Do Flatwounds Make You Play Different?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by duke2004, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. duke2004

    duke2004 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    Just got my Lakland Skyline Duck Dunn which came with flatwounds. The very slick strings and the very wide fretboard/neck make for a somewhat different approach to note choices. Of course the tone is different, but Im wondering, does anyone esle find they play in a different manner when they pick up the bass with the flats???
  2. Sergio


    Apr 7, 2004
    Lafitte, LA
    For some reason, I find it harder to slide with flats. I don't know why, it seems like it would be easier, seeing as how they are all smooth and such. I also find myself digging in a bit harder with flats too.
  3. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles

    It is harder for me to slide with flats for some reason, as well.
    But then again all the basses I've played with flats, often have a higher action. A different note choice though? Not sure about that. But equipment can make a difference when you're used to something else.
  4. BlacktotheBlind

    BlacktotheBlind Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    its harder for me to slide on flats too, with both D'addario and La Bella.
  5. Hofbrauhaus


    Feb 10, 2002
    Upton, MA
    Harder for me to slide on flats as well. I use TI-flats...I don't know I find for some reason flats tend to be "sticky" for lack of a better term. I generally use EB super slinkies or DR highbeams for roundwounds though and find they're much easier to slide on. Looks like we're all in the same boat here :)
  6. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    Did it ever occur to you that your fingers are touching more "stuff" with flat wounds than with roundwounds? More "stuff" = more friction.
  7. Yeah, there is more surface area on flats, and therefore more friction. Flats do get sticky, that's one thing I didn't like about them.

    I guess to some extent they do affect your technique or note choices. I didn't see that much of a difference though.
  8. There is more surface area on roundwounds not flats. The problem with sliding on flats, is that the fingers touch the whole surface rather than only the rounded metal on rounds. This is one reason that increases the friction.

    Anyway, I tried flats once and thought they felt and sounded terrible. Moving around the neck is problematic due to the friction and the sound is way too dull and flat, pun intended, to my liking.


  9. No friction here, I love flats. I think the D'addarios are the best of the bunch. IMO
  10. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    this should really be under strings instead of basses.

    It's all in what your use to but I don't remember any different approach to playing because of the strings. It flows logically that since they are different some variation in approach would result. All I play is TI jazz flats now but I imagine that if I were to play a set of Labella Flats I would make some adjustments since, if nothing else, TI's are very low tension (one of many reasons I play them).
  11. Actually after years of playing only flats; rounds feel like sandpaper.

    Also, I play mostly fretless and would worry about rounds chewing up my fingerboard.

    Just my $.02
  12. brycebites


    Mar 7, 2005
    I've got Thomastik flats on my jazz and, although they sound and play well, I can't go all flashy due to the the low tension. They feel like fat rubber bands! Wouldn't change 'em though.

    I think the only playing change I notice with flats is due to the fact they are on my fretless which I only use (on the whole) in an acoustic setting rather than with the louder rockier band. So should the question really be do frets (or lack of) change the way you play? ;) :)
  13. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Well you're not gonna slap with flatwounds. :oops: I only use them on my fretless. I find sliding relatively easy. I use D'addarios.
  14. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    My flat P bass slaps and pops just fine. It's not as snappy as the rounder but i still like the result. I also think I play triplets and 1/16th's faster.
    There is also a natural compression or consistent volume level . I seem to have lost that when going back to the round stringer.
    My Black tapewound Carvin fretless has that same natural compression but due to it's low action and slick feel, the strings tend to slip under my fingers when bending. Frets allow a better bite for that.
  15. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    That's what your frets say, too.

    Rounds are so freakin' destructive of frets compared to flats that I never have rounds on any bass I actually play, just on some recording basses.

    Even stainless flats produce almost no fretwear.
  16. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    No, that would be the Ashbory. :D

    I'll tell you, that Ashbory will put this string stickiness discussion in perspective in a hurry.
  17. SirPoonga


    Jan 18, 2005
    I put Fender 9050Ls on my pbass recently. I had a tough time sliding too. I rubbed on some moisturzer on my fingers and the the moisturizer dry first. Then I could slide better. other than that they seem easier to play. They don't dig into my fingers as much, it seems like I am not pushing down on them as hard as I did before.
  18. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I play TI-flats.
    Both on my fretted and fretless basses.
    I find it eazyer to play with flats.
    Roundwounds then to dig in to my fingers more.
    I also play with a light right hand.
    Also less finger noise with flats.
  19. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Ha ha ha so true!

    I love that you don't get string squeak with flats. I love sliding on flats with my fretless.
  20. Me and flats don't get along real well. I can't stand playing on flats and honestly i can't verbalize why. It's partly the sliding, partly the feel on my right hand...just don't play as slickly with 'em.