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Bright flats vs "real" flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Bassdude15, Sep 27, 2013.


  1. Bassdude15

    Bassdude15

    Feb 26, 2013
    Nashville
    I've been using Rotosound flatwounds for a while and have grown discontent with their brightness. Do brighter flats (Chromes, Rotosound, GHS Brite flats) ever really lose that brightness and get a little thumpier, or is that only a characteristic of "real" flats (Labellas, Pyramids, TI's, Fenders, etc.)? Should I let the Rotos settle in more or save up for a set of TI's?
     
  2. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Brite flats are halfrounds. Some people like them. Most think they stink. I'm not a fan. If you want brightness, chromes are the way to go.
     
  3. I was going to say the exact same thing.

    I like the concept of half-rounds... but i've never found a set that sounds like i want it to.

    I LOVE my flats, but sometimes i need a little more brightness than my La'Bella's produce, so i switched to Chromes a few years ago, and i'm a big fan.

    I guess i wouldn't sau they're BRIGHT bright... bit definitely not thumpy dark. You be the judge...

    Here's an idea of their sound in a live setting:

    Those are 3 year old Chromes on a MiJ (body)/MiM (neck) Fender P going straight into a '69 Kustom200 head (highs at 10 o'clock, lows at 3 o'clock, and the bright switch is off) out of an Acoustic 4x10.
     
    Mike_1978 likes this.
  4. Duckwater

    Duckwater

    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    My Chromes took 2 years of playing(around 20 hours a week) to get that real thumpy sound, but they are still bright and present. GHS flats are thumpier right out of the box but it's not the same sound, they're affordable and worth trying though.

    BTW - Fender flats are the brightest of them all IMO, mine are about 5 months in and haven't changed in tone at all since they lost their new string "zing". I want to try some "Sub Contra flats" but they're $82.00(not including shipping) for the basic 4 string set.
     
  5. donn

    donn

    Mar 28, 2011
    Seattle
    "Sub contra flats"? Congratulations! a phrase that occurs only once on the web (twice now that I've repeated it.) Are these some kind of word of mouth deal, or are they known online under a different name?

    The only flats I've had time to wear in were Ernie Ball. I didn't notice that they were in the bright category to start with, but they sure aren't now.

    Rotosounds are supposed to lose brightness, gradually anyway, but that's a pretty vague promise. Different strings makes sense to me, but TI? Isn't that a relatively bright option, albeit in a different way than Rotosound?
     
  6. Duckwater

    Duckwater

    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    They're made by a custom string builder, if I like their strings I'll probably invest in some experimental sets(I'm thinking bright, balanced tension flats with a large gauge but more flexibility.) And I'm curious as to what a set of strings with a "skeleton core" is like. This is off topic from the OP though :oops:
     
  7. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha & Grosbeak. I’m Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    +Bassthousand
     
  8. PluckyThump

    PluckyThump

    Jan 4, 2008
    The Hammer
    It can take long long time for Roto flats and Chromes to settle, depending on your body chemistry. If you want a dark and thumpy string I suggest GHS Precision Flats.
     
  9. BBox Bass

    BBox Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    NW Pennsylvania
    I use GHS Brite Flats on my fretless basses since I prefer the sound and feel of rounds, but don't want to chew up my fingerboard. I think they're fine. I've also used SIT's half-rounds, but found them a bit sticky.
     
  10. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    I'm not understanding this comment. "Half rounds" are something different entirely than flatwounds from D'Addario, Rotosound, or anyone else as far as I know. Half rounds are roundwound strings that have been ground down to remove some of the surface texture and brightness associated with rounds. I think a better name for them would be "half-assed". Rather than being a best of both worlds solution, they are the worst of both worlds. The don't have the brightness and sustain of rounds, but they also don't have the deep fundamental and thump of flats. Purely my opinion of course, having tried them.

    Chromes do indeed mellow out and become darker and thumpier over time, but it takes a while. If I play a set regularly it takes anywhere from 3 - 6 months before they become noticeably darker, and then they continue to smooth out and get even better for years. I typically don't change them until they get hard to tune and intonate.

    I don't find any of that to be a bad thing...I love being able to string up a bass and be done for a few years!

    I don't use them on all my basses, I keep different instruments set up with other strings to give me different tones and that lets me match the bass to the gig.
     
  11. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    IME, the TI's are not at all dark and thumpy, they start out almost as bright as Chromes but tend to darken faster. But they also don't have anywhere near the low end punch and solidness of the Chromes to my ear, they're very middy and a bit thin sounding in comparison.
     
  12. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    The OP categorized brite flats as "brighter flats" along with rotos and chromes. I was clarifying that brite flats are halfrounds, not flatwounds.
     
  13. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    But they're not.

    Or are you referring specifically to the GHS Brite Flats?

    I'm not familiar with those.
     
  14. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    But they are. GHS brite flats are halfrounds, groundwounds, whatever you want to call them.
     
  15. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    Gotcha...you're talking about the GHS Brite Flats. Those ARE half rounds, and I agree, they DO suck :)

    The OP was talking about bright flats (note the spelling) like Rotos and Chromes. Those are NOT half rounds, they are flatwound construction.

    Glad we sorted that out.

    Next!
     

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  16. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    We can still be best friends forever since we both refuse to lose an argument.
     
  17. +1. chromes are actually too bright for my taste. I recently acquired some TI jazz flats and they are heaven(for me). IMHO, IME, YMMV, etc...
     
  18. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    Not arguing, just trying to understand :)
     
  19. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha & Grosbeak. I’m Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    D'Addario Half Rounds and Ken Smith Slick Rounds are also both half rounds/groundwounds. I can't stand either one. Sticky feeling and dead tone out of the box. Only D'Addario string I think sucks out of an awesome lineup.

    OP - D'Addario Chromes definitely break in with time. They may also break in after playing them with suntan lotion on your hands (yes, I did this by accident at the beach).

    I couldn't tell you about Rotos because I'm not a fan of their products. As said before, the GHS Brite Flats are half rounds, not true flats.
     
  20. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    If you want really dark, consider GHS Precision Flats - a true flatwound string. They start off clanky when new and mellow into delicious dark goodness, if that's what you are into.
     

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