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Double-ball flatwounds write-up

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by markanini, Nov 9, 2010.


  1. markanini

    markanini

    Jun 25, 2008
    As of last week I've tried every flatwound set avaliable in double-ball-end* on my Hohner Jack bass. So I've decided to make write-up ranking of the most important differences observed.

    The strings are:
    LaBella s500M .049-.109
    LaBella S500L .043-.104
    Optima Chrome 4099 .045-.100
    Status .045-.105

    Tension - high to low:
    LaBella S500M
    LaBella S500L
    Optima Chrome/Status - TIE

    Brightness - high to low:
    Status
    Optima
    LaBella's

    Notes on string-to-string balance:
    The Labella sets exibit gradually higher tension toward the higher pitched strings, as does the Status set. The Optima is the exception having very even string-to-string balance.
    It's really a matter of preference what's best for you, the gradually higher tension toward the higher strings is common in many string sets and works well for a groove orineted style of playing. If you do wide arpeggios and scalar runs you might prefer a more even balance though.

    Subjective tonal observations:
    The LaBella's are the kings of punch and will get you closest to the Motown sound. Fingerstyle playing gets you a very deep and almost thuddy tone and when you dig in there's always some zing to be had. Watch your neck and fingers with the medium set!
    Optimas are a different, they're lower tension with lively mids and treble is more snappy than zingy. You loose some punch compared to LaBella's but gain growl and it's easier to rely on variations in technique for getting different tones rather than turning knobs. Tone is very well-balanced which makes them the most versatile for me at least.
    Status flats are the brightest with lots of clank and zing, possibly due to having tapered cores. The low strings don't push low frequencies as much as the other sets but could be compensated for via good EQ.

    Before anyone mentions how flats are meant to be enjoyed after being played in for tens of years I'll say this: I've used LaBella flats exclusively for 3 years chaging sets once a year, because they just become tonally limited at a point and clank will be more prescent than actuall harmonics of the note. The only set I'd consider leaving on indefinitely is the LaBella mediums but your fingers and neck pay the price.

    *If hours of googling has done me any good. Please tell me if I missed any.
     
    mikewalker and equill like this.
  2. markanini

    markanini

    Jun 25, 2008
    Forgot about these fellows!
    [​IMG]

    Anyone out there using flats on their headless bases?
    I'll give the Picatos above a try soon and report.

    I'll say again for flats Optmas are the beez-knees. Here's a short clip I recorded a while back: http://www.box.net/shared/sa2ng5xgu6

    Slight OT aside I'll try GHS pressurewound available in double-ball as well, just because I like any string that's mellow and the alloy52. Most double-ball sets available are stainless rounds only 2-3 brands have nickel or NPS sets.

    :bassist:
     
  3. markanini

    markanini

    Jun 25, 2008
    Impressions of the Picato flats fresh out of pack: Overall tension comparable to Labella light set. Very warm sounding E and A. Half-round like pingy D & G. Every string is taper core. Maybe turns in to an awesome upright-like or "60's" sounding set after being played in, maybe not. I won't bother finding out as I like a livelier/brighter flats set. In fact I'll leave GHS pressurewounds on until Optima sends me some sample low E after new years. The pressurewounds have the grunt and growl of a round with signifficantly less abrassive feel and tone.
     
  4. markanini

    markanini

    Jun 25, 2008
    Gave the Picatos another whirl before ultimately replacing them with pressurewounds. I have to add the Picato flats sound less thuddy and clanky than broken in Labellas so they could be of appeal to those who go for an overall very warm sounding flat. Easily the warmest sounding of all above flats out-of-pack despite taper core construction.
     
  5. Not particularly intending to revive this old thread but just adding a bit of information for anyone reading it. I have LaBella S500L strings on my Washburn Status. I recently ordered some Labella Deep Talkin' Bass 760FL short scale strings for my Squier Bronco and thought from the gauge and materials that they might be the same strings, so I emailed LaBella to check. They confirmed that they are the same. Their response is below:

    Thanks for your email. Yes, they're the same string just with double ball-ends. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance and thanks for playing La Bella!

    Regards,
    La Bella Strings
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
    mikewalker likes this.

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