Skin Allergies - Help with Non Nickel Strings

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Skin Allergies - Help with Non Nickel Strings

Post by beagle » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:58 pm

Over the last few years I've developed an alergy to nickel bass strings and my fingers have got to the point now where I need to start trying alternatives.
I've been using ernie ball nickel round wound medium gauge and have been happy.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to a suitable alternative string that will give as close a result but uses either a different metal / coating.

Options I've found are;
Ernie ball nickel steel 'coated' (not sure if this would do the job)
Ernie ball flatwound (which I believe are chrome)
Diadario Pro steels (I'm pretty sure these are chrome... but am worried these will be too bright)
Does anyone know the the Thomastik flats are made of?
D'Addario Flatwound Chrome

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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by joppo » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:35 pm

The outer winding on Thomastik flats are constructed of "a special nickel alloy" Steve, so not good news for you. Is the alergy made worse by abrasion? Maybe flats would be easier on the pinkies anyway.

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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by foal30 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:02 pm

Pro Steel is bright for sure
can be rough on non-laborers hands too :P

but IMO EB are bright too

Chromes are not similar at all, they are flatwound and OZBass says the EB's are actually D'Addario in different packet anyway.

DR Stainless are less twang and clank than D'Addario Pro Steel but stay brighter longer. hopefully that makes sense.
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by beagle » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:34 pm

joppo wrote:The outer winding on Thomastik flats are constructed of "a special nickel alloy" Steve, so not good news for you. Is the alergy made worse by abrasion? Maybe flats would be easier on the pinkies anyway.
Ah thanks ... I thought you'd be able to answer that one Nev. Yeah I'm sure the abrasion aspect plays a part of it but I'm more inclined to blame the nickel. It's a good opportunity to try flats out and see how they go.
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by beagle » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:40 pm

foal30 wrote:Pro Steel is bright for sure
can be rough on non-laborers hands too :P
Oh that's a bit harsh. I ride my desk damn hard! :lol:
foal30 wrote: but IMO EB are bright too
Are you saying roundwound nickel EB's are bright like pro steels? I'd agree they are bright but do loose it fairly quickly.
foal30 wrote: Chromes are not similar at all, they are flatwound and OZBass says the EB's are actually D'Addario in different packet anyway.
Yeah I knew that flats are different. Could be a good opportunity to try them and if I don't like them on the MM I'll put them on my acoustic.
How do flatwounds sound for slap?
foal30 wrote: DR Stainless are less twang and clank than D'Addario Pro Steel but stay brighter longer. hopefully that makes sense.
That sounds like a option too. Thanks! :)
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by matt » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:12 am

Woah - nickel allergy, sounds like that would suck.

+1 on the DR Stainless - I really dig HiBeams on my fretted but they are relatively bright if you're used to nickels which tend to be a little mellower imo.

Slapping with flats is a distinct tone (not my type of vibe) but Larry Graham started it all there and those early 70's funk recordings with slapped flats might be your thing?

You might also want to try coated strings - I've heard good reports of the DR Black Beauties (stainless coated), and D'Addario EXP and Ernie Ball are coated over nickel I think (so might be nearer "your sound"), but I've never tried any coated.

To get a feel for different tones without having to buy them all, you might want to check out a pretty in depth comparison of string types (with sound samples, including coated strings and slapping on flats!) - the DR string review by Ed Friedland http://www.bassemporium.com/newsletters ... etter.html

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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by beagle » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:06 am

It's not as bad as it sounds... just an inconvienience at the moment.... but apparently it'll get worse if I don't sort it out.
Great post thanks Matt. That link with samples looks REALLY helpful ... will check it out! 8)
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by beagle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:22 pm

Well after hearing those reviews and the review on the DR strings I rang up the RR to buy a set of Black Beautys but they didn't have any. Those are coated stainless roundwounds with a round core. My backup option has the DR Marcus Millers which I may still do. I liked the sound of them from the review matt posted and @ $80 I hoped they were darn good and would 'last longer' as stated. Anyway since that plan fell through I thought I'd take the opp to try somes flats for the first time with the intention of moving them on to my acoustic bass after my trial.
I bought the Ernie Ball Flatwound Stainless 45 to 100 and they are pretty much as expected. Increased string tension (I had to wind up the truss rod to get the action back to normal). Nice and smooth to touch. Not as loud as the nickel roundwounds. Smooth round sound but missing the zing and cut I'm used to. E string doesn't have as much punch. String swipe noise is noticably less. These will be perfect for my acoustic bass but not so sure for the MM. I'm keeping them on for a couple of weeks and are doing 2 gigs this weekend so am keeping my mind open. :wink:
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by john » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:49 pm

You never know, they may shine for you in a band setting. I would think flats would be perfect for blues.
Can I ask what effect the allergy has? I have never heard of it before

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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by beagle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:18 pm

john wrote:You never know, they may shine for you in a band setting. I would think flats would be perfect for blues.
Can I ask what effect the allergy has? I have never heard of it before
Yeah it's great I get to try them live for sure and they do sound right for blues. Maybe I need a bass just for blues :wink:

It's called Pompholyx. http://www.dermnet.org.nz/dermatitis/pompholyx.html Mine isn't as widespread as these pics but it's similar. Most annoying situations bass wise is when finger tips crack and bleed, or the finger joints get it and the skin toughens and reduces flexibity for a while till it settles down.
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by foal30 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:25 pm

yeah that's me too Steve so i feel your pain
try and keep on top it man, it's not much fun 'popping knuckles' at a gig and ending up with a red bass at the end of the night.
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by john » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:30 pm

Wow. That is quite interesting. Did it take long to get diagnosed?
I have had a similar looking thing ,to the first pic, on my hands before but it was more in my inner wrists. God knows what it was. didn't last to long, might have been a food allergy...like veggies probably :lol:

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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by beagle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:43 pm

foal30 wrote:yeah that's me too Steve so i feel your pain
try and keep on top it man, it's not much fun 'popping knuckles' at a gig and ending up with a red bass at the end of the night.
Oh that's not a nice picture. Sounds like you've got it pretty bad dude. :shock:
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by foal30 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:51 pm

that whole list of treatments I've been through
including synthetic steroids shot in me ass
and long stints in the UV Chamber having my skin burned off to promote regrowth.

swimming at beach is good
the condi's crystals (purple ginseng) works too but obviously stains ya purple

which is even too much for a Prince head like me.
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Re: Non Nickel Strings

Post by foal30 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:52 pm

IMO
it is sweat related and absolutely stress brings it on
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