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Flats on a 5-string?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ransombass, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. ransombass


    Dec 16, 2008
    Tulsa, Ok
    My main bass is a Lakland 55-60 that I have always strung with round wounds. New Years Eve I took my flat wound strung p-bass along for an early evening acoustic set. It sounded sooo good and sat in the mix so well that I played it on some of the the rest of the night's sets and it got me to thinking about stringing my Lakland 5er with flats as well.

    Have any of you tried flats on a 5-string and what were your impressions?


  2. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    My five string fretless has flats on it. I wouldn't change a thing. I've had flats on my 55-01 and I switched back to rounds. But I'm not sure that it's that the 55-01 doesn't work well with flats or if it's that the electronics just don't inspire me or if it's just that I was restless to try some rounds again (almost everything I have has flats on it).

    Next week I'll be revisiting the 55-01 - making it passive. I'll probably put flats back on it.

    The Lakland Joe Osborn medium set works well on the fretless. I think the GHS Precision Flats are just as well. The Precision Flats are a good flat for me and make for an inexpensive experiment.

  3. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    I second the GHS suggestion.

    I believe GHS still makes the Osborn flats for Lakland, and I couldn't tell any difference, so I would go for the GHS--they are cheaper

    The new Fender 9050-5 set gets a lot of love here, too. A little brighter than the GHS flats.
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    I have flats on my 55-02. Sounds good, but I'm hankering to throw some rounds on it to see how that sounds.
  5. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I think GHS makes the Osborns, too. I've been using the Osborns on a lot of basses for over a decade and I can't tell the difference between the two.

    The only Fender branded stainless steel flats I ever tried I absolutely hated. They didn't stick around long. Then again, a lot of people LOVE TI Jazz Flats and I tried for two years to like them and never succeeded.

    I'd still say to try the Precision Flats because they're a really good string and very inexpensive for flats.

  6. funkyjudge

    funkyjudge Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2010
    Langhorne, PA, USA
    We have a set of D'Addario Chromes on my wife's Ibanez 34" scale SR Prestige 5-string, and they sound great.
  7. echoSE7EN


    Jul 1, 2010
    Balto., MD
    I've had both D'Addario Chromes and their Nylon Tapewounds on my fivers (fretless and fretted both). Bang for the buck, I love them both. I think the tapewounds are a bit brighter than the std., Chromes. I have had TI Jazz flats in the past (and I LOVE those strings), but until my custom build is delivered, I can't justify paying close to $100 for my current line-up. The nylon tapewounds are also a cool black color (the nylon) if that floats your boat.
  8. ransombass


    Dec 16, 2008
    Tulsa, Ok
    Thanks for the responses. I'm going to give the Lakland Joe Osbornes a try.

    Do any of you know if they're long enough to string through the body? The 5-string JO's are 35" scale.
  9. jastacey

    jastacey Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    I have my Yamaha TRB5II strung with TI flats, I really enjoy the tone I'm getting, sits well in a band mix, although the strings are kinda pricey ... me I just like the TI's string tension, it worth the price ...IMHO
  10. AmadeusXeno


    Mar 8, 2011
    I've never tried flats on a 5. I have tried flats on my 6 string basses though. I used Rotosound flats and thought they were good.
  11. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I use flats on one of my Warmoth fivers, rounds on the other. I'm using whatever Carvin is selling for flats, I think they are LaBella. Love 'em!
  12. ricknote


    Aug 3, 2006
    Try Thomastik flats on your 35" Lakland 5er.
    I have them on a 35" scale Mike Lull P5 and the longer
    scale really tightens up the light gauge perfectly.

    I also use D'Addario Chromes on a 34" scale Zon Sonus.
    They sound really nice with the graphite neck.

    Currently using DR Hi Beams for everything else.

  13. I've had a set Chromes strung through body on every Lakland 5 string I ever owned (literally the same set swapped between basses for 4+ years). Flats rock!
  14. I'll second that. I've had a set of Chromes strung through body on my Lakland DJ5 for the past five years. They are perfect (for me) on that bass and I wouldn't change them for anything. :bassist:
  15. 5StringFool


    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    I have Chromes on my Spector NS-95 and love 'em.
  16. duderasta


    Feb 25, 2010
    Tampa, FL
    I switched to chromes on my jazz V about a year ago, been really happy with them
  17. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    I started with LaBella flast on a P back in 1965, when flats were the only bass strings available. Along about 1971 I switvched to Rotosound Swings and stayed with them until I semi-retired in 1983. Flats on all my bases right now, including my 55-94. I initially ran Lakland nickel rounds but switched to TI Flats and loved them. I now have Sadowsky flats on the 55-94 and find them a bit snappier than the TIs. Both Sadwoskys and TIs record well, but the Sadowskys sound better live to my ears. I like Chromes on my Lakland JO5.
  18. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    If said this a hundred times before:

    Flats sound good for everything.

    Yes , even on a 5 string.
    petrus61 likes this.
  19. I have flats on my Fender Jazz V and I love 'em.

    I find it interesting how rounds seem to sound so great alone - and for a lot of live instances they do just fine - but flats seem to be outstanding in the mix regardless of how they seem to sound alone.

    And since I've discovered how great flats sound in the mix, I've learned to appreciate and love how they sound alone. Flats have 'personality' and 'character' while rounds have 'zing' and 'zazz' - whatever that means.

    I also find that flats seem to respond to what you do with your hands and fingers and picks a lot more than rounds. Rounds almost always sound like rounds while flats take on flavors.

    It's like learning how to appreciate good cheese - or wine - or whatever else requires a little more understanding and experience to get past initial impressions - ya know?
    petrus61 likes this.
  20. I have flats on my Lakland LOG P5.
    It most awesome for 97% of what I play.
    My band does a bit of funky stuff and I dont really like the flats for that, but
    its such a minor part of the show I just stay on the flats.

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