Alternative Flatwounds to Thomastik Infeld?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Fingerz, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. Fingerz


    Jan 21, 2008
    Hey guys. I'm new to flats (and P basses), so wondered if you can help me..

    I've just bought a lovely JV Squire P bass with an awesome, growly mellow tone.

    Has Thomastik Jazz flats on it. Love their tone and feel. But... I have an E string that is slightly quieter than the others. I've compensated with pick up height, and she's set up sweet, no choking going on etc etc.. But I can hear a slight difference in presence acoustically. Scratching my head, I notice the gauge of the Thomsatik Jazz Flat sets is a .70 A string and a .100 E string. I can't help but think this isn't helping my balance and think my best bet is to try something more in keeping with the rounds I use on my other basses(45-105). So, a slightly lighter A, and heavier E.

    What flats would you recommend that have a slightly heavier E as a set, but still have loads of that gorgeous growl and low (ish) tension ??
  2. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I've yet to find any strings with the low-tension feel of the TIs. I prefer light gage Sadowsky Black Label flats on my Squier VM Jazz fretless.
    Wallofbasses likes this.
  3. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    GHS Precision Flats in light gauge work well. My favourite flat is LaBella Deep Talking Flats in light gauge. They also have a flexible flat that you may like. I would check out for a great selection of strings. Their service is legendary and the staff can help guide you to the appropriate strings.
    fretlessguy, vmabus and Klonk like this.
  4. Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    I should also mention that having used TI's for a long time, before switching to LaBella, the E string does take some time to break in before it sounds balanced with rest of the set. Worth the wait if you can stick it out.
  5. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    I'll vote for GHS Precision Flatwounds. Wonderfully smooth strings that play nicely and seemingly last forever. Their tone just improves with age, and they're reasonably priced.
  6. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    La Bella. I'm a long time TI Flats user, but I'm liking these La Bellas a lot that I have on another Precision.
    Mechanical and Ace Of Bass like this.
  7. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    On a sidenote: have you checked that your E is not twisted around itself (i e loosen it and see if the ball end adjusts itself)?

    And how long have you had the TIs on? They could just be breaking in differently, had that happening to me with my last set (bought/broken in six sets of TIs during the last three years).
    wisconsindead likes this.
  8. Scarey Larry

    Scarey Larry Supporting Member

    I have Fender flats on a P that work well and love the LaBella low tensions on a fretless and my main Geoff Gould GGi4. I do have a set of TI's on another bass and like them, but the Low Tension LaBellas sure do work. Different feel from TI, much smoother texture. If price matters to you then LaBella's are considerably less.
    quickfix and Klonk like this.
  9. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Inactive

    Jun 6, 2002
    Mike Lull Artist
    I like the Low Tension Labellas. Still not as low tension as the TIs but they sound like normal Labella flats, which to me, is what my ear thinks flats are supposed to sound like.
    quickfix likes this.
  10. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    I just bought a slightly used set of laBellas to try out ... 760FL , I think ...

    sold my bass that had Ti flats on it ... well broke in over a few yrs .. !! sounded pretty even ... the A is slightly smaller at .70 than normal , so it sits a little lower ...

    I wanted just a small bit more tension , ... hopefully the LaBellas will fit the bill ... ?!? and the price is much better ...

    but ... I would let the Ti's break in for a while ... !! at their price point , it's worth a try ...
  11. jd-ns


    Sep 28, 2010
    How close are the LaBella low tension flats to TI's tension-wise?? are they only slightly higher tension or quite a bit higher?? (**the only flats I currently use are the TI's.. I can't use any other flats because I dislike high-tension)
  12. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Inactive

    Jun 6, 2002
    Mike Lull Artist
    I'd have to A/B them but I'm a low tension freak and the low tension LaBellas are great. I just can't get used to the sound of TIs. I've tried lots of other brands and the only ones that sound good to me are the Labellas.
  13. TMARK


    Jan 10, 2012
    Richmond VA
    DR Legend Flats. Tighter than TIs, but nothing like LaBellas. Deep tone. Great feel.
    lowendfriend likes this.
  14. RedHotFuzz


    Mar 16, 2014
    The LaBellas are claimed to be lower tension (135 lbs) than the TIs (140 lbs). I use TIs because LaBella doesn't make a medium scale set of those strings (yet anyway).
  15. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    A twisted string can indeed do this. I would check that out first before going to a different brand or gauge.
  16. jd-ns


    Sep 28, 2010
    From what I've been reading, the low tension Labellas feel like they have higher tension than the TI's... I've yet to try them and I do really like the TI's on my Pbass so I don't really want to take them off... maybe it's time for another P and I'll put Labella's on it... hmmm...

    (*note: I put TI's on a Jbass and wasn't thrilled... I think rounds are better for a J)
    mrb327 and Mechanical like this.
  17. A lot of people use the term "tension" to mean two different things: 1) how a set of strings feel in terms of stiffness/flexibility, and 2) how much pulling weight is exerted on the neck. We need to keep in mind these two don't always co-relate exactly.

    According to what I have read, La Bellas have less tension in terms of the pulling weight, but TI's actually are more flexible in terms of playing feel.
  18. Fingerz


    Jan 21, 2008
    I had considered this. I've checked and the string is not twisted and is perfectly 'happy' where it is when not under tension. I've not long had the bass, previous owner got back to me saying the strings are 12 months old but he's not gigged it much, so I'm going to keep playing them and see how they go. Cool to have strings 'bed in', more organic than the round wound world. I'm tempted to try rounds on her too, I love the slap tone of players like freddie washington on a P bass... But want to get this issue sorted first.

    Thanks for the info - really enjoying reading about the flats in discussion. I'm learning a lot! String tension is so important for set up and fingers, seems I've started something here! Will keep reading..
    Klonk likes this.
  19. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Take a look at Pyramid Flats. Especially since you are in the UK, they may be more price-competitive for you since they are made in Germany. I use them on my P-bass and love them! Still pretty low tension but the smoothest-feeling flats I've ever played.
  20. top028


    Dec 14, 1999
    Lancaster, PA
    Not to throw a wrench into things, but is the bridge on your bass a stock one that rattles around? Something to consider maybe. TI's are pretty awesome and even. I have heard good things about pyramids, but don't have a good reason to switch it up. The labellas I have tried, "jamerson set" and the black nylon tape are good, but not TI good.