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Alternatives to TI Flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by 44me, Mar 21, 2005.


  1. 44me

    44me

    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    I’ve been using TI flats on my Fender P for about 3 years, and for the most part I’ve been pretty happy with them. Their low tension has always been a love/hate thing (left hand loves ‘em, right hand hates ‘em). Tone has been very good but not what you would call a traditional flatwound sound. Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of 60’s - 70’s soul/R&B, and have been trying to get more of that traditional sound, which the TI’s don’t quite seem to be able to deliver. Plus, I’ve found the low tension to be a bit of a hindrance to getting a good feel on funkier tunes.

    So, I’ve searched the archives and am thinking that the GHS Precision Flats (45-105) might be worth a shot. I’d like to not go any heavier than 45-105 to avoid having to open up the nut slots, particularly since there’s a good chance I could end up back with the skinny TI’s. However, I’m wondering if the sound I’m looking for just requires a heavier string, particularly for the G. In the past I’ve tried Chromes on this bass, which I found to be very uneven sounding (great thud on the E, but after nearly a year the G just wouldn’t mellow out). I’ve also tried GHS Bright Flats, but hated everything about them, as they seemed to be more of a worst of both worlds rather than best of.

    Has anyone tried both the 55-105’s and 45-105 Precision Flats? Do the heavier strings help to get a thick, dark tone? Is there something else I should be considering instead?

    Thanks,
    John
     
  2. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Italy
    I have TI Flats on my Sadowsky right now, but I have played La Bella Deep Talking Bass Flats for a while. Great strings ... IMO best fundamental ever, and that's perfect for the tone you're looking for. Definitely I'll give 'em a try!
     
  3. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Italy
    And great choice of gauges too!
     
  4. 44me

    44me

    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    Michele,

    They do offer a lot of different gauges. Which ones have you used? Do you think I need to go with a heavier set? Their 760FM is 49/69/89/109, which is just a little heavier than the thickest strings I’ve used before. The 760FL’s are 43/60/82/104. Do you think I would get noticeable thicker tone with the mediums, or are we splitting hairs here? At this point I’d like to stay away from the ’54 set.

    Thanks,
    John
     
  5. michele

    michele Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Italy
    John,
    I've tried the 760FL and the lighter gauge (I think the code is 760FXL anyway .39-.96). IMO you'll go in heaven with the 760FL but IME even with the lighter gauge one can enjoy the deep and strong fundamentals of the LaBella's.
     
  6. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    The TI jazz flats were so highly praised on TB that I put a pair on each of my p-basses. 4 defective E's later I swore them off. Switched to Chromes, couldn't be happier.
     
  7. 44me

    44me

    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    Thanks! I'll give them a try and let you know in a few days how they work out.
     
  8. Squidfinger -- what gauge do you like on Chromes? I've used both 45-100 and 50-105 myself, and the latter is too stiff for my taste. The 45 set feels similar to XLs of the same gauge to my hands.
     
  9. 44me

    44me

    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    Squidfinger, I never had a problem with the TI's after using them for more than 3 years. Too bad you experienced such quality problems as I do believe they are an excellent string. My needs have just changed a little, and I'm hoping the Labella's will fit the bill. I have used the Chromes on another bass and really liked both the sound and feel. For some reason they just didn't do the trick for me on this particular P bass.
     
  10. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    Only flats I've tried were Ernie Ball, I think 45-100. I thought they provided a great vintage tone similar to what you're looking for. Used them on a DiPinto Belvedere semi-hollow. I play rock, and eventually switched back to rounds for more brightness and cut.
     
  11. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have TI Jazz Flats on 4 basses right now, and love 'em. However, if I were forced to give 'em up, I would use Ernie Ball flats or La Bella Deep Talking Bass Flats, with 0.105 E string.
     
  12. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    Apparently there was a bad batch of E's out there. There were a bad batch of A's too according to Dude (a TI dealer). The 4 E's were extremely zingy and thin with low end comparable to the A.
     
  13. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I use the .45-.132 set. I've never experimented with light or heavy sets.
     
  14. zombywoof5050

    zombywoof5050

    Dec 20, 2001
    I've been a TI Flats lover for almost four years now.

    When I first tried the TI Flats, it was on my fretless Wal and I was in heaven with them on the fretless. But a couple of years later I got a fretted Precision and immediately put TI's on it and loved them from the get go. But after about 18 months with them on my Precision I came to realise that I have the exact same love/hate LH/RH syndrome as you, and it's because I tend to dig in more on the fretted bass. My problem was that my left hand became spoiled by the low tension of the TI's. I had a hard time settling on other strings because I wanted just a bit more tension (for my right hand) but not too much (because my left hand was now spoiled by the TI's), and I also wanted to get a bit more of a traditional tone out of the Precision.

    Then I discovered the LaBella 760FL set (.043-.104), which I love! They are just what I was looking for...a bit tighter than the TI's but not too tight, and a great tone too.

    I still use and love the TI's on my fretless basses, but on my fretted Precision I'm in heaven with the LaBella 760FL set.

    Seriously, try the LaBella 760FL set.
     
  15. Try a set of Sadowsky Flats and you probably won't go back to anything else.....Very Highly rated by the Bass player shootout and...me, I have been using them since he introduced them with Great success!!!!

    Peace,

    T
     
  16. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I agree. For R&B/Soul, you want the 760FL. IMHO more traditional tone than the TIs. Higher tension than TIs, but less than the chromes for example.

    I currently have the 7560FS on one P bass and while I love the tone, they are killer on the fingers. Still recovering from the 4+ hour jam last night.

    I was going to switch back to the 760Fls, but a string broke. Before you worry, I went through an intense period of changing strings. They where put on and taken off at least a dozen times. I find that most strings can't handle that. They go at the tuner.
     
  17. 44me

    44me

    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    Thanks all for your recommendations! I’ve ordered a set of the LaBella 760FL’s from JustStrings.com. They should be ready for pickup tomorrow (I live just a few miles away). I’ll try them out over the weekend and let you know my first impressions.
     
  18. 44me

    44me

    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    I put the 760FL’s on Friday night. Immediately I could tell they had exactly the tension I wanted, at least from my right hand perspective. From the left hand perspective they seemed a little stiffer than I was expecting. I was definitely glad I followed several of your recommendations to go with the lights as I would have went heavier on my own. My niece and nephew were staying over and sleeping in my practice room, so I had to wait until Saturday to plug in, but unplugged, they sounded good.

    Plugging in Saturday morning I found that these strings definitely have the sound I’ve been looking for! Obviously, they have that new string zing, but I know that will mellow out in a few weeks. For now I can kill most of it by rolling the tone down. Compared to the TI’s, they have a thicker, fuller sound – exactly what I wanted. After playing for a while it occurred to me that I could probably lower the action a little as I’ve found the TI’s low tension requires a little room than other strings. A small tweak made a big difference – left had feel is excellent now! Sure, they are still a little stiffer than the TI’s, but you’d have to use guitar strings to find something softer than the TI’s. I’ll follow up in a month or so after they settle in and I get a chance to gig with them.

    Thanks all!
    John
     
  19. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Great! Glad you like them. They are a great string. I plan on going back to them when my current strings wear out. I'll get back to you in three years :D
     
  20. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I'm a big fan of the Sadowsky flats, too. Very expensive, but sound great, and they have just a tad more tension than the TI Flats, but it makes a world of difference.

    I also like the D'Addario Chromes. Great strings, and comparatively cheap.