Flats on an active bass...yeah, think I'm going to do it again...er...no I'm not

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JimmyM, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Updated with lots of color pics, page 3 post 53.

    Got into a band where flats would seem to be the order of the day, but I don't want to put them on any of my main Fenders, and the only other one I have is a cheap parts Fender copy that I'd rather not use. So I've been thinking about putting this set of Dunlop flats I have laying around on my 95 Fender P Lyte with EMG PJ's and BQC. Did Chromes and LaBellas on it a few years ago when I was on a "flats only" kick, and if you've never done flats on an active before, it's actually a lot of fun. The onboard EQ lets you go from fat low end for fingerstyle to that bright tic-tac pick sound at will. Maybe a little cleaner than folks expect who are used to flats on passives only, but it always sounded pretty great to me and I think it sounds more Fendery with flats than it does with rounds.

    Also think I'll put the old set of LaBellas back on my 09 Dano Longhorn as well. I like the twanginess of it with rounds, but flats work quite well on it, too, and it's a lot easier to set up than Fenders so I could possibly have it ready for tomorrow's gig, whereas it would take about a week for the Lyte to get it where I want it.

    Then again it's closing in on 2 am and I don't much feel like doing a project right now :D But for those of you who have run flats on actives, I would like to hear your thoughts on it, even if you didn't dig it.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  2. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I've just recently put some TIs on my Ibanez SR and I was pleasantly surprised.

    I was wary of the combination of flats and active electronics before. Like it would destroy the sonic qualities I favor in flats or that it would turn out sterile, harsh or brittle.

    I found the opposite to be the case. Warm, full, round, but can get bright if you need it. It also does an excellent job of imitating a jazz guitar on my sixer.

    It seems this experience has demystified the passive - active dichotomy for me, and I'm not a hardline passive only player anymore.

    Gets two thumbs up from me.
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  3. foal30


    Dec 3, 2007
    New Zealand
    I have half wounds on a Tobias
    Chromes on a MTD

    In no hurry for a change
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  4. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Flats on an active bass make me think 'Phil Lesh' pretty quickly.
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. On more recent Carol Kaye videos, she is playing an active Ibanez SRX700 with TIJF's. She still sounds like herself - in other words, great! Sometimes I think the whole "flats on actives" thing is just something us bored bassists worry about. I'll bet you'll like it. Good luck!
    ErikP.Bass, JimmyM and zoonose like this.
  6. I've had flats on two active basses(Peavey Axcelerator 6- TIs, Cirrus BXP 4- Tis & Chromes). TBH, they sounded like... basses with flats. I liked them quite a lot, better than the passive basses I've had them on(Chromes on a defretted mid-90s Dean 5 with J-style pickups, and an Ibanez 4 with PJ). Playing a lot of rock and metal, FWIW.

    I've gotten to a point where I just use whatever strings I'm feeling like using, at least in a rock band. I'd probably put flats back on for, say, a country gig, were I to get one.
    JimmyM likes this.
  7. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Used TI flats on many G&L ASAT basses and they made a good match.
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  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I have the Dunlop flats in the light gauge on two Brubaker KXB singlecuts, a 4 and 5. Bartolini preamp and pickups. People have been shocked by the tones I get out of these basses with these flats. Me too.
    JimmyM likes this.
  9. TubeDood

    TubeDood Inactive

    May 31, 2019
    Add a mono synth to them flats so then you can hit the button and play some really bassy n thick
    " pew pew pew's"
    at the crowd !
    .... and point your bass at someone when you do it.
    Its Always a great reaction lol
    JimmyM likes this.
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I am deciding on which bass to put these on.[​IMG]
    Warwick Custom Shop $$ 5 string or Mayones Slogan MBC-5 Gothic.[​IMG] [​IMG]
    JimmyM likes this.
  11. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    All of my basses are active. All of my basses wear Chromes (except for one).
    JimmyM and zoonose like this.
  12. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    The only way I could get my Spector to behave was with a set of cobalt flats. Do what feels right!
    Zach77 and JimmyM like this.
  13. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    I have Labella flats on my Stingray Special 4HH. After experimenting with a few different strings, those are what I prefer the most.
  14. Have flats on a Cirrus. Tapes on an active T40 and a G-bass.
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  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Took a day for this thread to get any steam...just when I was about to give up on it. Cool...nice to know I'm not the only one who likes flats on actives.
    Zach77, CapnSev and zoonose like this.
  16. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK? Sweet Treets. Supporting Member

    I run chromes on my longhorn huge tone.
    I had Labella LTF's on the Warwick Dolphin :) It was cool having the tone shaping on a flatwound that is responsive. dug it but went back to rounds.
    My L2500 is at it's best with EB slinky cobalt flats. (although it lives in passive mode mostly)
  17. DMoney4


    Nov 8, 2014
    I run chromes on my Sandberg TM4 Jazz. I find they they tame the snappiness of the active preamp nicely. Love the tone and the feel.
    JimmyM likes this.
  18. bassplace


    Mar 1, 2009
    Annapolis, MD
    TIJFs on a Jazz with EMG JV pickups sounds great. Not my favorite neck but I'm using it today because it's the best tone for the music
    JimmyM likes this.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    All my basses are active, with no bypass switches even. One fretless came set up for T-I JF strings and I mostly left it that way for a dozen years or so. When EB Cobalt Flats came out in a similar gauge I ported to those. If I want "thud" I play upright. The end. [​IMG]
    JimmyM likes this.
  20. Flats on an active P Bass lite....... Go ahead. I double dog care you....
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