Flatwound strings... the final frontier?

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by SGNick, Jan 27, 2008.


  1. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    I have longscale Epiphone EB-3 that I'm really enjoying playing, but one thing always bothers me, string squeak. I generally use a barely-any-highs thuddy tone, would flatwounds be able to offer what I'm looking for tone-wise, while practically eliminating the queak?

    any other advantages/drawbacks to rounds or flats?
     
  2. Antero

    Antero Member

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    Answer: Yes, so much of a yes that I'm not sure why you weren't already using them. :p
     
  3. Thor

    Thor Member

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    Big +1!!

    If you are looking for a nice thuddy tone, by all means run-don't-walk to your nearest music store and pick up a nice set of round-wounds. I have them on a few basses and they are comfortable to play, give a nice tubby thuddy tone and only require changing very infrequently (in fact, some prefer them to be grimy and old and only change them when they finally break).

    Enjoy,

    Edward
     
  4. Troser

    Troser Member

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    "Thuddy" is the perfect adjective to describe flatwound tone. Definately what you're after.
     
  5. Zilmo

    Zilmo Member

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    Flatwounds also seem to be much easier on frets and fretboards.
     
  6. monstermike

    monstermike Member

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    My favorite bass sounds are all flatwounds, really - McCartney, Jamerson, Duck Dunn, any of the old blues guys - and I get why people dig roundwounds, but something about a bass with flats just sounds better to me.
     
  7. straycat23

    straycat23 Member

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    Not only are flatwounds easier on the bass itself, they are easier on the fingers.
     
  8. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    ....and then there are the D'Addario 1/2 wounds. I think they are a great string.
     
  9. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    I love the feel of flats on a bass. I had them on my recording bass. Then a bass player friend came over and played his Jazz bass with rounds, and the recording had so much more tone to work with that I changed my strings back to rounds. But like has been said, almost all bass recorded up until maybe the late 60s were flats. Seems like Chris Squire gave the rounds a huge boost in popularity. I'm not sure if he was the first.

    Anyway, I'd suggest getting a premium set rather than D'addario Chromes. My experience is that the Chromes are very dull and dead sounding right out of the box. Pyramids would be a better choice.
     
  10. russ

    russ Supporting Member

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    +1
    After years of going back and forth between flats and rounds, D'addario 1/2 rounds are the string for me the past 5 or 6 years! I've found nothing like em!
     
  11. Robal

    Robal Supporting Member

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    Anyone try the La Bella tape wound strings? I have them on a 1965 Jazz bass that I don't want to ever refret. They have a smooth feel like flats but more definition, since they are round wound strings with black nylon tape wrapped around them. When I tried other flats on that bass, such as the Pyramids, I found that there was a difference in timbre between strings that I did not like. The Thomastiks had weird guages with a really small E string. The La Bella strings were more even in timbre, especially on the E string. The La Bella strings are not stupidly expensive, either.
     
  12. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I really should be looking into flats for one of my basses- just which one do I want to always have that sound?
     
  13. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    I've been around the block a lot recently on string choices and brands. My Bacchus J came with some grate feeling flats (light or royal blue silks - D'Addario? Not sure). Switched to Thomastik Infelds (great strings) and it was immediately too slack and buzzy. Tried some other options, and have her back on D'Addario rounds (tried the half rounds, which I hadn't tried in years - too "grabby" feeling, *really* slowed me down).

    The TI flats (which are a class apart from most flatwounds, imo) turned out to be just the ticket for my short scale Ibby ArtCore hollow. The odd 32" short scale set have a huuuuge difference in gauge between the E and A, D, G strings. Thought there had been a mistake at first, but it really works (you figure the Viennese might know a thing or three about strings, huh?

    Try 'em on the Jazz - goes real well with the brighter J style pickups. Loved my 5 string Joe Osborne Skyline - a bright bass - with some flats. Great recording results, too.
     
  14. Mike Dresch

    Mike Dresch Silver Supporting Member

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    I just can not get along with flat wounds. Being a recording engineer by trade, I have a hell of time getting a sound out of them I like, not to mention the feel of them....but your mileage may vary.....
     
  15. cpsdawg

    cpsdawg Member

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    la bella flats are great . i also like the rotosound flats. i have not used the 1/2 rounds on bass, but i love them on my gretsch 6120. to me the flats especiallly on a bright jazz bass is "the" sound. perhaps that is besause i love the guys like duck dunn, etc. the rounds are just too bright. i have a 73 or 74 fender jazz . natural ash / maple block inlay neck.
     
  16. dougb415

    dougb415 Supporting Member

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    I'm going back and forth on switching to flatwounds. I love the sound, but I just got a new AV '62 P-bass Reissue which came with rounds and it sounds great as-is. Maybe I'll stick with these for a while, I dunno....
     
  17. Cosmic

    Cosmic Member

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    THis is what I use on all my basses. I found them to be a nice compromise between flats and rounds (I love them both for their strengths).

    Plus 1/2s give me a good string to switch between fingers and plectrum. I like to mix it up depending on the type of music I am playing.
     
  18. Rob Martinez

    Rob Martinez Member

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    I use LaBella Beatle flats on my short scale Waterstone Indra basses and love them. It does depend on the bass for me, I will keep rounds on my Gibson Thunderbird basses, but am thinking of putting flats on my Fender Highway One P-bass.
     
  19. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, my humble Korean made Ibanez Artcore hollowbody sounds just dynamite after a good setup and the addition of some TI flats. Has displaced my other basses for the current band (Wilco-ish alt country and Indy-leanings).
     
  20. PeeWee

    PeeWee Member

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    I was a guy that hated the feel of flats back in the day. Then about a year ago I was turned on to TI Jazz Flats after playing them on a good friend's Lakland Skyline Hollowbody. I went out and bought 2 sets and immediately threw a set on the Rick 4001C64 I had. At first they were a bit bright, but after a couple of weeks of steady playing, they mellowed out nicely and only got better with age.

    They're probably my favorite string right now and I have them on a Lakland Skyline Joe Osborn and a new American Vintage '62 P-Bass. My only other bass is a Hofner 500/1 V63 that still has the stock Pyramids on it; the perfect string for that bass, IMHO. Ain't nothing like the sound of an electric bass with flatwounds. :AOK
     

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