DR Pure Blues vs Cobalts vs NYXL

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by DHW, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    I have been playing pure blues for about a year and while I really love their tone I am kinda getting sick of adjusting the intonation with every set and the low E string is a bit floppy(occasionally buzzy). They do last well and sounds very good.

    I am thinking about going back to something with a hex core but the standard fare just won't cut it after the pure blues. How would you guys describe the cobalts and nyxl's in comparison? I have tried cleartones a few times as well as elixirs and hated them. standard d'addario are ok for the first couple days. I put a set of gibson vintage reissues on my Daughter's CE and they sound OK but are kinda buzzy too. I am looking for richness, output, sustain, and harmonics. I am combating finger noise on the DR's and quick death on other brands. All guitars except 1 will be hog back, maple cap with 2 humbuckers. The odd one out is a poplar back with a maple top with 2 humbuckers and a single coil in the middle. All but 1 are in the 8.8-10k range in the bridge with the CE being 15.whatever in the bridge(HFS). I like to buy string 12 sets at a time from sweetwater to get the best price so prefer them to all be strung with the same strings. Finally, I tend to overshoot bends rather than under so ease of bending isn't too much of a concern. My daughter doesn't have any trouble bending either so I think she would be fine with whatever after getting used to them.

    Magnans and Pyramids are a serious pain to get so I have pretty much discarded those as options. Prefer something I can get at GC/sweetwater. Cost is really not a concern unless they are going to die almost immediately.

    Staring at the wall of strings is like trying to commit to a flavor at ColdStone...
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    First, regardless of string brand, you shouldn't have to adjust intonation every time you change strings. Floppy/buzzy also means that either you're using strings that are too light, or your guitar needs a setup (not a bad thing, guitars periodically need them).

    The Pure Blues are old-school pure nickel wrapped strings, as opposed to nickel plated. I'm going to bet that most pure nickel wrapped strings are going to sound very similar, regardless of round core or hex core. If you like the tone you're getting with the pure nickel (I do, too, pure nickel wrapped strings are all I will use), I'd stick with the nickel and try a few other brands. Just stay away from nickel plated steel. They get a little brighter, but don't last as long, and I'm not fond of the tone anyway, personally.

    One other nice thing about pure nickel, as opposed to plated strings, or strings made of some other materials, is that they don't wear the frets prematurely. Nickel's pretty soft stuff compared to steel, etc.

    In terms of convenience, there are plenty of online outlets that sell strings of all brands, and they're certainly as easy to deal with as Sweetwater.

    I like the feel of the PRS-branded strings (as I understand it, made by D'Addario to PRS' specs). They sound really great and feel good under my fingers, so I've pretty much settled on them.

    One nice thing about most pure nickel wrapped strings for many players is that they last a long time. Back in the 60s, when I started playing, people didn't change strings with every gig, or every few days. However, everyone's body chemistry is different, and that has an effect on the strings. If your hands produce a lot of crud, the strings will get clogged up and start to oxidize faster.

    I don't personally care for the so-called higher output strings, in either feel or tone, but everyone has different experiences, tastes and opinions. Good luck!
     
    #2 LSchefman, Mar 2, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  3. gball

    gball New Member

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    I hear you on the intonation with the DR's. I have had the same problem with them, and as much as I liked the sound on certain guitars I stopped using them for that reason. Never had that problem with any other brand of string. I really like the PRS strings for pure nickels and use only them on my Mira. If I were you I would start there because they are a very similar tone to what you were getting from DR. I did also try a few sets of Fender pure nickels recently and I thought they compared very favorably to the DR's feel and tone wise, and are readily available.

    All that said, I have experimented with lots of strings on my other guitars and found that I prefer nickel plated strings on all the others...specifically GHS Boomers...and plan to stick with them as they are available everywhere and extremely consistent. The PRS strings sounded good on all of my guitars but I just like the Boomers better, except for the already mentioned Mira.

    As for the Cobalts and NYXLs, I personally didn't like the tone of either of them (compared to pure nickel) nor the feel of them. In particular the Cobalts felt stiff to me and almost like they have a mildly abrasive finish.
     
  4. Bill SAS 513

    Bill SAS 513 Just another old guy in a T-shirt

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    I think strings and picks are definitely a talking point, but also a very personal choice. Thankfully they're both pretty cheap!!! Well until you get into some of the new wood or super thick picks! I have used the Pure Blues and they did fine...definitely a Nickel guy here...Stainless way too noisy! Try 'em all, keep the package when you install them and write the date on the pack, and you'll get an idea of how long they last?!!?
     
  5. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    Well I am playing 10's and the buzz is definitely the most prenounced on the dr's in the low e string but they are very soft strings with their round cores. I have been fortunate enough to be able to get the intonation set every time it's not right where some people apparently can't get the D string to settle down at all with DR. I know that standard d'addario and cleartones will not buzz with my action set where I like it. The DR is only slightly annoying but still playable. The elixirs were HORRID buzzing banshees from hell!

    Looks like GHS might be a good one to try out... Now, to figure out which of the 3 flavors of pure nickel to try...

    It really does bum me out on the DR strings. I absolutely love them but the last 4 sets(different lot numbers and all) have all required tweaking intonation which just gets old with locking studs.

    The good news is that I am totally set on picks Bill ;) Gator grip .96 all the way.
     
