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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've never been a fan of flatwounds, and was never afraid to say so, though I'd never really given them a chance.

Well, I was setting up my music room today after a week of home renovations and for shits and giggles decided to string my P bass up with flats just so I could say I know what it sounds and feels like. I had a couple sets of flats lying around from the fretless SX basses I've had so I threw a set on.

I must confess - I loved it!! That was the thumpiest most vintage bass tone I've ever heard come from my fingers!! Very cool indeed!! :bow: :cool:

Now, I can't see myself using flats all the time as I love the bright zing of rounds, but I'm definitely going to give it a rip at my next rehearsal!! Perhaps a 2nd, matching P is in order?
Me thinks Mrs.J.O.B. is not going to be very receptive of SX #5.
 

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rofl...so u heard that i was getting a new guiatar and decided u needed one too?:tongue:

jk jk

What are flatwounds?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Xanadu said:
rofl...so u heard that i was getting a new guiatar and decided u needed one too?:tongue:

jk jk

What are flatwounds?
I'm not really gonna get another bass (...well, maybe in the new year).

Flatwounds, are really just that. They are completly smooth. Instead of rounded nickel or stainless braids wrapped around a centre core like standard round wound strings, the centre core is wrapped with a flat piece of nickel. Very easy on the hands and very thumpy sounding. Many say they get better after about 2 or 3 years on the bass. Hell, a couple guys over on HCBF have had the same set of strings on since the 70s.

You can get variations now - flat-wound, tape-wound, half-rounds, round-wounds etc...


Round wound strings have a center core round piece of wire and it is wrapped with another round wire for the length of the string. These types of strings give you a bright fat sound with lots of sustain. These types of strings are the most abusive on your fret board, especially if you like to bend your strings or do vibratos. However, if the sound is what you like, then the price is new frets every few years or so.


The flat wound strings have a round center core wrapped by a flat wire for the length of the string. This type of string is very common in the jazz world and will give you more of a mushy, midrange sound and not much sustain.


The ground wound strings are basically round wound strings that have had the outer part of the wrap string ground down so that it is flat. As you might suspect this will give you the in between sounds of the round and flat wound strings.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lester B. Flat said:
I seem to recall everyone was using flatwounds until Chris Squire came along. He was the first to popularize roundwounds I think.
While I haven't heard that, it's definitely quite possible. Chris most definitely uses round wound strings, and they came to be around that time.
 

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I've slowly gravitated towards TI Flats and now have them on all my basses. I really like them, and can't see myself using anything else....
 

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Lester B. Flat said:
I seem to recall everyone was using flatwounds until Chris Squire came along. He was the first to popularize roundwounds I think.
John Entwistle as well was an early pioneer of the round wounds.
 

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james on bass said:
... I ... decided to string my P bass up with flats just so I could say I know what it sounds and feels like ... I must confess - I loved it!! That was the thumpiest most vintage bass tone I've ever heard come from my fingers!!
I agree; I hadn't used flats since I was a teenager (which would be twenty years ago or so) but I bought a set of TI's a few years ago just for a change and was similarly impressed. Beautiful round thumpy tone that just improves with age.

Unfortunately I broke the TI's B string 4 songs into the first act of a three act musical (yes, the B string :confused-smiley-010 . It was an installation error not a fault of the strings). That really sucked because although I was fine transposing the piano charts I was using my brain couldn't accept that there were only 4 strings on my 5 string bass and I did make some string-skipping errors. Sadly there were two more shows to do and I couldn't get 5 string flats in London so I was forced back to rounds. Maybe Santa will bring me some TI's.

One other thing I noticed on switching back to rounds is the flats were much easier on the fingers. Callouses (sp?) for flats are different than for rounds.
 

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i dont even know what kind of strings i've got on my bass, it's been so long since i changed them i cant remember what i bought. But they're so worn in that they sound like flatwounds whatever they are :tongue:
 

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Lawrie (And any other Toronto forumites)...

Where do you get your strings? My local store doesn't carry a lot of options other than rounds, and I'd like to go with ground-wounds on my P-special. I'm up in the 905, so a trip down to Steves, etc is going to take some planning for me.
 

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hammer744 said:
Lawrie (And any other Toronto forumites)...

Where do you get your strings? My local store doesn't carry a lot of options other than rounds, and I'd like to go with ground-wounds on my P-special. I'm up in the 905, so a trip down to Steves, etc is going to take some planning for me.
I usually get my strings at Ring Music on Harbord St., just west of Spadina. Since you're in the 905 area, I would venture to L&M on Steeles, just east of Keele, however I would call them first. I've found that items like half-round bass strings aren't stocked there, but if they have it at their warehouse, it's one day for them to bring it in.

Lawrie
 

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Fajah said:
I usually get my strings at Ring Music on Harbord St., just west of Spadina. Since you're in the 905 area, I would venture to L&M on Steeles, just east of Keele, however I would call them first. I've found that items like half-round bass strings aren't stocked there, but if they have it at their warehouse, it's one day for them to bring it in.

Lawrie
Thanx, it's actually quicker for me to go to the L&M in Scarborough on my lunch hour - may do that next week. Now, where's that bullet proof vest....

:food-smiley-004:
 

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I have used TI jazz flats on a number of basses, including Guild Starfires, Casadys & Alembic. Love that sound.

I have d"addario Chrome Flats on my Alembic Series 1 short scale - gives a bit more growl. Had d'addario Half rounds on a Stanley Clarke that I just sold - good halfway point between flats & rounds.

LaBella tapewound flats on my Rob Allen Mouse - the only string for that bass IMHO, but I also used them on a Guild B30E ABG and a Lakland Hollowbody, with good results.
 

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Flatwound strings

I've been a fan for several years now. I only use flats on my two P basses. When I was a kid they only sold Black Diamond strings, which were inferior to what we can buy today. The bass strings tore my fingers to shreds (right hand plucking).
Even the modern day round wounds aren't so hard on the hands.
For tone, flats for me. I tried a couple of the more expensive brands, but Dean Markley works just fine for me, as does D'Addario chromes. I don't intend on changing them for a very, very long time.
 
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