Flats that sound like LABELLA DTFs with less tension

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ROOTSnFIFTHS, Jan 21, 2014.


    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    I have a Precision strung with Labella Deep Talkin flats and dig the tone but would like less tension/stiffness.

    I also have a P strung with TI flats and am ok with the tension on them but wish they had a tad more tension.

    Question: Is there a flatwound string out there that comes close in tone to Labella DTFs without the higher tension??

    I have been living in the flatwound world for a bit and am still trying to settle with a #1 string set.
  2. Carl_D

    Carl_D Guest

    GHS Precision Flats.
  3. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Lighter gauge DTFs?

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    Thanks Carl..I have been thinking about GHS as I have heard they have that old school tone and are affordable ( Too many basses in the stable in case I want to change out a couple more) Are they very smooth to the touch?

    I was just browsing your site Jason and thinking just that.
    I am willing to try the gauge change but what kind of tension loss are we looking at? In other words what do the extra lights compare with? Appreciate the expertise fellas.
  5. Carl_D

    Carl_D Guest

    Silky smooth to the the touch, with great old-school thump.
  6. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    760FX set is a step up in tension feel to the JF344
  7. GHS are tonally similar (actually thumpier – more low-mids, less highs) with less tension, but not quite nearly as smooth. I've never felt anything that compares to DTFs in their glassy texture.

  8. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Also FWIW high tension strings handle low to really low action pretty easily which can offset the tension a little to a lot.
  9. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    As it has been mentioned tension is the key more so than brand.

    I also started my flat wound journey with DTF's looking for a big sound but my hands got tired. I was reluctant to go to lighter gauge because I thought I would lose the sound.

    I was wrong. Low tension flats work best for me and still sound big.

    I like and use: TI's, LaBella FL's, as well GHS, Chromes, Half-rounds and Ernie Ball all in the lightest gauges. I haven't yet tried FX's or the light Sadowsky's.

    I am very happy with the tension, the bottom and the improved high mids.

    BTW the glassy feel of the GHS are incredible too.
  10. hotbass57


    Nov 27, 2011
    I hated the high tension. I currently have my pbass strung with 45-95 XL Chromes. The tone, balance and tension perfect. My JBass is strung with GHS precision flats special order 45-90. Tension is awesome. Probably could go up to 95 or 100 and be comfortable. You can go to basstringsonline and order singles to put set together. The GHS are the smoothest strings I've ever played. They do have thR old school thump.
  11. Pyramid gold flats. Behold: rich tone, smooth finish slightly higher tension than T-I jazz flats. Extremely long life.
  12. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    sorry semi-newb here what brand are DTFs?.....don't see them on the site

    I have Fender flats on my Jazz, love 'em
  13. donn


    Mar 28, 2011
    Most of La Bella's bass strings have "Deep Talkin' Bass" on the package, hence DT, DTF, DTB in Hip Lingo.

    The 760M set is worse, as the package also has Original 1954 Vintage on it, plus it seems they've been marketed as "Fender style" and are commonly called "Jamersons."
  14. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    ahhh, yes of course Deep Talkin.......gotcha, thanx

    and ya that 760M set sounds confusing.....

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    Well thanks for the info and suggestions folks.

    I have a couple gigs going on right now and my fretting hand does hurt after the longer shows with the Labella 760 FS. I don't think the FL's would be that much different either.

    I may go for the FX set (extra light) but the GHS are intriging except I have heard (around here of course) that there is an initial uneveness with the D/G compared to the others. I have a session in less than a month and that makes me worried.

    Good food for thought here though.

    Ya know sound and how we musicians perceive it is so subjective. While I like the feel of the TI's (a broken in set), I think they have slightly less of the character of sound I have in my head.

    I may try the Labella FX set but I will probably buy the GHS and maybe a set of the chromes to try and post my subjective opinion. :smug:

    Thanks again all!

  16. jharms80439

    jharms80439 Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Evergreen, CO
    +1 for Pyramid Golds. I've used TI Jazz flats and LaBella's in the past and only recently switched over to Pyramid Gold Flats.

    They are lower tension than LaBella's standard set and only slightly more tension than TI Jazz Flats. I recently pulled a one plus year old set of LaBella's off of my P/J and replaced them with Pyramid Golds. The tone of the Pyramids is significantly better. The "pingeyness" of the LaBella's that was still there after a year are gone and replaced with the classic punch and deep tone I was searching for.

    Initially, tension on the E was a little weird - but tightened up overnight... The next day was heaven. :)

  17. jj4001


    Dec 27, 2010
    Providence, RI
    I find the the LaBella 760FL's to be of noticeably lighter tension than the 760FS.

    I was in the same boat. I loved the tone of FS but the tension was too tiring on long gigs. I tried the FL on another bass and I find them to be perfect.
  18. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    Ive used many different flats for long periods, giving them plenty of time, and find the 760FL DO NOT sound like GHS. To me the FL have highs and lows and are thumpier than GHS. gHS are more even across the highs, mids and lows, which to me does not allow them to "stick out" in the mix as much as the FLs. The FLs have a kick in the gut low mid punch that is only equaled IMO by the OLD fender flats, or by higher gauge Labellas. regarding smoothness, I have used 2 sets of GHS and they both had a sort of "flat" texture, not shiny at all, and that to me made them feel rough to the touch. The Labellas have a mirror like smoothness. I would try the FLs and let them settle in for a few months. If they are too tense for your particular style, go for a lighter gauge.

    I have found over the years, that I am much more particular about the flats I use than the rounds. To me, much more differences can be discerned among the flats.
  19. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Second on these - I used the Pyramids on my Precision bass and love the feel and the sound. FWIW, I just got a set of LaBella DT Flats (light gauge) to try on my jazz bass instead of rounds. Have a rehearsal tonite, I'll see how they feel.....
  20. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    True dat...I have 2 Fenders strung with La Bellas, one with the 760FS and the other the 760FL. The FS set is very stiff and tough to play for long gigs. The FL set sounds very similar (but ever so slightly brighter) and tension is noticeably less...feels just right to me.