Flat wounds/ changing

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by spaamport, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. spaamport


    Dec 10, 2001
    Burlington, VT
    I still consider myself kinda new to the whole bass guitar thing, but i've had my own bass for almost two years now, and I started using Carvin flatwounds about 6 months ago.

    I'm on my second set because I've been changing my strings about every 3 months. I don't play more than a couple hours a week, but it seems like the flat wounds get these nasty little grooves in them a lot easier than did the D'Addario round wounds I was using before.

    So here's my problem, I LOVE the way flat wounds feel, and the tone is really smooth, but I get the feeling that they are a little limited in their application for faster, poppier bass lines, and for slap, and that they wear out quicker.

    Is this something that is inherent to flatwound strings, or just the fact that I'm using Carvin brand strings which are less than half the price of any other flatwound I've seen?

    Any suggestions on strings that will still feel buttery smooth for slides, but will sound a little brighter. And maybe not cost an arm and a leg every 3 months?;)

  2. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I have been using TI Jazz Flats on my Curbow Int'l Petite 5 String. I put them on in April, and the older they get, the better they sound.

    I wouldn't worry about the "little grooves." I only change flats when they break.

    As far as slap, you are not going to get a sound approaching a roundwound slap tone with flats. But, I can slap on the Curbow, and it sounds cool.
  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I'm no Carvin basher, but I've never heard much good about their strings other than price.

    Maybe try some pressurewounds or groundwounds, each of which would be brighter for slap but smoother than rounds.

    You may want to try some of the on-line merchants:

    1) Our very own Herm, who closed his strings-by-mail operation down awhile back but still has stock he's selling to TB'ers at blowout prices.

    2) The mainstream string merchants - do a recent archive search for referrals.

    3) Places like Musician's Friend.

    Good luck!
  4. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I use both flats and rounds and it sounds like your tone preference is more round. You referred to slap and pop and this is clearly where flats are very, very limited. Sounds to me like you might be a candidate for a good nickle round like the DR Nickel Low-riders.
  5. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
  6. spaamport


    Dec 10, 2001
    Burlington, VT
    i ordered up a set of the lakland mediums, we'll see how they work out. i can definitely say that strings sound worse as they wear. the nasty little grooves i have make the string play lower and buzz. when i put new stringfs on it almost never buzzes. as long as my neck looks ok, that's how i gauge when its time for new strings, those little indents under the E right over the frets

    thanks for the info guys
  7. I`m new to flats but....I had a set of ghs brites put on a little dano I recently traded for and they sound killer!:D Definately the string for everything but they do have their place.And the feel....mmmm
    smooth as a baby`s rump.:D

    Are you really going though sets of flats that fast?That is crazy.:eek:
  8. spaamport


    Dec 10, 2001
    Burlington, VT
    i guess so, i mean, i don't really know what the average for a string life expectancy is.

    i've just been changing them when they start to sound bad. the first set i had on, i left on for almost a year, and by the time i took them off they were sounding pretty bad, and they had some corroded grooves underneath right over the frets, so ever since then i've been changing my strings when the sound quality starts to suffer because of the grooves, but before the strings begin to corrode. the last two sets i had on for about 4 months, and 3 months, and i've had these on since august, and they are getting a little groovy and buzzy. i'll probably change them in the next few weeks depending on what santa brings me. ;)
  9. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    I don't think I could ever afford that!No offense,but I think that people are starting to spend too much money on the little things.I don't know how your flats could start sounding bad after 3 months unless you did heavy gigging and never washed your hands.I havent been playing bass too long,but I just found strings I really like and I'm probably gonna replace strings every 6-12 months.Maybe it's because Carvin's are cheap.Get some Fender flat's.I don't like Flats but I have some,and i've had them for 3 months and there perfectly fine.But I just figured out that flats arent my thing.
  10. I'll second Bassmonkee on the TI Flats....best strings I've ever used.
  11. Thrillkiller


    Apr 25, 2001
    My understanding has always been that flats were considerably longer-lived than rounds, because the dullness is kinda what a flat does best. In other words, if they go a little dull after a while, no big deal; they ARE flats. Some guys leave 'em on for years.
  12. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    Bp did an interview with Joe Osborn years ago (he is a retired studio musician that played on a few hundred Top 40 60's sessions).

    He used LaBella flats and only changed them when he broke a string after 17 years of daily use.

    Flatwounds and a pick are a pretty solid combination unless you want to slap/pop/solo.
  13. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    I change my roundwounds every 3 weeks. I dont gig, but I practice at least 3 hours every day. I only like the very brightest tone, and my EB strings go dead pretty quick. If you prefer the dull tone, then that's your deal, but you shouldn't think that getting new strings every month is wasteful, because it absolutely isn't. Some bassists change their strings every day!
  14. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hey there, I read that interview too (they also spoke with Carol Kaye.)
    I believe Joe said he put a set of Fender flats on, because that was what the salesman ay the music store he went to recommended.
    I could be wrong though.
  15. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    One of the charms of flats is that you seldom need to change them. I've had my flats and tapes on for over a year and will probably use them a couple more at least. Long live the thump!!

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