Flats for slapping on a Pro P-5?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by FunkHead, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I am really happy with slapping using rounds(DR Pure Blues). But I miss the tone, feel and really everything else about my La Bella LTF’s.
    What are some favorite flats for slapping on a P-bass?
  2. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    On YouTube there are some videos of the one size heavier La Bellas, 760FL 42-104, that sound good to me with the slap style.
    FunkHead likes this.
  3. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Jazz & Cocktails

    Apr 17, 2005
    Central Pa
    Longtime Roto77s user here - they are quite bright and sound great slapped. I’m currently trying the DR Legends on my 5 now. They’re a bit mellower but still pretty decent. Once I get a few gigs on them (someday) I’ll have a better opinion.
    FunkHead likes this.
  4. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Thanks, I am checking out YouTube now.

    Thanks I’ll look into these.
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  5. Those La Bella Flats are very old-school with thump and thud. If that's what you want, great.

    These two are "semi-modern" and may be better suited for slapping.

    Dunlop Flats 45-125 (500x500).jpg Ernie Ball SS Flats 2810 (500x500).jpg
    CameronJohnson and tindrum like this.
  6. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Thanks. Yeah, I really want to be able to use them for slap. But I really love the Thump I was getting from the La Bella LTF's.
    I may be asking too much from one bass/Set of strings. I want the best of both worlds.:)
  7. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    If I have p4 and p5 each, I will keep LTF on p4 and put Dunlop flat 40-120 on p5.
  8. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Cool. Maybe I'll try the same.
    Yahboy likes this.
  9. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    Even though it's not a flat, ghs pressurewounds are that middle ground for me.
  10. JoeDoe

    JoeDoe Drummist turning bassist. Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2018
    The Shoals
    not a huge slap guy, but tonally speaking I tonally agree.
    HG1180 likes this.
  11. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I absolutely disagree that La Bella are "thump and thud." Old school, maybe, but they have presence and tone when set up properly, as I have done for my friends' basses who want flats. Now, the strings that go to thump and thud are D'Addario Chromes: start zing, look like they would be good for slap, then die to lifeless thud.

    I agree that Ernie Bass Stainless flats are underrated for a variety of styles.
    Jason Hollar and michael_t like this.
  12. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I just ordered the Ernie Balls. I am sure that I will like them. We shall see if they work for slapping. I am not a great slapper anyway but I play a few slap songs with my band. Like this one:
  13. I’m not much of a slapper, but have had perfectly good old school slap sounds with Chromes, Fender 9050s, and (not quite flat) Pressurewounds.
  14. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I have those LB on a P and on a fretless. IMO they have a great feel but I rarely slap on them as I have my other basses with bright rounds that I think bring the heat with slap and pop. I'm curious too, as I like the flats I have but haven't found the right set for slapping.
  15. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Can't speak to the 5 string sets, but I had LaBella 760 FLs on my P-bass and liked them quite a bit. They have more treble content than I thought they would, feel great, and have a nice balance of thump and a sweetly singing, woody something. Decent but not exceptional in slap. I'd say the same about sustain, but the sustain wasn't bad at all. I was told, "That bass sounds perfect, don't mess with it," so of course I messed with it.

    While the LaBellas sound beautiful, they are scooped (not all the way through the mids - there's still something going on there that contributes to their woody, organic character, but there is a definite scoop, too) and, in some mixes and through some rigs, can get a bit lost in the mix. (Re. thump vs. sustain, I've found neck relief and right hand attack to make a big difference - they thud out a bit if you dig in hard.)

    For the last two weeks or so I've had a light set of the new Sadowsky Blue Label flats. First several days - at least for me, on my bass, they were OMG bright and quite aggressive. Up there with rounds - not as much sheer extension up top, but in terms of overall presence and aggressive potential, yep. After a week or so, they settled down.

    Sustain is more than with the LaBellas. Thump is less, but more than most rounds. Tension was, I think, slightly higher than the FLs (I tightened the truss rod a bit) and the overall feel is a bit stiffer. There is an easier bounce for slap. Mids are more forward, overall, than the FLs, but the character is different than that of TIs.

