Anyone try DR Legends (A.K.A. Hi-Beam Flats)?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Anyone try these, and if so, can you tell me what their tension is like?

    Ideally, I am looking for a set of flats that has tension similar to roundwounds, with a some thump, but some nice overtones as well. I'd also like something with low sustain.

    My thoughts of other flats I've tried:

    GHS Precision Flats - Very good old school thump. These are thumpier than I'd want for my next flat purchase, and I would also like my next flat set to have a bit less tension. Sustain was good.

    Chromes - They are stiffer than the GHS Flats, and too little thump for my liking. Way too much sustain
  2. I love them. Had them on my Squier CV 50's pbass. Planning on putting some on my Fender Cabronita bass. Not too thumpy and not too stiff. They are very close to Labella's but way less expensive.
  3. Abner


    Jan 2, 2011
    Don't know about the DR flats, haven't got around to trying those yet, but you might like some Black Diamond flats. More mids than the GHS, more thump than the Chromes.

    And they are very smooth and polished.

    As always, IMHO.

  4. Holdsg

    Holdsg I should be practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    Have a set on a Spector Euro.
    I like the tension (less than Chromes, more than TIs), feel good to the fingers too.
    Sound like a flat should sound (I've tried many).
    My favorite flat is still the Sadowsky, with Labella a close second, but these are quite good.
    And the gold wrap ends matches the gold hardware on my Spector. bonus.
  5. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    I recently tried them. I think you'd find the tension acceptable, but they had almost no overtones at all. Maybe I just got a bad set. I took them off after about a week and now they are just a backup set in case of breakage.

    You might like LaBellas. They have more overtones than their reputation would suggest, and the tension is a happy medium.
  6. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    I have never heard of these until today. I thought maybe you meant sadowsky's black label's but a google search proved me wrong. What is their tension like?

    Seems like the LaBellas are pretty popular, I always thought they were thump machines, something like the Tom drums on a drum kit. I'm just use used to listening to Jamerson's recordings, not taking into account that they were super old, and the foam mute. Plus I think I recall his were a very heavy gauge.

    Is there a set you guys may recommend based on what I'm looking for?

    They're going to be going on a fretless and I'd like close to a DB tone, but I want low tension and decent mids to get some nice mwah. I was going to go with TI's but I've heard they have lots of sustain, which I don't want, and their tension sounds looser than I'd be comfortable with.

    Would Labella's, or Sadowsky's work well for this? I also heard good thing about Fender 9050's, but I was looking at the gauges available and I don't really agree with any of them.

  7. MarkA

    MarkA *** Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I have a set of the Legends/Hi-Beams flats on a fretless Carvin Icon fiver. They are, so far, my favorite strings on that bass. They have a lot more body and feel more solid than the D'Addario half-rounds they replaced. I haven't tried a full set of TIs on that bass, but I did move the E, A, D, and G from my fretted Brubaker Brute over briefly as an experiment and found them too noodly-feeling on the Carvin (not so on the Brute). I'm not sure how overtone-rich the sound is when playing normally -- would have to play the bass again and check -- but I can tell you that I can get harmonics/sliding harmonics to pop pretty easily on them. I believe that these strings are round core (check me on that, but I'm pretty sure) which, I have been told, makes that easier.

    The TIs are easier yet to get harmonics on -- practically rounds in that regard -- and have a rich, complex midrange (considering trying them on another fretless), but not a lot of thump. On my fretted Brute, they sing. They do sustain.

    I've tried GHS flats on another bass (my former Ibanez Prestige sixer). Growly. Smooth to the touch, but more surface/sliding noise than other flats I've tried. Harmonics do-able but less present than the DRs or TIs. Hex core, I believe. Can select gauges to make a pretty well-balanced set. More thump than rounds and TIs -- not sure relative to the DRs.

    I have a friend who really likes the LaBellas -- has them on a slab jazz bass and a 35" scale, fretless Stambaugh sixer. Going by feel, the set on the jazz is heavier -- even with the shorter scale they feel stiffer. Don't know if they're round or hex core, but harmonics are certainly available on his fretless as well as thump, if you want it. The jazz is darker sounding. They do come in different gauges and I suspect that, in addition to the feel, they'd sound/sustain differently.

    LaBella tapes are another possibility for an upright-ish tone. Plenty of harmonics and midrange there, with a supple feel.

    Budget alternative: Webstrings flats. Have them on a fretless P-bass (.105 E string, but I think different gauges might be available) and like them. Plenty of thump there, for sure. I have considered trying the DRs on that same bass.

