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Flat vs. rounds for a good solid rock tone.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by J.T, Mar 17, 2005.


  1. J.T

    J.T

    Mar 9, 2005
    Tulsa, Ok
    ENDORSING ARTIST: TOBIAS BASSES
    Need help here. I recently ordered a Carvin LB75-P Custom form the factory. It came by mistake w/ flats. I play mostly standard rock, a little slap here or there. I like that the flats cut through the mix real well and give that kinda vintage sound. Are there any flats that would be real good for rock, that will hold some sustain as well as give a decent bottom end. These factory one do not seem to.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  2. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Since you are into some slapping, I would suggest TI jazz flats.

    I like D'addario chromes on my MIM fretless with DiMarzio's. However, IME they don't seem as well suited to slapping as the TI's do.

    I have TI jazz flats on my Pbass deluxe with Nordstrand pickups. I can get tons of useful tones with this :hyper:

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    unless you play fretless or want mud tone get some roundwounds on there ASAP...
     
  4. J.T

    J.T

    Mar 9, 2005
    Tulsa, Ok
    ENDORSING ARTIST: TOBIAS BASSES
    Thanks for the input!

    The flats that came on it dont sound real muddy...they actually cut through the mix real well, I would just like some more sustain especially on the low end. I really like the feel of the strings. I have read some older post and the polywebs sound like a good, or the chromes as mentioned above. I guess I am looking for a "hybrid" type string, feel and cutting ability of a flat, but the growl and sustain (when called upon) of a round.
     
  5. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001

    Perhaps then some D'adarrio half rounds, or Ken Smith compressors would be just what you're looking for. :bassist:
     
  6. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    Hmm. Flats for rock, lets see. Oh yea, Steve Harris, he plays rock right? How about John Paul Jones, what was that group, oh yea, Led Zeppellin. They played rock, didn't they.

    Seriously, flats can do amazing things. I use Fender 9050's on my jazz. Yes they are stiffer than rounds, but you just need to adjust your fingering a little. Play them a little softer, you still get a lot of sound from them. Boost your mids and flats can really, really, have a nasty snarly growl.

    I've played rounds for a few years and now I really appreciate what flats do for a bass. They put you back into that part of the mix where your supposed to be. Are they good for slapping? Yes and no. It can be done, there just not as clear and articulate as a fresh set of rounds. I'am not much into slapping so I don't miss anything there.

    There are lots of flats, and they all have some different voices, as well as tension. You will develop stronger hands from playing them. I find there is nothing wrong with a bass player having strong hands. Search the archives here and across the www thing. lots of info out there.

    So yea, flats, good tone!
     
  7. J.T

    J.T

    Mar 9, 2005
    Tulsa, Ok
    ENDORSING ARTIST: TOBIAS BASSES
    Appreciate it!

    I will try prolly the elixr's and the dr chomes, possiblt the ti's.
    Any objections to these strings?

    Thanks for all of your help tb!
     
  8. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    I've got a set of Chromes right now that I used for about a week. They are a really nice string, brighter than Fenders and less tension. They have a mid to high fundamental where the Fenders are a low to low mid sound. When these 9050's are trashed I'll throw the Chromes back on. That is another nice thing about flats, they last forever and keep pretty much the same tone. In fact, I like my flats better after three or four months more than when they are new.

    Think about this:
    Joe Osborn, 15 years on the same set of LaBella's
    James Jamerson, never changed his LaBella's
    Duck Dunn, Did not change strings very often. I've read that because of his playing style, he broke some of his flats.
     
  9. J.T

    J.T

    Mar 9, 2005
    Tulsa, Ok
    ENDORSING ARTIST: TOBIAS BASSES
    WHATS THE STORY W/ LABELLA'S? THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN SOME POLYWEBS, CHROMES, 9050'S ETC..
     
  10. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    I've used Roto RS77's, Fender 9050's and the Chromes.

    I've heard the Labella's on tons of songs. Go to Ed Friedlands website and check out his gear page. He has two Precisions listed, with sound samples, rounds and Labella's.

    Listen to early Zeppelin, Roto Flats with a Jazz, Zep I or II. Both have a killer bass. Listen to "the Lemon song" Oh hell, commit the whole album, cd or whatever medium you have to memory, John Paul Jones is a God of the, Bass Olympus.

    Ok, Steve Harris plays fresh RS77's. "FRESH" like three or four hours per set. So that is maybe not the best example of flats.

    There is nothing wrong with any of them, YOU, need to decide what you like. I like 9050's with a mid boost through my Ampeg, with a pinch of compression for that loosen your bowels bass sound.
     
  11. J.T

    J.T

    Mar 9, 2005
    Tulsa, Ok
    ENDORSING ARTIST: TOBIAS BASSES
    Thanks!

    I have been playing for 10 years, but have always used rounds (who knows why) but since recieving this bass, have started to really like flats....thats why i sound like an idiot, I have no idea about flats at all! So I appreciate all the help

    TB rules!
     
  12. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    It's all good. Another good thing about Fender's, I can usually get them for less than 20 bucks. Chromes were 33, and Labella's can go for 35 to 60, yikes! Roto's were about 30-35.
     
  13. J.T

    J.T

    Mar 9, 2005
    Tulsa, Ok
    ENDORSING ARTIST: TOBIAS BASSES
    GETTING FROM MF, OR JUST STRINGS. ON JUST STRINGS I COULD NOT FIND POLYWEB FOR 5STRING. DOES FENDER OFFER 5STRING SETS?
     
