Flats - The Clear Choice!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by ScottTunes, May 21, 2012.


  1. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    Last week I took a pair of Rickenbacker basses (Std 4003 and 4001v63) per request, to a recording gig... One with flats (Pyramids are my first choice, though TIs, also being nickel, would be my 2nd choice), one with RWs (in this case, D'Addario 45-100). The engineer asked for the RWs first... Didn't like the sound... Blamed that on the Bartolini active p'ups (in 4001v63)... Swapped RWs to std 4003... STILL didn't like the RWs... Re-strung as before, Pyramids on otherwise stock 4003 won the day!

    Another gig, both flats and RWs requested... I'm beginning to feel like a pin cushion!! Hahaha! Pyramid flats on a US P bass, and RWs on the aforementioned 4001v63... Couldn't swap strings from bass to bass due to different headstock configuration and scale length... However, flats on P still won the day!

    Took 2 perfectly set-up US Fender Ps to a gig last night to demonstrate to my gui**** why flats are my preference. It's a hard rock improv band, and live show... Started with RWs (new GHS L7200 Pressure wounds), as the gui**** requested. Big grin from gui****! Switched to Pyramid flats half an hour later... After initial confused look, another big grin from gui****, followed by the comment: "Ok, you win!" Flats won the day AGAIN!

    Most of the follow-up comments re flats vs RWs were essentially that flats sounded "cleaner," "clearer," "stronger," "thicker," and... well, you get the idea.

    There are a few times where RWs still beat flats, or so I'm told... Though, honestly, having given it the old college try, I can't find 'em! :bassist:
     
  2. Duckwater

    Duckwater

    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I can't not play flats now, for me rounds just don't have the same presence in a band situation. I still use rounds on 1 bass for when the music calls for them, but it's not that often. I like a really bright cutting tone, and with modern amplification it's easy to get a bright sound with the right flats
     
  3. I changed to flats (chromes) before last Friday's gig having read all the threads recently on TB. They were absolutely superb. Suddenly I OWNED the lower octaves. And was inspired to play my xxx off because instead of having half an ear always on my sound, I forget all that EQing stuff and just got into playing. I must have started on flats (back in 1958) but once new basses came strung with round-wounds, I (and most other bassists I suspect) just forgot about flat-wounds. They were hard to find, more expensive and gradually attracted a reputation amongst many players for being dull and lifeless. But to be fair that was back in the days of flappy 18 inch and 15 inch speakers, and bass-heavy amps etc as opposed to modern amplification with more emphasis on EQ, 8 and 10 inch speakers and efficient cabs etc. I'm sure RW will continue to dominate generally, but for playing pub and bar rock without front-of-house, just relying on decent back-line, flats are absolutely the way to go IMO. Plenty of definition with thunderous bass. Boy oh boy, you can spill drinks at 30 paces with these babies...
     
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    Dude ... don't put bartolini pickups in a 4001v63 .. that is wrong on many levels.
     
  5. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    US
    My personal opinion, Pyramid Gold Flats have the best tone there is. Unfortunately, I can't use them because every set I've purchased had a bad string. I'm hoping that someday I can go back to them.
     
  6. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    I've had the same opinion, AND the same problem, for decades!!! Ask the "seller" to replace the errant string until you have a good string set... The rewards are really worth it!! I currently have 5 basses and 2 guitars strung with Hofner/Pyramid flats, and can't get enough!! They all sound fab!
     
  7. PlungerModerno

    PlungerModerno

    Apr 12, 2012
    Ireland
    Maybe they came with it????:bag:

    Seriously though . . . I've never even held a rick, but given their 'sound' wouldn't it be better to use rick pups to get the rick tone?

    I guess the reason I'd buy a rick (someday...:bassist:) is for that strange 'bite' in the tone.
    Perhaps barts do something special combined with the rickenbacker.

    Deep purple. Roger Glover. Rick with flats sounds fantastic in the right hands.

    I'm gonna give flats a whirl next week (if they arrive).
    Gonna do some A/B comparisons.
     
