Flats on a modern, hi fi bass?
The preamp is going out on my 1993 Pedulla 6 string Thunderbolt, and my tech is going to install a new Bartolini 3 band EQ preamp (the 4.6 NTMB) to replace it. I've used DR Lo Riders on this bass for the past year or so and I really like them, but I've always dug the feel and solid tone of flatwound strings. Most of the people I play with are jazz and blues guys, but I also enjoy hip hop and hard rock as well as solo chord work.
How will a set of Chromes fit this instrument and new preamp personality-wise? Will I be able to EQ tones that will fit these various styles? Cool jazz like Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley, rock like Coheed & Cambria, hip hop like Macklemore or Robert Glasper, and solo stuff like Victor Wooten's "Isn't she Lovely?" Or should I stick with the DRs and see how they play with the new pre first?
I don't think chromes will get you anything like a Wooten tone.I am not sure any flat wound will. But the only way you are going to find out is to try them.
Be warned they tend to mellow out after a few weeks.
A subjective quest for "that" tone, yet I believe (being pretty much a bass philistine) that rounds are more versatile than flats; this is why I'm switching to rounds from flats. I have ordered a set of D'Addario EXL170BT Nickel Wound rounds in the hope that on a 2009 Am. Std. P-bass through a Markbass LM3 they will deliver a modern hi-fi kind of sound with a solid fundamental as well. At the moment I'm into dance/house, hip hop, jazz (old and contemporary) and dub/reggae. See what happens when they arrive... I was quite surprised to find out that a bass player who I consider to have a fat sound and has played some solid reggae and funky (and punky) lines, Paul Simonon, plays rounds (I think nickel wounds). Also, on Miles Davis' "Tutu" Marcus Miller most probably plays rounds. Hate the uncontrolled fret buzz but I suppose I'll manage to master it, as one does after some practice. Lastly, I recently watched a review of La Bella White Nylons (stainless steel rounds wrapped in transparent plastic, if I'm not mistaken) and they totally sound like rounds, sonically very full and pleasant in the hands of the person doing the review, yet without the fret buzz. I'll probably try them at some point.
Another interesting video on the versatility of rounds, especially when looking for a modern sound.
The middle path might be D'Addario Half Rounds or GHS Brite Flats. They are roundwound strings with the outside windings polished down. Worth a look.
I've tried half rounds, and maybe the set I got was a bad example but they were rough as hell on my fingers; even worse than steel rounds. I didn't keep them long enough to get a good idea of the sound.
Brand new Chromes...or Rotosound flats....but you'll have to change them often if you want to keep that bright tone.
Flatwound String Reviews
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