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Reviewed: Fender Original 150's Pure Nickel Electric Guitar Strings

Fender strings have been around for a very, very long time, even preceding the birth of Strings Direct over 25 years ago. A staple of their string lineup’s lifetime has been the Original 150’s Pure Nickel range. In our latest review, our own Professor Twang decided put them through their paces... .


Most electric guitar sets are nickel, right?  Well, yes... and no!  You’ll see many electric string sets labeled as ‘Nickel Wound’ nowadays.  However, today’s string sets are wound with a very different type of nickel wrap wire compared to those of yesteryear.

Back in the mid-'50s to late ’60s electric guitar string sets were almost exclusively wound using a pure nickel wrap wire and in some places you may have seen this referred to as 'vintage nickel'.

Around the late ’60s, the cost of nickel shot up resulting in many string manufacturers making a concerted move towards using a nickel-plated steel wrap wire instead which is still commonly used in many of today's most popular sets, including: D’Addario EXL, Rotosound, Ernie Ball Slinkys and many more.  The decision to move to nickel-plated steel was not just driven by cost... the characteristics of the new nickel-plated steel wrap also lent itself to the tonal demands of the more modern player: a brighter, punchier sounding set of string.

That being said, many manufacturers still produce pure nickel strings in their string range, Fender being one of them.  In fact, for as long as Strings Direct has existed, the pure nickel sets have been a consistent staple of Fender’s range.


Pure nickel strings (to clarify, we’re talking about just the wound strings here) are known to sound smoother in comparison to today’s nickel-plated strings but these Fender 150’s are certainly not dull and there’s good projection from the plain strings too.  They are warm yet provide just enough brightness without being harsh and we’d go as far to say that these Fender pure nickels are just a tad more sparkly-sounding when compared to some other brands’ pure nickel offerings… after all, Fender traditionally offers “sparkle”, wouldn’t you agree?

Even chicken picking or “popping” on a T-style guitar sounds cool so they’re definitely not lacking in the twang department.  In fact, they’d comfortably suit a whole manner of playing styles, but I think they’re especially great for rock, blues, country and rockabilly.

Pure nickel strings are also renowned for a consistent tone throughout their lifespan.

Tuning-wise, we found these to be great from the word go; settling in very quickly and remaining stable throughout a performance. The intonation (at the 12th fret of my T-style guitar) was especially accurate, which was impressive.

No matter where you are in your playing career, it’s always reassuring to know that when you put a new set of strings on they’re more-or-less “stage/studio ready” straight out of the pack.  Admittedly, this can’t always be said for every set of strings but the Fender 150’s truly are ready to go! They’re well-balanced and accommodating to natural and expressive vibrato from the start and respond well to all forms of articulation including legato (i.e., hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides and bending, etc... ).

Whilst these strings aim to replicate tones of the ’50s and ’60s, their packaging is refreshingly modern.  They utilise modern 'Vapour Corrosion Inhibitor Technology' to ensure the strings stay fresh in their packet which is also fully recyclable - we're big fans of this as you may already know!

The strings also have colour-coded ball-ends to help you identify which string is which. When you’re dealing with strings with just a few thousandths of an inch between them, it’s all too easy to hastily put a new string on only to discover you’ve fitted a string in the wrong position… we’ve all been there so these coloured ball-ends are very handy in that respect.


Fender Original 150 Pure Nickel strings have been around for a long time and have proven themselves as a popular choice for those players who want a consistent sound which is rich and smooth over an extended period. I must say I didn’t want to put my guitar down with these strings fitted, which says a lot.

Whilst many pure nickel sets often work out a little more expensive than their nickel-plated steel counterparts (nowadays often referred to as simply ‘Nickel Wound’), Fender’s Original 150’s Pure Nickel strings are priced exactly the same as their Nickel Plated Super 250’s range offering affordability and excellent value for money.

So, if you’re looking to give the pure nickel sound a whirl, these could be the perfect gateway to retro tonal nirvana.

Psst! If you’re a Strat player, the Fender 150’s are also available with Bullet ends with an additional 09-46 gauge available too (see below).   For more information about Bullet Ends, you can read our blog post here; https://www.stringsdirect.co.uk/blog/what-are-fender-bullet-strings/

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