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Does anyone else.... not like flats?

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by Eveningtheme, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Eveningtheme

    Eveningtheme Member

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    I'm the first to admit that I fell HARD for all the talk about flats that started on forums around 2007 saying that you may as well hang up your bass and spend your time aquiring good taste instead if you're about anything other than flats on a P (maybe a jazz or a ric if you're eccentric)

    But after many years of chromes, TIs etc, I've realized that I just don't like how flats sound. Love how they feel and how you don't have to deal with the extreme brightness the first few play sessions, but they're just so boring, and personally I feel like I can get something extremely similar just by turning down the tone knob.

    But it's SO HARD to make flats sound like anything except flats. Anyone else prefer a slightly-broken in roundwound tone?
     
  2. DCFanatic

    DCFanatic Supporting Member

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    Flats do the flat thing great and that's all. Roundwounds have more flexibility. So I am using roundwounds. Also they are cheaper.
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    but only with a tortoise pickguard though, that's essential ;)

    rounds for me please; flats are neat and all for niche music styles but i like my bass to do it all. i play a passive P bass myself, and if i want something like that sound i can just roll my tone knob back a bit.

    that said, if you want "flats for rounds players" then the ernie ball cobalt flats are the ticket! they're low tension and amazingly bright and flexible for flats, to where they almost sound like old dead rounds.
     
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  4. Eveningtheme

    Eveningtheme Member

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    Nice, appreciate your perspective there. Sounds like we have similar bass tone taste and I'll give the cobalts a try.

    I was slightly shocked playing the cobalt guitar strings, they are a totally different experience than normal EB slinky line strings. I'd imagine the bass strings are similar, the only word I can think of to describe them is that they feel way more high quality while sounding the exact same. I'm a die-hard Ernie ball guy, D'darrio for some reason feel very sharp to me and have a much more mid-heavy sound.
     
  5. soulman969

    soulman969 Member

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    Not like flats!!!!! How dare you.....:mob

    Turn in your James Jamerson Fan Club card now. LOL

    No doubt flats have their niche which is quite often a PBass used to capture bass tone of the '60s Motown and Southern Soul tunes. They're also pretty universal for blues as well. So, my PBass is wearing the stiffest, thuddiest, La Bella Flats made because the above is all use a Pass for.

    My other two have GHS Pressurewounds which for me are very mellow roundwound type but with a smoother wrap that reduces finger noise. They're still very expressive and punchy but without the "zing" I get from pure rounds. If I was only permitted to play one type of string they'd be it.
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T guitar owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I have Cobalt flats on my P right now. I love them.

    Over the years, I’ve tried a bunch of other flats (TI, Chromes, GHS, ...). They all are fun for a while, but I get bored and take them off. A big part of what I like with the Cobalts is that the low E doesn’t suck. Too many flats are just ... “thump” ... on that string. I need some sense of pitch.
     
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  7. Platypus

    Platypus not in rivers, but in drops Supporting Member

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    I'm relatively new to flats so my honeymoon period is still in full effect, but I definitely like having another bass with rounds too. I think if I had to choose only one it would be rounds, but options are nice.
     
    Thor likes this.
  8. jnewmark

    jnewmark Member

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    I have flats on a Pbass because a lot of studio engineers I work with request it for recording. I use GHS Precision Flats; no break in time, no sticky feel, sound good right out of the package. Playing live I use a Fender Jazz with Fender Nickle rounds.
     
    derekd likes this.
  9. somedude

    somedude Member

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    When I started playing bass I jumped on the flats bandwagon for a bit. Thought I was onto something cool and unique, but after awhile I found them boring.

    I took flats into the studio. The tone that had the engineer smiling was a Jazz with nickel rounds that I was playing with a pick.

    I was even in an R&B/neo-soul band for a bit. I thought that now is my chance to rock the the P with flats... they were thoroughly unimpressed, then asked if I had a 5 string Jazz.
     
  10. olejason

    olejason Member

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    The internet based hype for flats is a little nutty IMO. I keep them on a Mustang bass for that sound but otherwise don't find them all that enamoring. People always talk about loving the feel of them but, for me, they're more abrasive on the hands than rounds.
     
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  11. MartinCliffe

    MartinCliffe Member

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    I put flats on my p-bass a few months back. Not a fan of the feel - it’s as if my skin catches on the minuscule gaps between the winds. Tone, well, they’re Chromes so they’re brighter sounding anyway I guess, and a p-bass is always going to be a niche bass for me.
    I have the same strings on both my fretless basses though and they work much better in that context IMO. Bizarrely I don’t have the same feel issue. Maybe I just got a bad set...
     
  12. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I guess it depends on what genre you're playing.

    Jazz? Check
    R&B? Check
    Pop or Funk? Nope
    Rock? Probably not
    Blues? Yep
    Country? Maybe
     
  13. Bryan T

    Bryan T guitar owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I’ve had Chromes that felt rough. I suspect that would go away with use, but they didn’t stick around on the bass very long.

    Cobalts have that, but it is gone in a few days.
     
  14. JoeYello

    JoeYello Supporting Member

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    I like them on my Hofner Clubman but not on my other basses. They can be floppy.
     
  15. StringNavigator

    StringNavigator Member

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    Many years back, playing with a locally popular country band, and without thinking much about it, I used round-wound bass strings. A left-over from playing rock. They were even light gauge strings for a while... It wasn't until I switched to heavy flat-wounds for a Motown sound that I realised my mistake. Country music sounds much better on heavy flats with either finger-style or plectrum. The projection onto the dance-floor is profoundly better. If only I could go back in time...
     
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  16. Funky Chicken

    Funky Chicken Member

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    I have zero interest in flats. I have tone controls on all five of my basses that can get me close enough without giving up the harmonic content that I love about roundwounds.
    I’m searching around for a new favorite roundwound. The best bass strings I ever had were Carl Thompson but I don’t think they are available anymore.
     
  17. Bryan T

    Bryan T guitar owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I doubt Carl Thompson made their own strings. I’d try to figure out who made them and if there was anything special in the formula.
     
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  18. Naigewron

    Naigewron Member

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    I like the sound of flats for a lot of different applications, but I just couldn't get comfortable with the feel. It's like they stick to the fingers of my right hand, making it much harder to pluck the strings comfortably.
     
  19. silverhawk

    silverhawk Member

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    My first good bass was a Rick 4001 with flats (stock). I hated them because after I played for more than an hour my fingers would literally stick to the string. So I went to roundwounds, and didn't look back for over 30 years. Awhile back, I was playing more fretless, and I hated the finger squeaks. I found a set of Ken Smith Slick Rounds that have a smoother feel, but still have a full sound. Much better!
     
  20. adkteleman

    adkteleman Member

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    I love flats on my P Basses and rounds on my Jazzes and 5 strings. I’m making a move to try tapewounds on my Ps.
     

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