear wood, not metal. Like thumping an old hollow log with a stick.
    Mike Snyder

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    I'm interested in what others think of nickel strings. I have a cheap Chinese-made mandolin that came with a pick-up that I only later found out is of the magnetic ilk. Not knowing what that meant regarding strings, I continued to buy bronze D'Addarios (J62s), which I admit I quite like, although in the humidity of Bangkok they lose their shine very quickly (within a couple of days at most).

    I am almost at a point where I might like to join in the lively blues jam scene at a wonderful wee blues bar in Bangkok, but I only just found out that the J62s will not work well with the pick-up (I have only played without amplification until now; the mandolin is an acoustic with the so-far unused magnetic pick-up in place), and that I need to instal nickel strings.

    I ordered some D'Addario J67s because they are billed as being suited to both acoustic and amplified playing. They are going to be heavier than I am used to (the J62s are from 0.10 to 0.34; the J67s are from 0.11 to 0.39), but I am hoping my fingers are by now up to that challenge.

    I wish the long-life anti-oxide strings like the Elixirs were available in nickel so that I could deal with the humidity and be properly set up for the pick-up, but apparently that is only available if I go the whole hog and buy Thomastik strings. And since only two sets of Thomastiks amounts to half the purchase price of my mandolin, I'm not about to take that option just now, and will save that delight for when I get a better instrument.

    If anyone has any tips or suggestions, I'm all ears.

    ron
    Last edited by Ron McMillan; Feb-07-2010 at 5:31am. Reason: clarified some characteristic vagueness in the original version

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    I'm not sure how to answer this, except that I've used Newtone nickel wound strings on an old bowlback and was very pleased with the result - less bright than PB which is just what I wanted for that vintage instrument - these are basically the kind of strings that folks would have been using pre-WW2 - albeit brought up to date and better made than those would have been! There was one drawback though - I found the strings rougher somehow than what I'm used to, and found tremolo (and triplets!) harder to play - the pick would just get stuck on the strings somehow. Then again I am spoilt by normally using TI flatwounds

    They're definitely worth a try IMO, whether you like the sound or not probably depends a lot on the instrument and what you play on it though....

    HTH, John.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    My local store had a bulk buy on D'Addarrio strings a few years back and I got several sets of J67s in the deal, just to try them. I'm sorry to say they are my least favorite string set (acoustically) I've ever tried. I thought they sounded "dead on arrival" on multiple mandolins.

    By contrast, I liked the Bush strings. Not my cup of tea, long term, but I see why people like them. Another "nickel colored" set that the OP might be interested in is JS74's, which are stainless steel. I liked them a lot. Not sure how well they work with a mag pickup.

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    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    Thanks for the response guys.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    Note a Nickel alloy can have Iron in it , and for magnetic pickups that's good,
    Monel in a non magnetic alloy.

    so the pickup will only 'see' the core wire, in the magnetic field.
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    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    Stainless strings will work just fine with a magnetic pickup
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Stainless strings will work just fine with a magnetic pickup
    Can you suggest stainless strings that you recommend?

    ron

  11. #11
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nickel wound strings.

    Ron D'addario makes mandolin strings in stainless too. I want to say i put a set of the D'addario nickel strings on and i like them so far. I'll have to give them a decent try before I make a final decision to stay with them. But so far so good.
    http://store.daddario.com/category/1...l_Medium_11-40

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