  8. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I was a confirmed round wound guy for almost 35 years of playing. Then I tried the new Fender 9050CL 45-60-80-105 set, and it converted me. Mellow when I want them to be. Growly when I need them to be. Stable tuning. Consistency in tone both up the neck and from string-to-string. No dead thump; no untamed twang. Just solid foundation all day long. Economical to purchase, and they last a long, long time; longer than about any other bass string I've ever used, and in 36+ years of playing bass, I've used them all.
     
  9. I have seen the flats light too and it really is all about how well they blend in the mix. The genres I tend to spend the most time with are prog, rock, psychedelic rock, funk, folk-rock, - all 'rock-centric' genres. Some genres seem like no-brainer flats genres but how well they work on songs that I thought would be more round-centric songs really surprised me.

    The key (to me) is getting outside your own head and hearing what's going on on the whole. Recording the band is key here. It's amazing to me how much better the rounds seem to hold and define their own space in the mix. Rounds seem to want to try to live in every one else's yards.
     
  10. I truly don't understand these "I need to make a statement" threads over string choice. By starting this thread, your looking for support or conflict.

    Looking for string advice is one thing - but attempting to shove your opinion down others mouth about what you think is "the clear choice" is adolescent.

    Who really cares what strings you use? And better yet, why do you feel you need a dedicated thread about the strings you personally use?
     
  11. @Modern Growl: Some people are curious about why people use flats.

    Sometimes specific details (Like the OP provides) help people to understand things about string choice that may not be readily apparent. Bass strings are not cheap and a major sound switch like you get with flats can feel like a big waste of money unless you know how to properly evaluate their effectiveness.

    Rounds, when played alone, have a more 'dynamic' sound. Flats in comparison sound flat. If a player doesn't put that bass into a band context, he may never realize why they are so good. Threads like this offer some insight into how to properly evaluate why string type does matter.
     
  12. nortonrider

    nortonrider

    Nov 20, 2007
    There's one in every crowd :rolleyes:
     
  13. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Sorry, but I have to agree (to an extent) with Modern Growl here. Strings are a matter of personal preference, playing style, and the sound that one is striving for. If that means flats, great. If that means roundwounds, tapewounds, half-rounds, etc., that's fine, too. To each his own. One is not necessarily better than the other. It just so happens that the situations that the OP was in ended up giving flats the edge, for whatever reason. Good on him.
     
  14. Freight Train

    Freight Train Earth-based Alternative Scientist, Sex Researcher

    Feb 25, 2012
    Dallas, Texas
    Dude! I just played a good sized gig this past Friday and boldly used flats (passive G&L L-1000) for the first time since 1969, and holy crap did I feel like a total dumbass! What have I been thinking? I wanted to call for a total do-over, but didn't have the time machine. Punch, clarity and presence in the mix. I had RW's at the ready (Jack Casady Epiphone), but after switching for a couple of songs, I was back to the flats. No comparison.
    Bottom line, IMO, if you're sitting at home playing and trying to sound like a grand piano, RW's are great. If you're in the studio and have total control over levels and eq, RW's can be great. But if you're having to conpete with guitars, cymbals and synths in a live situation, again, no comparison. The flats get you where you belong, anchoring the bottom and providing the punch.
     
  15. If I started a thread for every decision I made regarding my tone - I would admit... it would get a bit ridiculous.

    Now if you get a $3000 dollar bass and your so excited, you have to start a NBD - sure, I get that. But strings? Cmon.... OP, flats work for you, great, so what?
     
  16. very interesting!!!!!

    I personally think flats make my bass sound like pure garbage in the mix.
     
  17. You post in a thread that's topic you feel is a waste of time - repeatedly expressing how much you don't care about the topic.

    Ironic.
     
  18. Yup... I'm the idiot that got pulled into the "conflict" area :help:
     
  19. nortonrider

    nortonrider

    Nov 20, 2007
    it sure is looking like that.
     
  20. You were not pulled in and no one called you an idiot. I am not sure why you have such an obviously negative attitude here, but it's really pretty useless. As much as you hate threads about flats, everyone else hates when people post in threads that they clearly don't care about only to insult those who do.

    Respectfully, if you really do feel the way you do about this topic, why don't you simply ignore it?
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 24, 2021

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