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Nickel Plated Strings vs Stainless Steel strings?

Discussion in 'Other Guitar Discussion' started by Raphael256, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Raphael256

    Raphael256 Strat-Talker

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    I have read in many places that Stainless Steel String can wear frets a few times faster than Nickel Plates ones. Is it true? I just have pirchases Fender 350 strings and i am worried about using these. They feel a bit harsh under hands but sound brighter too. I mainly used Carbon reinforced NYXl by Daddario or regular Nickel plated Daddario strings. Not sure if i should keep Stainless steel on my strat/tele

    Any specialist can confirm?
     
  2. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    the nickel plating is micro thin and is not really any protection, but full nickel strings are easier on frets for sure. i used stainless strings for a short period and they tore my frets and hands up but i used to be a heavy handed player.

    the secret is to develop a light touch that does not tear up frets so you can use the string you want but typing that is much easier than doing it !

    i now swear by stainless frets however.
     
  3. Yaralag

    Yaralag Senior Stratmaster

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    It’s true. Harder metal equals more wear. I don’t think it’s as drastic as the internet would have you believe unless you are constantly bending. If you are then you probably wouldn’t want steel anyway because it’s not as flexible.

    edit: most bends are on the unwound strings which are steel anyway so it doesn’t even matter. :rolleyes:
     
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  4. Raphael256

    Raphael256 Strat-Talker

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    Damn should have bought NPS 250 Strings instead. Ill try to play soft and put it only on one guitar
     
  5. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Senior Stratmaster

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    When I use nickel plated steel, the wound strings last longer. When I use pure nickel strings I get divots on the side of the wound strings that contact the frets. A set of pure nickel strings lasts me two or three weeks, just playing at home, lightly. I can get a month or more, if I don’t break the high E, out of nickel plated steel sets.

    I am kind of a heavy handed player, so my frets don’t last long. And yes, stainless steel frets do wear out, just not as fast. I had an EVH that had some fret wear when I traded it off. Also stainless steel frets are really drone to getting damage from impacts. That is why a lot of boutique guitars with SS greets come with a plastic fret protector to slip under the strings.
     
  6. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Lost Planet Airman Strat-Talk Supporter

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    In the last few years I’ve developed the dreaded nickel allergy. Stainless Steel strings seem to work best for me. They are bright and stiff. I had to drop down a gauge to 9’s to play them. The brightness isn’t bad once you make a few changes to your amp. Now they sound just fine. I also have a few guitars with the Nevo Gold frets. Not as durable as stainless steel but harder then nickel. I don’t really have a choice in the matter anymore.

    Stainless Steel strings may not be for you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
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  7. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-O-Master

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    I used to go thru frets dresses and new frets every few years. Then, it stopped. I was looking at my main guitar, 2010 model, still doesn't need frets, maybe needs a slight dress on a few frets. Somehow I lightened up my grip and attack over the years naturally.

    PS - I think stainless steel interacts with pickups different than nickel, different than plated carbon steel? Different magnetic properties. I've meant to circle back and try stainless again - I hated the first I tried, over a decade ago.
     
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  8. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    Steel is heavier than nickel so steel wound strings tune to pitch at higher tension than nickel ones of the same diameter. That is part of why they are harder on the hands. It reacts more strongly with the magnetic field so they will be a little louder through the amp. Most people perceive steel wound strings as being brighter, and nickel as being warmer and fatter.
     
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  9. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    There is a strange misconception in the States that Stainless is harder than normal steels.

    There are a zillion grades of Stainless Steel and most are pretty soft.

    For instance, the strongest SS bolts are usually Grade 2 - very weak on the bolt scale.

    So just because a guitar string says it's Stainless Steel, that does NOT mean that it's any harder than normal steel strings.

    In fact, it's probably the opposite
     
  10. BuddhaFingas

    BuddhaFingas Strat-Talker

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    Would all depend very much on the material the fret wires are made of, in comparison to the string material, I would think.

    Are Fender frets the typical nickel silver ("18 percent nickel, 80 percent copper, and small amounts of such other materials as zinc, lead, and cadmium") I find reference to when googling?
     
  11. Raphael256

    Raphael256 Strat-Talker

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    Thank you guys for responses, well i will watchout and try not to play aggressively

    Any love for Fender 350 or 250 strings, or other?
     
  12. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Just play normally, and enjoy yourself.

    Frets and Nuts are like brake pads on an auto; you can baby them, but sooner or later, they wear out no matter what you do.
     
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  13. heltershelton

    heltershelton BANNED Strat-Talk Supporter

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    If youre gonna play the guitar, just know that youre gonna wear frets out, unless theyre ss of course.
    Some guitars have better fretwire than others. The mim strats i have are really good, but it seems im wearing that wire down fast.
     
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  14. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-O-Master

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    We use 160 ksi stainless steel fasteners as a convention, and routinely specify 220 ksi versions as needed. But that's strength, not hardness.

    I'd think music wire made from stainless steel (300 series? 400 series? 17-4 PH? ….) would be work hardened thru the drawing process, and quite hard ["full hard"], very likely harder than nickel silver fret wire, which is a copper alloy.
     
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