Bright Ground Wound Strings by The Numbers

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bgavin, Dec 3, 2012.


  1. bgavin

    bgavin Supporting Member

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    Link to Bass Player T&T String Shootout

    The above link is very informative on a good number of popular strings.
    The numbers below are from the above chart.

    These are smooth rounds sorted in decreasing order of mid and treble brightness.

    bass(9) mids(9) treble(8) La Bella Quarter Rounds, SS
    bass(8) mids(9) treble(8) Rotosound 55 Solo Bass, SS
    bass(9) mids(9) treble(5) D'Addario Half-Rounds, Nickel
    bass(9) mids(8) treble(8) SIT Silencers, NPS
    bass(9) mids(8) treble(5) GHS Pressurewound, Alloy52
    bass(8) mids(7) treble(6) GHS Brite Flats, Alloy52
    bass(?) mids(?) treble(?) Ken Smith Compressors, Alloy52
    bass(?) mids(?) treble(?) Ken Smith Slick Round, Alloy52

    I'm thinking about ordering a set of the La Bell QR for my incoming fretless project.
    These appear to be the brightest of the ground/pressure wounds.

    Thoughts anybody?
     
  2. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    Power flats are pure Nickel.
     
  3. bgavin

    bgavin Supporting Member

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    From the SIT web site:
     
  4. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    That could be for their silencers.... Power flats are pure nickels
     
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  6. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    My mistake! Wow you are catching me all kinds of mixed up!

    All the strings you are writing about are half wounds except the pressurewounds / compressors so I thought you were talking about Power flats.... Haha
     
  7. bgavin

    bgavin Supporting Member

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    I understand being enthusiastic.

    I did not include flats because I'm looking for something brighter than flats.
    My experience with them includes TI Jazz Flats (superb) DA Chromes (nice), Fender Chromes (dead and thuddy).

    I'm looking for longevity input on the bright ones, i.e. those above.
    I really do like the GHS A52 types, but not sure how bright they are.
    Over the last decade I just left the TI Jazz Flats on the P... sounded great. :D

    I ordered a set of Lo-Rider from you for the Stingray.
    This will be the first string change since it was ordered new, April 2007.
     
  8. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    It looks like there is some confusion ITT...

    Title is for "Bright Ground Wounds" and the only "Ground Wound" strings you mentioned on your list are:

    bass(9) mids(9) treble(8) La Bella Quarter Rounds, SS
    bass(9) mids(9) treble(5) D'Addario Half-Rounds, Nickel
    bass(8) mids(7) treble(6) GHS Brite Flats, Alloy52
    bass(?) mids(?) treble(?) Ken Smith Slick Round, Alloy52

    This is why I bought up the SIT Power Flats which are the same construction as D'Adadrio Half-Rounds (Pure Nickel winding over Hex Core ground flat).

    The following are Pressure wound type strings where the outer windings are pressed smoother than regular rounds:

    bass(8) mids(9) treble(8) Rotosound 55 Solo Bass, SS
    bass(9) mids(8) treble(8) SIT Silencers, NPS
    bass(9) mids(8) treble(5) GHS Pressurewound, Alloy52
    bass(?) mids(?) treble(?) Ken Smith Compressors, Alloy52

    Totally different type of strings / totally different feel / totally different tone.

    Here is a visual example of standard Round Wounds / Pressure Wounds / Half Round.
    [​IMG]

    Now, if you want the "Brightest Half-Round" that is going to remain sounding "bright" then I would say go with an Alloy 52 version.

    Stainless Steel generally starts brighter and gets duller while Alloy 52 starts not as bright as stainless but holds the tone longer.

    One thing to keep in mind when purchasing "Half-Round" type strings is a .105 Half-Wound / Ground-Round / what ever you want to call it is going to have more mass than a .105 Round Wound so will be higher tension / not as flexible. A .105 half-round starts out as a thicker string and then is ground down essentially having the mass of a larger diameter string.
     