    Misc. note: Pretty sure Pino Palladino uses TIs on his P-bass, if you dig that tone -- not that slapping the same strings on will make you sound like him!

    I found Jason at Bass Strings Online pretty helpful when I was experimenting with different flats/gauges.

    ADDENDUM: To me, trying to cop something like an upright vibe on electric doesn't have as much to do with a rolled-off top-end as it does with the sustain characteristics of the string and certain kinds of desirable surface noise (or not -- there isn't one upright sound any more than there is one electric sound). Technique also plays a huge part in getting close to that sound/vibe. Simply having the sound in your mind as you play makes a difference.
  8. MarkA

    MarkA *** Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Re-reading your post after my rambling reflection, I think the DRs would be good strings to try. Less than half the price of the the TIs and feel about right tension-wise, if I remember correctly, given your stated goals. Depending on how you like feel and the sound of those, Labella flats or tapes (which are nylon wrapped rounds) could be good to try next. Remember that the Labella flats are available in different gauges.
  9. neckdive

    neckdive Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    Awhile back when I was shopping for the perfect set of flats that matched the sound in my head, I bought several sets. My two favorites ended up being the DR Legends and the TI flats but for different reasons. I liked the tone of the DRs but the tension was a bit too high across the neck and the TIs had nice low tension but didn't quite thump like I wanted. So I tried mixing them up.

    After some experimentation, I now use a mixed set with both the DR Legends and the TIs on the same fretless bass.

    E - The Legend E has the perfect thump and good medium tension. The TI E was low tension which I didn't mind but it didn't sound like the DR. The TI was just a shade "stickier" than the DR which felt super slick.

    A - This goes to the TI. The tension seemed way too high on the DR while the tone and tension were just right for the TI. The DR A was actually pulling the neck back a little too much.

    D - The TI got lost tonally for some reason. But the DR is not too tight and has a good D tone. Also good for octaves.

    G - The DR was a little too thin sounding and zingy and had a little too much tension. The TI feels and sounds just right.

    I am not advocating this particular setup but if you have a bunch of string sets already, try mixing and matching to your liking. You might be surprised at which sets play nicely together.

  10. MarkA

    MarkA *** Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I advocate using whatever works for you but, I've gotta confess, this setup surprises me -- the DR/TI/DR/TI alternation as much as or more than the fact that you're mixing strings. All kinds of string mixing going on with doublebass and cello, but I don't think I've ever tried it with electric. If it works for you, though, that's what matters, and it sounds like you've got logical reason for the choices you made.

    On another note, higher tension strings do sometimes require a truss rod adjustment, but they also sometimes allow for a lower setup.

  11. rickster4003


    Feb 15, 2013
    I just tried these strings this week - this is my first time with flats. I am coming from sunbeams - they are difinitely higher tension. After putting these on the neck had a strong curve in it (MIM jazz). I adjusted the truss rod. Looking down the neck it also had some twist. Just kept adjusting for a couple days. Now the neck is looking even and the action is low again. I also had to redo the intonation, it was sharp after about the 14th fret - high chords were way off.
  12. DR Legends are high tension.

    You are looking for "a set of flats (with) tension similar to roundwounds, with some thump, and some nice overtones as well. Also low sustain."

    I suggest Sadowsky light gauge flats. Covers your first three requests. As for sustain length, that shortens with time and technique.
  13. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Sounds good, thank you. After reading through these posts, I decided to buy a set of these and light gauge Labella's. They seem to be the closest to what I'm looking for.
  14. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Just to add, I just read over numerous threads comparing Sadowsky's and labella's. From what I read, the Sdowsky's seem to be a bit more musical. I'm going to try the light gauge of these out first and try the Labella's after a few months, if I feel I need to.

    Thanks everyone
  15. Abner


    Jan 2, 2011
    Sorry, not sure I'm a good judge of that right now. I had them on so very briefly on my main bass as it just wasn't the sound I was looking for at the time. People say Chromes are high tension, but I don't feel that way, a set of GHS Precisions flats I have on right now are higher tension, but they are the .105 to .055 set. (And I tune to D standard, so that throws the tension comparisons off a little (but these GHS are still much tighter than any of the round wounds I used to play at E standard).)

    I currently have the Black Diamonds as the root strings on an 8-string bass, also at D standard, but it's also a 32-inch scale. For what it's worth, they feel looser than the GHS. :)

    Can't go wrong with the Sadowsky flats. Excellent strings. They may start out with a lot of top end, but that disappears within the first week or so (even if you don't play them much).

  16. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Great. Thanks Alex for the tip