lets talk about flatwounds...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by The Ethanator, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. ok, so theres already quite some talk about flatwounds. but ill cut to my point: i just defretted my beater 4-string ibanez gio (bought from a friend for 50 bucks) and instead of putting the roundwounds (which i believe are the stock strings) back on, i figure i should get flats for this one once the project is done. ive used ernie ball 55/110s on my other ibanez 4-string for years and love them (dont hate :D). when shopping for flatwound strings, is there any sort of...i guess, 'size difference' when looking at a particular gauge vs roundwound strings? i mean, in order to get strings that feel like theyre the same size as the heavy gauge roundwound strings i use, should i buy the same size, or go a size up/down on the flats? ive played on flats before so i know what im getting myself into in terms of what to expect in a feel/tone difference, i just want to make sure i get the right ones. even though this is more or less a project bass, i still want to make sure i do what im doing right. any recommendation on what brands to look for, especially for someone used to roundwounds? thanks for the help, and merry christmas!
  2. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    I use Chromes (a combination of the "sot" and "regular" sets) because they are much higher tension than rounds - the bass has a neck issue and only higher tension flats will pull the neck straight enough. So I can basically tell you that Chromes are pretty high tension. This is on a short scale mind you where I think they should be a bit lower tension than on a long scale bass.

    I bought a Fender P lately that had Chromes (.045-.100) on it when I bought it - I put GHS M3050 flats on it and they are definitely a bit lighter tension. If you want really low tension, then TI Jazz Flats are the way to go, but to my fingers they are really low tension. Hopefully others will chime in!
  3. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    23 ft below sea level
    Flats are more massive than rounds, as there's no empty space between the windings. More material means more tension. Depending on construction and brand, flats add about 3 to 4 pounds to the tension. I use Ernie Balls on my cheap BEAD converted Ibby. I buy them as singles, so I went for almost equal tension across the board. The gauges I use are 0.130, 0.105, 0.080 and 0.060.
  4. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    Agreed - stay low tension. .040-.100 max.
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  6. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Get a light set.

    40-95 Chromes, 45-95 GHS Precision Flats, etc.
  7. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    +1...excellent advice.
  8. Red_Merkin


    Nov 12, 2012
    How do they sound? I worry about getting anything less than a .100 E because I think it might end up sounding thin.
  9. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    There's not that much difference between a .100 E and a .095 and GHS PFlats will never sound thin. That's a pretty dark mellow string. Chromes are much brighter.
  10. thereallime


    Aug 2, 2012
    do the Flats reduce string noise while moving up and down the neck and sliding?
  11. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Definitely. That's one of the major pluses of flats.

    Also, the increased tension will allow for a much lower action.

    If you've just defretted, don't forget that the nut will need to be filed lower.
  12. thereallime


    Aug 2, 2012
    what do you mean about nut? the white plastic piece up top? do i need to do that before stringing on the flats?
  13. Red_Merkin


    Nov 12, 2012
    Yes, and you only need to adjust the nut if the string won't easily fit into it. Never force a string into the nut, or the nut will break.

    There are plenty of resources out the that'll teach you how to file a nut if you're a DIY type, but if you don't feel comfortable with it, take it to a tech and have it set up.