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Can You Get 'Growl' From Flatwounds?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by xsogol, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Can you coax 'growl' from flatwound strings?

    Which flatwounds are best for this and does it matter if they are nickel or steel?

    Does anyone have any sound clips of this being done (preferably on a J Bass as this is what I have)? Are there any rock bassists you know of who have a growly flatwound sound?

    Thanks! :bassist:
  2. Yes you can! I used nickel flatwounds for quite some time and I liked the growl I got out of them, they weren't REALLY growly. But they did growl, yes they did..
  3. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    I use the Thomastik Jazz Flats, and though they are smooth and varm they can growl....
  4. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    I get great growl from sadowsky and fender flats. I think low action helps...
  5. Can anyone point me to a song or a sound clip that might illustrate this point?

    So from your posts so far, nickel vs stainless doesn't matter...is this right?

    Thanks everyone! :bassist:
  6. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    I haven't heard any difference in growl with nickel vs. stainless flats....but haven't done that a/b test....if you really are looking for growl, I think you should use rounds....normally people don't take flats for growl...
  7. What I'm really looking for (and this might be impossible) is the dead thumpiness of flats coupled with some nice growl like nickel rounds....not sure what string (if any) can get me there. :confused:
  8. Steve Harris manages to get some growl from his Rotosound Flats, but not exactly to the extent I'd like...anyone know anyone else who gets 'growl' from flats?
  9. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    what about half-rounds, aren't they supposed to be inbetween...haven't tried them myself, but that is what I hear
  10. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Flats played with a pick and low action can do this. Fender flats are good for this.
  11. Xanaptabil


    Jul 18, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    You need to use a light touch combined with low tension flats. Pluck gently so that the string really gets to do its own thing, if that makes any sense.
  12. Dead roundwounds may also help with that.. but when I asked for that some time ago, somewhere, the answer was: groundwounds are a bit stupid (one person said that) and Thomastik Infeld flatwounds do have that extra brightness in them that makes them growl a bit more.

    I'm after the same tone I guess.. DR strings is also a way forward, without getting flatwounds. I would suggest the nickel strings though (haven't used them myself), I've used the steel ones and those had a bit too much 'grind' in the top-end. :smug:
  13. La Bella flats really do it for me. All the growl you need, with the versatility to give a bottom end thump with just a tweak of the graphic equaliser.
  14. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    Check Paul Jackson's work with herbie Hancocks Headhunters like "Thrust", "Headhunters", and "Secrets". Also MeShell first two CD's "Plantation Lullabies" and "Peace Beyond Passion", anything with Raphael Saadiq. Pino's work with D'Angelo. If you like that kind of growl then flats are for you. I personally prefer stainless over nickel. LaBella, Sadowsky's, GHS. Dadario Chrome is a different vibe, but very cool. The thump factor with flats is very enticing...
  15. Thanks a ton, brooklynbassguy!!!! I have some of those recordings already and didn't realize MeShell, Rafael Sadiq, and Pino were playing with flats (never thought to look). Cool! :hyper:
  16. Listen to B.B. King's "Why I Sing the Blues", the studio version from the late 1960's. Jerry Jemmott plays a Fender Jazz with flatwounds and, wow, that bass growls!

    Paul Mac
  17. Wow....holy crap!!! You're right...I never noticed that before! Do you happen to know what brand of flats Jerry Jemmott uses? I'll have to take a look...thanks! :hyper:
  18. I have Rotosound flats on my fretless Jazz Bass (low action and just a touch of relief in the neck) and it growls like crazy. Because of when "Why I Sing The Blues" was recorded, I'd bet Jemmott used either Fenders or LaBellas. Roundwound strings were unknown until the very late 60's and a lot of the manufacturers like GHS, Ernie Ball and Elixir didn't exist, so the choices were rather limited.
  19. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    I would say that yes, you can get growl from flats-particularly from a Jazz bass.
  20. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    Yes you can, young Padawan.
    No coaxing about it.