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Best Strings for Fretless :help:

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Josh Curry, Jul 29, 2004.


  1. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    I usually don't post here, but I figures it would be moved here if I didn't, so anyway...

    I have a Spector custom 6-string fretless on the way and wanted to get some of your opinions of what are the best possible strings to use on this. The fretboard is NOT treated or coated in any special way, so obviously one of my big priorities is not damaging the fretboard over time if I can help it. I also am not a huge fan of flat's. I have flat's on my current fretless and have just never been that happy with them. The tone is lifeless at best. Just in case anyone cares the bass is a Brice V2 with Carvin flat strings (ugh).

    What I want is this....

    A string that gives me close to a round wound sound, that playes smooth like a flat, and has that wicked fretless growl. The Spector is going to have a rosewood fingerboard with EMG 45-DC pickups and the Spector Tone-Pump active pre, does that help?

    Thanks in advance to your replies....
     
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I play SIT PowerFlats (nickel groundwound) on my fretless 6. Not sure they are the string for you, but I dig them.
     
  3. tappel

    tappel

    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    I use SIT Silencers on my fretless. Unfortunately, they don't do a 6 string set. But Ken Smith Compressors are available as a 4 string set plus single B's and C's. The SIT's and Smith's use a similar technology; they're somewhere between a half round and a round wound. I think it's the closest you'll get to a roundwound sound.

    Tom
     
  4. tappel

    tappel

    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Hmm, I gotta check with the guys at SIT. My catalog doesn't list single C's for either the Power Flats or the Silencers.

    Tom
     
  5. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Do you guys get an aggressive growling tone from those?
     
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Hmmm... most Benavente fretlesses come with one or the other (4 through 6 strings).

    BassWhore: aggressive growly tone is more the bass IMO. If you mean, "more of a roundwound tone" then the Silencers or any pressurewound strings. The Powerflats have nice sustain and definition, but are definately dark and thumpy. Most the tracks in my sig link are recorded with any of my basses wearing powerflats (I had assumed they were true flats because they are completely flat... but the are groundwounds).
     
  7. LaBella Deep Talkin' Black Nylon Tapewounds

    http://www.carvin.com/products/group.php?CID=ACC has them them the cheapest (there's a certain amount you need to spend on there though; so you would have to add something to your order.)

    They sound a lot like roundwounds, but not nearly as bright. However, I don't know how good the blackness of them would look on a rosewood neck. They look really good on the maple neck of my SR5 though.

    Sean

    EDIT: And they shouldn't damage your fretboard 'cause they are relatively soft...

    EDIT 2: Nevermind, you said 6 string... I don't know if they make 6 string or not.
     
  8. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    My favs

    1 Thomstik makes the best flatwound string I have ever played. They can be hard to find. You can order them through www.lemurmusic.com

    2 In a pinch I use flatwound D'Adarrios (sp)

    I just find roundwounds eat up the fingerboard after a while. They also make a ton more noise when you slide.
     
  9. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I use Ken Smith Slicks. They are round wounds that are shaved and feel like flats tho they retain the growl and sustain of rounds.

    I love 'em.
     
  10. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Wow, so many options. I will have to take a look at all of these. Has anyone else tried using Elixer's on a Fretless? I saw a thread earlier about this.
     
  11. Wood = Basses

    Wood = Basses

    Jun 19, 2003

    Read the article on BGRA.net about the different brands of flatwounds. Carvins were the worst strings the reviewer played. This is from the article.

    "They say that if you can't say anything good, don't sayanything at all. I guess I won't have much to say aboutCarvin flatwounds, then. Carvin flats are, without a doubt,the worst bass strings I have ever used. The Carvin guys havetold me that GHS makes them, and they've told me that LaBellamakes them. I don't know who makes them, but both companiesdenied responsibility when I called and/or e-mailed them. TheE was muddy and indistinct, the G was twangy with little bassresponse, and the A and D fell somewhere in the middle. ToCarvin's credit, they gave me my money back."


    And here comes yet another plug for Thomasik-infeld :p


    They are bright and warm, very flexible. Ill bet you anything that TI's are lightyears better than the Carvins.
     
  12. I just got a 6 string fretless warwick streamer LX, and want some flats (fingerboard friendly strings)
    I saw the link to the Deep talking black nylon extra B and C, and i use Thomastik (at nearly £50 GBS v. expensive) but does anyone know of any other companies which do fingerboard friendy sets of 6 string. (and better still that are available in the UK)
    cheers (btw the streamer is awsome to play!!!)
     
  13. I have a couple of fretless basses strung with Elixirs - they're very nice and have the typical roundwound "brightness", but (IMHO) not as nice as Pyramid Golds. Another string I like is the Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flat, which is soft and easy to play, similar to Pyramids.

    - Wil
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I use DR Sunbeams or Ken Smith Burners nickel roundwounds on most of my fretlesses. So far I haven't heard anything that truly sounds like a roundwound like a roundwound.

    So far over more than a decade, wear has been a non-issue. I think that is a result of low action, no bending and a light touch.

    I have a set of IT Silencers and I'll get be putting them on soon. I'm also using a set of LaBella Black tape wounds and love the vibe.
     
  15. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    I had a hard time getting a growly sound with flats. I use GHS Boomers on both fretlesses. Don't know if they come in 6 string.
     
  16. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Are they leaving noticable grooves on the fretboard?
     
  17. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    Not yet. I have had them on for roughly 3 years, gigging once month. My working bass has a fretless maple neck. You can see the effect on the finish. My other is rosewood neck, but that one I use for playing jazz which isn's as often as the other.

    As we both know, it's a price you pay. I just love that sound of fretless with a bit of snarl. I has nylon wrapped Rotosounds on for years, but that gave me an upright sound. They were nice to play, but didn't give me the sound. I found a more roundwound string gave me what I was looking for.
     
  18. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Thanks, good to know.

    It looks like the Thomastik's are out. I found them on JustStrings.com but they only come in 34" scale length. Spector 5 and 6'ers are 35". I also can't find Pyramid Gold flat's or some of the other's you guys have mentioned in a 6 set.

    I want to stay away from round-wounds. Keeping the fretboard smooth and mar-free is very important to me.
     
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    Again, not necessarily:D

    We're having a DC/MD/VA Talkbass get together today and maybe some of those folks can comment on the lack of wear on my main fretless.

    It is VERY easy to avoid wear.

    Nickel strings tend to be softer than stainless steel.

    Use a vibrato that runs parellel with the string vs. pushing the string across the board which has been the biggest culprit I've seen for causing wear. Like the old joke goes, if it hurts when you do it, don't do it;)

    Lower action and a lighter touch mean you aren't putting as much downward pressure on the fretboard. These are electric basses and it's really not necessary to put that much stress on the board.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, that's been my experience. I've had many fretlesses with all types of boards over the years and have yet to have any discernable wear. I've also yet to see anyone who does what I described have any either.
    :meh:

    YWMV