The Ernie Ball Cobalt Strings were created with a lot of hype around them. You can see it on their page on Amazon, graphs comparing the output and frequency response of cobalt over nickel or stainless steel. They talk about how they own the patent to the first and only Cobalt string. They also talk about the various artists who use them where they misspelled Jeff Loomis’s name wrong. Honestly! Check it out here!
There are a lot of great reviews about the Ernie Ball Cobalt Strings but this will not be one of them.
It can’t be denied that these strings do provide a new and unique tone, but new does not always mean better.These strings completely throw off all your EQs and setups and you’ll need to completely re-dial your setup, and for me, it’s just not worth it. The tone seems to have something added to it. One to many ingredients in the pot kind of thing. I think you can have great tone with regular nickel wound or steel strings and these cobalt strings don’t really provide anything new or fill any hole from people’s ears.
It just seems a bit of a gimmick.
Maybe I’m being too close-minded but in my mind you shouldn’t have to alter your whole rig to fit the strings, you should be able to get the strings to compliment everything else.
You can these Ernie Ball Cobalt 7 strings in three different style of gauge; Regular, Power and Skinny Top Heavy Bottom. The power gauge strings do have a good feel to them, they have a nice feel across the whole guitar compared to the heavy bottom ones. The skinny end of the strings just isn’t up to coping with a 27” scale, super tight strings on the top and then a bit of a monster on the low E at 0.62 gauge. So of the three, the Power gauge was the best of a bad bunch, all round a bit heavier but not so thick that they become unplayable.
At first play, they do warm up pretty quickly and they feel nice and smooth to play. But this only really lasts about a week, maybe two. Now I don’t mind changing my strings, it’s a nice methodical process, combined with cleaning the neck and restringing. But having to do it it every two weeks is too often. Especially since these are a bit more expensive than most strings.
I reckon the people who are saying their playing is coming out crystal clear and have noticed huge improvements in tone may be buying into the hype. You read all about how much better your tone will sound with these strings so you give them a shot listening for improvements so you hear them. Classic placebo effect.
People were talking about whether or not the cobalt strings cause more noticeable fret-ware than other strings but I can report this is unlikely. Fret-ware will be caused by all strings that aren’t nylon since you are rubbing metal against metal repeatedly over a long period of time.
All in all, not really impressed. Cobalt just doesn’t do anything for me, I’ll be sticking with good old nickel wound strings. I loved the Dunlop DHCN1060 Heavy 7-String Set I reviewed previously. By all means try them out for yourself! It might well be the flavour you having been searching for, and you can buy them straight from Amazon.