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Thread: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

  1. #1
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    My string supplier has announced a sale on D'Addario nickel bronze strings with a considerable discount - buy one set, get one free, or effectively a 50% discount - good through the end of this month. I have never heard of this formulation before, and the information provided on the website isn't very helpful. Anyone know anything about them?

    There are some pertinent factors at play here. My choice for decades has been D'Addario J74 phosphor bronze (medium), which the company sells for $6.09. Their regular price for the NB strings is $11.99, so half price is essentially the same. This leads me to my second question - are these strings really all that good, that they are worth what would normally be twice the price? What's the difference between phosphor bronze and nickel bronze? FWIW, I use their nickel wound strings on my electric, as the bronze is just too bright-sounding. Mixing nickel and bronze means ... what? Anything?

    My quarterly string-changing date is two weeks away, so I have to decide soon - in three days. I'd appreciate some knowledgeable input ASAP. Thanks. Oh, and FCOL, NFI.
    Last edited by journeybear; Oct-28-2021 at 9:17pm. Reason: thought of something else
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  3. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    Wherever have you been, Journeybear?

    I use these strings all the time on most of my carved mandolins and guitars. Love them... I was using Monels before that but these are a bit warmer and not as brash as phosphor bronze. As for the sale, I mentioned this on a couple of other threads but Strings and Beyond have this sale but I already have enough sets to hold me for quite some time. I am guessing that D'Addario is offering good wholesale discount to their distributors.

    Actually D'Addario offered quite a pile, maybe 400 sets, to MC members when they first introduced these strings a few years ago and I liked them as soon as I tried them.
    Jim

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    I've been around ... But when I go shopping, I nearly always sort by price, low to high, and won't look at anything substantially pricier than my usual brand. I've been pretty darn happy with J74s for a long time anyway, and the only thing that will motivate me beyond my normal purchasing habits is some sort of sale. Till now, that is. This has come up because the company sends out emails, and this offer caught my eye. Some people have recommended DR strings, which are a dollar more, and I could spring for them, but it looks like SAB offers them in light only.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    Mine arrived today. To my ear, similar to monel. At half price, I got a handful.
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    I hate you guys. No intention of buying more strings today...
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    Oh, go on and buy a few sets. They keep pretty well. I'm leaning in that direction. What the heck. BTW, Strings and Beyond offers free shipping for orders over $35. That's six sets. NFI - I just like them, been using them for over 15 years.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    That was past tense, *had* no intention
    I wouldn't hate you guys, if the purchase wasn't already made.
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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    I loved NB until I switched to monel. Both types avoid the awful green crud I get with Phosphor bronze. The monels have all I like about the NB and just a little more, but I would buy some at this price anyway if I didn't have a stack already.
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    Wish I had seen this two days ago before I ordered three sets of Curt Mangan monel strings at $14 bucks a pop. Oh well, I have heard very good reviews of the CM strings so I am looking forward to using them.
    Charley

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  12. #10

    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    I use these on my D18, to me they seem to bring out a tone that I really like. The problem I have with them is that to my ear the sound quality degrades in a couple weeks and I find myself wanting to change them much more often than other sets. I’m going to try some soon on my Duff f5 and see how they work out. As always with anything I post I realize this is just my opinion and others may have a much different view.

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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    The 4 different brands of Monel mandolins strings I've tried sound so similar on my Stanley that it's pretty much a matter of price anymore. And the current fave is Martin, which checks both boxes. As some folks say around here, "Everybody rides!"

  14. #12
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    I heard from a friend who called them (of all things) and said these do indeed come in other gauges, including a medium set, 11.5 to 40. Go figure. Good old Willie, doing it hands-on style. That's good enough for me.
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    Just finished putting them on my Strad-O-Lin. Light gauge 10-38. Well, they sound ... different. Not sure what I think. I haven't ever changed the strings before on this mando, so maybe part of the difference is "new string sound"?

    Had GHS A250's on there before.

  16. #14
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    Well, I'll be a ding dong daddy from Dumas! Of course, they're closed for the weekend, so I started poking around the website a bit more, and found a way to find them. If you go through brand name, you can select manually, in a sense - select, instrument, wrap material, string gauge - and there they were. I think you can skip all that and select string gauge in the ordering process. I got 11-40, same as J74s. They do also have 11.5 gauge, what they call custom medium, and 11.5, for heavy.

    Anyway, done.

    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    Have had these on my SOL for a while now. Liking them very much now that they are "broken in". Glad I tried them, and kind of wish I bought some mediums (during the sale) to try on the F-2.

  18. #16
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    I may be able to help you. I put nickel bronze sets on my A and A-4. My overall impression is they have a lighter, cooler sound than what I usually use, J-74 phosphor bronze. They worked well with the A, which has such a powerful low end that the J-74s are a bit bold - which has always been fine, but the NBs provide a more even sound. They did not work well with the A-4, to my ears, and as I had been hoping they would provide a similar effect as the J-74s, they did not. They sound a bit brittle and cold to me on this instrument. I'm going to reserve final judgment until I swap them out with J-74s, but I expect that to be successful.

    I went and bought several sets based on the impressions of a few people, in a rush to catch the sale price, and now feel a bit of a fool for having done so. I've been stumped as to what to do with them. If I reserve them for use only on the As, they're going to be sitting around for a long while, as infrequently as I change strings. So if you are interested in a set or two, PM me about making arrangements.
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    The previous two posts look like they have the ability to solve each other.
    There's a category in the classifieds for exchanges and I see some strings in there. I bet when I make it through my round of compares, I will have a few sets to post in there.
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    Thanks for the tip. I didn't know about that, using the classifieds only to find instruments for sale. I'll have to check it out.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    OK, I've spent a little time with the new strings, and here are my impressions.

    As I said, I find them to be less bold, bright, and brassy, even a bit brittle and cold, but that actually works on my plain A, which is pretty boomy on the low end. These strings reduce that effect, making the instrument's sound more even.

    The F-4 is another story. As much as that sweet baby cost, I expected it to blow me away. It did not. It may need a set-up, the bridge may need an adjustment to the feet, I don't know. But changing the strings was an adjustment I could make myself. The nickel strings it had on weren't doing it any favors, so I tried a set of NB on them. They weren't much better, and I was plenty disappointed. I just now put my last set of phosphor bronze strings on, and what a difference they make. It could still use some tweaking, but the 74s add a good bit of boldness. It's as if the PB add as much to the F-4's low end as the NBs reduce to the A's low end. It's funny how that works out. It still isn't all I'd hoped it would be, but hopefully a trip to my luthier for a set-up and what-not will make the difference.

    I don't think I'm going to continue with the NBs for the A. I appreciate what they do for it, but I find their tone a bit cold, crisp, and brittle. I just don't feel the warmth of the PBs. I'm kind of kicking myself for going all in with the NBs - that is, I bought six sets so I could get free shipping - based on recommendations. People have different tastes. I'm looking at it as now I've got a year's supply. But paying twice as much for something not much better - or even not as good - isn't the way for me. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's my way.

    As in all things, your mileage may vary. But that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  22. #20

    Default Re: D'Addario Nickel Bronze Strings

    I've never tried Nickel Bronze on my mandolin but on guitar they are initially pleasing because they have a crisp, clear tone where every note rings out nicely.

    But after a few days I'm like you with your mandolin, that crisp, clear tone starts sounding too plain and uninteresting. When I go back to phosphor bronze the tone warms up a little and fills out a lot.

    On mandolin I use the T-I flatwounds which lie on an entirely different spectrum of tone than either PB or NB. If I put some Nickel Bronze on there I probably wouldn't recognize the sound of my own playing.
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