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Anyone using Flat Chromesteel E

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Chasarms, Mar 12, 2005.

  1. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    There's not a lot at TB on the flatchromesteels. I had bought a G and D a while back and was itching to try them. I put a complete set of SS Supremes on last week (see review) but curiousity finally got the best of me, so I put on the flatchromesteels today.

    I REALLY like these strings. They are a little Obligato-like but with an over stiffer feel and a little rounder tone. Certainly a little smoother under the bow.

    I played the bass for a couple of hours with the Flat Chr. Sts. D, G and the supremes E and A. Not a bad combo really. To my ear, the supremes sound a lot like the Obligato anyway.

    But, I figured someone might be interested in the supremes, so I pulled off the other two and went back with the old Obligato E and A. These strings are shot, but they do make for a nice match.

    I ordered a Flatchromesteel A, but I was a little hesitant to get the E, as I have read here that the E doesn't match well.

    So, I know I will need a new E very soon, but I am a little hesitant to try that type. Anyone use Flat Chromesteel E?

    If not, what are matching the others with?
  2. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I use the entire set. When you say the E doesn't match well, how long ago did you try it? Because they changed the construction of the E string about a year ago. The set balances great, and the E string is very strong (at least on my bass). Great strings.

    I know some people use the jazzer E and A. I feel that the jazzers don't have the bloom or dynamics that the flat chromesteel do. But it is an option.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    The posts that spoke poorly of the E are fairly old. That's good to hear. I don't think I would like using jazzers because I want something that bows really well. So far, the arco tone of these has been outstanding.
  4. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    With my experiences, the E ages very gracefully. I get about six to eight monts of use out of the E string. Then I replace it & usually leave the other stings on. For some reason, the A, D, and G last a lifetime :smug: .
  5. I can concur that.
    I had and older E and bought another one last year, and it was indeed thicker and stronger sounding.
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I ordered the E as well. It seems that I am going to very happy this setup as long as they don't fade quickly. These strings are little stiff for my taste, but the rest of their attributes are such that I am just going to have to get used to it.

    Right now, I am playing only D and G in the FCS and have Obligato on A and E. The difference in pizz is negligible and actually makes for a decent match. The FCS is more articulate, the midtone clarity is superior and they provide an overall more "polished" sound, but the sustain and general roundness of the tone is common between the two.

    But the arco tone on the flat chromesteel is head and shoulders over the Obligato. Having tried Obligato (three times now) Flexocor, Spirocore, Dominant, SS Supremes, Heritage and 180s (D and G only) I have to say these strings are the easiest to start cleanly with the bow that I have played. Additionally, they don't tend to exaggerate the overtones as do many others.

    I did a duet with a guitarist yesterday in church, (bowed). I have never gotten so lost in my playing. It was a brief moment of what I hope to be someday on this instrument.

    In fact, I might even go so far as to say that I like the playability and sound of these strings under the bow so well, I might keep them if they pizzed no better than flexocor. Fortunately, I don't have to make that choice.

    I know these are pushed as a hybrid, but they probably don't get the attention they deserve. Maybe because they are a little more expensive than some others. But, If you are a mostly pizz player who needs a string that they can bow if needed, I can see how Obligato would be the string, but if you are serious about your arco tone but need good quality pizz, this may be a better solution.

    Plus, I REALLY like the how the silks look like little candy canes extending from the tail piece. :)

    Long live the flat chromesteel!!!!!

    Many, Many, Many thanks to our own Nnnnnnnnnnick Lloyd for suggesting these. It was an out of the blue note from Nick (who set up my Shen for me) that started the investigation into FCS.
  7. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    This past Christmas season, I set aside some money to test out some different strings...I tried Thomastik Dominant Orchestral, Pirastro Original Flatchrome, the Chromesteel, and Corelli 370F...I went the pseudo-scientific route, and did one of each, based on what I'd read. Weird mix :rolleyes:

    Anyway, I'd always liked the Corelli 370M, but felt that my bass could speak more loudly with the higher tension. So, I'm using 370F for the E and A, and the flat chromesteel D and G. I consider them a real find, and am thoroughly happy with them. Once I'm back in the money, maybe I'll reconsider the E and A, but I really like the size, feel, and bouncy :hyper: nature of the Corelli strings.
  8. I'd like to get your opinion on the difference between the Flatchromes D&G versus the Corelli!

