Best flats for rock/heavy metal?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by rob_thebassman, Nov 26, 2013.


  1. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    990
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    I'm looking for a good pack of flats for my passive P bass. atm I have roto flats on. I play in a rock/heavy metal/hard rock band with 2 other guitarists. I heard clips of the La Bella flats and Chromes which both sounded excellent to my ears!

    So from any TBer's experience of been in the same boat. What do you reckon?
     
  2. zachoff

    zachoff

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2003
    Messages:
    4,023
    Location:
    Boulder Suburbia, Colorado
    Is this a trick question? :bag:
     
  3. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,251
    Steve Harris uses Rotosound flats on his P-bass. Chromes might work well as well.

    Out of curiousity, why flats? They're far from common in heavy rock, and not without reason.
     
  4. queevil

    queevil

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Messages:
    410
    Location:
    Waco,TX
    As Hamlet said, Steve Harris has a signature set of Rotosound flats in a bridge cable like .55-.110. Although I haven't played them personally, my understanding is that they're particularly bright for a flat. I personally use the Fender Nylon Tapewound 9120's. They're basically a roundwound string wrapped in a black nylon tape. They have the feel of a flat but still retain some of the brightness of a roundwound. You would think the tension is is rather high with the .58-.110 guage but the tension is very low. You can bend them like guitar strings. A consequence of this very low tension is that you'll have to use a light touch if you insist on your action being set extremely low which I do. If you like to dig in a bit when you attack the strings you'll want to raise your action a bit with the Fender Tapewounds. I hope this helps.
     
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Non Serviam Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    2,015
    Location:
    Scotia NY
    I'd think you'd want a brighter flat, which makes me lean towards D'addario Chromes or Rotosound 77 Jazz Flats. So basically what Hamlet said. (No, not "to be or not to be". The other Hamlet. :D)
     
  7. VanillaThundah

    VanillaThundah VERY enthusiastic walks... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    2,884
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    David J Haskins of Bauhaus used flats on a fretless P and played it with a pick...not exactly what most people spit out as the ideal rig for goth rock but he rocked it HARDCORE. Give it a shot! I've got flats on my Squier VM J bass and I play in a grunge rock band.
     
  8. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    990
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    I've been leaning more towards la bella's, as I'm wanting a clean sound
     
  9. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,251
    You can get a clean sound with rounds as well. Rounds are just more commonly used with distortion because they sound better.

    LaBellas are going to get you a very thumpy sound. And by thumpy I mean super-duper James Jamerson thumpy. Might not be the best unless the guitar has very little bass (which isn't that common in metal).
     
  10. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    990
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    just prefer a deeper sound :)
     
  11. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    990
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    just think it sits well in a band
     
  12. hsech

    hsech Ain't no blues like old blues. Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,766
    Location:
    Central Iowa
    Definitely a trick question.
     
  13. the ombudsman

    the ombudsman

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    3,282
    Location:
    Eastern Townships, Qu├ębec
    It does! I've played some good ol' Metallica and Megadeth on my Chromes-equipped P-bass and it sounded great. The other guys even commented on how good it sounded.
     
  14. JellinWellen

    JellinWellen

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,268
    Location:
    Houston Tx
    Stainless steel rounds is what you want.
     
  15. portlandguy

    portlandguy

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    665
    Location:
    Portland, OR
  16. queevil

    queevil

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Messages:
    410
    Location:
    Waco,TX
    I agree. Rounds are the overwhelming choice for most rock, metal and it's sub genres and I certainly wouldn't use anything other than rounds on my Geddy Lee jazz but it's really not hard to sit well in a mix, live or recorded, with flats. As far as tone has come with respect to technology concerning strings, effects, preamps ect. I think their is much to be gained in certain musical situations by just using a nice classic, thumpy bass sound. A lot of boom with just a bit of note definition. It may not always sound bright, lively or forward in the mix and you probably won't get a tone close to what comes out of your favorite rock bassist's amp, but it will probably work well. So yeah, I think flats can work for any kind of music, even rock and metal.
     
  17. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    990
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    couldn't agree with you more, really wish I have started using flatwounds when I started bass tbh. Scoop out the middle, bump the bass, low mid, and highs up and you've got a sound that sits in perfectly
     
  18. Timpala

    Timpala Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    IOWA
    Here are my 2 cents worth. I too have a Fender P-Bass. I have used flats on it for many years. I started with the Ernie Ball Group 2 flats (50-105). Then I put some Rotosound Jazz Bass 77 (45-105) on it. Both strings sound great. The Rotosound strings have more tension than the Ernie Ball strings. The one thing that I noticed with both is that the strings never break. I would end up leaving them on too long. Then, I would see video of myself playing when I had a fresh set of strings and think "Wow, those sound great". Then, I would see a video of me playing with an older set of strings and think that they sounded dull. The dullness sneaks up on you with these strings because they just don't break. I have tried cleaning the strings, but it only works minimally. In the last 6 months I have been using Rotosound Swing Bass (Nickel) roundwounds. I have to say that I really like these strings. After playing flats for so long, I forgot how good roundwounds sound on a P-Bass. However, I still use flats on my Fender Jazz Bass. It takes some of the thin tinny sound off of the jazz bass. Flatwounds do sound good when they are new though.
     
  19. Dredmahawkus

    Dredmahawkus Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,444
    Location:
    Boston
    Disclosures:
    I stuck a bass in my
    I was saying the same thing to myself!
     
  20. SPYD3R #9

    SPYD3R #9

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    466
    Location:
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    before you get chromes, try a half rounds, feels like flats, bright like rounds
     

Share This Page