The question came up today of what is the difference between nickel or chrome or stainless steel electric guitar strings.
I’ve been playing electric guitar since 1980. That is a lot of strings I have played on over the years and a lot of changing strings. If you are concerned about the playing life of your strings, nickel offers a longer playing life. (But steel strings physically last longer.)
The tone of the nickel strings starts with a warm or played in tone and changes less rapidly than other strings. Also, nickel strings are softer and are easier on your frets.
Oh, and then there is pure nickel vs nickel plated. This is getting complicated. Pure nickel is what guitarists used in the 50s, so if you like that early rock and roll sound you might like pure nickel. Country and rock players might choose nickel plated.
Chrome and steel strings start off brighter than nickel, but lose their brightness faster. I like Chrome strings for old school blues and jazz.
Stainless steel strings are brighter with more bite. They produce more volume and have more sustain. On the other hand, players often produce more finger noise with steel strings.
Personally, I like warmer strings and I use nickel. But not all the time.
Someone is bound to ask me about string gauge, flat vs round wound or coated strings. Well, let me tell you…