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Chromes - Lasting impressions...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Sundogue, Mar 29, 2009.


  1. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Well, my Chromes have been on my bass for about a month and I've had numerous band rehearsals and a few gigs with them now.

    They've settled in quite nicely and they have become my all time favorite string. Better than the TI's I was using and much better than any roundwound I've used (being a flatwound convert and all).

    In a word, these strings are the ultimate in giving me a PUNCHY rock tone. They make my active 5 string Washburn sound like that definitive P-Bass punchy rock tone that just gives every note I play an authoritative feel, even higher up the neck and when playing on the D and G strings (no more thin or weak notes anywhere on the D and G strings).

    And before anyone pipes in with "only a P-Bass sounds like a P-Bass" thing...I own a 4 string P-Bass and it's my all time favorite instrument and I've always had one with me for 30 years. I KNOW a Precision's sound as well as anyone. But I needed a 5 string and the Washburn was too good of a deal to pass up so it's my main gigging bass right now. Last night's gig just had me smiling the whole night. I almost had to look at my bass to see it was not a P-Bass...it sounded that punchy...like it was a Precision.

    The Chromes are the best sounding string I've ever used. I can even get quite growly with them when I need to, yet they still have a thick enough low end to them where I need to cut the lows on my EQ. The mids of the Chromes just cut, but without leaving the impression I'm playing a lower tuned guitar. The rhythm section sounds so tight (by that I mean the 'sound' of the bass and drums is so connected like it never has before).

    We just got two brand new QSC 4050 power amps to drive our JBL SRX728 subs (one amp per sub), and with one of those subs on my side of the stage, (in front of me to my left and my two 115 cabs behind me on my left...and the drummer behind me on the right), I was in low end bass playing heaven. My cabs are mid heavy and give me a very tight, clean bass sound onstage, and the subs send a very full bottom end I can feel onstage.

    Everyone in the band is really digging my bass sound with the Chromes. SOLID. PUNCHY. DRIVING. The Chromes even feel just right to me. I don't miss that zingy piano-like brilliance of rounds I've been using for the last 30 years one bit.

    Everyone who is contemplating trying flats should at least give Chromes a try...and give them a good month (at least). They are not the old school flats of yesteryear. A very modern sounding flat that still thumps quite well.

    Rock on.

    This is the rig I'm playing through. It's a pretty bright sounding rig and it's quite punchy with other strings, but the Chromes really added just what I needed to the mix...

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Have you tried any other flats besides them and TI's?
     
  3. fourfinger

    fourfinger Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2003
    Central Ohio
    Hey Sundogue, I just had my first chance (ever) to use flats (D'Addario Chromes, medium = 50-105) in a band setting, on Friday. This after 25 years playing roundwounds exclusively, and only after having been inspired by your "confessions of flatwound convert" thread.

    I need to tell you THANKS.

    The bass was my Musicman Cutlass II, playing fingerstyle through an awful borrowed amp (too crappy to mention by name, but one with which I am familiar from playing at this location many times before).

    These strings have changed my sound completely -- I can't rave enough to express how much I like the new sound.

    Now trying to cope with the fact that I spent 25 years as a "roundwound snob" refusing to give any flatwound even one try.

    Chromes, in my opinion, have equal-or-better bottom, superior punch, and a much smoother "bass-like" top end than the rounds and coated rounds I am most familiar with.
     
  4. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Fender, LaBella, Rososound, and a few tapewounds...but only sparingly in the past. And honestly (if you read my "Confessions of a Flatwound Convert" thread), I certainly never gave any flatwounds a fair evaluation in the past. I have not tried any strings other than the TI's and Chromes with my current rig/bass. Those selections were based on reviews when I was looking for a bright sounding flatwound. I need a flat that is still relatively bright for a flat and does not have tree warping tension. The Chromes are certainly better than any roundwound I've used over the last 30 years

    There may very well be another flatwound for me, but there isn't any reason to look any further at this time. But I'm always open to trying something new in the future. For now the Chromes are exactly what I'm looking for. If you have any suggestions as to what flats sound like Chromes, I'm open to give them a try in the future.
     
  5. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I did read the thread, but some of the posts, I only glanced over them, there was a lot!:D So I must have missed it.

    And indeed, Chromes are a great string, great for rock, and do the thump when you want them, I have a bass or two with them currently, only string D'Addario make that I actually like.

    Like you said, no need to keep looking, if the Chromes are doing it for you, but if I had read the OP, without you mentioning brands, I would have swore you were talking about Rotos, punchy, driving, solid, rock tone, with some growl. In fact, Rotos on a P or any bass with a mid/neck position humbucker, and a pick, is one of my very fave rock sounds.

    Though I won't advise you to run out and try a set, as they are nothing like Chromes, higher tension, different feel, and tone, lol.
     
  6. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    You are welcome. But I really didn't say anything that a lot of bass players weren't already thinking (and wouldn't admit openly on TB...as evidenced by those who want to bash others who don't go with popular opinion). Roundwounds are the popular choice. So popular that to use flats almost makes one a pariah in some circles.

