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Do flats ever go dead

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by fusion man 85, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. fusion man 85

    fusion man 85

    Dec 7, 2013
    I switched to flats eb'd that is from eb rounds. Do flats ever go dead like rounds they sound kinda dull
  2. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Does sour cream go bad?

    Sorry :)

    They do dull out a bit from the initial "brightness" that they have out of the box, but nowhere near the same way that rounds do. When flats "die" they sort of settle in a place where a lot of people think they sound their best and in fact most people never change flats unless they break. Whereas when rounds die a lot of people think they sound just that, dead. Dead rounds and broken in, old flats don't sound the same.
    maestrovert and bluesdogblues like this.
  3. fusion man 85

    fusion man 85

    Dec 7, 2013
    Had my flats for a year are they still trying to find sweet spot maybe
  4. Pier_


    Dec 22, 2013
    Roma, Italia
    they don't. usually they settle in and keep that sound nearly forever (except for core/winding problems). my oldest set is a Chromes 45-100 from D'Addario, bought in 2009, and still rocking.
    Thomastik since 2011, better now than ever.
    maestrovert likes this.
  5. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    I beat you I think; have D'addadario flats on a bass since 1994... (if it doesn't break, don't change it).
    maestrovert likes this.
  6. oerk


    Oct 16, 2009
    I have a set of flats that is AT LEAST forty years old, and they still sound great.

    Don't know if the manufacturing process or the materials have changed since then, so I don't know how modern flats will keep up.
  7. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Some flats will go 'wonky' (that's a technical term ;) ) in that even though they are tuned to pitch and are intonated correctly they are still way out of tune almost everywhere inbetween say the the 3rd and 12th fret. When that happens you absolutely have to change. I had a set of Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats go wonky after six or seven years. Switched to GHS Precision flats. :cool:
  8. huckleberry1


    Jul 1, 2013
    Mesquite, Texas
    I just put some on 6 months ago, looks like I chose wisely...
  9. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    @ 0:30 - 17 year old Labella flats
    maestrovert, jav, Hues and 2 others like this.
  10. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    Thanks for posting. Ed always does a really good job. :thumbsup: Doesn't hurt that the LaBellas were on a '73 P ;)
  11. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Yes they do. But (CMIIW - not like/as much as dead round wounds) some people like sound of 'dead' flat wound strings. I do :D
  12. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I think the concept of shaking your roundwound strings to bring them back to life answers the OP's question. With roundwounds, the shaking action can knock dirt, dead skin, etc., out of all the cracks and crevices and restore their tone to something closer to new. With flatwounds, there simply aren't all the cracks and crevices for dirt to get into.

    That being said, strings get dented and notched from playing them, and that can affect the dead-ness of the string. Flatwounds will be affected by this, too. So, I think flats do go dead, but less so than rounds. The biggest difference, though, is that bass players tend to prefer that sound of new roundwounds and dead flatwounds.
    bluesdogblues likes this.
  13. Actually I think it depends on the quality of the flat wounds you purchase. I had some fly by night never of heard flats I put on one time not only did they die, but the E string was completely inaudible I mean it made no sound even with a pick! So yes in my experience cheapo flats die a silent death, but not if you purchase a quality set, I have Thomastik- infeld nickel flat wounds on
    two of my bass for years and both sound great!
  14. Oerk, you and I are members of a small, select club!

    I also have a set of flats over 40 years old (on a 1963 P-bass) and a number of sets of flats that are 10+ years old. All of them sound good, feel good and continue to perform well. In fact, I don't have to run the tone knob at full treble on the 40-year-old strings.

    IMO flats last until they either break or you decide to replace them....and if you never replace them, the strings are just fine.
    oerk, Bisounourse and bluesdogblues like this.
  15. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    I have a 75 P bass with the original fender strings in the case. I tried to put them on. They are totally dead!!!
  16. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Flats won't go "dead" like rounds, but if used especially on a fretted bass, will develop wear from the frets that will make them not intonate properly.

    Most flats will be brighter out of the box and settle in after a few months (breaking them in). They'll be good for years, but after awhile on a fretted bass, the above happens.

    I've gone seven years, then started hearing intonation issues from the wear.

    On a fretless, you can leave them on, I'd assume, for decades.
    maestrovert and Linnin like this.
  17. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    This has been my experience as well.
    maestrovert likes this.
  18. Isn't that GREAT???

    Oh, wait, you wrote that as if it were a BAD thing....
  19. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    I thought it was a great thing!!! Lol. The were like ca ckunk! They wouldn't even make notes! Ha. You should strings from the 70s!! They were like cables! I couldn't tell which was the E or A!!
  20. jav


    Nov 9, 2013
    switched to GHS Precision flats from Chromes... not much brightness out of the box with GHS.. they sound great when they are new and old.

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