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Do flats put more wear and stress on necks? (P Bass related)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KataPolt, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. KataPolt


    Aug 4, 2004
    ...what I mean is, does the heavy tension of flatwound strings put a great deal more stress and 'wear' on a neck and truss rod than roundwound strings?

    If I plan to use flatwound strings that are heavy tension, does it create enough stress and wear on a neck and truss rod that I should seek a neck with graphite or steel reinforcement rods?

    I ask this because I am a P bass player, and while Skyline Laklands seem like wonderful P basses, their necks do not have the graphite or steel reinforcement like new American Fender basses. I am worried that if I were to select a Skyline Glaub, that I would be having risk of 'wearing out' the neck with the heavy tension flatwound strings. The American Glaubs do have this reinforcement, but I cannot afford one.

    Is this silly? Is this something that I should not worry about? :eek: :oops:

    note - I first posted this thread in the strings forum this morning, but I did not get responses all day while other threads got responses. I deleted the thread now and am reposting it here on the bass forum.
  2. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    I wouldn't think so.

    I've got an SX P copy with flatwounds and the neck is fine.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Not at all. It'll require a truss rod tweak, but they will by no means wear out your neck.
  4. KataPolt


    Aug 4, 2004
    Thank you both for trying to help me :)

    You see, one reason I worry is because of experience with a US 1962 Reissue P Bass (you know, the lovely ones with the nitro finish). I bought it used, and it was only 2 years old. It had high tension flats on it its entire life, and those actually are the types of strings I prefer, too. I took it in for a setup because the action was too high, and my tech explained and showed me that the neck and truss rod were almost destroyed. :eek: There was no more adjustment possible, and shims were going to be necessary, etc.

    The tech told me that the 1962 necks often had this happen, as they were sort of 'fragile' (please excuse my English, I can not remember the word he used) or likely to move or shift as a result of climate changes and all...anyways...so I sold it to someone for much less than I paid for it, I learned my lesson. :crying:

    Then I noticed that some of the nice basses being made these days have the graphite or metal bars reinforcement. The US Laklands have them, the US Fenders have them, etc. I then thought that I might be risking of ruining necks without this reinforcement if I use heavy tension flatwound strings...does this make sense?

    So I have nothing to worry about? If I get a Lakland Skyline which does not have the reinforcement bars, can you tell me what special care I will need to do so I do not ruin its neck with the high tension flatwound strings?

    Thank you very much :bag:
  5. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I doubt if you would have problems with it. I don't have any experience with their 4 string basses, but I have a Skyline 55-01 and have gone from fairly high tension RW strings to very low tension TI flats and back without even adjusting the truss rod. I've had the bass for 2 years and have never adjusted the truss rod. A very stable neck.
  6. I use flatwounds exclusively and have never had a problem. I've had to tweak my trussrod slightly when replacing the rounds that came with a bass over to the flats and have never (yet) had to reset it after that. The flatwounds I use are Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats (low tension for flats) and D'Addario Chrome Flats.
  7. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX

    ok man, let me tell you a little something that your tech failed to tell you. Flatwound strings tipically put LESS tension on your neck than roundwounds. Sure, there are lower tension rounds than certain higher tension flats, but dont remove credit from flats. A bass that lasts 2 years is simply a bad piece, not the string's fault. simply try as light a set as you feel comfortable with.
  8. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I have a Lakland Skyline Duck Dunn Lmt. Bass.
    With TI-Flats- Play and sound great, they were made for this bass.
    NO Problems.
  9. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    You will have no problems using flats instead of roundwounds.
  10. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    It sounds like the guy who had the bass before you never had it adjusted to compensate for the higher tension. That CAN damage a bass. If you set it up properly for a different type of string, though, you'll be just fine.
  11. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have the MIJ '62 reissue with the tacky fotoflame finish (but I am not jealous :meh: ). I also put on high tension flatwounds (Fender 9050M) for a while. I had to put in a washer so I could adjust the truss rod. No problem!

    The '62 is a big neck and can handle a lot of tension. Remember that a standard set used to be .050+ to .110.
  12. Raven


    Nov 14, 2004
    Jacksonville, Fl
    I have an original 1963 P-bass. I've used rounds and flats, before and after I had the frets pulled over 20 years ago. The neck has never had a problem other than the roundwounds wore grooves in the fingerboard, and that took years. It was fixed easily enough by a luthier and still plays like butter.
  13. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    I'm pretty sure it's the other way around...
  14. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    they do feel stiffer because of the way they are constructed. Anyway, if i remember correctly, the rickenbacker bass had to be redesigned because the truss rods could not handle the higher tension on the "new, popular roundwound bass strings."
  15. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    actually this whole thing reminds me of the time when the geddy lee came out. The wood was so soft that people would take it out of the box and start the first setup... only to max out the truss rod AT THE FIRST TRY. Too much tension? thin neck? no way! it was a bad batch of wood. I dont think my 72 jazz bass had been adjusted prior to when i bought it and set it up. 32 years later, a good bass is still a good bass.
  16. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    There is only one factor that determines string tension (on a given length and pitch) and that is mass. The shape of that mass doesn't matter. Round wounds will chew on the frets more, but that is of course unrelated to rod adjustments.

    In the old days string tension used to be higher than nowadays. Most people use a 0.45 g-string now, as opposed to 0.50 or even 0.55.

    Any well constructed neck should be able to be adjusted to 0.55 string sets, 0.40 sets, or anything in between, flat- or roundwound, without a problem. If it's not, it's a bad neck.
  17. KataPolt


    Aug 4, 2004
    I would like to send a big thanks to everyone for trying to help me understand! :)

    This makes sense!

    But what about strings like the TI Jazz Flats. They seem to be similar to many other flatwound strings in gauge or thickness, but they are so much lower tension. Does this not show that the thickness of the string is not the only factor for string tension? :confused: