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Best flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Tsal, Jan 23, 2001.

  1. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    This topic doesen't seem to be covered in last couple months
    so which are best flats? Thomastik Jazz's seem to be quite popular, but they are damn expensive too. Any challengers?
    I saw someones opinion that Daddario Chromes are as good as Thommys.
  2. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    There's a short article on flatwounds in this month's Bass Player. Gives a desciption of about 6 or 7 brands. Doesn't rate their quality, just their characteristics. I like the Lakland Joe Osborns myself.
  3. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Well, it depends a lot on what you're looking for. On my Precision, the Fender 9050's are the best I've found so far, for that deep, thumpy sound. I didn't like the Chromes as much as many seem to. Of course, if you're looking for the Iron Maiden sound, you might want to try a set of Rotosound Steve Harris flats. I found them too bright, and not thumpy like traditional flats. I have GHS Precision Flatwounds on my fretless and they sound pretty good. I'm still not sure about the Thoms. I seem to have gotten a bad E-string, and I'm waiting for the replacement. If you're on a budget, you could try the Ernie Balls, Fender 9050's, or GHS for the traditional sound. I think Chromes, La Bellas and Laklands are a couple bux more. Sure, Thoms are expensive (not so expensive as Pyramids, though), but if you like them and they last a year or two, they're a bargain.
  4. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    Hey guys, I have a dumb question for you. I've never played flats before, only bright roundwounds. My question is do flats change in tone over time? Do they start of with a certain "tone" and then change? You know, like roundwounds start of bright and then mellow out a bit (or die).
  5. I've tried a lot of flats over the years and I currently use D'Addario Chromes (on my Godin A4 fretless and my G&L SB-2). I've tried the Thomastiks, and although I liked the tone, I couldn't stand the fact that they were so thin. Perhaps if they made some thicker sets I might be convinced.

    Certain flats have different characteristics. The GHS and Dean Markleys both seem less bright in general and don't have much sustain.

    The D'Addario Chromes have a little more top end and sustain which I like. The price is quite good compared to some other brands too.
  6. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    Pyramid Golds are the obvious winner but also very expensive.
  7. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    rsautrey- Yes, flats change over time, but not in quite the same way as rounds, IME. I have some Fender flatwounds on my Precision, and in my opinion, they have just gotten better over a period of several months. I expect that the tone they have now will last a long time. Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats start out fairly bright, but mellow within a few weeks. After that they slowly get a little darker sounding, which is what TI afficionados like. This is different from, say, Rotosound 77's which start out really bright, and then all of a sudden go dead.
  8. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I must check that Bassplayer then, not sure if the local library has got one yet tho. They seem to appear month after they are available in the States.
  9. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I just got the February issue in the mail yesterday. The flatwound article is interesting, but very short.
  10. Jman


    Mar 24, 2000
    Pyramids enough said.
  11. Hey Flatwound, I just recently bought an Epiphone Jack Casady bass, and love it.(check out my review under basses)
    That was a nice plug. Anyway, the strings that came on it were horrible. First off, they were roundwounds, light gauge. Disgusting! The G string had a banjo type twang to it. I still get shivers when I think of it. O.K. I replaced
    them with a set of Rotosound Jazz bass flats. I think they
    are 77s. I like them better than the stock Fender's I still
    have on my Fretless Jazz(MIM) That said, I have a few questions, if you can help me.

    1) Have you(or anyone else) tried Rotosound Trubass Strings?
    You know, they're those black nylon ones and come mostly in
    heavy gauges. The E string is 115! That's almost 5 string

    2) Those horrible strings that came on my Casady left my
    fingers BLACK after the first few hours of playing them.
    In all my years of playing, I have never seen this happen
    to me, or, anyone. What could have caused this? This was the only drawback to the Casady, but, I don't rate bad strings as a mojor problem. Why do manufactuers do this?
    I mean: They put some of the worst strings on brand new

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Talk to you guys later,
    Mike J.
  12. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I haven't tried the Rotosound tapewounds. I have tried the LaBellas, though, and they're pretty nice. They have a different sound than flatwounds, a little brighter, but not ringy like rounds. I liked them, but I like flatwounds better. The giant guages of the tapewounds don't necessarily translate into high tension. The LaBellas I tried also have a .115 E, and I thought they were kind of floppy.

    I tried the Jazz 77's on a couple of basses and didn't like them. They were too bright for me, and didn't have a strong attack, compared to GHS and Fender flats. YMMV, of course.

    I have heard the Fender 9050's characterized as dull and characterless. This was true on one of my basses, but the same strings sound great on my Precision.