    I've not only heard it all...I've even said it all too..."Flats are dull, muddy, old-fashioned, etc.". I know there is the sentiment that one can get roundwounds to sound like flats because after all, all one has to do is just make their sound muddy and dull (through EQ'ing and technique), and voila! instant flatwound, right?

    That isn't quite right, but it is understandable. Snobbery is based on ignorance. I was ignorant about what flats bring to the mix (even having tried them) because I wasn't willing to really explore their possibilities within the context of my band's sound. It was ALL about MY sound in the past (whether it really fit the band's sound or not). It would be no different than if I, as a flatwound user, refused to switch to rounds if they fit the band's sound better.

    Once I found that flats fit in my band's overall sound better than rounds, it was easy to give up on finding "my" tone. The funny thing is, once I stopped resisting and gave up trying to find my sound...I found it. Go figure.
     
  7. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, from what I recall about Rotos (both round and flat) is that they are higher tension...which is what I was concerned about this time around on this bass. Though on another bass (Warmoth neck with steel reinforcement bars...very rigid neck...but it's a four string) I might try them. Thanks.
     
  8. LevinFan

    LevinFan

    Aug 4, 2008
    Louisville Ky
    What set you using Sundogue ? I've got a set of Chromes I'm thinking of throwing on my Lakland 44-01. It's got GHS Brite Flats on it now 45,56,77,98, but it's not cutting for me. The Chromes set I have here is ECB80. 40,60,75,95.

    (I know Brites aren't really flats, they are groundwound)
     
  9. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I'm using the Chromes Regular Light Gauge ECB81-5 (45-100 with a 132 low B). The low B is the best low B string I've ever played. Even if I were to switch back to rounds, I'd keep that one on there.

    In the future, I might go to a heavier gauge set of Chromes, but the 45-100 (132 low B) are working great for me as they seem to be heavy enough for the sound I want, but light enough to be as 'playable' as I like.
     
  10. LevinFan

    LevinFan

    Aug 4, 2008
    Louisville Ky
    Ok, mine are the super lights. I was going to save 'em for a fretless, but I'll go ahead and try them on the Lakland. I'm starting to hate the Lakland, but the Chromes may change my mind.

    BTW, thanks for posting this thread. I've been digging your posts on the convert thread :bassist:
     
  11. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Chromes are the bidness.
    Sunny D's thread also inspired me to try them.

    I love them on my Sadowsky 5, and I've done classic rock, jazz, electronica, and some Mr Bungle/Zappa style stuff with them. I can even cop a pretty darn good Jaco/fusion tone with them. Who knew?

    I'm going to try them on my Bongo next, never was totally happy with that bass using LowRiders.

    One thing, the B string is indeed the best I've ever tried, but it BARELY fits through the Sadowsky bridge. I'd like to try the medium gauge (50-105), but I don't think the B would fit.
     
  12. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I'm glad I could be an inspiration for someone.

    My other thread wasn't really about strings themselves. It was about the strings creating a mindset to be inspired. Sometimes you just hear something that gets you thinking a completely different way.

    Being a fine artist, I find inspiration in many unusual ways and things. Just being open to anything that all of your senses can pick up and being free enough to just act on it impulsively can lead to lots of creative ways to do things.

    It's not the flatwounds, and it's not the Chromes more specifically. But it is the sum of those influences on my mindset that led me in this direction and THAT is making a HUGE difference in the way our band sounds.

    If I were playing rounds yet, perhaps I'd still be playing busier bass lines or twiddling with tone controls too much. Maybe my choice of songs would include those that have busier bass lines instead of those that simply rock and get people dancing. But because I'm playing flats, I'm embracing the whole role of being a bass player in a rhythm section that backs up and lays a solid foundation for some other great players to shine on.

    It's ALL about inspiration wherever you find it. I'm happy to have made a difference in someone's life. That's what it's all about to me. Pay it forward. :)
     
  13. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    What makes you like chomes over TIs jazz flats?
     
  14. steamthief

    steamthief

    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    Sundogue, did you have to change gauges when you went from rounds to Chromes to keep the same action?
     
  15. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I liked the TI Jazz Flats. But, I found the TI's tension to be a little too light for my style of playing. I do think the whole "floppiness" that people speak of is a bit exaggerated though. They aren't all that bad. But you do have to compensate a bit with either higher action or a lighter touch.

    Also, the TI's have that great thumpy low end we love in flats, and while they have a really nice, bright top end, they also seem to sound a bit scooped sounding in the mids. Now I know some feel TI's have strong mids, but I just don't get where that comes from. Perhaps they have good upper mids, but I don't care for upper mids as much as I do lower mids.

    Lower mids is where Chromes excel. Chromes not only have a very strong fundamental (perhaps not as much as something like LaBella's) but they have a very punchy low-mid that just hammers out the bass in a way that TI's don't.

