Adventures with tapewounds.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Axstar, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Black tapewound strings have been on my radar for a while. I've read that they are a big contributor to the early British Invasion 'thump', and I quite like this oldschool tone. I've been exploring the world of flatwounds for a long time now, so I decided to get some tapes.

    Specifically I went for a set of D'Addario ETB92 medium-length 50-105 tapes for my Dearmond Starfire bass, and a set of Fender 9120M 58-110 tapes for my P bass.

    Starting with the Fender tapes, these are the more textured of the two string sets. You can feel the underlying roundwound string, and the G and D strings in particular have some of the bark of roundwounds to them. These strings look stylish as the silks are black as well. They are maybe slightly less bright sounding than the Fender 9050 flatwounds I had on there before, but a bit more flexible under the fingers. They have a bit more fret buzz to them (or at least a slightly more roundwound-flavoured buzz), the action had to be adjusted higher, and they have some of the 'quack' of dead roundwounds when you dig into the strings.

    The D'Addario set is much smoother across all strings. The G and D have a slight metallic 'boing' to them, but sound and feel balanced on the shortscale bass. I had junk Rotosound roundwounds on the Dearmond (just to have some sort of string on there) so there is no fair comparison here. They remind me more of flatwounds than the Fender set, but you can still hear the roundwound in them.

    Probably obvious news to many, but tapes aren't just black flatwounds. Both sets have have their own sound and feel, responding a bit like roundwounds under the fingers, but capable of some of the thump of flatwounds as well. There is more of a learning curve to these than I expected. They are bright, up to a point, but you can sort of feel the nylon in them stifling the brightest harmonics.

    At the moment I'm gravitating towards the Fender set on my P bass.

    Any tapewound converts?
    BluesOnBass and Nebula24 like this.
  2. theduke1


    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    I have Been n using LaBella Black Nylon tapes for years as of late just on my fretless
    With flat wound on my other three
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  3. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    On the fender tapes they are not ground smooth like others. You dont feel the metal string underneath, you feel the unflattend surface of the nylon.
    Hachimitsu Pie, Root 5 and Axstar like this.
  4. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Carvin LB-20 2.JPG Tapewound Rogue 2.jpg There's a Tape Wound Club here on the Strings Forum, so don't feel like you're alone... I had the BEAD strings from a 5 string set of La Bella Black Tapes on this Carvin LB-20 for quite a while. They sounded quite nice, but... as is fairly common with BEAD basses, the B string was just a little too rubbery. Probably because a 135 tape wound B string is not really a 135. If I'd saved the G string from the set, I'd have ditched the B string, and it would still be wearing the La Bellas. But, I didn't, so now it's wearing some heavy Roto 77s, and still strung BEAD. Play much better, but I miss the La Bellas... My MIK Rogue VB-100 has worn Rotosound Tru Bass 88 tapes for several years, now. It sounds just like a violin bass should, IMO; as long as Roto makes them, that's what the Rogue will wear. Basses with floating bridges and trapeze tailpieces are very fussy about what strings they'll intonate with, IME (I have several). If you look closely at the Rogue's bridge, you'll see another reason I like the Roto 88s; the bass is intonated "perfectly" with the bridge in that position...:cool:
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Axstar and theduke1 like this.
  5. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Ah ok. Feels like my Mum's washing line. :laugh:

    The Rotos and the La Bellas seem to be the big boys in this game? The Rotos are cited on here as making your bass sound like an upright. I know that Herbie Flowers uses them, and that they are high tension and thick gauged.
    Hachimitsu Pie likes this.
  6. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    The Fender tapes, if you close your eyes, feel like roundwounds. They're in their own category of tape wound. The other brands feel smooth as glass. I like them however - they have a nice bright tone and warm up nicely when needed.

    My favourite tapewounds are D'Addario and La Bella White Tapes. I'm ordering a set of GHS tape wounds soon - they're excellent strings and highly recommended.

    You really cannot go wrong with La Bella, GHS, D'Addario, Pyramid, Galli, Rotosound, Fender ( although very different construction than the others ). All make an excellent tape wound.
    Axstar likes this.
  7. primusfan1989


    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey
    I love tapes on fretless basses
    Axstar and theduke1 like this.
  8. theduke1


    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
  9. Nebula24


    Nov 23, 2017
    Norman, OK
    I have the same ETB92 but shortscale version on my epi eb0. Love them compared to roundwounds.

    I still need to go on other string adventures as these are only 2 types ive tried.
  10. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Maybe that is what is throwing me off with the D'Addarios. They feel like flats, but aren't.

    Do the tapes break in at all? Will some of the 'boing' go from the D and G strings in time?

    This P bass is getting an outing at a friend's wedding on Saturday!

    Hachimitsu Pie likes this.
  11. Hachimitsu


    Jun 6, 2019
    New Zealand
    I've got Roto 88s on my main (read: only) bass now. I had the same chromes flats on it for almost ten years before but I prefer the lower tension and sound of the tapes. Putting together a new bass soon (a jazz) and I was tossing up between labella black tapes or copper white tapes. I think I will go with the black tapes. I like the 'old school' type sound.

    With the 88s I was surprised by the 'dry' feeling of the nylon, for some reason I expected it to feel a bit more rubbery.

    I wouldn't go back to flats (or rounds) any time soon.
  12. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    I only has experience with Labella Copper White on fretless pbass.
    Smooth string surface along with smooth warmth tone.
    The only dowside is low output and hum.
    Axstar likes this.