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Flats that *don't* have a lot of sustain and highs

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ric426, Mar 28, 2009.


  1. ric426

    ric426 In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I'm looking for some flats that don't have the sustain and high end that most people are looking for in flats. I don't necessarily want them to sound really dead, just more like the attack and smoothness you'd get with an upright bass. Kind of a subdued sustain.
    So far I've tried LaBella nylon tape wounds, TI Jazz Flats, Sadowsky flats and GHS nylon tape wounds (my favorite so far), but they all seem to have the normal bass guitar attack/sustain envelope. Granted, it's a semi-acoustic chambered solid body, so I probably won't be able to get too far away from that, but I'd like to try for the faster decay of an upright bass and less bass guitar twang.
    Any suggestions?
     
  2. RCCollins

    RCCollins Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    San Diego, California
    Are people really looking for sustain and high end from flats? Wow, they must be frustrated!

    It sounds to me like you need to try the regular old La Bella Deep Talkin' Flats in a medium to heavy gauge.

    If those dont work for you, you might try adding a mute!
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    LaBella or Fender flats are what you're looking for. They're very zingy out of the box, but it doesn't take long for them to go dead. And then the fun begins!
     
  4. Aurel

    Aurel

    Dec 11, 2008
    Paris, France
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Basses & Framus guitars, Pigtronix, Aguilar Amps, Orange Amps,
    Yup, it looks like you're after the sound of old flats. LaBella flats are my favorite. And if it's not enough, you can still add a mute near the bridge. Good luck!
     
  5. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    Arizona
    +1 on the LaBella DTF's. The FM's (medium) are the next heaviest down from the Jamersons and they're pretty heavy.
     
  6. ric426

    ric426 In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Good point, that does sound a little stupid, doesn't it? Let me rephrase that:
    I'm looking for some flats that don't have the sustain and high end that some of the string companies seem to promote for their flats lately. I'm not looking for flat wounds that retain the round wound tone or "brilliance".
    I'll give the LaBellas and/or Fenders a try next.

    I've messed around with various muting materials, but wasn't that pleased with the results so far. It may be a matter of finding the right stuff. I've tried various kinds of foam rubber. Any other serious (or ridiculous) suggestions? What are the weirdest muting techniques or materials you've heard of (that worked). I seem to remember hearing about a well known studio player using a (fresh) sanitary pad under his strings on a well known track. Tony Levin maybe?
     
  7. They're not really flats, but have you tried Roto Tapewounds?
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yep, but it was a disposable diaper.
     
  9. seanm

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

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    +1 On LaBella's. My favorite are the FLs. I normally like heavier strings but the FLs have a better tone IMHO.

    And yes, people do look for more brightness and sustain in flats..... compared to other flats. The brightest of flats are going to be duller than rounds (not counting completely dead rounds).

    For example, I sometimes prefer Chromes for rock just to get a bit more brightness and a bit more tension than the LaBella FLs.
     
  10. ric426

    ric426 In my defense, I was left unsupervised. Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    No, haven't tried those yet.

    After looking at the prices for the Fender flats and LaBella flats, I'll be trying the Fenders first. Plus, it's for a Precision A/E bass with an acoustic style saddle that only strings through the body and the regular LaBella flats aren't suitable for through body stringing according to their catalog. I'd have to find their "Flexicore" flats.
     
  11. Body strung? The Roto Tapes may give you trouble... a lot of people have problems getting them to intonate... I've got them on a Jazz bass and they're doing fine - but they are an acquired taste...
     
  12. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=72489

    Suggestions to deaden strings from the above thread:

    1)Rub the strings with butter, aloe baby wipes, bbq sauce, gun oil, lemon oil, machine oil, crisco, vasoline, maybe try furniture oil. (IMO, I'd stay away from the food products.)
    2)Leave them outside for a week.
    3) put in the shower room and let the heat/steam do the job.
    3) Tune them up higher and leave overnight to stretch them out. Not too much, though. The neck relief may change.
    4) After tuning up, give a good pull on the string(s) and retune, repeat as often as needed. If the string can't rebound, it's dead, isn't it?
    5) Make a paste out of baby powder (talc) and baby oil or mineral oil. Get a bit on your thumb and index finger, and slide them along one string.
    6) use a bit of chapstick...apply with a paper towel, and it works great.

    Or maybe combing a few of the ideas: temp. change (outside or shower), the oil, pulling, and overnight stretching.
     
  13. Getting the sound you want is a two-step process:

    1) Install LaBella Deep Talkin' flats.

    2) Play them for at least six months, preferably a year.

    The longer you leave them on, the better they sound. Most of mine are 3+ years old. One set of flats I have is at least 35 years old.

    I have an extra set of tuners and a bridge, and I'm thinking of mounting them on a 1x4 and stringing it so I can leave the strings at tension for a couple of years before I need to use them. Kind of pre-aging.

    Most important: STOP changing strings. You won't get the sound you want until they have been on the instrument for a LONG time - probably multiple years. But you can find threads about coating them with BBQ sauce, chicken grease and other deadening substances to accelerate the process.
     
  14. Stretching actually damages the string and creates deadspots and odd harmonics when you bring them back down to pitch...
    As far as that putting crap on the strings... I'm not a fan of that either... But hey, if you live near a waffle-house, most have a gigantic tub of lard or tallow in the corner of the flat-top ready for use on your favourite sobering-up food... I'm sure they could spare a cup or two for your strings...
     
  15. therex

    therex

    Jun 24, 2007
    lima
    raise your action and add bit of relief if you really want that upright like sound
     
  16. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I like fender flats myself. Play the hell out of them and they will sound very upright like soon.
     
  17. Buogon

    Buogon

    Feb 2, 2009
    New Jersey
    I just strung my fender precison with DR Hi-Beams Flats today, so far they sound good.
    I have not played flats in a while but, i have that Jamerson vibe for sure.
     
  18. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    The OP is looking to get the "dead string" sound. Don't think he'll be worrying about "deadspots".:bassist:
     
  19. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    If you want a dead sounding flatwound out of the box try Pyramids. They are expensive but very dead sounding.

    My favourite are the Labella FLs after about 3 to 6 months of playing.

    Dont care for the Fender flats too much... too sticky and not pleasing tonally.
     

  20. I would think though that even with "dead" strings you'd still like to hear the correct fundamental at any given position, no?
     

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