    Thanks in advance,
  9. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Sorry about not posting sooner! On my bass, both strings have nearly equal sustain playing pizz as well as ringing once the bow has lifted. Though both have strong tone, the Flatchromes are brighter. One thing that is hugely important for me is the sympathetic vibrations that the D and G pick up. In my current setup (E/A Corelli 370F, D/G Flatchrome), the D and G are highly responsive, and easily vibrate to fundamentals played on the E and A. This probably has to do with the E and A being more taught than I'm used to, thus getting the bass to vibrate more as a whole...still, they really speak out.

    Both sets are easy on the fingers. I have not played the Flatchrome E, and would be interested in trying it. As it is now, the Corelli E and A are smaller than I would have expected.

    I can post more if you'd like...I really like this setup as it is. The Corelli strings are comparatively dark, so it gives a good foundation in comparison to the bright Pirastro D/G. It's a nice contrast.
  10. Thanks for the details, BassChair.
    I just ordered Corelli 370M D&G for a trial. These are quite inexpensive.
    I've tried the F and the TX but both were too bright and had too much sustain on my EUB. But otherwise I like their feel and playability.
    I'm looking for a clear, but darker tone.
    I thought the mediums could be darker, since they're lower tension.
  11. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    You know, I never did have the 370 M and 370 F on in a mixture, so I couldn't give a definitive answer on which is brighter. The M set had quite a lot of elasticity, and I really enjoyed playing them because they were easy on the fingers. Barry Green got me hooked on them. The thing is, his bass has more of a solo-style tone, and those strings worked well for him. My bass was made in 1999, custom: 1/2 deeper in the rib, to create a larger overall air volume, which has resulted in a much deeper, broader bass sound. But, because it is still so new, I realized that a higher tension string would really help it speak. So, the F's deliver the tension, but are still easy to play. They are bright, but not as bright as the Chromesteel. I dig the Pirastros on the D and G because when I'm up in the high regions, I want it bright and bold.

    I really dig the Corelli strings, always have...I never understood why their price is so much lower than other strings. A well kept secret?
  12. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    Actually, I just read over everything, and I've been mixing it up. The things I've said about the brightness, tension, etc...whenever I refered to the "flatchrome," I was thinking the "chromesteel." :rolleyes:
    I blew it. The flatchrome are much darker, with little sustain. A fantastic orchestral string, where a big, bassy, dark sound is needed without any need of sustain in the pizz. The pizz is strong, mind you...it just doesn't last.
  13. In fact, what you call "chromesteel" is the Original Flatchromesteel.
    The "flatchrome" is the Flatchromesteel. (newer)
  14. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Boy did I come in late on that one. Okay, the Flatchromesteel with the red-on-white winding at the base are the ones I have on for D and G, so those are what I was commenting on. I hope this didn't mess you up! I liked the original, but they were very dark and had little sustain.
  15. :)
    There was never a doubt in my mind which string you were talking about, don't worry!
    Thanks for your comments.
  16. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I forgot to mention, when using the flat chromesteel E string, give it a couple days to "play in" before you judge it. ;)
  17. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    To add an epiphany: after many years of being thrilled with Spirocores for the jazz that makes up most of my daily bread and just dealing with them for the arco stuff that occupies my free time and the occasional classical gig, I tried the Flat Chromesteels for a change. Now, every and I mean EVERY string with any claim to "hybrid" status has been on my bass, and I have always gone back to Spiros. But the Flat Chromesteel A and D are such perfect hybrid strings (on my bass) that I wonder why they aren't spoken of more often and why Pirastro bothers to keep making other hybrid alternatives. The arco response is ridiculously sweet (not as pathetically easy as Corellis, but these strings actually move some air), and the pizz response has a great deal of sustain and warmth (not as much *thump* as Spiros, but these are comparable jazz strings--they aren't dead or flimsy at all). My wolf tone has been minimized to a mere puppy. With a Spiro weich E and a Spiro mittel G, I have as close to the ideal set-up as I've been able to achieve so far.

