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EB Cobalt flats (95) string tension (vs la Bella LTFs?)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by StrangerBasses, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. StrangerBasses

    StrangerBasses Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2016
    Hey guys,

    I’ve been thinking about trying a set of Ernie Ball Cobalt Flats in the smallest gauge (95 I believe). I’m curious about string tension on these? How do they compare to la Bella low tension flexible flats or thomastik Infeld? I really only use low tensions strings that are easy on the fingers and the truss rod. For example, I use la Bella LTFs on just about everything (and DR sunbeams for rounds). I’m interested to try cobalts for a more “roundish” tone from a flat, but I am wanting low tensions flats. However, I’ve noticed these are hex core, so they maybe higher tension then I’d like?... I’ve also read some reports of cobalts being particular susceptible to breaking? Is this still true? Basically my questions are:

    1) are these strings low tensions? Comparable to LTFs or TIs?
    2) are the 40-95 sets the smallest gauge?
    3) are these strings prone to breakage?
    4) are these cobalts “easy” on frets like most other flats? Cobalt I think is a slightly harder metal

    Thanks a ton for the guidance on this!

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  2. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    I too am a fan of low tension string and I also like LaBella LTF and TI's. I have played a few sets of Cobalt flats but not the gauge you are talking about. I think the ones I tried were like the standard 45-105 or there abouts. They are certainly higher tension but not terribly so. I just did not dig the feel of them and went with EB Group lll flats which are a lighter gauge and are still fairly high tension compared to LTF and TI's. Is it a brighter sound you are looking for?
    maplenecked and StrangerBasses like this.
  3. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I have that gauge laying in a drawer currently. Personally, I found them somewhat imbalanced. The E and A were loose. *Maybe* looser than TIs. The D and G were tighter, but not too tight. I actually really liked the tension on the higher strings, and had no trouble moving from TIs to these.

    I went back to the TIs however, 1) because they’re just home for me and 2) the grippy-ness of the Cobalts was just too much for me.
    StrangerBasses likes this.
  4. e-flat

    e-flat Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    The tension comparison pretty much sums up my experience: E & A of the Cobalt 95 set is a bit on the “loose” side, G & D is pretty middle of the road. I like them a lot on a Fretless. The stickiness of mine wore off in a couple weeks and they were pretty smooth, but not as smooth as LTF. The LTF are a little better balanced tension-wise, but overall there’s not a ton of difference between Cobalt 95 tension and LTFs. Hope that helps.
    StrangerBasses likes this.
  5. StrangerBasses

    StrangerBasses Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2016
    Thanks a ton for the help guys! I am also curious about fretwear with these vs other flats. I’ve been told cobalt is a “harder” metal and prone to more fretwear. However, these are flatwound, so maybe less of an issue?

  6. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    They are a little stiffer, but I don't think you'll mind.
    Cobalts are the best flatwound I've ever used, and I've tried them all (except TI).



    StrangerBasses likes this.
  7. maplenecked

    maplenecked Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2017
    I have some cobalt flats coming this week but they are the 100 gauge set. I have a set of Labella LTF on a Squier CV P and can compare them.

    I did just put the EB group III on my road worn P and am loving the tone I am getting. Like armybass said they are higher tension than the Labella LTF.

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