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Flatwound benefits?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bobito, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. I am thinking about trying out som flatwounds on my squire P. What are the biggest differences between rounds and flats? I looking into ernieball group 3 cuz theyre cheap...thanks!
  2. Flats feel very smooth and have much less finger noise and buzzing. However they have much less high end brightness and sound thumpier. It's more of a preference thing, if you like bassy deep sounds then it might be your type.
  3. Great things about Flatwounds:

    1. Give you a boomy sound.
    2. ZERO Fret Wear.
    3. Jamerson used 'em.
    4. They feel sexxxxxeh!

    Ironically, I took off the flats on my fretless...Now I have mucho MWAH :)
  4. Flats are nice and smooth, less finger noise, they have a nice boomy, thumpy sounds, virtually no fret wear, and far less bright than rounds. But I find that they are very "Clanky" when hitting the frets when fingering though.

    They're silent on my Fretless - but on my Fretted P bass they have a very loud clank when fretting. Alot of this can be remedied with better technique than mine I guess, but they are much more clanky than rounds on any of my other fretted basses, so IMHO that sort of counters the fact that they produce less finger noise.

    Get 'em if you want a big thumpy tone though ;)
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    They make your bass sound like a bass instead of a large downtuned guitar.
  6. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    They don't have that thin, twangy, irritating brightness that roundwounds have. Plus, they won't turn your fingers to hamburger when you do your long slides like John Entwistle on "Won't Get Fooled Again" or Noel Redding on "Purple Haze".
  7. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Plus, the distinctive thump/thud is different than the kick drum and I can actually hear myself better in a dense mix. You can get plenty of sweet tones out of today's flats too. I don't slap much, but prefer my slap style better with flats. Listen to Peg by Steely Dan on the Aja album Chuck Rainey is using flats and and old P bass. Sweet.
  8. What brands would you guys prefer for bass strings?
  9. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA

    roundwounds tear the heck out of my fingers. i really like my flats, smooth and deep tone.

  10. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I've been using TI Jazz Flats on my SR5.
    I love them. They not as thumpy as most flats. They seem to have more midrange complexity than other flats. I've also used and like alot the La Bella Deep Talkin flats. Really powerful and deep.
  11. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    The biggest benefit is that you never have to change them. The deader, fouler, stinkier and funkier they get, the better!
  12. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Really don't get the point of using flats on a fretted bass. What's the point in losing playability and tone. And I even read of people using flats on fretted Stingrays. Only time I tried it on mine, I couldn't be more horrified!

  13. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    I've not lost anything by using flats and gained a fuller sound. I don't understand why your experience was so bad. It been nothing but 'butta' to me.
  14. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    Some people prefer the sound of flats better.. Lemon Song ;P
  15. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Tone is in the ear of the beholder. I personally can't stand that bright, twangy, nasal, tone of new round wounds. Not to mention the fret clacking and finger squeak.
    Different strokes brother
  16. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    I guess you hit on a pretty sensitive nerve there Bobito.Here is my experience in the world of flats vs. rounds over the years.
    I first started playing bass back in the days where all you had were flat wound strings, and not good ones at that.Like so many others who ventured into the world of bass playing, I was a frustrated guitar player who always wanted to play bass, but was talked out of it by someone else (a whole other post in itself).Having been a guitar player first, I was used to the sound of round wound strings on the guitar,so when round wound strings became available for the bass in the '70's I immediately said, "now that's more like it", it actually sounds like a "bass guitar".This is where I believe the controversy gets so hot.Bass players were horrified by this sound and guitar players loved it.I liked The John Entwistle sound and so I took to it.Then came slapping and popping (I know it was around since the days of Sly, but it really blossomed in the '70's),and if you started slapping on rounds, then the sound of a slap on flats was disappointing, all lows and highs, and the mids fell out.I think that if you started slapping on flats, then just the opposite would be true, you would hate rounds.I have always been a big fan of Carol Kaye, and she hates rounds and loves the Thomastik jazz flats, so I have recently put them on one bass at a time.Thomastiks are a really great string that seem to get better as they get older.These strings are far better than the flats that I started out on in the "olden days".I would highly recommend Thomastiks if you are searching for a good flat wound string that will last forever.With the advent of active electronics, you can pretty much make up for whatever you don't like in a string.The Thomastiks are big and full, and sound great on finger style and pick style playing, but I have to make some adjustments when slapping, mostly because I started slapping on rounds and not flats.I don't think you will ever get everybody to agree on what they like, so you have to decide what you like.If you have been playing rounds,you will have to get used to the flats, and that will take a little time, but there are many benefits to flats as have been already mentioned by others.I have half of my basses strung with flats now, after having used rounds for more than 25 years.I still prefer to slap on rounds, but I am learning to slap on flats, I am just adjusting the tones on the bass to please my ear more.I am finding that I am slapping less and less these days, and that is why I am going more with the flats than the rounds, as the flats do sound more "bass like" and less "guitar like". Well, that's my long two cents on it.Let the fireworks begin.
  17. Eric Grossman

    Eric Grossman

    Nov 3, 2004
    St. Louis
    Endorsing Artist: Hipshot Products and SIT Strings
    One word, paragraphs. Good post though.

    I use flats on my P-bass, and rounds on my J-bass. For a lot of my finger style lines, I live the sound of flats. For most of my picked lines, I prefer rounds. There are exceptions, depending on the context within the song.

    I think you have to get rid of your preconceived notions, or your developed ideas on what a bass should sound like. Just ask yourself, with a clean and opened mind, "Do I like this?". If the answer is "NO", then it might not be for you.

    On my P-bass, BTW, even with the tone knob all the way up, there is still a lot of bottom in my tone, while I still enjoy the P-bass growl at the same time. I love the heavy attack I get with flats, and the smooth lows. It's all about personal preference.

    If I had to choose, I would use rounds, because they offer a more accepted tone for today's music, but I don't. This freedom has allowed me to open up my tonal possibilities, greatly. YAY VARIETY!!!
  18. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    To the folks unfamiliar with Flats.
    I mentioned Chuck Rainey and someone else mentioned the Lemon Song (John Paul Jones, Zep) Also, listen to some Chicago... CTA... some real good 'picking style' on flats there too, like I'm a Man.. love that one. Also, Mr. Joe Osborn like Carol Kaye used/uses Flats almost exclusively and Joe O. is pretty much a pick player too. Listen to Midnight Confessions by the Grassroots, Joe played that bassline. Love Flats.

    Again, I have found Lakland Joe Osborn Flats sound great on my (of course) Lakland Joe Osborn USA> Also Sadowsky Flats are smokin', have them on my Sad PJ4. :D
  19. Mike Gordon from Phish uses flats as well. Most of the time with a pick.
  20. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Oh-oh.. I have a word too, then. I think that should have been a colon or semicolon after the word 'word', Eric; not a comma. (Oo - am I just nasty today, or what?!)
    ..But on the serious side: I just HAVE to try a decent bass with flats. Things I hear from flats-players are so different than what I've always heard (from rounds-diehards, no doubt).

    Mids, growl and attack? BETTER attack than rounds?? I always thought that flats had NO attack, NO mids - just muddy, swamp-bottom, distant-sounding rumble; completely useless mud that NOBODY ever uses anymore. Before I started at TalkBass I honestly thought that flats were all but completely obsolete; that only old polka band basses were strung with them or something.

    Better attack?