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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:05 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1646
As my left hand continues to heal from surgery in January, another forum member, 6stringd, has stepped up to the plate to write a review of guitar strings. As an avid electric guitarist, he's reviewing a set of Ernie Ball electric guitar strings. I'd like to say thank you to my good friend, 6stringd

Ernie Ball Super Slinky Cobalt Electric Strings (11-48) by 6stringd

Strings generously provided by: Strings By Mail https://www.StringsByMail.com


Roland “Ernie” Ball was born into a musical family. By the age of nineteen, he played the guitar professionally. When the Korean War intervened, Ernie played the guitar and drum for the US Air Force Band. Ernie opened the first musical instrument store in the United States, that exclusively sold guitars. Although he was told that it would fail, he eventually opened 5500 stores nationwide.

With the rock revival in the 1960’s, Ernie noticed that a lot of people had trouble playing riffs on Fender medium strings, which were the standard strings of the period. He approached Fender Guitar with a new idea in guitar string design. The Ernie Ball brand of strings was born. They are the choice of strings for many professional artists such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Slash, and others that are too many to list. Ernie Ball Strings are known for the Slinky line of electric strings.

The latest slinky strings to hit the market are the Ernie Ball Slinky Cobalt Guitar Strings, the latest innovation in guitar string technology. According to Ernie Ball, “Seeking to provide guitarists and bassists with a new voice, Cobalt strings provide an extended dynamic range, incredible harmonic response, increased low end, and crisp, clear highs. Cobalt provides a stronger magnetic relationship between pickups and strings than any other alloy previously available. Cobalt Slinkys are also soft and silky to the touch, making string bending a breeze.”

The strings are packaged in a sealed plastic bag, contained in a thin cardboard box. They’re well protected against corrosion. I strung them on my Les Paul Custom, 24 fret, long scale, Mahogany, electric guitar, with Dirty Finger pickups. The strings are smooth to the touch and easy to fret. My fingers stayed completely clean, for which I was thankful, because a lot of strings leave dirt on my fingers after playing my guitar.

The sound was hot. Dirty Fingers pickups are engineered to maximize output. When combined with the Cobalts, the output was almost overwhelming. The sound is definitely “in your face”. The mids and highs were clearer, more articulate, but when played at close to maximum output, the articulation becomes muddled. The strings would be ideal for thrash metal playing. There was no string noise at all as I played riffs up and down the neck.

I strung a set of the Ernie Ball Cobalt Slinky strings onto my Fender Lone Star Strat, equipped with the Seymour Dunkin Pearly Gates Humbucker pickups to see if there was a difference in the output; this combination also produced output that was a bit too overwhelming for my rock-blues style of playing.

The strings came into tune very quickly. By the second time I played them, I could put the guitar down for a couple of days, come back, with the tuning spot on. I would describe the longevity of the strings as medium. I don’t keep track of the hours that I spend playing. I may play several hours for a few days, then not play for a couple of days. I’ve had other brands of strings that last longer, and others that have lasted substantially shorter.

Priced at $8.99 (at Strings By Mail), the Ernie Ball Cobalt Super Slinky strings are at the low end of the price spectrum.
The bottom line is that the strings perform as Ernie Ball describes. If you want maximum output from your pickups for an In Your Face performance, you couldn’t do better than Ernie Ball Super Slinky Cobalt Strings.

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