Flatwound Shootout!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by steamthief, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    Would anyone else out there like to see one? All the flats threads lately have been dizzying, especially for someone like me who knows virtually nothing about them.

    I'd really like to try a set on my SR4, but I'm afraid to drop a bunch of dough only to find I got the wrong set. An all-inclusive list of the major players, comparing tonal differences, tension, etc., would be an excellent TB resource.

    For those with the knowledge, anybody interested in going for it?
  2. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    I just clicked on the Strings page, and seven out of ten of the most recent threads pertained to flats. 145 views on my post and not one response? Seems like a lot of people are interested in taking the plunge. C'mon, flatwound peoples!
  3. It is a bit tricky to do. For one thing, most folks feel that flats don't sound 'right' until they're well broken in. So the tester would have to get his hands on several different sets of worn flats. Then we need to decide if we"ll test them on a P bass, or Jazz, etc. Make recordings. Post extremely subjective opinions about feel, tone, etc. It's not easy.
  4. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    This is a good start:

    steamthief, maybe you should say what you want from a set of flats soundwise, and then get answers from other TB members. Warning: you will get a lot of what people's favorite is, and not necessarily what you are looking for.

    On a Stingray, Chromes are probably the favorite. They are bright enough not to squash what makes a Ray a Ray. I suggest the 45-100 set.

    If you want more old-school thump from your Ray, I suggest La Bella FL760L or GHS Precision flats.

    TI Jazz Flats are also very popular on Stingrays, but they are not like other flats in feel or sound. Very, very supple, and have a very (to my ears) roundlike mids character. Great strings, but unique.
    59jazz likes this.
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    With strings, I think the only way to know if you like them is to bite the bullet and buy a set. The same brand of string can sound different to a lot of people, even leaving aside the type of bass itself. My advice is to buy the cheapest set, and see how it goes. You'll probably get lots of contradictory comments about the same brand of string.
  6. The issue may be that folks don't understand what you even mean by a flatwound "Shootout".
  7. Stanley Pugh

    Stanley Pugh

    Jun 14, 2008
    I agree with the guys here, it is a taste thing for sure.
    There is a thread that one guy hated Dunlop another loved them, but they both liked flats.:eyebrow:
    For me , I haven't tried a flat that I didn't like.
    A cheap way to purchase some online is from webstrings I hope I am not breaking any rules with that one.
    They are not Chromes but it will give you an idea on feel and sound.
    Perhaps some of the guys here love or hate them too.
    Here is my list of flats that I use and like.
    Chromes D'Addario
    Rotosound tru bass nylon coated.
    Detroit stainless flats.
    I havent had a set for some time but GHS makes a great flat wound set as well.
    I hope this helps a bit.
  8. P. Bass

    P. Bass

    Mar 17, 2010
    My suggestion would be to buy a set of D'Addario Chromes 105-50 To start with. These will give you a taste of many aspects of flats, for a reasonable price. They are relatively bright like rounds but if you roll off some of the passive tone control on the bass you can approach a more traditional sounding flat. They are also a bit stiffer in tension than some of the others so you can lower the action & see how that fits with your playing style, & make adjustment with your next set. They also maintain their "new" tone longer than most. I find them Very Good in a mix & for recording. I used to leave my flats on for years to get the "broken in" tone, but find that doesn't cut thru live as well. Like I said - the chromes are a good place to start. Make your notes POP w/flats. It's a different ballgame.
  9. ::::BASSIST::::

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

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I've tried quite a few sets of Flats and found that the Chromes and LaBella 760FLs are the best. 760FLs are my favourite.

    Certainly would like to try others I havent gotten to yet.
  10. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    Seriously? I would assume that may be the case for those who speak English as a second language.

    Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I'll probably seek out a cheap set of Chromes to experiment with. My main tonal goal with the SR4 is to eliminate the pesky string noise while maintaining high end clarity.
  11. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Seeing as you're playing a Stingray, you might also want to check out some Ernie Ball flats.
  12. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I've tried several different brands (TI, Sadowsky, Chromes, KS, LaBella, Ernie Ball) and the best I could do would be to give you my subjective opinion on each of them.
  13. I've used a couple different types of flats in my time. 3 stand out for me. D'Addario Chromes. Worst sounding flats I ever played. Too Zingy, totally contradictory to my ear of what a flat should be. They may have sounded good when they were broken in but I couldn't stand them more than a day. Rotosound flats were a better sound but awful rough for a flat. I still got a lot of string noise. No Dice! The best by far was a set of GHS Precision Flats. They sounded amazingly deep and mellow from the start. Very smooth windings almost felt like they were coated they were so smooth. I liked them enough that I moved the same set from bass to bass for four years. I finally let them go with a p that they sounded incredible on. As a side note a friend bought some Webstrings flats and played them a little while and didn't like them and gave them to me. They were great! Very much like the GHS. I would play those again in a minute. IMHO flats should sound dead and mellow from the get go and get better with age. The GHS and Webstrings do that and they have a very solid tension. Good for me.

  14. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    Considering them, too, I hear they're in between Chromes and GHS/Fender in terms of brightness.
    Please do!
  15. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    Have you tried them on an active bass? I'm digging the Fender nickels on my P/J. BTW, love your sig line!
  16. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Here's what flats sounded like back in the day. They are bright unless you turn the tone down. That deep and mellow thing was never what flats sounded like.

    Motown Mix

    The string mutes make them thumpy, (except Brick House) but they are still bright.

    I don't like Chromes either though, because the D string sounds out of place.

    I like the Labella 760FL or Rotos for bright flats. The old Fender flats were great for that thumpy sound. TIs are too rubbery sounding to me because they are too soft.

    Most of the time I use D'Addario half rounds when I need a flat tone.


    They sound good in the mix, thick and deep, even if they sound bright recorded DI. You need the highs so people can hear you.


    Matt R likes this.
  17. Surly


    Feb 2, 2007
    South Florida
    I find Chromes work well for rock music. I can dig into them a with a pick, but not as hard as I would a roundwound.
  18. steamthief


    Jan 25, 2006
    Mentone Beach
    Loved the tone you got on "I Want You Back." I tried a set of half rounds, couldn't stand the feel.
  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I meant to mention that those are the real isolated bass tracks, not someone re-playing parts.

    Yeah, I find flats kind of slippery. The half rounds are a little more grippy.
  20. Craig_S

    Craig_S Inactive

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    There is no better, classic sounding, flat than the LaBella 760FL set.

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