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Are GHS Precision Flats the closest thing to stock Fender flats of the 60's?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Thibby, Oct 13, 2017.


  1. Thibby

    Thibby Supporting Member

    May 2, 2015
    New Orleans
    I bought a set of the GHS 45-105 precision flats last December and have had them on a j-bass since then, I find that they nail the vintage tone and give me a solid fundamental with a defined thump. Perfect for what I play and do. I also find that the tension is perfect for me, not Jamerson-esqe but a bit more tense than your normal string. I just ordered a set of the 55-105 for my p-bass and I'm looking forward to it!

    When I was doing research about the precision flats, I saw multiple people saying that these strings are the closest set to the stock flatwound strings that came on Fender basses in the 1960's. I guess this has been deduced from the fact that GHS and the V.C. Squier string production are/were both based in Battle Creek, MI; possibly in the same factory?

    I guess I'm just grasping at straws here, but the topic is just food for thought. I had seen the topic brought up in multiple threads about GHS Flats and if anything, it's some nice discussion on a slow work day :D.

    Sorry if the topic has been covered before!
     
    armybass and Pbassmanca like this.
  2. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    First, no. They were never in the same factory.

    It's gonna be really hard to figure that out, mainly because anyone that would've been around at that time when GHS started (who previously worked for VC Squier) is probably dead. And there wasn't a lot of diligent record-keeping from that time, that's still around.

    So, maybe? But unless you've got some concrete proof to back it up, that's about as close as we're gonna get on it.
     
    Pbassmanca, Yahboy and AModestRat like this.
  3. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Lakewood, OH
    so the fenders were nickel that's the other thing that makes it different.

    i'm with jon on a firm MAYBE. same company that made them for fender, same employees, strike out on their own, probably some of the same equipment. again the nickel thing is off, but if you look at those old gauges the medium gauge of ghs 55 70 90 105 to the fender set of 55 71 90 105 its right on.

    tonally i love the old fender flats sound and have been searching for it for a long time. many old timers on here have said the GHS are the closest. i've tried all the flats out there and would agree tonally they are the closest. Not the exact same thing, but the closest.


    1966_Fender_Strings_01.jpg 1966_Fender_Strings_02.jpg
     
  4. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    I would be one if not the one that has stated that GHS Precision Flats remind me of the Squier made Fender flats of the 1970's. My first Precision being a brand new 1972 which came factory stock strung in flats. I do not know if the outer flat cover wrap was nickel or stainless steel. 50's & 60's most definitely nickel. I don't know if today's Fender has any archives relating to core material and diameters; core to cover ratios and cover materials. They had to source that wire from somewhere. After CBS shut down Squier I have visions of literally tons of paper records being dumped in the local landfill to be buried for all time. At any rate the point is moot as that was then and this is now.
     
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  5. I dunno...those old Fender strings look pretty darn shiny even in the black and white image. The GHS of today are almost matte-like in their finish.
     
  6. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    It's not the look. It's the tone.
     
    JakobT, Pbassmanca and AngelCrusher like this.
  7. You're right. Nickel flats and SS flats sound very different from one another.
     
  8. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    That would be an interesting blind experiment. Same string wound on the same machine by the same winder. Only difference is the cover wrap. Strung on identical basses plugged into identical amps and played in the dark by 100 bass players. The resulting subjective comments would be fascinating.
     
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  9. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Lakewood, OH
    actually after reading that document i posted i don't think they were nickel. mastersound doesn't specify nickel. the pure nickel do (of which they are not). so they could be similar/same strings.
     
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  10. Yahboy

    Yahboy

    May 21, 2008
    WoW. A cool name for old Fender fltwound string ~ MasterSound !
     
  11. Linnin

    Linnin

    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Attention Metallurgists! What is the best metal for metal?
     
  12. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    Yes , you're right. The Master Sound strings are listed separately from the pure nickel wrap strings, which begs the question ; were the Master Sounds wrapped with pure nickel? The ad mentions "alloys". Also of note, is the fact that seeing as how the ad only lists strings for the Precision bass, I'm assuming that this is pre 1960, and therefore if you note the price of 18 US dollars for a set of strings, that was actually quite expensive in today's dollars!
     
  13. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    Here is a link to an inflation calculator I found. It figures that the same set of strings at that price in 1959 would cost $152 in today's money!

    US Inflation Calculator
     
  14. $18 back in 1960 would be worth $147.82 in today's dollars!

    EDIT: @Pbassmanca, you beat me to it.
     
  15. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    No wonder people didn't want to change strings very often!
     
  16. I was born in 1957. Would I be worth anything in today's dollars? ;):D
     
  17. nerkoids

    nerkoids

    Jan 3, 2014
    Montreal
    That price list is actually from the 1966-1967 Fender catalogue.
     
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  18. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    Ah, ok I wasn't sure.
     
  19. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    So an $18 string set in 1967 would cost approximately $133 in today's money! More pricey than TI Flats! :D
     
  20. No wonder Carol Kaye has been endorsing TI Flats these days. ;)
     

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