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Flat Wound String Tension

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ROBM700, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. ROBM700


    May 28, 2013
    I mostly play DR MM Fat Beams rounds and like their string tension which is a bit on the looser side from what I can tell. I love the sound of flats, but find them really stiff with lots more tension (at least the ones I bought).

    Is this what I will find across all Flats, or are there sets that string up looser? I don't want to spend a fortune trying them all to find out that's just the way they are.

    Any thoughts or recommendations?
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Tomastik-Infeld flats have very light tension but the cost of admission is way up there.
  3. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all.

    Aug 6, 2013
    Columbia, MO
    different flats feel differently. I use D'Addario Chrome Flats and LaBella Deep Talkin' Flats, both of which have what I feel is 'moderate' tension. I've used Fenders, which are a bit stiff. Looking to try some TIs.
  4. Flat freak here...

    I used to use primarily Chromes and LaBella DTF. Both are pretty high tension, but sound great. I tried TI's but found them to have too little tension for me. But that was a few years ago and my preferences have changed a bit. If they weren't so dad-gum expensive I'd probably try another set.

    But my new favorites are Sadowsky light gauges. Super versatile for a flat, lower tension than Chromes, more than TI's and the feel is amazing. There is plenty of growl and bite in them if desired. They stay strung on my main PJ5.
  5. Twocan

    Twocan Living the Dream

    Oct 5, 2009
    Medway, MA
  6. ROBM700


    May 28, 2013

    How much $ are we talking for the TI's?
  7. ~$100 for a 5 string set (I only have 5's).
  8. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    La Bella flats come in several gauges. People characterize them as high tension because they associate them with the famous Jamerson set, but I use the 760FL set and they are about the same tension as a medium gauge set of roundwounds.

    - Steve
  9. Fit4pain

    Fit4pain Gold Supporting Member

    May 30, 2012
    San Antonio Texas
    I have used TI flats for the last 2 years and really loved the sound but the tension was not my favorite. I just switched to Sadowsky and found them to be perfect. Great sound more tension than TI flats.
  10. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    I second this! Sadowsky my favorite flat! Chromes to me feel like cables...I also use the sadowsky light gauge.

    My P select with those sadowsky sound so good! and every song sounds good with them.
  11. ROBM700


    May 28, 2013

    All.....this is helpful. Thanks!
  12. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Anyone A/B the La Bellla 760FL flats and the Sadowsky's?

    I'm curious which one has the lowest tension and which one has more "thump" - or shorter sustain?

  13. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    The TIs will be the lowest tension you will find. They're expensive, but they last a very long time. They also have quite a bit of mid range, making them sound a little like a cross between rounds and flats to my ear - a sound I happen to like a lot, but many don't.

    Pyramids are also very flexible, with slightly more tension that TIs, expensive like TIs and they sound more like a traditional flat. Some would argue that they are THE traditional flat. I'll leave that to others to debate. :)

    For a little more tension but not too much, I'd recommend either 40-100 Ernie Ball flats, which have a very nice feel and sound or the GHS set others here mentioned, which have a little thuddier sound and feel really good.

    Now you guys have got me wanting to try some Sadowsky flats!
  14. DuShauh


    Aug 29, 2011
    West Michigan
    Is there any difference ? Sadowsky's are made by LaBella, to the Sadowsky specs. But I think that light gauge sets are "pretty much" the same string.
  15. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Thank you. I didn't know Sadowsky's were made by LaBella. You're right then, they'll likely be pretty similar.

    The Ernie Ball flats intrigue me though.

    Basically, I'm looking for two different sets of flats:

    1) I have a fretted PJ bass, I'd like to string up with some pretty thumpy, but average tension strings. I love the GHS Precision Flats tone, but they are bit too stiff for my liking. Something just a tad looser would be great, not TI loose though. The Labella 760FL's sound like a good fit.

    2) I have a fretless that I want to put flats on, this one I want to have a bit looser, a bit of a bump in the mids, and I want a tad more sustain than GHS Precision Flats. I know it sounds like TIs may be the best fit for this, but for this bass I'd like something a bit tighter than TI's, and a bit less sustain. I've tried Chromes, but I'd like less sustain and a bit more thump. I think I may try the Fender 9050CL's, anyone try these?

  16. I respectfully but totally disagree. I had Labellas before switching to Sadowsky lights. They are, at best, cousins. The Sadowsky flats have a growl and a treble/high end to them that LaBellas do not. LaBellas have that great thump. Sadowsky flats have that thump and some sizzle.

    As stated earlier, the Sadowsky flats are amazing on a P/J. I alternate between Chromes and D'Addario tapewounds on my fretless and both sound great in their respective ranges. The Chromes are brighter with more sustain, the tapes darker and thuddier with less sustain. Those TI's I had were on a fretless and I found them to have hardly any sustain. I couldn't slide more than a couple of positions down without losing the notes.
  17. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Simple, just buy single flatwounds in your favourite brand, and choose low gauges, such as 100 75 55 40 or 95 70 50 35. Most of the suggestions here seem to be for flatwounds that feel loose at standard gauge, choosing a lower gauge is much more effective. Many flatwound brands don't go down to extra light so you make your own set, which results in a set with tensions optimised for yourself, instead of probably unsuitable traditional tension :)
  18. DuShauh


    Aug 29, 2011
    West Michigan
    Actually, I agree with pretty much all of what Grateful stated in post #18, which was in disagreement with my earlier post.:D I was thinking of the wrong Labella flats. IMO the FX flats (very light gauge) are quite similar to the light gauge Sadowsky's. Not the FL's, those definitely thump more, minus the top end as Grateful stated. All of the flats mentioned here are very good. It all depends on ones preference, tension and tone-wise. Thankfully, we have many options.