My favourite strings for the past couple of years have been the recently released Ernie Ball Cobalt Slinky strings. I reviewed the Cobalt Slinkys back when they came out in 2012. Ernie Ball have come back with a new series of string, the M-Steel Slinkys. I was curious to see how these differed over my favoured Cobalt Slinkys, and CMC music, the Australian distributor for Ernie Ball, sent me a set to review.
I strung up my custom Strat with the M-Steels, and like the Cobalt Slinkys I found the stretching period to be excellent. It only took a few stretches of each string to get them pretty much holding tune.
Now the Cobalts sound louder than the equivalent gauge in other string brands and the M-Steels were pretty much the same. The big difference was that the M-Steels feel a lot more rigid, with the feel of, say a set of regular 10-46 strings. Bends were a little tougher. The sound was a little more full than the Cobalt Slinkies, with a lot of punch from the wound strings and bite on the higher ones. There was an increase in clarity over regular strings, but unlike the Cobalt Slinkys, the M-Steels sound a little heavier, most likely due to the increased tension for their string gauge, acting like a set of 10-46s or similar.
The Cobalt Slinkys retain much of their tone and tune longer than regular uncoated strings, and the M-Steels are no different. Whether they last long enough to be more cost effective than replacing regular strings a couple times, or if the tone is more to your liking is probably what each player needs to decide.
Overall the Ernie Ball M-Steel Super Slinkys are a great string, adding more options to an already impressive range of strings in Ernie Ball’s catalogue. If you are looking for a string that will last a long time, provide great tone and offer increased tension without going up a gauge then definitely check out the new M-Steels.