    Keep in mind that I play mostly classic hard rock. What I want in a string is clear, defined lows, punchy mids and a very distinct attack to the sound without having to do a lot of EQ'ing. Chromes have a presence about them that make my bass very well defined in a 5 piece rock band.

    If I played with a lighter touch, in a quieter band, or played lighter music...or if I played more subtle lines with more dynamics involved, I think the TI's would suit me just fine. But my playing is anything but subtle. The music I play is about as subtle as a punch in the face.

    I also prefer how the D and G strings sound with the Chromes. They sound deeper with the Chromes than with just about any other string I've tried (round or flat). One of my biggest problems with most all strings is how weak and thin the D and G strings sound, like whenever I play on them the bass seems to drop out of the mix. I know I could get heavier gauge D and G strings, but when I buy a set of strings I shouldn't have to immediately replace half of them, or have to buy all my strings individually. And I don't like to play really heavy gauge strings.

    The industry pretty much caters to the modern bass player and I guess thin sounding D and G strings must be great for the noodlers and wankers. Good for them. I don't solo, but I also don't hang on the E and A string constantly either. When I play on the D and G strings I still want my bass to sound like a bass.

    The Chromes sound full, deep, distinct and punchy on every string, all up and down the neck. The TI's are great flatwounds. The Chromes just work better for me in a rock band setting.

    Chromes also have THE best low B I've ever used. Tight, focused and well defined notes on the low B. It's so good that if I ever switched strings (even if I went back to rounds) I'd keep the Chrome Low B on my bass.
     
  16. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I went from rounds to TI's. The rounds I was using were DR Sunbeams so I only had to raise my action a bit when I went to the TI's. I didn't have to adjust my truss rod at all.

    However, when I switched from TI's to the Chromes, I had to adjust my truss rod because the Chromes have a higher tension. Adjusting the truss rod and the action is to be expected whenever you change strings. That's just part of the deal and I do it without thinking much about it. But it's not like the Chromes are steel rebar or anything. I don't really find them to be all that high in tension where they are so stiff to be hard to play.

    I use the 5 string set of Regular Light gauge 45-100 (with a 132 low B). They also make a set that goes 40-95 if you want even lighter.
     
  17. Bocete

    Bocete My E string is 36 1/4" long

    Sep 30, 2006
    I too am in love with D'Addario chromes. The only other flats I've tried are Rotosound and I am not going to buy those ever again. These are irreplacible in a band setting, imho. Best sound I've ever had.
     
  18. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Great post thanks. I feel almost like you do but i am still not sure if chromes are better than TIs but i will say after this weekend i am leaning on chromes more.

    My new americana, alt country band had a recording engineer booked the entire weekend. I took 3 basses a MIM classic 50 with TI JF, MIJ 51 RI w/TI powerbass rounds and a MIM P bass (modded) w light chromes. I knew most if not all the songs we planned on doing were going to be between the P basses with TIs and chromes. We tracked 8 songs over the weekend in some pretty grueling long days. Of the 8 songs we did 7 were done on the modded MIM P w/Chromes...why? The tone was just fatter and pure P bass sounding to me and the engineer.I did one song with TIs and it was cool but i felt the tone was more woody and not quite as clear but worked great for that song. Overall i really feel chromes are going to be the only flat i use soon. I agree the D&G strings cut much better than any other with chromes. I wish in the back of my mind in a way i would of never spent the money on the TIs but i had to know :D They are great strings with a voice like no other. I just dont know if they are better than Joe Average chromes, I kinda doubt it now.
     
  19. Based on your detailed descriptions, I think the Chromes may be right for me too. I'm going to give them a try on my Lull P-5 as soon as I can find a set. I wonder if GC stocks them? (Of course I could easily get them online...)

    I've been down the same path of switching from Sunbeams to TI JFs, and while I was fully forewarned by TB discussions about the low tension of the TIs, I just had to give them a try. But after using them a while, I don't think they are right for me. Yes, I could probably learn to use a more subtle right hand style, but I don't really *want* to.

    To my ears, it sounds like the TIs have an upper mid focus, somewhere in the 800Hz to 1.5kHz range -- which is right where I like to *cut* the EQ. That range has a nasal "goose honk" quality that I personally don't like. IMHO, YMMV, etc.

    If the Chromes are focused a bit lower into the midrange, like 250Hz to 500Hz (just my wishful guessing here...) then I would be a lot happier with the tone.

    That's very exciting to hear! I think a lot of players can relate to wanting the D & G strings to have more "guts". I can think of a specific line in one of our songs where I play some notes on the D string that just don't hold their own in the mix like I need them to. I was very surprised that the TIs have less presence on this bass line than my round Sunbeams. (I still use rounds on my main bass -- I put the flats on the P5 as an experiment, but at this point there are only a few songs where the flats win out.)

    Cool. The quality of the low B string is very important for me since I spend a lot of time down there. Actually, I thought the TI low B was excellent, maybe the best part of the set. So if the Chromes B is even better, that would be outstanding.
     
  20. rmessick2

    rmessick2

    Feb 21, 2007
    Love those strings!!!!
     

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