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Flat Wounds or Round Wounds

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by aasti3000, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. aasti3000


    Jul 18, 2012
    My luthier said I should buy some new strings when he set my bass up. He said either flatwounds or roundwounds. Because I'm a new bass player, can any P-bass players out there tell me the difference in the two? I'm practicing Rock, R&B, Jazz, Reggae, fusion Jazz and Funk. Which strings are best suited for these styles?

    Thanks in advance by the way.
  2. im not a p bass player but i dont think its relevant
    its down to your preference really. there are tons of different roundwounds flatwounds and things in between.
    roundwounds give you that high trebly sound while flats dont.
    flats feel softer get better with time and are good for years
    most bass players dont like the sound of slapped flats (i dig it though!)

    reggae sounds much better with flats. if by jazz you mean walking bass kind of thing, personally i would also prefer flats. same applies to rhythm and blues, soul, motown.
    for fusion and funk i like the brightness of rounds more.
    again, compeletly personal preference

    passive basses sound better with flats than active imo.
    precision bass +flatwounds is a classic combination. some find it cheesy though

    then there are "hybrid" strings like chromes, halfwounds or even nickel rounds. i use DR sunbeams and the tone is most suitable for everything.

    do a search you will find a lot of threads about the differences between roundss and flats and also differences between specific brands of strings.
  3. bill reed

    bill reed

    Apr 2, 2012
    its really down to the sound you are looking for.
    one is not better than the other.
    best bet is to try out both and see what sounds and feel you like better.
  4. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    My preferences and opinions run along the same lines. To the OP, browse around and follow this guy's advice. +1 to all of this.
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Everytime you change strings you'll need to check the "set up"
    It's simple with a good digital tuner

    I tend to like bright strings, like most round wounds for for general purpose. A good EQ can tone them up or down depending on the situation. YMMV
  6. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I'm a flat addictive. I play about anything on flats, even metal. They don't produce squeaky noises if you slide from one fret to another. If in doubt about the brightness of your sound, d'Addario Chromes (ECB81) may be a set to try. They are fairly bright for flatwounds. As already said by others, it's down to personal preference.
  7. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    If you're looking for a great all around string I'd suggest trying set of GHS Pressure Wounds. They're a lot more mellow and less zingy than a round wound but still retain the tonal variations you get out of rounds versus flats.

    A PBass with flats is classic if you're going for that "old school" thump but if you want something that's a little more tonally expressive string and has very consistent tension and feel across the board I would sure start with Pressure Wounds or a similar type.

    I play them on my Jazz and if I wasn't after the "old school" thump from my PBass I would play them on that bass as well. At around $20 for a set you're not spending a fortune to see if they're what suits your style of playing.
  8. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    I don't see myself putting anything but Pressurewounds on my EMG loaded Fender Jazz.

    <Sarcasm>Those are the best strings for that instrument, objectively speaking. Everyone else's opinion is actually just wrong. </Sarcasm>
  9. aasti3000


    Jul 18, 2012
    Thanks for everyone's comments. Sounds like there is definitely a sound difference. Because I'm new I don't know if my ear is trained to know what "brightness" means. Is there a song example with a bassline that sounds "bright" so I can get a full understanding?

    @Tylerwylie - never heard of pressurewound. I'll have to look those up.

    @pbnjbassists - I'll follow that advice. Thanks.
  10. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    If you get some flats....please make sure they do not have super high tension since you are a new player. You don't want strings feeling like powerlines under your fingers. My favorite set of flats are the LaBella 760FL's. The tension is very comfy under the fingers and they last forever but they aint cheap..... shop well my friend!

  11. lakland has samples of the same bass lines (different styles) played with the same bass with both rounds and flats


    personally i wouldnt recommend a beginner to start out playing with flatwounds as you may have difficulties being able to play roundwound later. (because with flatwounds you dont get as much finger noise which is a technical thing on roundwounds imo)
  12. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 great strings and they last long not cheap is right! but you get that back in quality and longevity.
  13. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011
  14. GreatScott91


    Apr 14, 2010
    NE OH
    Trying to be pertinent and not derail - for the sake of the OP asking about flats, would anyone suggest a specific gauge? Will it/can it affect tone in any? Or is it more about the tension/feel? (I'm in the dark about gauges so I'm asking for me, too - haven't experimented enough yet.)

    I really liked the feel of the Pressure wounds, but the mellowness didn't work for me; at least, not on MY bass. I think I'm one of the weird ones who prefer the sound of dead rounds.
  15. PWRL


    Sep 15, 2006
    I found I had to go out there and try about half the strings they make before I found what I like per instrument. I recommend starting out with light gauge rounds, then working into flats, again starting with lighter gauge. If you're not ready for heavy gauge flats, they just kind of go "thud".
    Frankly, I wound up going with flats, D'Addario Chromes light gauge, on my Jaguar bass, and round .100's on my P bass. If I want a lower tone on the P bass, with the rounds, I can just roll back the tone or work with the EQ on my amp.
  16. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost

    Feb 15, 2011
    I agree that trying them out and seeing which sound you like is the best way to go. While you're trying, don't forget Fender Nylons. I love the way they sound and feel. They remind me of roundwounds without the squeel. I've got a set of them and a set of D'Addario Chromes that I use right now. Good luck and borrow some if you can...it's cheeper!

  17. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    GHS Precision Flats...nothing else beats them. Not even LaBellas.