Has anyone tried Ernie Ball Cobalt strings?

Ty220

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I am using cobalts on one Les Paul at moment ( ordred more just waiting on them) but am going to put them on my other Les Paul as soon as they arrive. I am using the 11 gauge and they do feel and sound different compared to the power slinkys to me anyways. The wound strings feel sort of idk metallic like, the sound is noticeable. I sit and play a lot unplugged and can feel and hear how much louder they are even without running through an amp. The sound is a little brighter than regular power slinkys. I love the gritty like mettalic feel of these strings. They do seem to respond faster and bend smoother to me. I put a set of power slinkys on my other Paul and done even want to play it hardly until the new cobalts arrive.
 

aknow

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They're terrible, the coating comes off within days.
 

Taylor67

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Super bright and changed tone in a bad way! Cant beat regular slinky's they're the best strings on the planet imo! Stay in tune, last longer and dont break and they sound great.
 

moreles

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Cobalts are, to me (= completely subjectively) the best feeling strings out there -- supple and bendy but not floppy, smooth feeling -- and I've used everything. Sonically, the (slight) additional output is there compared to most strings, but I keep my pickups off the strings anyway, and keep my volume knobs b/w 5-6, and so I get great cleans with Cobalts and can dial up full throttle if I want. I like them more than D'Addario NYXLs and various DRs, which are also excellent. But try for yourself, as there are reviews by good players that say exactly the opposite of what I've posted here!
 

RobJD

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Another fan of Cobalts here. I like the feel and have ended up putting them on all my guitars. Just ordered a set of the hybrid Cobalts to go on my new Junior.
 

Latearrival

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I tried about 3 sets of the Hybrid Slinly Cobalts on my Les Paul Traditional.


Initially, I liked them, and they definitly give a higher output compared to the regular Hybrid Slinkys.

But I found the "gritty" feel of the bass strings, (whilst not unpleasant to play) wears my picks into a "hook" shape quite quickly, which meant I couldn't even get through a gig with the same pick!

Also, whilst adding mid-range punch, I felt that they take something away from the upper mids, and the LP didn't sound so "bright" and "open" sounding to me with them!

Finally the price - I simply can't justify paying twice the price for strings which I have mixed feelings about! - I change my strings every 4 -6 weeks, so the extra £5 works out at £60+ a year!
 

James R

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I've used cobalts for the last 2-3 years, on all my guitars, but just yesterday I finally tried a set of the NYXL's.
So far I love them.
If they stand the test of time, like the cobalts do, I'll be switching to them as my primary strings on all my guitars.
 

EllenGtrGrl

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I use Cobalts. They are the strings I have on all of my electrics. Why? I have major allergies to nickel, and chromium (which is used in stainless steel), which can give me bigtime dermatitis. When this was learned in May of 2014, I did some serious searching for nickel and stainless steel free strings for my electrics (I didn't consider coated strings, because the coating wears off, leaving my fingers touching nickel strings). Out of the about 300 different product lines on the market, only GHS British Steels, and Ernie Ball Cobalts met this criteria. I verified it via e-mail with both Rotosound, and Ernie Ball. Since Cobalts come in more string gauges (including the availability of wound 3rd/G strings sold separately [yay!]), I chose Cobalts. They're a little brighter than the D'Addario EXLs I've used for the past 25 plus years, but it's nothing I can't adjust for with my amp's tone controls. They're also a tad stiffer, when it comes to bends, but that's no biggie for me - I've neven been much of a string bender in my 36+ years of playing.

Cobalts are a bit pricier than your typical string, but they work for me.
 

jbash

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Tried 2 sets of Cobalts and one set of M steels.

I have nothing nice to say about either. I use standard or classics when I use slinkys.
 

crazytrain513

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These strings sound warmer to me -- I like them. They also are easier to bend IMO. You can't go wrong with them.

The color is also slightly different -- in a good way.

Above is my reply from April 2013.

I played Cobalts pretty much exclusively until January 2015. I had my guitar serviced by a luthier and he put D'Addario XL's on my guitar when he returned it to me. A bit disappointed about no Cobalts, I decided to give it a try anyways.

...I don't use Cobalts anymore. Since January, I've been sticking to the D'Addario's, very pleased. I went back to Cobalt's last week for about a week and now they're off.

