Tag Archives: Ernie Ball

TIPS 105 • Try Nickel Strings (& Bullets, If You Have a Strat)

The overall theme of this video is that you should try some different strings on your electric guitar, even if (or especially if) you’ve been using the same type for a while. I focus here on two often overlooked string types: pure nickel strings and (if you have a Strat) Fender Bullets.
Electric guitar strings typically have plain steel treble strings (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and wound bass strings with a steel core (4th, 5th, 6th). The winding can be done with various alloys, including pure steel, nickel coated steel (warmer), and pure nickel (warmest). Back in the 50’s and 60’s, strings were made with pure nickel wraps, so their warm sound is often associated with classic rock, blues, and vintage tone in general. It can be a great choice for garage rock or other styles as well. Nickel strings are great for warming up bright sounding guitars like Strats and Teles, and as a side benefit they tend to last longer than other types of strings.
Fender makes a variety of strings with ball-ends (the standard for guitar), but also makes specialized bullet-end strings for Stratocaster guitars with floating tremolos. The bullet ends fit snugly into the Strat tailpiece and give you better tuning stability, more sustain, and supposedly less string breakage. While I haven’t had an issue with breaking strings, I did find that these strings gave me slightly better tuning stability and sustain, however the trade off is a stiffer feel and slightly less dynamics. If you have a Strat with a tremolo (most Strats), you might try these out to see what you think. Also note, they will not work on other types of guitars as the bullet ends are too big for Gibson style tailpieces, string-through-body Teles, etc.
So, go ahead and try some different strings on your electric guitar. 🙂

DR Pure Blues: http://www.drstrings.com/#!pure-blues/c1qm6

Fender Bullets (Pure Nickel, for Stratocasters Only): http://www.fender.com/accessories/strings/3150-original-bullets—pure-nickel-bullet-ends/product-0733150.html

Ernie Ball Pure Nickel: http://www.ernieball.com/products/electric-guitar-strings/1697/classic-pure-nickel-super-slinky

GHS Burnished Nickel: http://www.ghsstrings.com/products/11348-burnished-nickel-rockerstm?category_id=1964702-burnished-nickel-rockerstm

… there are lots of others out there, so try them out.