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What is the difference between Ernie Ball strings?

Published: Mon April 30, 2007  News Feed

What are the differences between plain strings, RPS, nickelwound (Slinky), pure nickel (Classic Slinky), stainless steel, phosphor bronze (Slinky Acoustic), 80/20 bronze (Earthwood) and nylon (Ernesto Palla) strings?

These are the differences between Ernie Ball strings:

  • Plain strings (the smaller unwound strings), 3 are included in most electric sets and 2 in most acoustic sets, are a tin-plated steel string offering smooth high notes.
  • RPS (Reinforced Plain Strings) strings are simply reinforced versions of Ernie Ball standard plain strings. They have a special wrapping of bronze wire with a lock twist at the ball end where breakage most often occurs. Since they also help the string stay in tune, these are especially useful for players using a vintage-style tremolo or just the player who tends to break a lot of plain strings. However, there is no real tone difference when using these strings.
  • The differences in the various Slinky sets are in the wrapped strings only, and they are as follows:
    • Nickelwound, which is nickel plating over steel wrap, such as Ernie Ball standard Slinkys, offer all-around good midrange tone and sound.
    • Pure Nickel strings offer a smoother, rounder vintage tone, reminiscent of the 60's. Classic Slinkys are available in this type of wrap.
    • Stainless Steel is a brighter string for more cutting tones. These are available in the Stainless Steel Slinkys.
  • For acoustic guitars, the two most popular types are 80/20 bronze, and Phosphor Bronze. Earthwood 80/20 bronze gives a player a brighter, dynamic sound with lots of clarity.
  • Earthwood Silk & Steel has a nylon core for the wound strings to add a mellower characteristic to the 80/20 sound. It also lessens the tension, making the guitar easier to play.
  • Ernie Ball Slinky Acoustic strings are a phosphor bronze blend string, giving players a warm, rich sound with solid tone while reducing string noise.
  • Nylon strings are a smooth, rich string, quieter than most other strings (for classical style guitars only.) They are available in our Ernesto Palla Silver & Clear, Silver & Black, and Gold & Black (ball end). Also available in Ernie Ball's Earthwood line is Gold & Clear (ball end).

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