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Impressions: La Bella 760FS flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by sbpark, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. sbpark

    sbpark

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    A couple weeks ago I purchased a 50's Classic P bass from a fellow TB'er. After asking him what strings were on the bass he told me they were La Bella Deep Talkin' Bass flats, .045, .065, .085, .105. I really like these strings, they have a really 'old-school', thumpy feel, and that's the only way I can rally describe them. They make the 50's classic P sound awesome.

    I don't have a ton of experience with flats, and this is only my second set of flats ever. My other bass ('76 P) has Chromes (.045, .065, .080., .100) on it. The 760FS set is noticeably stiffer feeling, but I actually prefer that. I can get my action a little lower without any buzzing or rattling. I was also surprised at how bright these can get with the tone controls up on the bass. Makes it a very versatile string for me, as I feel like I they would even work fine in a rock type situation. Compared to the Chromes, they have a more natural tone, rounder, more 'vintage' sound to me. I know the terms 'old-school' and 'vintage are very subjective, but I really don't know any other way to describe them.

    I guess I would put it this way...if you play mostly rock, heavier rock, with loud guitars in your band, but prefer the feel of flats and also want the sound of flats once in a while, Chromes would be the way to go. If you really want that old Motown, 60's, flatwound sound, but still want a versatile string that could hang in a rock setting and still punch it's way through the mix the La Bella's seem perfect, but I prefer more 'thump' than zing and bite and clang, but still need the sound of rounds on occasion.

    I have found that when I dial in the bass around 1 o'clock, cut the mid control to 9 o'clock and boost the highs to 3 o'clock, dial back the tone knob on my bass a bit, and also dial back the volume knob just a tad, I can really get that nice, thumpy, sort of Motown tone out of my PF500 with the La Bellas on the Classic 50's.

    All in all I'd highly recommend these strings if you're looking for that old school thump, but still want a versatile set of flats.
  2. armybass

    armybass Supporting Member

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    Excellent description of these strings and what they do!
  3. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

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    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    what are the la bella flats like in a scooped setting for hard rock/heavy metal? I play in a bass where I have roto sound flats on my p bass and have that deep low end and clacky high end.. do la bellas do this? or are chromes better for that?
  4. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    LaBellas do it in spades. They are naturally very scooped, so they prefer a flat eq, but will definitely give the sound you're describing.
  5. rob_thebassman

    rob_thebassman

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    Disclosures:
    playing bass since 2005
    to me scooping a bass helps bring the lows and highs out and sits in the mix better :) and also sounds better for slapping
  6. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    I understand that you feel that way. The strings are scooped already, though, so you need less of it than with other strings.
  7. ronlitz

    ronlitz

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    I've played La Bella flats for a long time, and they don't sound like they have a reduced mid-range to me.
  8. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    My helpful answer:
    I've been playing them for years, and my ears agree with the Bass Player Magazine string comparison in that LaBella DTFs are scooped. They are present in the low mids, but mid and upper mids are far less present, especially compared to Chromes, Sadowsky Black Label flats, and new TI Jazz Flats. When a mid range is reduced, that's scooped. That scoop is LaBella's characteristic and defining sound. It's a great sound, make no mistake, but scooped it is.

    My slightly snarky answer:

    This indicates to me that you may not know what you're listening for.
  9. donn

    donn

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    Me neither. It could be relative to what other strings we're comparing against, though.
  10. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    Are you guys perhaps rolling the tone off on the bass, or scooping at the amp, or playing a (naturally scooped) jazz bass with both pups on? Any of those would also account for not hearing the scoop.
  11. donn

    donn

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    Could you consider the possibility that some gauge La Bella flat wounds could have more pronounced mid range than some other gauge of some other brand of string?
  12. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    Possibility? Certainly. I would consider it a remote possibility, at best, though. They are designed to be fairly consistent from gauge to gauge so that they have brand identity.
  13. donn

    donn

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    For example, I take off the lightest gauge of GHS Precision flat wounds, that the previous owner put on my bass, and replace them with the heaviest gauge of La Bella flat wound. Will I now have less mid range, or more?
  14. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    You can't compare old strings to new, and say that it is a valid comparison about the relative sonic characteristics of the strings. Compare new to new, old to old. However, having played both, the LaBellas are more scooped and brighter than the GHS.
  15. donn

    donn

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    I don't know, we could be talking about the same thing. It seems unusual to hear La Bella flats described as "bright". Can you define "mid range?"

    So your answer is no, La Bella flat wounds have the least mid range of any brand, any gauge?
  16. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    Last question first... I haven't played or researched every string, so I can't make that statement. What I'm saying is twofold: first, of every string I've played, LaBellas are the most scooped; second, even looked at strictly objectively, they are scooped.

    First question, then...
    Midrange is made up of the frequencies between approximately 150 Hz and 2.5 kHz. For all practical purposes, though, when talking about electric bass strings, we're discussing the fundamental as bass, the first two harmonics as midrange, other harmonics, finger noise, attack, and "air" as treble. So, LaBellas have a very strong fundamental and good attack, but not much in between.
  17. punkjazzben

    punkjazzben

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    Back to the OP...

    I have a Fender P with LaBella 760FS flats that have been on for around two years, and I'm also finding them to be a very versatile string. I thought they would be a one-trick pony, but they've cut it in everything from a big band to acoustic stuff to loud rock covers. They're the Fender Precision tone, but better. You can pull a lot of tones from these strings just by changing finger position and technique.

    I haven't tried Chromes, but I don't really feel the urge to - I plan on keeping these LaBellas on my bass for another decade, at least ;)
  18. ronlitz

    ronlitz

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    I really don't appreciate this douchey comment.
  19. tekdiver500ft

    tekdiver500ft Supporting Member

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    And?
  20. shrimpflea

    shrimpflea

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    I have La Bella 760FL flats on my P-Bass and love them....about a year now. Though about the FS flats but I could only find the FL's at the time and they are very close in gauge size.

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