Flats = More Tension/Less Tension?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by SurferJoe46, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Do flat wounds require more or less tension to get to standard E A D G tune that wire wounds?
  2. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    It depends on the string. Some flats have fairly high tension, and some (like the TI Jazz Flats) have relatively low tension.

  3. GregC

    GregC Questlove, Black Thought, Hamilton Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Yes.:D Seriously, it's hard to generalize. TI Flats are loose as hell, while LaBellas are pretty high-tension.
  4. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Also, this probably goes under "Strings"
  5. Fair dinkum, but I was thinking about the effect on the neck and intonation that flats might cause to the bass, not just a string evaluation.
  6. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    In general, flats are higher tension than rounds. There are exception, but not many. Flats are more dense / have more mass for the same diameter as rounds, so it requires more tension to bring them up to pitch.
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Assuming the same gauge, flats will be higher tension than rounds. TIs are the exception.
  8. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    It depends entirely on the construction of the strings- not just whether the final wrap is a flat ribbon or a round wire. The size of the core, the size, number, and composition of the inner wraps, and the alloys used all affect tension. Yes, many flats are more taut than similar round sizes. But it's certainly not universal. There are high tension rounds (DR Lowbeams come to mind) just as there are low tension flats (e.g. the oft-mentioned TI Jazz Flats).

    One of the reasons I like the Lakland Joe Osborn flats is because they feel very similar in tension to me as the DR Hi-Beams and Sunbeams I use on other basses.

    IOW, it's NOT a blanket case about tension.

  9. Lichtaffen


    Sep 29, 2008
    Rhode Island
    I went through this recently. I tried the TI's and the Labellas, but I felt D'Addario Chromes are a happy medium... for me at least.
  10. I'd check & perhaps adjust neck relief following any tension change. Between any strings of unknown tensions. Or after changing your standard tuning.
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