  14. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    no five string sets for the 9050's. Labella does have five string sets. Just strings has good prices on Labella's

    I also find that the medium gauge flat sets are closer in feel to a heavy gauge round set. I use medium light sets. I have used the Steve Harris set with a 110 gauge E. Bridge cables, thats what those were. I do like the Fender medium set though, 55-105, feels more like a 110, killer thump from that E.
     
  15. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    >>> Slug
     
  16. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    sluggo,
    You beat me to it. I was at work before when I was posting, and had to keep going back and forth between my post. I was gonna mention that on "Black Dog" JPJ played with a pick. I'am starting to learn to use a pick for that bright sharp attack. Joe Osborn always played flats with a pick, having been a guitar player first, that is what he knew to do.Also Carol Kaye used a pick. It really does give a unique sound.
     
  17. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Is it good rock tone J.T.'s looking for, or good "classic" or "vintage" rock tone he's looking for, he's playing a Carvin. As far as bieng put "back into that part of the mix where you're supposed to be", well that sounds like a "purist's" point of view, and I respect it, but cannot agree with it.
    As far as slapping, more NO, not so much YES.
     
  18. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    No, they are just older (well maybe not than the 9050's). The LaBella's are great strings. Now that I have gotten used to them, I use them on my "country" bass. They are the "traditional" flat sound.

    For rock I use Chromes. Brighter and cut through better in a rock band IMHO. Also a bit easier on the hands since I tend to play harder in the rock band.
     
  19. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002


    Hmmm, is it a good tone? Well seeing as how flats were the original bass string, yes it is a good vintage tone. Do your own research and go listen to classic rock. Now, your gonna have to go back a little further than say, 1990. Lets say we start in the early sixties and go up to 1980. Lots and lots of classic rock was recorded with flats. Hell alot of music was recorded using flats period! You just don't know it.

    Now lets address your, I'am a "purist" you do not even know me, so your a little offbase there. I will be glad to converse with you on this subject in a adult manner. I find that when using flats, you, or I should I, need to EQ less to get a tone that sits well. Flats have less overtones to tame down, so part of your work is already done. I do not subscribe to the EQ camp, of sliders all over the place. Eq should be used to fix room acoustics and slighly bump freqs here and there. Otherwise you end up with something that does not sound like a bass, or anything good for that matter. That is not to say that I do not like rounds at all. There are plenty of good tones I like that are from rounds.

    What does playing a Carvin have to do with using flats? Is a Carvin a roundwound only bass? The frigging thing was shipped with flats. You can play any music style on any bass. I will say this, some basses may just not sound good using flats. Fine, find what works and use that string. Don't even get me started on silicone strings. (Ashbory bass) look it up.

    Ok, flats and slapping. Flea, did not invent slapping. Wooten, did not invent slapping. Waaay back when, Bassist who played in rock and roll bands, as they wre called, played uprights. Thats all they had, and they slapped on them! Yea thats right, on an upright. Turn on your jazz radio station, you'll still hear some people doing it. It sounds pretty damn neat! It is harder to do, but with some practice, it can be done. People were slapping with flats on electrics in the 70's, and sounding pretty wicked. Yes times change, I'am not stuck in a chair pining for the days of yesteryear.

    Do yourself a favor and dig into some music history. Check out some classical, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, look at how those guys used cello's for the bass line. Cello was around long before the bass was. Check the big bands, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey. Find out who Gene Krupa was. Look at how where we were has lead us to where we are musically. I say this because you seem a little naive. Thats ok, we all had to be your age once. Some of us twice!

    Nice chatting with ya.
     
  20. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Well, first off let my say that I included the fact that I respected your opinion(s), so I would wonder why you would play the "age card" here, my age has nothing to do with any of this. The term you used "back in the mix where you are supposed to be" sounds like you can appreciate, and perhaps like emulate, what I would consider a more classic approach to playing rock bass. Let's face it, rock can mean alot of things, and alot of rock out there has the bass powerfully slotted into the mix, and alot of rock has the bass up front and in your face with the drums, and the guitar a bit further back. As far as the slapping is concerned you are wrong, nobody who slapps a fretted bass guitar would ever want to use flats unless they were going for a specific effect. Flats are not the "first" bass strings, gut strings were and that is something very different. I play and own an UB, have played in big bands, studied music history..I turn on the "jazz radio station" alot and I don't hear anyone Slapping on their UB's, thats more of a rockabilly thing, but yes it does sound sort of "neat". You do hear some guys from the swing era(you mentioned a few) pulling their strings pretty darn hard, but that was more out of neccesity, not desire for slap tone. I've played Mozart, Bach and Beethoven others, as far as I know they all wrote bass parts for the bass because there were plenty of basses around at that time, the celli and bassi may work together quite abit depending on the piece, but I am pretty sure that the parts I played were not "cobbled-in" later on after Flea invented the bass.....
    The bottom line here is that I am trying to help what seems like a relatively unexperienced bassist who just got a new bass. I don't think that bass should have come with flats on it, why it did, who knows. He says he mostly plays rock a tiny bit of slap stuff, I think most people would agree that rounds are a safer choice to start with given the bass, experience level and musical style...