• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


LaBella Deep Talkin' Flat Wounds & P-Bass

CloneTone

Member
Messages
805
All this talk of flat wounds and Motown, Stax, and Surf bass, I couldn't resist. Had to get in on it. Replaced my rounds with the 1954 Original style LaBella flats, same as used by James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, and the surf guys, among many more.







I was surprised that these flats dropped right into my 2007 Am std. P-bass, no filing of the nut, or truss rod adjustment yet, I'll wait another day to see if the neck moves, but all I did was put these on. Was expecting more of a fight.

Silky smooth, no fret clang, deep booming notes. I played for about a half an hour, but I really was expecting these to be more difficult to play according to what I'd heard. Easy to fret with the left hand, and they're a dream on the right hand fingers because of how smooth flat wounds are.

Was looking for this Bass tone - that almost upright sound:
 

Freedom

Member
Messages
587
I recently started using the La Bella 0760M Deep Talkin’ Bass on my Ibanez SR300 (2012 era) since I wanted to move from Standard E to Standard D tuning. So, I did the math, I crunched the numbers (in terms of string tension etc.) and chose those ones.

Although it's kinda early to tell, so far so good. I didn't even need to modify the nut (tight fit but still acceptable) the tension is just right but in terms of sound I need to use them some more as I prefer very old and well used flats (previous set was a 10-year old Fender 9050L Flatwound 45-100 set I was using for Standard E).

PS: Last time I played with rounds was 12 years ago or so.
 
Last edited:

VHS analog

Member
Messages
5,015
Labellas have that classic 60s sound but I found Thomastiks work better for me. A bit more clarity and flexibility (loose feel).
I'm using a MIM '50s Classic P bass. Brass saddles make it better still.
 

CloneTone

Member
Messages
805
You're not kidding about the Thomastik's feeling loose. I put a set of those on my J-bass finally last night, and they felt too loose to me, after playing the LaBella for about 3 hours. The TI's feel like they have less tension than the rounds that were on it before.





At the moment, I really like the heavier LaBella's, they have the biggest boom and they don't clang on the frets. I'll get used to the TI's, but I think I need a new nut and a setup, the TI's are a bit sloppy and clangy ATM.

EDIT: My J-Bass had a backbow, that's how tight the previous owner set the truss rod. Added more relief in the neck, and now the TI's are perfect!
 
Last edited:

Mark 63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,935
The TIs are lower gauge on the E and A. That gives them a looser feel. They’re really musical on a Precision Bass. But I do prefer the LaBellas for that sound.
 

CloneTone

Member
Messages
805
These TI's felt like they had less tension than the .45-.100 rounds that were on the J-bass when I got it. The problem with the J-bass ended up being a backbow, which I was able to free up with the truss rod. The nut is also a bit reamed from the previous owner, have a new one on order.

After about 4 hours of play time on both:
The TI's are seriously amazing on the J-bass, incredible tone and sustain, with very little effort required, easy to play. If I had to play for 2+ hours straight, the TI's would be my first and only choice, they really are full of tone right out of the box.

The P-bass and LaBella 760M .52-.100 have a huge boom on the low E, there's almost no lateral movement to these; takes some work to play, but rewarding. Maybe once they break in some more they'll soften up and get a bit deeper. Can pull on them hard like a bow string, and just let go - no banging on the frets, love the heavy vibrations that resonate throughout the P-bass.

Can anyone tell me how the tone of either of these flatwound strings sets will change over time? Is it just the physical characteristics that change, or will the tone also change too, and if so - how?
 

bigtone23

Member
Messages
6,396
Flats on a P is classic and iconic, like Les Paul/Marshall or Tele/Twin.
I use Chromes or Cobalt flats. The Cobalts are brighter and not as smooth feeling as the Chromes, but after dozens of hours of break in time, they end up sounding pretty much the same--which is the goal for most flats guys, save Steve Harris, haha.
The broken in flat tone is the Jamerson tone--more thumpy, less sustain, less high end. Best part is that they stay this way for years. I only change flats when they start to show a lot of physical wear from contacting the fret.
 

Killed_by_Death

Senior Member
Messages
16,311
I recently put some flats (don't recall the brand) on my P-Bass.
I keep the packet from the set that are on next to my toolkit, & I the date I installed them is written on the package.


Hard to beat that old school sound
I've found that if I want a flats sound with rounds I can get that, but the vice-versa is not so true, can't make flats sound like rounds.
 

Taller

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,890
I'm not a bassist, but as one who records at home, I've got a couple of basses (and a drum set!).
Just put some La Bella flats on my '91 Rickenbacker 4003. Took some of that Rickenbacker 'zing' off the tone. Besides, Paul McCartney used flats on his Rickenbacker!
 

nowhere

Member
Messages
969
I've been meaning to order a set of the black tape wounds from LaBella to try on my electric bass - a Yamaha SB-2. I've been using Chromes on it which I like and they're easy to find in local shops in the medium scale I need. I'm primarily an upright player and I like both the sound and feel of flatwounds when I play the electric.
 

Buck Private

Senior Member
Messages
569
Flats on a P is classic and iconic, like Les Paul/Marshall or Tele/Twin.
I use Chromes or Cobalt flats. The Cobalts are brighter and not as smooth feeling as the Chromes, but after dozens of hours of break in time, they end up sounding pretty much the same--which is the goal for most flats guys, save Steve Harris, haha.
The broken in flat tone is the Jamerson tone--more thumpy, less sustain, less high end. Best part is that they stay this way for years. I only change
All this talk of flat wounds and Motown, Stax, and Surf bass, I couldn't resist. Had to get in on it. Replaced my rounds with the 1954 Original style LaBella flats, same as used by James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, and the surf guys, among many more.







I was surprised that these flats dropped right into my 2007 Am std. P-bass, no filing of the nut, or truss rod adjustment yet, I'll wait another day to see if the neck moves, but all I did was put these on. Was expecting more of a fight.

Silky smooth, no fret clang, deep booming notes. I played for about a half an hour, but I really was expecting these to be more difficult to play according to what I'd heard. Easy to fret with the left hand, and they're a dream on the right hand fingers because of how smooth flat wounds are.

Was looking for this Bass tone - that almost upright sound:
When reaching for the "old school" Jamerson sound it is important to remember that those recordings were made at relatively low volume and that cutting through in live situations required full on treble. That was the reason a lot of guys paid the extra for rounds. Frankly I've never been able to recreate the live sound I used to get w/ a P and two year old flats. I don't know if it's string manufacturing, amps, pickups or whatever but I've always wanted "that" sound back. I like what I get out of my P's but it's different even with flats.
 

CloneTone

Member
Messages
805
When reaching for the "old school" Jamerson sound it is important to remember that those recordings were made at relatively low volume and that cutting through in live situations required full on treble. That was the reason a lot of guys paid the extra for rounds. Frankly I've never been able to recreate the live sound I used to get w/ a P and two year old flats. I don't know if it's string manufacturing, amps, pickups or whatever but I've always wanted "that" sound back. I like what I get out of my P's but it's different even with flats.
For the Motown Jamerson recordings, he was said to have used a DI into the mixing board. I've seen the recreation of this DI, under the Acme label, but have not used one:
https://reverb.com/item/4366775-acme-audio-motown-di-wb-3



Live would be another story of course.
 




Trending Topics

Top