  9. bgavin

    bgavin Supporting Member

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    I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, so there is room for interpretation. :D

    To me, a "flat" is indeed a flat wrap, and different from ground/compressed/pressure/oval variations of round wire.
    There is a marked tone difference between true flats and the others, so I excluded them from this short list.
    Perhaps "half round" is the appropriate generic term that excludes flats?

    As to SIT Power Flats, their web site does not specify the type of winding for this string.
    I didn't want to guess at them being ground-wound, so they were assumed to be a flat wrap type.
    SIT only lists 4-string sets, but your site does show a 5-string set.
    Pure nickel is the least bright, so very low on my consideration scale, same as the DA Half-Rounds.

    The GHS Brite Flats do not show a winding length.
    My use is through-body on a 34" scale fretless.
    I don't know if this is "long" or "long+" as shown on your site.

    The Ken Smith version is $10 more than GHS... he must be very proud of those strings... :D
     
  10. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    Correct... A "Flat Wound" is a string that uses a flat ribbon wire for the outer winding.

    Half-Rounds begin their life as Round Wounds that are then run through a zero grinder until flat (or in some cases 1/4" of the winding is shaved off).

    Unfortunately the manufacturers websites are not always filled with info (and in some cases they even have the wrong info!)... SIT Power Flats are a "Half-Round" type string using a pure nickel outer winding. They really get them ground flat so much that they market them as a power flat! You are correct in that they fall under the same grouping as D'Addario Half-Rounds.

    GHS Brite Flats are available in Long+ (Long Plus) which is 38" windings from Ball End to Silk. The B string has two options Long (36.5") and Long+ (38"). You will most likely need the Long+ for your thru-body.

    Ken Smith offers the same as well as a Tapered B string.
     
  11. bgavin

    bgavin Supporting Member

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    Unfortunately, not all the half-rounds made it into the BP T&T article.

    Using your real-world experience, can you rank the Ken Smith brightness compared to the others?
    I understand the SS will be brighter at the onset, and A52 will hold a tone longer.

    I prefer the ground type, as it is probably a bit more fretless board friendly.
    Reduced finger noise is another plus.
    Short string life is a big negative.
     
  12. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    The Ken Smiths are very comparable to the GHS as far as tone and feel.

    On a fretless fingerboard, any vibrating mass will eventually wear into the wood. It just depends on how long...

    Keep in mind the ground wound strings have a sharp rough edge at first from the grinder. They need to be played a bit before the edges get rounded off. The flat surface with the rougher edge may be more abrasive than a softer smoother rounded surface of a pressurewound type string.

    FWIW - I have been using Ken Smith compressors on my fretless for years. Recently went to smaller gauge rounds and have been using T-I jazz flats as of recently on this particular instrument.

    Have you played Ground-Wounds yet? Until the surface is "worn in" they will still have fingernoise. I find pressurewounds have less fingernoise than half-rounds especially at first. After a while they are about the same.

    I think in this situation you are going to need to give either of these a try. I am sure you will like any of the ones you choose!
     
  13. bgavin

    bgavin Supporting Member

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    I seem to be somewhat reticent about changing strings... My April 2007 SR5HH is getting its first set of new strings (from you) when the Lo-Riders arrive. :D

    FWIW, I will probably try the GHS Pressurewound Flats first.
    I think I have a virgin set of TI Jazz Rounds and Flats, but would have to add a new B-string to those 4-string sets.
    Also have a few GHS Progressives in the string box..

    I went to a fair amount of trouble with the new fretless for brightness:
    ebony board, hard maple body, Hipshot-A brass through-body stringing, NP5+BigSplit in 70s position, etc.
    On advice from Nordstrand, I stayed with 250k pots, but can move to 500K if more brightness is needed.
    I also picked up a Les Paul 3-way switch to isolate the unused pickup from the circuit to avoid passive loading.

    This is a long-winded explanation of why I'm hunting for bright strings that are fretless-friendly.
     

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