    If I had a Jack Casady (and I'd like one), I think I'd try TI Jazz Flats or Pyramids.
  13. Flatwound, thanks for the response. I might try the Pyramids
    one of these days. I'm still tempted to try those .115
    Rotosounds. I like a nice thuddy tone. By the way, if your
    motto is "I'll take a Precision', you'd love the Casady.
    It sounds a lot like a good Pre-CBS Precision, but, with
    more of an acoustic sound. What a bass.Those guys at Gibson
    DO NOT know how to market their products. Talk to you soon.

    Mike J.
  14. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Hey M-J! You takin' a break from the "Basses" forum? :D:p

    I've got a set of Rotosound RS88-EL (extra long) tapewounds on an old (fretless) Gibson Ripper.
    I like `em a whole lot. I tried the RS77-EL (Monel Flats) and Thomastik-Infeld JF364's
    before settling on the tapewounds for the Ripper. You're right, they are thick.
    They make a five string set with a 135 B. My Rob Allen shipped with LaBella tapes
    and those were pretty sweet. I tried a RS88-LD set and that was good too.
    Then I discovered T/I AB344's - phosphorbronze wrap with a NYLON core.
    They bring out the best from the R/A's piezo pup.

    I too yanked those goofy-@$$ roundwounds that shipped with my Casady. First I tried GHS
    Precision Flats (3050 med), but settled on T/I JF344's :D . Both work really well with
    that "Electar" pickup. Now that you mention it though, in all the crazy combinations
    I've tried, I don't think I've ever put Roto tapes on the Casady. I've got some spare
    `88-LD sets from when I thought they were IT for my Rob Allen.
    Hmmmm...gives me somethin' to do tonight :rolleyes:
    I'll give ya' a holler, later.
  15. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000

    Oh well :rolleyes:. I guess the only permanent thang is change, or somethin' like that :p .

    I started by puttin' a Roto 88 (tapewound) E on my Casady. Hmmmm...interesting.
    A little rattle around the third fret on down. (Duh! It's .115" :) ).
    A little tweak on the bridge and truss rod fixed that. Here's where I noticed
    somethin' nifty: when doin' gliss', there's less fret noise. All my other basses
    are fretless and I guess I was kinda' spoiled. Until I get the cash and/or cajones
    to try de-frettin' the Casady, this'll do.

    What the hell - let's try `em all :p . Remember, this is the RS88-LD set.
    It will work for the Casady's scale. The ~EL set I got for the Ripper's through-body
    stringing. Another tweak I did was to bring the pickup a little closer to the strings.
    gruffpuppy The RS88-S set should work on your Rivoli ;) .

    I had the T/I JF344 nickel flats on prior. These guys took full advantage of that
    "snarl" (esp. @ switch position 3). They also sustained like crazy. Now with the
    tapes on, there's a little less snarl and sustain BUT it's been replaced by more
    thump and a cool "woody" honk. The tension is not as bad as I thought it might be.
    There is a little less output when playin' "un-plugged".

    I'm a fanger-picker :p and here's a neat trick: usin' the combination of fingertip and
    a little nail, you get a cool percussive effect. Plus it makes up for that loss of projection
    when playin' un-amped.

    I think you'll like the sound and feel you can get with these Roto's M/J. Try `em out :D .

    [Edited by notduane on 01-27-2001 at 01:27 PM]
  16. Someone in a post above said that TI's were too thin. I've just ordered a six string set (list $102, their price $52 at sheetmusicplus) and the gauges are .033-.136, which is definitely not thin. I'm currently using Slowounds, which are .030-.130.
  17. Ankles


    Jan 6, 2001
    I have been using Fender flats on my "P". They sound great and have just enough tension. On my fretless I am using Fender Nylon. They have a bit of brightness but, are easy on the fret board.
  18. White_Knight


    Mar 19, 2000
    I've been really pleased with D'Addario Chromes - good durability, long lasting, great tone. They aren't all that expensive either, I think my set ran around $23.00. I have heard rave reviews about the TI's, but couldn't justify spending that much on a set of strings (hey, I'm cheap :)).
  19. Speedbird

    Speedbird Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2000
    Northern Virginia
    I've used GHS flats many times and loved them, super-smooth but a little fat. Once I tried "ground wounds" but hated em. I'd like to get a jazz bass keep a set of flats on em (probably GHS's)
  20. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Well. I finally got my E-string from Connolly and Co., and I'm trying it out. It will take a couple of weeks to determine how it is, because the Thoms break in kind of slowly. Oh, yeah- the deal is that I have a set of TI 344 Jazz Flats that the E never sounded right to me on. So I sent it to Connolly, the U.S. distributor, and they sent me a new one. Much better than paying eighteen dollars and change to buy one from Juststrings. So now I've put the Thoms back on my P, but three of them are several months old, and the E is new. Still, it sounds OK, but will probably sound better when the E mellows. I had forgotten how good these sound on my Precision, and if I can get the sound I want from the E, I may stick with them.

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