  6. GADonis

    GADonis New Member

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    I've used DR Pure Blues for quite a few years. Only recently have I noticed that I need to readjust my intonation more often. I'm not sure why exactly. I went through a serious string breaking phase several years back and tried many different brands along with String Saver Saddles but I was breaking everything. The DR's just sounded better to me. I finally decided that if I'm going to break strings I might as well break strings I like. Turns out the string breaking was our drummer's fault :D. He had a tendency to drag and when he did I found myself really digging in and trying to propel things along. This caused me to get VERY heavy handed with the strings and caused the breakage. Since this realization my string breakage has reduced drastically.

    I wear out the strings pretty quickly. After a couple of gigs the underneath side of the strings, especially the D, are significantly grooved. This might be because I can't play more than three notes with out bending at least one of them. I also tend to use a lot of finger vibrato which may accelerate wear. I have had a couple of instances of the wrap slipping on the strings using the DR's. This caused the string to go WAY out of intonation and made the guitar unplayable until I replaced the string. But I love the way they sound so much more than anything else I've played so I put up with the occasional problem.
     
  7. gush

    gush She said "huge bag of dibs".

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    I used to use the DR nicklel and I recall having low E string way off a couple of times????? I thought I was crazy! I also seem to break them a little easier too. Went back to regular cheap strings.
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Bill, that is a GREAT tip!
     
  9. tbp0701

    tbp0701 New Member

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    After a few years with D'Addario XL110s, I've been trying a few different strings lately. Surprisingly my favorite so far are good ol' Ernie Ball Pure Nickels. I have some pure nickel SITs to try next. (I remember liking SITs before, but I got a few packs that had evidently been on a store shelf for a very long time and were corroded, so I decided D'Addarios are easier to find and usually don't spend years on a store shelf. SIT now uses different packaging, as does Ernie Ball and I suppose about everyone else.)

    Anyway, I've found it handy to to keep a document with string changes, dates and notes, and to write a brief update so often, including when they go dead.
     
  10. Bill SAS 513

    Bill SAS 513 Just another old guy in a T-shirt

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    Thanks, kind sir...Working part-time in guitar store, I suggest everybody do this, b/c when they come back for a string change without anything, its just a guessing game...Can usually figure out gauge, but brands, not so much.
    I do it for my herd, as well...although I am using 10-46 nickels exclusively on all my geeetars. Still trying different brands...
     
  11. sleary

    sleary New Member

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    I've used just about everything in the last 35 years...Dr's did give me a problem I do recall. Prs strings were great , last a long time and sound great. NYXL im still in the process of trying on all my guitars. They do last but I'm noticing tone loss at a higher rate then Prs strings . I'd go back to Prs strings but my damn kid cleared my secret secret stash of strings out when I wasn't looking. Lol....need to order some soon and buy a vault lol
     
  12. daa2202

    daa2202 New Member

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    Or, you can just use GHS Boomers and have bright tone, consistent intonation, great feel, and long life...every time. (JMHO, of course.)

    I've had really bad experiences with DR strings - intonation problems! They are on my "never again" list.

    The PRS strings I've tried have been fine, but you don't see them in stores all that often.

    Seriously, based on the quality and consistency of Boomers, I'd guess that the GHS nickel variations would be worth checking out, as well.
     
  13. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    I guess I will have to wait until I order something else online to get some trial packs of the ghs nickel variations. The only ones local are the roller wound and I am not sure that is really what I want. When the new axes arrive I will grab a couple sets of boomers and try them out.
     
  14. gball

    gball New Member

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    They are great and close to the Boomers for consistency (Nickel Rockers). I prefer the brighter tone and the feel of the Boomers but the nickel ones kick butt.
     
  15. vchizzle

    vchizzle Zomb!e Nine, DFZ

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    Do you crimp the end of the string with your DR's? That's really important on round cores. I used DR for a long time but still had some issues once in awhile. Currently go thru juststrings.com & buy in bulk. They feel and sound like D'Addario to me. Seem to last a good while.
     
  16. DHW

    DHW New Member

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    Yup... I always crimp. In fact with the se's I would lock wind the strings like they describe in the "vintage tuner" support section. They would get 2 90 degree bends and wrapped over themselves and brought to pitch before trimming. I don't stretch them like many people do, usually just some full step bends up and down the neck. Sometimes I don't even do that and just play them in. Haven't noticed a difference either way that way.

    For me d'addario xl's sounds good for about 15 minutes then then just blah.
     
  17. OsirisProtocol

    OsirisProtocol 10 o'Clubs

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    I have been a D'Addario string user for ages. I currently use the NYXL1149 set on my SCT and I dig them. I haven't been playing this guitar as often as normal but the strings have plenty of life left it seems even for their age. I do notice that they are a bit bright on this guitar. Not overly bright bit definitely more high end and a little louder than the EXL's acoustically. I don't know if I would like them on a guitar with single coil pickups as I feel like they may bring out a little too much high end in an amp for me.

    I use the EPN115 on my old strat and loved what they did to that guitar. A very warm and rich tone with a pleasant high end. Very balanced with single coils. I haven't tried them with the SCT yet as I just started using them again but I will once the NYXL set dies out. If you want a Pure Nickel string this is the choice IMO.
     

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