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Beginner Using Flatwound Strings - Pros & Cons

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by p0ppyman, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. p0ppyman


    Dec 15, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    What are the Pro's and Con's of using flatwound strings as a beginner?

    Four weeks ago I picked up my Squier Precision Bass 60's Vibe. I have three 1 hour lessons under my belt. I am thinking of moving to flatwound strings. Forty years ago I played a Gibson EB-3 with flatwounds for a couple of years. I can't remember a thing! Well I can remember two things, I should not have let the bass get away and I should of kept playing but I digress ..


  2. Rich McCoy

    Rich McCoy

    Apr 8, 2013
    Put some light gauge flats on there.
  3. when i switched to flats not only the tone changed but also the feel, i started playing differently. you don't have to take a light gauge, it's all down to preference. it's going to be different either way, light gauge didn't help me that much in transition, when i siwtched to heavier flats i liked it more.
  4. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    The only con I can think of is that flats have little to no finger noise, and you may not notice little nuances you may do that would make your technique sound sloppy with rounds, and you may develop some bad habits. However, if you did switch to rounds afterwards, you'd notice these bad habits and would likely correct them within a few hours to a few weeks - depending on the severity.

    If this is a concern but you like the sound of flats, one compromise you could do is roll down your tone knob all the way when the deeper sound is crucial, but turning the tone up full when it is not and you are practicing alone.
  5. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    If you used to play them, they might have a familiar vibe/tone you like. One pro is that you don't have to change strings as much and save money. Less money towards strings, more money towards those lessons and gear lol.
  6. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Dec 31, 2011
    I think the only cons would be if you want to play things that require a little more brightness or if you find that flats don't offer good grip for certain styles. IMHO dialing treble off is a lot better than trying to add treble in.
  7. I'm actually in a similar situation.

    I have a Pbass with SPB-1 pups and playing in a blues band. I'm really interested in put some flats on. But I really don't know which one to pick and even if i should move to flats.

    My concearns are:

    1 - My blues band goes from old John Lee Hooker/Fred King to early Robben Ford passing through Gov't Mule. Does flats would give me that range?

    2 - All I've read about flats is that they are waaay stiffer. The bass is strung with some dead GHS Boomers 045-100 Med-light gauges. Sound good, mellow buuut i do miss a bit of that woody sound i love.

    P.S I hate 040-95 lights.

    So: Blues versatility and not stiff.

    What u guys would recommend?
  8. Labella 760FL or DR Legends.
  9. G00D+~VIBES


    Nov 21, 2008
    Kansas City
    LaBelled is notoriously stiff. Chromes are sort of in the middle sound and feel. Thomastick (sp?) Are all loosey goosey but pricey. All would work for playin dem blues
  10. willop


    Feb 7, 2013
    beaver, pa
    I put fender flats (medium) on my ibby 200. At first I loved them - smooth and nice sound. The more I played the more 'stiff' if felt they were - my pinky and ring fingers had issues pushing hard enough for clean sounds.

    I traded my yamaha rbx375 with rotosound 66 med on it for a dean jeff berlin player with light nickel lo riders (or something very much like them) and it's way easier to press the strings.

    Now my finger skin is tougher but I feel less 'bruising' on the pads as it easier to press the rounds and the pressure is spread out it seems more than on rounds - could be perception but if it's my perception it's my reality.

    Flats on p/j is a classic and my ibby will keep them. And the dean will keep lo riders.

    I want to try tape wounds at some point...i guess that's a good reason to buy another bass! LOL
  11. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I think this is about the only real concern I could think about if the flatwounds sound is what one is looking for. Although it begs the question, is it a problem if you don't notice? I'm inclined to say no. Then again I would probably never play anything else than flats myself.

    Of course the correct answer would be
    [DEL]to fire the guitarist[/DEL]
    [DEL]to buy another bass to string rounds on [/DEL]

    I think with a competent teacher it will most likely be a non-issue, in all honesty.
  12. willop


    Feb 7, 2013
    beaver, pa
    If flats are so good, so retro, so popular...how come I've never ever seen a bass in a store, new or used, with flats on it? Store don't stock much in the way of flats either.

    Just wondering.

  13. NAVET


    May 14, 2013
    Would you recommend half rounds vice flat wounds then so one could add/back off treble as needed - get closer or farther from the flat wound sound?
  14. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    RW's are cheaper than flats in general and RW's are the accepted norm in bass strings since the 70's. If I was a shop owner I would have RW's on my in stock basses too even though I use flats on all my personal basses, just preference on my part.

    To OP; depends on what you like really, TI's and lighter gauge Labellas will have lower tension as will GHS, Chromes and Roto's will have higher tension. I prefer Labella 760 fl's as I think they are a perfect balance of tension and tone, however the GHS precision flats are very similar and bit more affordable.
  15. But ghs are stiffer, right?
  16. NAVET


    May 14, 2013
    Fender 9050 Flats fall into the mix where?
  17. p0ppyman


    Dec 15, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    Thank you everyone for your thoughts and information. I took my bass in this morning to have it setup. I decided to stay with the current roundwound strings. Maybe in a couple of months I will make the change after fully exploring what sound I can get out of the current set.

  18. p0ppyman


    Dec 15, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    Update: I discussed flat vs. round with my Instructor and he encouraged me to make the change. I just picked up my bass from GC. I just had them string DR Legends. Their tech said good choice as it will reduce the wear on the frets. I love the sound. Feel silky smooth too. Back to learning ....