Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

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Groovy Tunes
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Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by Groovy Tunes » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:24 pm

I'm writing this because it has taken me a very long time and a bit of cash to compare these two sting brands, using a Jazzmaster, Telecaster, and Les Paul and through a Fender and Vox amp. Plus, I might be able to save you a few bucks after reading this. Keep in mind that these statements are not facts, but only a careful analysis according to my completely unbiased opinion. Also, the comparisons were set up with NICKLE WOUND 8s and 9-46s on the Telecaster, 9.5s and 9-42s on the Jazzmaster, and 10s and 11s on the Les Paul. Each string gauge was played with both brands, the same guitar, and amp/pedal combinations.

Here are strictly qualities of a D'Addario string:
- Have more grip, especially on the unwound strings (G, B, e)
- Are slightly acoustically louder
- Have more attack, which is especially noticeable when paired with humbuckers
- Feel more textured
- Seem to sustain slightly longer
- Looses new string sound in about 7 hours, which is liked by only 50 percent of guitarists anyways
- Have a little bit more definition under distortion when using hum buckers, fat fuzz, or distortion pedals
- The winding feels slightly flatter and taller, but still nothing close to flat wound. They feel completely different than Ernie Ball strings

Here are strictly qualities of an Ernie Ball string:
- Feel slick and smooth in a great way, especially on the unwound strings (G, B, e)
- Sound brighter; not in a shrill way, but crisp and clear, especially with single coils
- Are more clean sounding. Maybe a bit more definition
- Less buzz when playing slide guitar
- Don't vibrate as much after the first half hour of playing, which is good because they vibrate too much at first
- Looses new string sound in about 4 hours, which is only liked by 50 percent of guitarists anyways
- STAY IN TUNE better and break in faster (after about 10 seconds of pulling each string, and then playing for five minutes with a retuning, the strings hold their pitch exceptionally better then any other string I've played, where it takes a quite a few retunes for D'Addario strings to settle perfectly.)
- The winding feels rounder, shorter, and more spaced out. They feel completely different than Ernie Ball strings

Here are similarities of both strings:

- The ball ends seem to be made the exact same way with only different color balls
- They cost roughly the same depending on where you get them from and state taxing differences
- While D'Addario doesn't show as much physical wear as Ernie Ball strings, both wear out at about the same amount of playing time. Ernie ball strings are shinier and therefore show wear more apparently

Verdict:

While D'Addario and Ernie Ball strings do not sound alike, they are not so different in tone to justify the purchase of one or another without addressing the feel of the strings themselves. That said, if you perfer cleans and single coil pickups, you might find the definition Ernie Ball has to offer magical; If you perfer high gain distortion and humbucking pickups, then you might find the slightly additional initial attack and the tone cutting through more clear under mass distortion more appealing. BUT - and a big but too - there is no reason why either string company doesn't sound any better for either application because it is your ear that matters, not mine. You may have a sound in you're head that you are looking for that is different to mine and that is completely fine. I just hoped this helped a few people.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the comparison. Feel free to comment your opinions as well.
Last edited by Groovy Tunes on Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by soggy mittens » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:53 pm

awesome comparison GT, love it. I always bought d'addarios because of the coloured ball ends lol i know i know, but currently changing to GHS boomers. Largely because of the e string breakage issues. Any plans to further your string comparisons with other brands? :D
If OSG has tort me anything...

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by FightingPlankton » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:22 pm

The last statement under both says " sounds completely different than..." But under daddario it says "sounds different than diaddario" and under EB it says " sounds different than Ernie ball"
Wondering if you got the headlines or the last lines crossed
What is acoustic? Oh, you means a grandpa's guitars? A grandpa's guitars? That's for pussies and grandpas. I think you know it.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by FightingPlankton » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:29 pm

Groovy Tunes wrote:.

Here are strictly qualities of a D'Addario string:
They feel completely different than D'Addario strings

Here are strictly qualities of an Ernie Ball string:
-
- The winding feels rounder, shorter, and more spaced out. They feel completely different than Ernie Ball strings
What is acoustic? Oh, you means a grandpa's guitars? A grandpa's guitars? That's for pussies and grandpas. I think you know it.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by soggy mittens » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:45 pm

obviously FP xD
If OSG has tort me anything...

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by FightingPlankton » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:38 am

soggy mittens wrote:obviously FP xD
... Well it kind of matters. I mean, if the headings are swapped then all the attributes for each string are swapped, but if its just the last line that's wrong... No big deal.
What is acoustic? Oh, you means a grandpa's guitars? A grandpa's guitars? That's for pussies and grandpas. I think you know it.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by NoiseNoiseNoise » Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:57 am

My Luthier only uses D'Addario strings. I was once given a set of sealed and unopened Ernie Ball strings. When I came to use them the unwound strings all had big patches of rust on them. I also (MANY years ago!) had issues with Rotosound bass strings where the E always sounded dead and lifeless, like a string that was fitted at the factory and not changed for 5 years. Strange, eh? Guitar acoustics and Physics is WITCHCRAFT! ;)
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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by Stratelejazzuar » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:50 am

I switched to Ernie Balls in the past year because the D'addarios high E .010s kept breaking on me.

For my Strats I've used Fender Bullets for a long time too.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by marqueemoon » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:44 am

I like the darker out of the box D'Addario sound.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by Groovy Tunes » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:44 pm

FightingPlankton wrote:The last statement under both says " sounds completely different than..." But under daddario it says "sounds different than diaddario" and under EB it says " sounds different than Ernie ball"
Wondering if you got the headlines or the last lines crossed
Thank you, I fixed it

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by mackerelmint » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:51 pm

I never had much luck with D'Addarios holding together all that well. I've always come back to EBs.
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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by Groovy Tunes » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:47 pm

If you guys where wondering what I prefer after all of those hours of time spent comparing the two, it is Ernie Ball on my Telecaster and Jazzmaster, and D'Addario on my Les Paul.

Here is why: Ernie Ball brings the crisp, cleans out of the Telecatser and Jazzmaster better, and D'Addario brings the darkness out of my Les Paul while adding a bit more crunch because they ring a bit more. I put 10s on the Les Paul which I keep in open D, 9-46s on the Tele which I keep in Open C, and 9-42s on the Jazzmaster in standard.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by BurgMistTort » Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:08 pm

I love the D'Addario NYXL strings and EPN pure nickels. I like those much better than the similar EB offerings (Cobalts and Rock 'n Rolls, respectively).

I can use either the no-frills, straight ahead, $4-a-pack XLs and Slinkys without any problems, but I usually go with D'Addarios because that's what I've always used. Sometimes I feel frisky and put a set of Slinkys or even some GHS Boomers (which were the first replacement strings I ever bought because Def Leppard used them way back when), but otherwise I've never had a reason to permanently switch from D'Addario.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by valley_parade » Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:32 pm

soggy mittens wrote:I always bought d'addarios because of the coloured ball ends lol i know i know, but currently changing to GHS boomers. Largely because of the e string breakage issues.
Interesting. I switched from GHS to D'Addario for this exact same reason.

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Re: Ernie Ball vs D'Addario

Post by MechaBulletBill » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:33 am

mackerelmint wrote:I never had much luck with D'Addarios holding together all that well. I've always come back to EBs.
Yeah, I tried some fender brand pure nickels (which I think are rebranded d'adds) and they just sucked. I tried two packs of them and they just would not stay in tune. Back to good ol' ernie ball and no more problems.

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