DR Blues pure nickel back to steel

markal

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Posts
1,694
Age
48
Location
Colorado
I’d been using DR Blues strings on my tele and Gretsch for a while. These are pure nickel and I remember reading that they’d tame bright guitars a bit. I guess there were OK. Lately I’ve been wanting brighter tones and kind of on a whim I put Ernie Ball Slinky Lime (nickel wrapped steel, I guess) on my tele and WOWIE, there’s that tele pop and snap again! I have no memory how old the DR Blues I had on there were, so it could mostly be just the new string thing. But it seems snappier and brighter to me, which I like now.

Anybody testing nickel vs steel strings? Are you finding a big difference?

I may try this on my Gretsch too, but it’s at a shop on consignment right now. I may give up on settling it and bring it home.
 

JustABluesGuy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Posts
4,589
Location
Somewhere
I tried pure nickel stings once thinking it might reduce fret wear (I can really grind down some frets).

I’m pretty sure I only bought the one set, and I don’t really remember the sound of them.
 

Wooly Fox

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 19, 2021
Posts
604
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
You need a week or two good practice sessions with new strings to get a feel for their tone when "bedded in".

Personally I like Rotosound Ultramags for brighter tones though they're difficult to get in NA. An alternative is the Dean Markley Blackhawks. They're coated but do seem to give more girth to the "twang".
 

NoTeleBob

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Posts
4,771
Location
Southwestern, USA
I like the Pure Blues but I do think they are a shade less bright. That's sort of what I like about them.

For bright, I think GHS Boomers, old school steel, wins the day.
 

markal

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Posts
1,694
Age
48
Location
Colorado
Remember, the G, B and high E are steel in a nickel set anyway.
Of course new strings are very bright, that's another thought.
I didn’t know that. So it’s only the winding that is nickel with the DR Blues?
 

tfarny

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Sep 4, 2008
Posts
6,517
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
I think you can basically replicate what nickel strings do just by turning down yer tone knob a touch. What I'm into for strings now are the Daddario "balanced tension" sets - basically the b and one other string (a?) are just a touch heavier than is typical, it is a subtle difference but I really prefer how they play.
 

marc2211

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Posts
1,585
Age
45
Location
Switzerland/France
For years and years I used Rotosound British Steels on all my guitars.

Really bright and snappy, loads of bite. After refretting my main guitar, I stopped using the strings out of fear of wearing through frets quicker… not sure if it’s made any difference or not tbh.

Now use Roto Yellows, but will probably go back to the BSs on some of my guitars next time around.
 

markal

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Posts
1,694
Age
48
Location
Colorado
Aside from windings being plated or the pure alloy, DR are round core strings. All the round core I've tried need some understanding and care with putting on the guitar and use. They have nice feel and tone if done right.
Why do they require special treatment?
 

imwjl

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 21, 2007
Posts
14,358
Location
My mom's basement.
Why do they require special treatment?
The round cores allow the windings to slip where the hex-shaped core wire holds the winding around the core in place. Round core strings can have their own tone but also nice supple feel.

In the past few years the feel issue sort of got changed by the maker of the Santa Cruz strings changing traditional core diameters for better or more even tension. I forget the brand that makes/sells them in a non-coated version. The SCGC are coated. I noticed others jumping on that bandwagon.
 

bottlenecker

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
7,859
Location
Wisconsin
I didn’t know that. So it’s only the winding that is nickel with the DR Blues?
Correct. Cores are always steel. Windings can be nickel plated, pure nickel, or other metals.
The biggest difference in DR vs the EBs is likely the hex core vs round core. But you have a material difference too, so who knows. Hex core is brighter, round core is a little mellower with more fundamental.
 

Bucster752

Tele-Meister
Joined
Nov 5, 2022
Posts
153
Location
Texas
I was a DR Pure Blues fan for several years.......the round core at a slightly lower tension and the pure nickel wrap having a more fundamental tone. However.........of late I have renounced the DRs for my new 'string of excellence' - Pyramid Classic Hand Polished. Still a round core with pure nickel wrap but slightly polished, taking the edge off the feel and tone. Similar to GHS Burnished Nickel Rockers (which is a very close second!), they feel so very smooth under the fingers and deliver a very fundamental 'thump' from the low end. They break in quickly and hold a tune very well. Expensive, indeed, relative to GHS, so I'm still in the experimental stage between these two sets, but for the short run I prefer the feel of the Pyramids........excellent round core nickel set!
 

arlum

Friend of Leo's
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Posts
3,269
Age
68
Location
O'Fallon, MO
I just figure you've got to pick what works best for your current needs. Over all the years I've been playing I've found that as my current tastes change so do my preference in strings. I love the sound of pure nickle but find them limiting on higher gain tones. Harmonics don't come out as easily for me when I'm using pure nickle. High end definition, which is hampered by pure nickle, (in a good way when playing clean), getting hampered a second time by the high gain pedal or preamp, just takes too much away from what I'm going for on the lead parts I'm currently interested in. Pure nickle creates a beautiful middy / woody tone for jazz , blues or blues rock when played clean or with vintage low gain but adds to a bit of muddyness when the gain gets cranked.
 

JIMMY JAZZMAN

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Posts
1,465
Age
71
Location
Baltimore
Like many others the DR PURE BLUES is my string of choice. Gretsch, Les Paul, Telecaster, even PRS Silver Sky likes
them. Been using them for years, good tone, string life okay.
 

FuzzUniverse

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Posts
14
Age
36
Location
St. Louis
DR Pure Blues are nice…they’re available at Guitar Center in a pinch. But for round core, pure nickel GHS nickel rockers and Curt Mangan are my go-to for that style string. I love the feel and sound of them, but they do wear out more quickly. Lately I’ve been using NYXLs on my Charvel Guthrie Govan and they last forever.
 
Top