Difference between flat and round?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by alx564, Oct 27, 2000.

  1. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Hey everyone,
    I am pretty new to the bass world and although I know some information about basses, I don't know anything about strings really. I was surfing the forums and I always see stuff about flatwound and roundwound strings or something similar to that. Could you please clarify the differences between these two (how there made, how they sound). Thanks.
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The term refers to the shape of the final outer wrap on the strings, but you will notice it in tone and feel.

    Roundwounds are wound with a round wrap, like a guitar string, kind of rough feeling, stainless steels are very bright and hard on your frets or fingerboard, nickels are a little warmer and easier on the frets or wood, they are softer than stainless steel. Generally roundwounds are pretty bright with lots of overtones AND finger noise.

    The wrap on flatwounds is made of stainless steel or chrome plated flat wire or 'tape', it is smooth feeling and is darker sounding than most roundwounds. Big boomy bass sound but not as many overtones as roundwounds. Quieter and much easier on the fingers, frets and fingerboard.

    There are also black tape wound nylon strings, which are very dark sounding and thuddy, pretty good for an imitation of an upright bass sound.

    And there are also groundwounds, where they take a roundwound string and grind the outer wrap down flat for a smoother feel, but more brightness than a flatwound, and pressurewound, where they put a regular roundwound through a machine to 'mash' down the windings but not lose any mass like you do with grinding, these are generally between a groundwound and a roundwound in sound and feel.

    And, there is also a company(can't remember who right now) marketing a string with oval shaped wrap, so the feel is similar to a pressurewound, but they say the strings are more stable since they haven't ground or compressed them.

    Sorry for the long post, I hope that helped. Probably more than you ever wanted to know about bass strings, and I'm sure there are a few things that I didn't mention, like coated strings and anodized strings.
  3. it's Alembic who make the oval-wrap roundwound strings.
    (they probably don't actually make them but get someone like GHS to do it for them).
  4. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    Thanks for clearing that up for me.