Flats or Tapes?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by GabrielB, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. GabrielB


    Jul 2, 2017
    I've been meaning to restring my P Bass with strings different than rounds for once...
    I want something different than the aggression and brightness that my 66 Roto's deliver, more like a thumpier and brighter sound for when I play either fingerstyle or pickstyle.
    I've been thinking about Roto 77 Jazz strings, which seem just fine, but lately I've read that McCartney used a set of Roto 88's on Abbey Road, which is exactly the kind of picking sound I want.
    Should I try flats or the tapes first? What are their pros & cons? How much of a difference is there between the 2 types?
    organworthyplayer337 likes this.
  2. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    I would definitely try flats first. To my knowledge, they're more popular amongst the bassist community than tapes. Not to say tapes are bad, though!

    I have never tried tapes because I'm so satisfied with flats. I have a set on both my P and a Jag. I'm considering putting a set on another Jag that's coming in tomorrow.
  3. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    As for a particular set, I use the LaBella Deep Talking Flats. Once they get broken in, they're awesome :)
  4. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore?

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten
    Keep in mind, not all tapes are the same tonally. Some are MUCH brighter than others.
  5. Westsailor


    Dec 12, 2009
    For example?
  6. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I'd try flats first. The Rotosounds are very high tension, so if that bothers you I'd suggest getting something else. I used to use them ages ago when there weren't as many good alternatives as there are today.

    I'm currently using the light gauge set of GHS Precision Flats on my JB, and DAddario Chromes on my Squire Matt Freeman PB and I'm very happy with the sound of both.

    I've trued close to every tapewound string made over the years. And with one exception, I found most were lacking. The one set of a tapes I really like however, are LaBella's Copper White Nylons. Totally unique feel and a warm tone overall, but still with plenty of complexity in the mids. Try those and you may find you'll never feel the need to try anything else.
    emjazz likes this.
  7. I will be performing a string test with all currently available tapewound strings sometime next month. Here is a link to the thread: Future Tapewound String Test

    If you liked McCartney's tone, you will probably like the offerings from Fender or Rotosound best, maybe the LaBella black nylons, but I think all of their white nylon offerings will be too bright.
  8. jaymelewis


    Jan 6, 2010
    Fillmore, CA
    I have a Precision with flats on it, and a Bronco with tapewounds (both D'addario). The flats are obviously mellower with less sustain (classic and iconic for the P bass) and the tapes kind of get close to that vibe, but with more zing on the top end. I'd like to buy another P bass to put tapes on it :)

    I really like the tapewounds on my fretless 5 too :)
  9. Mktrat

    Mktrat Seriously, are we not doing phrasing anymore?

    Apr 9, 2013
    The Mitten
    I started here: TapeWound Club~Anyone?

    I totally agree with this statement!! IMHO, YMMV, etc...
  10. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    I prefer tapes (Le Bella 760, black tapes 115), they have a very lively mid range, big bottom and subdued higher end. Flats are generally too honky for my taste and you must roll the tone down, where as with tapes i keep the tone all the way up and it makes all the right sounds. If you are looking for bright you may want to try flats first, if you find things too honky try tapes. Flats will mellow out with time where as tapes are ready to go out of the package and, i generally change tapes out once or twice a year as the tape starts to get scared, flats will last a long time and the longer you have them on the better they sound.
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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