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Best compromise between Flats and Rounds?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Alexander, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I have pretty much played flatwound strings for years now - until very recently. I got a Jazz bass restored and when it came back from the shop, it was strung with stainless steel rounds. Sounded so good, that I thought I would keep them on and try them at a gig. Needless to say, it was one of the best bass tones I've ever had. So good, in fact that I was thinking of trying some rounds on my Precision bass. What I love about the flats is the fat warm sound I get and what I love about the rounds is the definition and texture they provide. What rounds would be closest to providing a "best of both worlds" string choice?
  2. GHS Pressurewounds. A perfect balance between what's good about rounds and what's good about flats!
    Root 5, basscapes, DaMoose and 24 others like this.
  3. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Probably my 1st choice as well. They are a bit bright for my taste at first, but break in nicely. Close seconds (a tad more "flatish") would be GHS Brite Flats, or D'Addario 1/2 Rounds. Another contender is GHS Balanced Nickels, which are rounds, but break in to a sweet dark mellow tone as well. All great strings (for my tonal druthers).
  4. All three mentioned are good options.

    The Brite Flats (= half-rounds) are what I would call "semi-flats", their basic tonal character being more flatwound than roundwound once broken-in.
    The Pressurewounds (= rollerwound) are what I would call "semi-rounds", their basic tonal character being more roundwound than flatwound.

    The PWs are slightly brighter with nice crunchy mids compared to the Balanced Nickels (= pure nickel rounds) but smoother in texture, which I like.
  5. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Precision Flats of course....DUH!
    TN WOODMAN, Pbassmanca and J-Mags like this.
  6. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    EB cobalt flats.
  7. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Inactive

    May 26, 2010
    The key word here is "compromise". You're not really going to get the full benefit of one type of string over the other if you're looking for a compromise. Now, if the compromised sound is what you are goin for, then great. But if you're trying to get the sound of flats from a round wound string, or the traditional sound of rounds from a flat, it ain't gonna happen. You just have to suck it up and go with one or the other and just accept it, mess with EQ, etc. It's like those who post threads like, "How can I get a P sound from my J?" You can get close, but if you want a P sound, get a P. If you want a J sound, get a J.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  8. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    Old rounds
  9. TheLowDown33

    TheLowDown33 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    I would say GHS pressurewounds for the flattest-sounding round. In general, they're just really good strings. EB cobalt flats are the roundest sounding flats. They're pretty damn bright, while still retaining that flatwound feel. They thump well, but definitely not the selling point of those strings.
    G-Z, TN WOODMAN and Pbassmanca like this.
  10. J-Mags

    J-Mags Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    I tried D'Addario Half-Wounds and hated them. I thought that they were basically round wounds with a more annoying texture and slightly duller sound. But recently I played the bass of the guy who recommended them to me, and he still has the same set on his bass that he did when he recommended them to me a couple of years ago. They felt super smooth, and sounded pretty flat-like.
    oranje and Pbassmanca like this.
  11. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    I've been using the D'Addario half wounds and have been pretty satisfied, they're pretty dependent on the bass you've got. I have them strung on 3 of 4 basses and they sound completely different on each. I chose La Bella Deep Talk' Bass Tape wounds for my fretless AGB (Jasmine/Takamine) which were previously strung with the D'Addario and have achieved what I was looking for, a tone close to a double bass (I also use foam). The one I have been debating to change to the La Bellas was a fretless Squier VM Jazz but probably won't (the snarkiness of the half wounds work nicely).
    Pbassmanca and mrcbass like this.
  12. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    Of course, I respectfully disagree and posit that GHS Balanced Nickels are the best choice between flats and rounds... at least sonically. Pressurewounds may smoother to the touch. :)
    Root 5, whero, Pbassmanca and 2 others like this.
  13. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    This is my answer to so many string recommendation threads, but TI jazz rounds would be perfect for what you describe.
  14. Try D'Addario light gauge chromes. Smooth as silk on the fingers but bright enough to slap/pop if you want to. You can also get a nice clean vintage thump out of them with proper technique. I have used them for over 4 years now and love them. :D
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
    booch29 and ErnieD like this.
  15. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
  16. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    This too
    Pbassmanca and StevieMac like this.
  17. Versatek6

    Versatek6 Fretless is like Trombone

    Oct 7, 2008
    Twin Cities, MN
    Consider a tapewound, too. They are usually a roundwound string with the nylon wrap. I'm happy with the D'Addario tapes on one of my 5ers.
  18. I second the vote for tapewounds strings. While there are many good brands, I really like the Fender tapewounds.
    sko1270, Pbassmanca and mcnach like this.
  19. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    EB Cobalt Flats. Case closed.
    Ric Vice, Mili, BZadlo and 4 others like this.
  20. The only real solution is to buy another jazz bass and put flats on it.
    trothwell, Novarocker, Joedog and 7 others like this.

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