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Flats, rounds, P basses and a Fenderbird

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by davelowell2, Sep 27, 2009.


  1. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    I have been a rounds player for about 15 or 16 years. Always in original, louder rock bands of the indie leaning.

    Anyway, in the last year or so I've gotten the bug to try some flats. First, I bought some Chromes. Liked the sound but when it came time to audition for a new band, I got nervous and went out and bought my fav DR rounds again and put them on my 77P with dual p pups. I play with a pick, btw, and tune CEAD for this band.

    So, I've got a Squier Vintage Modified Telebass strung up CEAD. I did the series mod to it and it sounded great with the DR's and I thought I try the DR flats. Terrible. The lowest two strings had nothing but thud and no real sustain at all. Nothing like my Aria EB-3 copy with LaBella flats. Finally, today I did a major string swap. From the Squier to the Fender, DR flats, from the Fender goes the crappy Boomer rounds, onto the Squier go the old DR rounds. Ahhhh, better. The DR flats on the Fender really woke up and started to speak! Much better sustain(for a flat) and way better definition.

    My Fenderbird is wearing DR rounds now and I like them, but will eventually try whatever flats don't cut it on the P.

    All is right again in the world. Some strings just do work better on some basses. Now, if the DR flats that sound great on my P bass work with the band, I'll be set. If not, I'll be trying out some LaBella's, then back to Chromes for a little more sustain.

    I'm really looking forward to trying to get some tube breakup/saturation with these flats through my SVT/BergNV setup at practice.

    Later.
     
  2. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    Thanks for making that point. Many posts ignore the fact that some strings don't get along with some basses. The more I read here, especially regarding strings, the more I appreciate the importance of first-hand experience. :bassist:
     
  3. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    So, the DR flats on my P didn't really cut it with the band.

    I've lowered the action.

    I'll also try using different eq and turning up the volume on my amp. Long story, but I finally found an eq scheme for my roundwound basses and it DOES NOT work with the flats, duh.

    Anyway, I'd just like them to ring out longer and I can't seem to get there. Maybe some power tube type compression will help, but I play an SVT and that's gonna get loud really fast. We'll see...

    I am one practice away from taking them off and putting them on the Fenderbird and trying to get some D'Addario Half Rounds or LaBella flats or TI flats. The TI's sound like they might be the ticket, but I'd have to get a 5 string set at about 70 bucks! Yikes!
     
  4. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    You might like the Sadowsky flatwounds. They are the closest flatwound string out there to rounds in terms of tone and sustain but are silky smooth. I'd say they have a touch less bite than nickel rounds but are basically the same.
     
  5. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I tried many, many brands of flats and finally settled on 3 that work for me and my gear.
     
  6. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    Well, put the Sadowsky's on my list, too.

    Your description sounds just like what I'm looking for. I would like some flats that have roundwound sustain. The tone of flats I like, just want more ring out to notes, fretted and open.

    Are those the black or blue labels?

    Do you think the sustain I'm after would be found in flats with higher or lower tension? I'm torn between the TI's and Chromes for the next purchase. Seems like those two are on opposite tension sides.
     
  7. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    Ok, practice number two with the band.

    The flats did much better, I turned the eq pedal flat, then upped the volume on my SVT. It was very close. Little drive when I picked hard, tone knob mostly off, about 90 % off. Eq was just a little bump in the lower mids upper bass, 100, 200, 400, 800.

    Here's what made the difference, I turned my two volumes down a little to about 90% up. Lots better. I still wish for a little more sustain, and the drive from the amp seems to help with that. I read somewhere that with flats one needs to use the available power in the amp more.

    Like most people who have written this, the flats sound just so so by myself, but when the guitars and drums come in, they just work so well.

    Not sure what the other guys think, but they have let me experiment and I gotta say thanks for that even though they don't read here.

    It'll be interesting to me what I think of the Fenderbird with HiBeams on it next time I go there after my flats trial.
     
  8. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    TI flats are very low tension. If you're having trouble getting the ring you want out of the DR's, TI's are probably a step in the wrong direction. I would try a brighter, higher tension string like D'Addario Chromes, Fender 9050's or Rotosound 77's for what you're looking for.
     
  9. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    Ahhh, that's the kind of advice I'm looking for! Thank you.

    So, you do think more sustain will come with higher tension flats? I have been so close to getting either the TI's or Chromes in the last week or so. I guess it'll be Chromes first cause they are cheaper.

    Thanks!
     
  10. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Man, that's kinda hard but i think the chromes will sustain more. I use both strings and TIs have a tone all to their own. It more of a woody uprightish tone on my P bass. With Chrome's i can dig more and get a brighter tone. Chromes are pretty much like playing any other flat. TIs are loose and have amazing tone but require a lighter touch. It's not that they are hard to play just back off some.
     
  11. markdavid

    markdavid

    Jun 29, 2007
    Lower tension flats will sustain more , with high tension strings the note will die out much quicker. However chromes have got fairly good sustain for a flat, not sure why though
     
  12. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    Ok, guys, which is it? Higher tension, lower tension, more, less sustain...

    Am I really looking for half rounds?

    Off to google.
     
  13. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Sorry, I don't have the answer to the sustain question. And you're pretty worried about that, but how do you like the tone of the flats? When it comes to flats, you can't just slap 'em on and play. It took me a good 2 weeks before my TI flats were "broken in" enough to sound like anything besides utter crap. Now I love them.
     
  14. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    I like the tone of the flats, but want a little more to ring out like rounds. I'll just have to keep trying different things, only that's expensive. Either chromes or half rounds have to be next. Probably end up with half's.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  15. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    If you want a tone from flats that rings like rounds, then Chromes or Roto 77's are your best bet.
     
  16. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    OH/WV
    Sadowsky flats sound like rounds, but with a bit less high or more lows.

    I know this as a fact.. I like my flats to sound super dead, so I traded them off for some more Chromes.

    But if you want bright rounds, Sadowsky is your string.
     
  17. DanGouge

    DanGouge

    May 25, 2000
    Canada!
    +1 for Sadowsky flats. I just gigged with my Precision wearing Sad flats for the first time last night: good sustain, and nice round low end but with lots of definition.
     
  18. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    My opinions and ideas change almost everyday, so I took the plunge and will just start trying some strings.

    First up is GHS Pressurewound.

    I'll report back with how they do, might be a week or two depending on when I get them, practice is on Thursday nights.

    I think tapes will be after that, but it could be Sadowsky flats or D'Ad half rounds.

    Plus, whatever does not work on my Precision will be put on the Fenderbird for a little while.
     
  19. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    On the whole tension v.s sustain thing my TI's sustain way less than my chromes. Chromes sustain more. Sadowsky flats are good huh? Might need to look at those.
     
  20. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    NYC via StL
    Thanks, bassbully, I kind of had the feeling that higher tension would sustain more.
     

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