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Flats for fifths

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by pklima, Aug 21, 2012.


  1. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    I tune in fifths (CGDA) and am getting another bass after not having bought one in years. The last time I bought some strings for a bass I got some d'Addario Chromes singles in various sizes which gave me a set with reasonably balanced tension, but that was about eight years ago and it looks like they're not offering those anymore.

    So, I'm looking for flatwounds around the following sizes:

    130 85 65 37

    I see LaBella flats singles are still available at Juststrings but the smallest is a 43. That's probably good enough. I think my high A string is currently a 40.

    Before I order those, though, I thought I'd ask if there are other options I missed. Bonus points if anybody can point me to a decently balanced tapewound option - could stick those on the bottom neck of my doubleneck.
     
  2. LayDownABoogie

    LayDownABoogie

    Jan 3, 2012
    Why ?
     
  3. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Because it gives roughly the range of a fiver, with only 4 strings. Or because he's a cellist, and already used to that tuning.

    Does Circle K make flats? They'll put together just about any gauges imaginable, and the price is reasonable...
     
  4. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Yeah, I used to play various mandolin-family instruments so I got used to fifths, then got that doubleneck bass with one neck tuned in fifths. I ended up switching to fifths tuning on DB a few years later.

    I think Circle K flats aren't available yet, are they?
     
  5. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Early this year I bought a nice SR505 to learn to play a fiver. After a few weeks of practice and making a fair amount of progress I decided to try CGDA on my four string, pretty much on a whim. I sold the SR505....

    I started with a Deluxe Active Jazz using GHS Precision Flats in 128/85/55/40 and that worked pretty well. Before I sold it I tried tuning the SR505 CGDAE using GHS Pressure Wound Flats. I used a standard five string set from a local shop (great store generally but bad experience with ordering strings, its BassStringsOnline for all my string purchase from now on) plus a couple of individual strings from BSOL to get 128/84/62/40(/28). That set was ok but by ordering strings individually you could get close to the set above and that would be better. Lately I bought a Reggie Hamilton Standard Jazz to replace the SR505 and I thought I would try some heavier gauge strings on the bottom to get a progressive rather than balanced tension. You can't really get flats heavy enough for the C string but I went with 136/95/55/40. The three lighter strings are GHS Precision Flats again, the 136 is a Thomastik-Infield flat. Not a vast difference from the straight GHS set mentioned first above, but a bit better IMHO. The TI flat is fairly expensive and I learned after the fact a bit light for its gauge so it may not be any tighter than the 128 or 132 flats that are available in other brands. It works well with the GHS flats however.

    I am hoping to convert the Active Jazz to fretless if the neck I have on order ever shows up so I thought I would try roundwounds on that since they can be had in heavier gauges. I got a set of GHS Boomers in 145/95/55/35. I think they are the best I have tried yet, tension wise, but to be honest there isn't enough difference to justify using the rounds over either of the flats sets mentioned in bold above if you really prefer flats. So I have bolded all the gauge sets I have tried and would recommend for CGDA. They all work quite well. The Pressure Wound set I did not bold was basically a pickup set of strings. I was just going to tune the fiver BEADG when I ordered the set and then at the last minute decided to try CGDAE instead. So it wasn't a well thought out purchase. Even it worked reasonably well, I'd just recommend strings close to the first set of gauges above if you were going in with the intent to tune CGDA with Pressure Wound strings. On the other hand I think the Boomers are close enough in tone to the Pressure Wounds that I would just go with them in the heavier gauges if I wasn't using true flats.

    Ken
     
  6. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Thanks for the gauge recommendations and the Precision flats tip!
     
  7. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I guess the Chromes are not available as singles but BSOL hints that they may be soon, if you can wait, who knows how long. I think there was at least one other brand of flats available in singles at BSOL if you would like something other than GHS. Circle K only does rounds at the moment and I don't know if they plan to do flats in the future or not. If they do then you would be able to get anything you wanted within reason -- and quite a few unreasonable choices as well!!

    Ken
     

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