    If I only played the one bass, I could see a case for the Sadowskys as a more versatile all around string. I feel like you could play almost anything with them (I even tried some RHCP and Primus). The LaBellas have that woody, organic, thumpy, growly something, though, that the Blues don't. As a contrast to my main bass with rounds, or if you're trying to capture a more old-school vibe, I can see them making more sense.

    The E string in my set is more inharmonic than I'd like (I made sure to let it spin free at the bridge and made sure the break angles were properly set at the saddle and nut). It's less than when I first installed the strings (was quite noticable then), but still not quite where I'd like it. The A string is also just a bit rougher feeling than the other three.

    It might be that my set is a fluke and it might be that the inharmonicity of the E string will continue to lessen as it breaks in. I also don't want to blow things out of proportion - I've been enjoying the strings on the whole and could easily play a gig with the bass as it is right now. They set up well and now, that I've had them on the bass for a bit, apart from the slightly grabby (and maybe fluke) A string, I dig the feel.

    As for slap, it's still early, but I think they might do that better than any other flat-wound I've played, including the LaBellas, TIs, GHS Precision Flats, Chromes, and the cheap but surpringly okay Webstrings that were my first set of flats, ever.

    I think that I'm going to leave the Sads on the bass for a while and see how they continue to play in.

    Edited for cell-phone typos and voice-recognition missteps.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
  16. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Because of the inherent nature of E strings, it is probably as good as it is going to get. I have had the same experience on every flatwound E string I have ever used, and that is most of them over the course of the decades. For that reason, when I have a set of flats on a bass, I tune the G third fret to the tuner, instead of EADG, then check the octave G and adjust the intonation accordingly to split the difference in the inharmonicity.
  17. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I think that I might need to do something like that with this set.

    To be clear, I perceive two, I think related phenomena:

    The first has to do with setting the intonation (and, to be fair, as bright and in need of break-in as these seemed when I first put them on, I figured I'd let them stretch out and play-in before I fine-tuned it -- and it was quite close, as set for the LaBellas -- but enough time has passed and I'll do that today). Whether you'd term this inharmonicity or not, I don't know, but the properties of a string that contribute to inharmonicity (thickness, stiffness, others?) I think contribute to this, too.

    The second relates to playing the open string or any note along the string; the overtones don't line up with the fundamental, which gives it this weird, metallic ringing (and is what I'm terming inharmonicity). Some degree of this is present with all strings. If I'm listening, I usually hear it a bit, even with rounds, on the E-string -- even, to a lesser extent, on the A-string. If a bass and/or string is really problematic, then even on the D-string. Definitely on B-strings, to (sometimes widely) varying degrees, depending on the string and the bass. (I'm not sure exactly how the bass contributes -- everything resonates as a system -- but inharmonicity and pitch stability seem to be affected both by the string and the instrument.) Certainly, it's been more the case with flats than rounds.

    The inharmonicity seemed to me to be more of an issue during the first few days of putting the strings on, but whether it's lessened or the brighter tone of the new strings brought it out more, I don't know. I suspect some of both. I can say that the E and A strings, which were not tonally consistent with each other or with the D and G when first put on, are much closer now -- the A (playing unplugged, just now) is quite close to the D and G, though there's still a little difference (some when plugged in, due to the position of the pickup coil, too) and the E is a good deal closer than it was, but still not quite where I'd like.

    I don't recall noticing this as much with the LaBellas (I'll go back and find some recordings I made with them) and the TIs seem to me quite good in this regard (even their B-string on a 5-string fretless), but I might be missing something.

    Pleasing and consistent-with-the-set tone aside, having a harmonically-coherent E-string helps me key in on pitch when things get busy but, to put it into perspective, the bass sounds good, is very playable, and I doubt anyone would remark on it at a gig.

    I will tweak the intonation (and triple-check the setup) today, play the bass some more, and see if things get better. Two weeks of occasional at-home play isn't a ton of time for flats (though audible changes have tapered off after the first week).

    Thanks for the tip!
  18. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
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  19. La Faro

    La Faro

    Jun 20, 2016
    Da Nang, Viet Nam
    I've had a big doubt that I'd ever be able to slap, but at the same time knew 5 years flats on my jazz may not be helping. Put new flats on my new bass and took off the 5 years olds, for pressurewounds on the jazz, and there it is, that's the sound! Just need to work on getting it consistent.
    Medicine Man likes this.