    Interesting to note, though, is that when I had the FCS A and D on th bass with the FCS G, I disliked all of them; the tension of the G string skewed my perception of all three negatively. And when I bought my bass in 1999, it had a full set of FCS on it that I now know were completely dead (and thus I hated them), so I never tried them again. The A and D, though: perfect, especially with a Spiro weich E (upon which I've never found an improvement in all of stringdom for clear pizz and arco response).

    The Spiro mittel G doesn't match up well under the bow as far as the response to the bow technique goes. Makes it a little awkward; so, since many people have claimed that the Oliv G is the best G string ever, maybe I'll put one on and find myself with the elusive perfect string combination...
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've just read this thread several times, and have to admit to being curious about these strings since I was just up at Nnick's shop and played his "Brescian Lloydano" bass, which was strung with what I think were Original Flatchrom strings. I was surprised that I liked them a lot better than I thought I would for pizz, and it made me curious about the Flat Chromesteel.

    Here's what I'm looking for: I play all pizz, and have been using Spiro Starks for years. I love everything about the Starks except that buzzy nasal quality I get up around the octave on the D string. Does anybody have any idea how a Flat Chromesteel D might sit on a set of Starks in terms of tension and thickness? My D string on the LaScala has always been overly powerful anyway, so if the tone was slightly subdued, I could live with that...but if the tension was too far off, it might be too weird. Ideas?

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    It would definitely feel a lot different than the Spirocore Stark. The Flatchromes are closer to Weich IMO. I have played them before, and they are indeed a nice sting for Pizz. Chris, I might recommed a Dominant D to you. I think you will find the tension to be similar to the Stark, but it is a darker souding string. Quite a bit smoother than Spirocores with none of that twangy sound you sometimes get.
  20. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I have had my TB posting hand politely slapped in the past for equating elasticity/feel with tension, but since Pirastro doesn't offer tension #s, I don't know a better way to discuss it. The FCS is an all-metal string, so I suspect it is fairly high tension.

    I got the E and A a few days ago, but haven't been able to put them on as of yet. I don't know about the feel of those strings.

    But playing the FCS D,G along side the Obligato A,E you notice them as being stiffer, but not at all unmanageable. I'd call them stiffer than weichs but probably not as firm under the left hand as the orchestra Flexocors I played on the Shen for a while.

    Almost anything is going to be soft compared to the starks, but these are not overly flabby.

    To my ear, the most notable thing about the FCS is the clarity. Some may not like it, but on the Shen it was almost like taking a dampener off the bass.

    They are probably as bright (but not banjo-like out of the pack) as Spirocores, but good or bad, there is much less of that toothy growl in the midtone. I also perceive that they offer a little stronger fundamental than the spirocore or at least more bottom end.

    It's hard to be certain, but I think they sustain as well as spiros, or at least as well as weichs. They certainly sustain as well as Obligatos. Although, I have say that it seems to me that they are not as loud as either.

    Right now, I'm playing with a local singer-songwriter who does new-folk/adult-contemporary/soft-rock/pseudo-jazzlike stuff (OK, I don't know what it is :) ) But, I tend to approach the lines very much in a slabbist kind of way, using a lot of gliss and even hammer-ons and pulloffs. This string articulates this much better than anything else I have tried. It just seems to sound more pro with the FCS.

    They are stiff enough that I can lay them right down on the board for amped pizz if I want to. I tried it just for giggles. It has a bit of a fretless BG character to it, especially with a lighter touch, but it may be useful for some of the stuff. I'll know how well it really works once I get the Obligato A,E off the bass. But, I doubt I'll do it much, as it makes the bass harder to bow.

    On the more traditional pizz stuff like folk, they are still fine. I played at the barbershop with the bluegrassers last week, and they cut through pretty well.

    Plus, they bow like butter. I know Chris says he doesn't bow, but the stick will consume eventually. It's inevitable.