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Chromes revisited...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Sundogue, Mar 13, 2009.


  1. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I play in a classic hard rock band. I have a 5 string active Washburn through a Zoom B2, and an Ashdown Superfly through two neo 115's.

    I've had the Chromes on for a couple of weeks now. They've settled in nicely and while the harsh brightness has worn off, it's been replaced by fuller lows and more evenness across the strings.

    First chance I've had to really work them in a band setting was rehearsal last night. We rehearse at a decent volume level, but not at gig levels. Unfortunatley, at rehearsals I play through an old Peavey Mark III head and an 1820 cab. Not ideal, but it's usable.

    The Chromes still have that mid clarity that makes them stand out, but it's backed by a strong low end that is full, tight and defined. The Chromes are anything but muddy in a band mix.

    The low B and E strings fill in perfectly with the drummer and when we are locked in there is very little difference between the bass and drums...just this pulsing rhythm section. The guitars sound like guitars and the bass sounds like bass...no one stepping on each others sonic space.

    When playing on the A, D and G strings it is obvious that's where the Chromes are different. They really punch through so when I'm playing runs the thinner strings don't sound thin at all. Very present. When I'd go to do a bass run, it was right there and the low end didn't suffer like it has with rounds. Even the TI's A, D and G strings sounded thinner than the Chromes.

    That's all for now. I won't know for sure how I feel about the Chromes until my first gig out live with the band next weekend. That'll be the true test.
     
  2. stingray56funk

    stingray56funk Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Atlanta
    Great touch on the Chromes.

    I originally tried Chromes a few years ago and did not like them. I really think it was my choice of bass that I put them on, but now I have them on my ESP Series 400 Jazz and absolutely love them. Little brighter than the LaBellas (which I like on the jazz) but the Chromes definitely sit a little bit better in the mix for more rock oriented stuff. I dig their feel and tension and they are a great compliment to the LaBellas. I want something rounder and subdued...I grab my Yamaha BB w/ LaBellas...something more even but yet still tight on the low end...grab my ESP w/ Chromes.
     
  3. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    I tried Chromes on my P/J for the first time tonight and I expected to like them. But, I was surprised at just how much I liked them. The band seemed to dig the different vibe too. They really felt great in the mix. Its almost like the bass stands out better because its frequency range is not as broad as it is with rounds. Its concentrated in the deep lows and the upper mids, which gives a nice thud on the low strings yet really cuts through on the higher strings without sounding harsh. This basically echoes what you are finding Sundogue. The upper strings almost cut better because they don't have as much in the highs, so they stand out more. I'm not sure I'm explaining right, but I agree with you in any case.

    I'm a dyed-in-the-wool stainless steel rounds guy, I love my DRs, I to slap them, and I love how aggressive they sound. But, tonight, I only picked up my Spector for 2 songs and thumped away on the P/J the rest of the night. I really enjoyed the tone and I'm looking forward to seeing how the tone develops as the strings age.
     
  4. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    The frequency range is the same but rounds have more overtones and harmonics, and they also sustain longer. This contributes to rounds' ability to have that piano-like tone and to sound more like a lower tuned guitar. Those are things that Flats lack, so rounds have their place.

    But with Flats having a quicker decay and more fundamental, they "sit" in their own low end pocket better than rounds do and the very thing most players hate about flats is what makes flats excel at doing what most players hate doing...blend into the rhythm section more. The highs on flats punch through more because they sound less like a guitar in the way rounds do.
     
  5. idoker

    idoker Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    Sundogue, you've made valid points about flats in all of your threads.

    I've ordered a set of Chromes for my 5-string Yamaha. I'll let you know how they are next week. I gig frequently, so I will be able to test them out thoroughly.

    Even though the music styles we play are at the opposite ends of the spectrum (so to speak), and I play with a relatively lighter touch than most, I believe the Chromes will most likely enhance some of what I believe is missing with the low end. I, personally, have always enjoyed the sound of flats, even playing solo.

    Of course, nothing is for sure. So, I'll test them out and let you know. Thanks for all the good info though.
     
  6. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Thanks. It's all IMO, IMHO, IME, etc. which I try to not add as it should be obvious to everyone it's just my opinion. As the Flatwound Ambassador, it's part of my job to promote, preserve and protect all that is Flatwound. :D

    I do feel flats get a bad rap and let's face it, the 'modern' bass sound isn't about what flats offer. Lots of players switched to rounds and never looked back. I wonder how many would have stayed with flats if they would have had the variety of choice we have today.

    Good luck with the Chromes on a gig. I'll be interested to hear what you think about them too.
     
  7. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    Well, I played my 2nd show with the Chromes on my Fender on Saturday. I play a bigger variety of songs than Sundogue I think, but we're pretty much the same type of style. We play some oldies too, like Brown-Eyed Girl, My Girl, Drift Away, etc. When I first decided to get the Chromes, I figured I would play my Spector with DR rounds most of the time and go to the Fender for the oldies-type stuff. But, I've enjoyed the tone so much that I actually found the opposite to be true, I'm playing the Fender 85-90% of the time and only playing the Spector 1-2 songs per set. I'm mostly playing the Spector when I need the extra low range, or for current material. Other than that, I'm sticking with the Fender most of the show and finding it fits what we need perfectly. I haven't played any flats besides the Chromes, but they really seem like the perfect rock flat. They are mellow enough for Motown, but not too mellow for AC/DC or Guns 'n Roses type stuff. I'm sure the Roto flats would be great at this as well, but I'm very happy with the versatility of the Chromes.

    I was reading the 'confessions of a flatwound convert' thread and see that many non-bassists prefer the tone of rounds to flats. First of all, I still think rounds are the way to go for most modern music. I can see using flats in country or certain R&B styles, but most modern music does sound better with rounds IMO. Second, I don't think flats sound that great soloed. If I play both my basses solo, I'm sure most people would like the sound of my Spector w/ rounds better. But, for much of my band's material, the flats really sound better in the mix.

    I now don't think I would want to gig without both basses. If I had to only have one bass, I would still have the bass with rounds. They are just more versatile. But, since I have both, I am going to keep bringing both and probably keep using the Fender w/ flats most of the time.
     
  8. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    But with Flats having a quicker decay and more fundamental, they "sit" in their own low end pocket better than rounds do and the very thing most players hate about flats is what makes flats excel at doing what most players hate doing...blend into the rhythm section more. The highs on flats punch through more because they sound less like a guitar in the way rounds do.[/QUOTE]

    You hit the nail on the head here. Alot of bass players dont want to sit in the drummers sonic range and "blend" into the rhythm section although that is our role. I feel as electric bass playing has evolved bassists have been trying harder to be seen and heard with heard being most importent. Rounds gave the flats players a chance to step out of the engine room a bit. The bad thing about this is IMO all the great basslines and playing was in the days of flats and engine room, rhythm drivin bands where bassists knew their role and did it well. FWIW I am happy to be a team player and drive the rhythm. I took this role when i switched to bass years ago. Flats make me sound better and get me into the range i fit in and belong.
     

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