Dogal Jaco Flatwound Review (Pics Added)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by e-flat, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    A couple of years ago, I posted a thread inquiring about Dogal flatwounds. Here's a link:
    Dogal Traditional Vintage Flats ?

    Since then, I've tried a ton of other flatwounds but never pulled the trigger on the Dogal Jacos or Dogal Traditionals. I scored a set for Xmas (what a cool surprise) so I figured I'd post my initial impressions here since they seem to be a pretty rare string.

    First off, the packaging is the only thing I really have a gripe about. It's minor, so don't let it color the rest of the review for you, but the strings came with a blurry photocopied sleeve inside the standard plastic package. :meh: :D I'm not sure if this is standard packaging for Dogal, but for a $60-70 set of flatwounds you'd think that they'd have something less blurry & which didn't look like it was printed in my High School Computer Lab back in 1991. I'm fully into DIY / small batch / funky boutique aesthetics, but it just made me chuckle to see the corny photocopied graphics.

    The individual strings themselves are packaged in high quality envelopes, very pro. No gripes there.

    I put these on my main P Bass, and strung up the E string first. I wanted to play them side by side with the TI Jazz Flats which were previously on the bass so that I could get a good feel for tonal / tension differences. TI Jazz Flats have become my "standard" on this P Bass, though I've also loved GHS P Flats and La Bella LTF on there too. I'll compare them all as I proceed.

    Feel: My set is 45-105, and they're round core. In hand, the strings are not as "noodly" as TI Jazz Flats, and feel a bit more like GHS Precision Flats (lights) or La Bella Low Tension Flats in their flexibility. The silks are a nice deep shade of turquoise. These are nice & smooth, not tacky,grippy or sticky, though there is some polishing residue on my set. (Left a "graphite" haze on my finger tips when first playing, no big deal though.)

    Tension:Tension wise, the Dogal Jacos are pleasantly mild. Pretty close to the tension of La Bella LTF, actually... just a touch tighter. (LTF are .100s and these are .105s, though, so keep that in mind) They're supple & easy to fret for the left hand, but provide nice resistance to the plucking hand. Great balance, so I was impressed by their feel right off the bat.

    Unplugged sound:Tonally, these have less center mids than the TI Jazz Flats which doesn't surprise me because the TI mids are pretty unique. There is a pleasant "hollow" character to these Dogal Jacos that I noticed right off the bat when playing unplugged. They have a terrific tight low & low mid quality, but the mid frequencies which are "bumped" in the TI Jazz flats are "notched" a little in the Jacos. Highs are present but subdued, similar to TI Flats when new.

    Amplified sound: The acoustic attributes mentioned above still apply here, but the lows really project in a nice way right out of the package. These aren't "thumpy" old school flats like La Bella or GHS P Flats, though they have a nice full low and low mid presence. There is a lot of clarity and plenty of "note" to the E and A strings, and even when dialing the tone knob back I've still got quite a lot of definition.

    One thing I love about TI Jazz flats on a P Bass is that, because the mids are so prevalent, I can roll the tone back gradually and get lots of varying shades. With these Dogal Jacos, I don't get quite the same broad range out of the tone knob because the midrange is a bit scooped. The positive side of this is that I can run the tone open wider without fighting mids on the amp like I sometimes do with TI Jazz flats. I also notice that cutting the tone way back to about 2 or 3 still gives me the cool slightly hollow, defined low & low mid content of the strings' natural voice... really cool for someone like me who likes a rootsy, deep sound with more note definition than some traditional flats.

    I'll have to let these age and settle before I have a real feel for their personality, but I'm really impressed with them so far. They sound clear and defined, but not bright & modern like Chromes or EB Cobalts. They have solid fundamental without being overbearing or muddy. I can compensate for their mid scoop by bumping the mids on my amp a little, so that's not a huge deal either.

    Initial impression? I'm really impressed by their mixture of depth & clarity and I feel that these are some of the more unique flatwound strings I've tried in the past couple years.

    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
    barrybass33, Klonk and HaphAsSard like this.
  2. e-flat likes this.
  3. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
  4. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    I have never heard of these. Is this set supposed to bear some relation to Jaco Pastorius? Or does "JACO" mean something else here?
    e-flat and gebass6 like this.
  5. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    I don't know for sure. Its hard to imagine that a string company would use that name for Electric Bass strings without intending it as a marketing reference. I don't feel that there's anything particularly "Jaco-esque" about these strings though :D
  6. I kind of doubt it. Jaco P. was never known for being a flatwound user.
  7. I think of him using Dogal rounds and Rotosound 66s
  8. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    Wow...I’ve been interested in trying these for a while. I can’t seem to find them anywhere. I would need a set that is at least 37.5” from ball end to silk to run them through-body on my Kinal PJ5. I use 125-100-80-60-40. Do you know if they make a set in this gauge and length? And where can I get them?
    e-flat likes this.
  9. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    The only US distributor that I know of is Strings by Mail. I think it's linked above, but here it is again:
    Dogal Jaco System Flat Carbon Steel Electric Bass JC106C (45-105)

