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Review – MJC Ironworks Bass Strings

MJC Ironworks Bass Strings Review

This review focuses on the Nickel and Stainless Steel 4 and 5-string Sets

Special string offer at the end of this review!

MJC Company History

MJC Ironworks is the brainchild of Mr. Michael Connolly, a veteran string-maker and a former part of the Dean Markley core team, while the company was on the rise in the CA Bay Area.

Michael developed or worked on most all of the string projects for DM for years and as a director of artist relations, he has collaborated with many, many artists, in the development of personal string lines. He has worked with or partnered with many other string manufacturers, and has set up a complete state of the art facility.

Besides his decades-long string experience, Mike has a vast tool-belt of experience in all aspects of marketing and the day-to-day planning and execution of running a business. Between his vast experience, as well as his love of music and musicians, he decided to develop his own strings and start a company.

Nickel and Steel Sets

MJC sent me 2 sets of nickel and 2 sets of stainless steel strings in a light gauge configuration of sizes 40-60-80-100 for the 4 set and 40-60-80-100-125 for the 5.

I first installed the 5-string Nickel and SS sets on my Kiesel JB-5 for a test run during rehearsals and first 10 shows for the Guitar Collective tour, in which I was using the 5-string for the entirety of Angel Vivaldi’s set. I was running the strings, 5 dates each, with the conditions being as identical as I could for each set. I was pushing them aggressively for an hour and 15 minutes every night and 3 to 6-hour rehearsals with aggressive pick-style, finger-style, slapping and tapping; I was not gentle.

While both sets were comparable in terms of tension and comfort, the Nickel set really stood out for me for barely sacrificing any high-end and maintaining a really even, slick feel without the “plastic” feel many Nickel strings are know for. In my experience, Nickel round wounds lose high end after maybe a gig and a half; I found the MJC’s kept new-string, top-end, deep into the 5thgig at equal value to when installed.

The stainless set, I felt, had an equally powerful B and string balance, but without the cheese grater effect very commonly known for stainless strings. My callouses were strong, but the strings did not cause any skin tearing or major discomfort even with Fortissimo dynamics and switching up of techniques.

Also, the stainless were not pick-killers either, as I was able to use picks way after the 5th gig; I used them every night, with no significant degradation in the pick’s structure.

For the 4 string sets I decided to install one set of nickels on my Kiesel Zeus 4 a few months after initially receiving the strings, to test out the packagings ability to maintain string freshness and prevent corrosion.

The company prides itself on shipping the strings in a specially designed tin that contains an RN PROTECTS foam strip that prevents corrosion for up to 2 years while sealed. From my experience I found this to be at least partially true due to a 5-month window between receiving the strings and installation, with no visible corrosion or dead sounding strings.

The TIN

My favorite thing about the strings, outside of tone and tension, was the packaging.

The tins had a nice small footprint, which meant that if one needed to bring more strings on the road, they could fit a lot more sets in a smaller amount of space. I also enjoyed the lack of excessive paper, and the clean little tag on each string. The tins also can be reused as a container for picks, Allen wrenches, small tool and cloths as well; an unintended benefit but a nice addition to the strings that sets it apart.

In conclusion, I found that MJC is a very nice alternative to more well known string brands, that worked well for both tour life and more domestic efforts and recording as well. While not in the same price point as Ernie Ball or Dunlop, the quality difference is there,  definitely in the longevity, packaging and tension.

This author would recommend MJC Ironworks Bass Strings for a test run.

If you want to try out these bass strings for yourself

Email Mike directly at mike@mjcironworks.com and say you saw Kilian’s review on Bass Musician Magazine – Mike will honor a special deal for our readers – $20 per can (4 or 5 string) – includes free shipping!

Find out more about MJC Ironworks Strings at mjcironworks.com

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