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Fender Flatwound Observations and Question...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Christcr, Dec 10, 2018.


  1. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Utah
    Let me preface this post by saying I do not like the sound of typical flatwounds after they "break in" (go dead) to what most players call "thump," or the brands that actually come that way new (I recently got a bass that had a new set of Labella flats and was shocked at how much I didn't like the sound--they came off immediately and got traded away).

    So, I recently got another JMJ Mustang (new) with the stock Fender flats. My previous JMJ, I changed to rounds before I even got a chance to hear the flats. This time I left the flats on and I must say, I'm very happy with the sound so far. They are very nearly as bright and lively as the only other brand of flatwound that I actually kinda like--Ernie Ball Slinky Cobalt Flats.

    In fact, in a certain respect, I think they ARE as bright (at least for certain frequencies in the sound). And the Fender flats actually feel better to me; they are smoother and slicker. I think the sound has a bit more body and "growl" as well.

    Also, every set of cobalt flats I've had has come with a somewhat dead A string. I guess it's just the way they are for some reason (I've had probably ten sets). That's not the case with the Fender flats. They all sound nice and bright (for a flatwound) and are very even across the spectrum.

    What is most pleasing to me is that they are the ONLY set of flatwounds I've ever had that I actually like the sound when thumped/slapped. Most all flats I've tried (including the cobalts) blast like hell (enough to take the top of my head off) when slapped with a godawful midrange bark that is extremely hard to keep even in level with fingered notes, without heavy limiting/compression. That's not the case with the Fender flats. I can go from fingered basslines to pop and slap with minimal level change. I can actually dig in with the Fender flats and it sounds good all across the spectrum and with all the various styles (fingers, slap/thumb, pick, tapping, etc) and doesn't get such an "in-your-face midrange howl" as other flats seem to do. Chordal playing comes off nicely and is, surprisingly, not mud soup--very articulate for flats, without any string noise whatsoever. Nice.

    Overall, I think I'm more fond of the Fender flats than I am cobalt flats. They really are pretty much just as lively, defined, more even in output, and as bright in certain respects, at about half the price. So I think this bass will stay strung with Fender flats... and maybe a couple more will join it.

    So.... HERE is the question: how long will they stay that way??? I have a couple of weeks on them right now and they haven't noticeably lost their brightness. I want them to stay that way.

    How long can I expect them to live up to my expectations? :D
     
    michael_t likes this.
  2. They will lose some of the initial brightness (ie "clang") in time, but what I like about the Fender 9050s is they don't go all "thumpy and thuddy" like some traditional flats do. Punchy low-mids with some nice grind, they can be very versatile, especially on a Jazz bass.
     
    McGillian likes this.
  3. Christcr

    Christcr Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Utah
    That's sounding good to me. Perhaps I can develop a long-term relationship with these strings. :thumbsup:

    I may even have to try a set on my J-bass.
     
    michael_t likes this.
  4. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    '78 P-Bass-1.JPG Flats. in their own way, can have as much (well, OK... nearly as much) tonal variation as different rounds do. As you found out... Chromes and EB Cobalts are waay over on the "Bright" end of the spectrum, with La Bellas (and Roto 77s) at the "Very Low n' Thumpy" other end. With every other flat wound somewhere in between... I, like lots of other flat wound players, like Low 'n Thumpy; which is why LaBella flats have been so popular for so long. But, much as I like them (and the Roto's, too), they don't suit every bass I have (and I have a lot of them). They're just a little too thumpy for some of the songs I like to play. The Fender 9050s are flats that I like, too; I'd put them in the 'bright side of the middle" category. Thumpy enough, if I use a foam mute on them (on this '78 P-Bass, for instance), but not too bright; just enough to still sound good without it. Lots of love for 9050s here on TB. I don't have a Jazz Bass, but word around here is; yes, they sound good on one...:thumbsup:
     
    Contrapuntal, TimB 619 and michael_t like this.

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