    As for the gauges and length you need, I'm not sure. There are different sets listed on Dogal's website. It looks like the set closest to what you need is JC106B5040 (5 String, 40-125). It might be worth requesting more info from them.
    Electric bass

    FWIW, I've tried on 2 different occasions to get Strings by Mail to order me a set of the Dogal Vintage Flats, and they've never followed through. If you need a custom set, you might be better served trying to order direct from Dogal.
    DaveAceofBass likes this.
  10. Levin


    Oct 30, 2012
    Your impressions were very much alike mine when I first got them on!
    My set has aged now on my Lakland Decade and are quite thumpy but retain a nice clarity to them, much like TIs. Makes me want to put them on another bass just to see how they behave.
    They are as you say were easy on the hands in terms of tension/feel! It would be fun to test their thickest gauge sometime.
    e-flat likes this.
  11. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    I'm glad to hear that they age in a manner similar to TIs. Even brand new, I'm completely happy with their sound. As they mellow, I'm sure I'll like them even more.
    I agree, too, that the tension is just right. They FEEL like round core strings to the fretting hand, but offer a good resistance to the plucking hand. Great balance of suppleness and just enough rigidity.
  12. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    @e-flat @Levin: are you guys stringing through the body? If not, can you measure the E string ball to silk so that @DaveAceofBass can have a rough idea what to expect from their 5-string set?
    (This is not to say he need not try and ask the manufacturer anyway, to be on the safe side.)

    Also (again this is if you top-load, which would make it less inconvenient for you to check), does any copper red peak through the ribbon winding near the ball-end? Just in case this picture, posted in this thread and referenced in the other one linked to above, can be proven to be indeed of Dogal Jaco System flats, or at least the hypothesis reinforced? Inquiring minds are still vaguely curious:


    Thanks in advance! :)
    e-flat likes this.
  13. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    I'd planned on measuring for Dave once I get home tonight. I'll post back when I have some numbers.

    As for the ball end, mine are silk wrapped in the same turquoise color shown above. I'll take a close look just to see if there is any hint of copper though.
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  14. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    Regarding copper inner wraps, I made mention of this correspondence with Dogal (in 2015) in the original thread linked in the first post of this topic. Below is a quote for clarity. It seems that this may be the "copper inside" which the sales rep was referring to in the Dogal Traditional flats (?)

    HaphAsSard likes this.
  15. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    Ball end to silk measurements taken with a measuring tape:
    E- 37.25”
    A- 37.5”
    D- 37.5”
    G- 38.25”

    Hope this helps!
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  16. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    Very interesting review, thanks. They are one of the few flats I haven't tried. Am tempted now.
    e-flat likes this.
  17. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    I'm really loving these Dogal Jaco flats on my P Bass. After their initial settling, play-in, and set-up they just sound & feel great. The high end is already mellowing just a little. I can't wait to see how they age.

    On a whim, I contacted Strings By Mail again and inquired about getting some of the Dogal Traditional Vintage flats. I've been so impressed by these that I wanted to try (once again) to get the Traditional Flats which had originally been the set I wanted to try from Dogal.

    I received confirmation that SBM would tag them on to their next order. Matt at SBM then got back to me later the same day and said that they actually had some in stock (!) and that they would update the website ASAP. The website was just updated and I just ordered some earlier today. I'm excited to try these since I've been waiting so long....

    Here's the link:
    Dogal R44 Traditional Vintage Flat Wound Round Core Bass 42-100
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  18. laklandplayer

    laklandplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    USA - Memphis, TN
    A dear friend of mine, it Italy, just had Dogal send me a 5 string Jaco set using my custom gauges. These strings are beautiful, the surface is the smoothest and most polished I've ever seen. They make TI's look rather crude. I'm still trying to decide which bass to put them on. I like low tension strings and Dogal says they are low tension on the package so, I hope they are.
    The story on these is that Jaco was in Italy in 1986 on tour and needed strings. They took him to the Dogal factory, discussed what he wanted and literally made strings for him on the spot, hence the Jaco name. Notice they aren't using his last name so there is no issue. It's an implied endorsement I suppose. IMG_1979 (Edited).JPG
    e-flat likes this.
  19. laklandplayer

    laklandplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    USA - Memphis, TN
    I put the Dogal Jaco flats on my Lakland and they are fantastic! They are low tension, flexible and remind me of TI's but much better feel and finish. They intonated perfectly and the B string sounds excellent. Interesting color mix on the silks. If you are looking for flats, these are the ticket.
    e-flat and DaveAceofBass like this.
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