Why? In comparison, the bass strings feel very dry/abrasive, I feel there is less high end and the strings sound a bit muted. I've also heard that the Cobalt's can cause some premature fretwear...not sure how true that actually is but given the feel of the bass strings, I wouldn't dismiss it.

Amazing how opinions change! I'm a D'Addario man now.
 

Juan Wayne

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Above is my reply from April 2013.

I played Cobalts pretty much exclusively until January 2015. I had my guitar serviced by a luthier and he put D'Addario XL's on my guitar when he returned it to me. A bit disappointed about no Cobalts, I decided to give it a try anyways.

...I don't use Cobalts anymore. Since January, I've been sticking to the D'Addario's, very pleased. I went back to Cobalt's last week for about a week and now they're off.

Why? In comparison, the bass strings feel very dry/abrasive, I feel there is less high end and the strings sound a bit muted. I've also heard that the Cobalt's can cause some premature fretwear...not sure how true that actually is but given the feel of the bass strings, I wouldn't dismiss it.

Amazing how opinions change! I'm a D'Addario man now.

I'm coming back from Cobalts to a more traditional thing with my good old Slinkys, after quite some time of almost exclusive Cobalt stinging.

I realized I didn't need the extra brightness and output, which in some guitars could sound a bit hollow in the mids, while the lower strings started so sound weird after a couple weeks, like they got heavier and lifeless.

I made a point to often change strings simultaneously on two basically identical guitars, one with Cobalts and one with regular Slinkys, both 0.010, and I made sure they both got similar playing time. I can say that Cobalts lasted longer, but I also found myself more comfortable in my return to the old recipe. It was easier to work the natural dynamics of the guitar with regular strings.

It took me a while to come back since I liked the new sound and feel for quite a while. I still have a set on one of my guitars taht I had left for one last comparison. I will change those strings in a few days.

Also, they do feel more abrasive, which was never a concern until I noticed some unusual fretwear on a recently refretted guitar, compared to another one. The one with Cobalts had been refretted a couple years after another identical one which remained mostly with regular EBs. Both guitars were refretted by the same luthier with the same frets, getting similar playtime for a long period (actually, the one with regular strings got much more playtime in the end), and the one with Cobalts caught up in a matter of months, maybe a year.

Cobalts were interesting until they were not interesting anymore (not o mention quite expensive), leaving me with some fretwear and a renewed love for my old favorite strings, regular run of the mill EB 0.010s. They do last longer, probably twice as much even under my radioactive sweating fingers, but they were not worth it.
 

FFXIhealer

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Wah wah, they're too bright.....

:facepalm:

And this comming from people who are constantly pulling the stock 300K Gibson volume pots and modern wiring out and replacing them with 500K pots and '50s wiring (which super-brightens up your tone)?

There's only one thing for me to do...

:facepalm:

And only because the face banging its head against the wall isn't on this forum.
 

Latearrival

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I tried about 3 sets of the Hybrid Slinly Cobalts on my Les Paul Traditional.


Initially, I liked them, and they definitly give a higher output compared to the regular Hybrid Slinkys.

But I found the "gritty" feel of the bass strings, (whilst not unpleasant to play) wears my picks into a "hook" shape quite quickly, which meant I couldn't even get through a gig with the same pick!

Also, whilst adding mid-range punch, I felt that they take something away from the upper mids, and the LP didn't sound so "bright" and "open" sounding to me with them!

Finally the price - I simply can't justify paying twice the price for strings which I have mixed feelings about! - I change my strings every 4 -6 weeks, so the extra £5 works out at £60+ a year!

At the risk of sounding a bit hypocritical - I think I have changed my mind again!

What happened is this - about 3 months ago, I ran out of regular hybrid slinkys! - all I had in the house was a set of Cobalt hybrid slinkys which I had stopped using, so I put those on!.

For one reason or another, they have been on my Les Paul for nearly 3 months! Despite that, they still sounded bright and punchy, and ultra stable in terms of tuning...

Last week I changed them back to the regular slinkys and - whoa! I was immediately taken aback by the drop in output and punch going back to the regular strings!

I still stand by what I said regarding the "openness" of the normal strings - the LP sounds more "classic" sounding with them on but for a Rock or Metal sound, the Cobalts win! - I have now ordered another 3 sets of them!
 

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