Ernie Ball Cobalt guitar strings

We put Ernie Ball's latest string packs to the test

More output than other strings, smooth and velvet-like feel, brighter and bigger dynamic range - these are just some of the terms being applied to Ernie Ball's new Cobalt electric guitar strings.

Cobalt has a stronger magnetic appeal for pickups, making them louder than other alloys on the market. They also sound brighter, as if your amp's EQ has changed a little - low notes seem more defined, mids are tighter and a little 'dust' has been removed from the treble frequencies.

Even with just acoustic playing (not plugged in), the guitar is impressively alive. In short, what you play sounds more defined and focused.

The tone isn't the only difference though - string feel is commendable too being almost softer under the fingers but very responsive to fretting hand articulations like bends and pull-offs. With the promise of resisting sweat and moisture, you stand to get more mileage out of a set than standard strings too.

We've tried them for a week, playing every night and they still sound and feel great. With an RRP of £13.95 they're not cheap (and only six string packs are available at present) but the new tone and feel may impress you enough to make the change for good!

Check out this brief audio comparison using a PRS Swamp Ash guitar and Blackstar HT-1R amp with a clean setting. There are four clips:

Neck humbucker with standard nickel strings
Neck humbucker with Ernie Ball Cobalt strings
Bridge humbucker with standard nickel strings
Bridge humbucker with Ernie Ball Cobalt strings

For more info visit Ernie Ball

"Cobalt Strings feel incredibly silky under my fingers and deliver more punch, output, and clarity than normal strings!" - John Petrucci

"Ernie Ball Cobalt Strings sound and feel better than anything I've ever played! You have to check these out!" - Slash


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