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Flatwound String Tension?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Acepiloto, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. Acepiloto


    Aug 25, 2000
    I recently bought an EB Ray 5 (WooHoo:D :cool: )
    It was strung with flats. I decided to re-string it with rounds for a while.

    I put the E-G flats on my Squier P, and tried to tune it to E. It was almost impossible, I thought they were going to snap. I ended up tuning them down to BEAD.

    Has anyone else run into this problem, or someone have an explanation?
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Yes, that is a problem(especially in the olden days).

    1)I'm no fan of flats(i have only bought ONE set in my life)
    2)I re-assembled my '64 P-bass...I want to try a set a Flats.
    3)About 5 years ago, someone gave me a set of Rotosound Flats.
    4)I put them on the bass & the tension is ridiculous; I, too, thought I wouldn't get it tuned to EADG. I swear, I could see the neck banana-ing as I tuned up.

    Saturday night, I played a friend's G&L strung with Flats. Awesome feel(med tite) & tone, IMO.
    You could even slap/pop on these things. Unfortunately, he can't recall the specific brand...he strung that bass over a year ago(he's a guitarist). When he told me how long it had been, I said that's nuthin'...my guitar still has a set of strings on it from the '70s. ;)

    Anyway, there's an issue of Bass Player that reviewed Flats...I do recall them saying that some sets have very high tension(tite feel). I do recall them sayin' the Joe Osbourne/Lakland set would be a good "1st set of Flats" for a roundwounder(like me).
    I'm gonna search for that issue & bone up...
  3. Thomguy


    Oct 15, 2001
    New York, USA
    Thomastik-Infeld flats! On a P-bass I have come to actually guarantee that players will love them. That is, if that Jamerson/Carol Kaye like tone is what they're looking for. They not only have an exceptional balance from string to string but a lower than average total tension:

    JF344 (4 string set): 140.19lbs

    Typical flats average about 170lbs to 200lbs from brand to brand with similar diameters. To answer your question: It depends on many factors but, generally, if all things were equal (gauge, materials, scale length, etc.) flats will have more tension than rounds. Some manufacturers make flats where the windings actually touch each other. This makes 'em nice and smooth but it's a give and take as it increases tension. Some more significantly than others. I found Pyramid strings, although very musical with nice tone, too tight for me. While some other players find that our flats too soft and/or "rubbery". Like JimK said, the Osbourne flats have lower than usual tension as well. Good question, Acepiloto. Let us know where you land on this one and If I can ever be of assistance to you, feel free to call or email me directly.
  4. Acepiloto


    Aug 25, 2000
    Well, I found out that they are LaBella Deep Talkin' flats (if that is any help). But thanks for all of your help. I still haven't decided if I like them on my Ray or not. I don't get around to playing my P as much because my Ray is still new to me. :D
  5. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I've been wondering what the difference between the jamerson set and those. Is the jamerson set just the heavy gauge version of the deep talkin' flats?
  6. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I actually had to raise the action on my Hamer after I put the TI Flats on it. The tension is lower to the point where I had to make the adjustment.
  7. Thomguy


    Oct 15, 2001
    New York, USA
    True. Lot's of players report the need for a slight tweak after installing T-I flats. Especially if they're coming from a particularly tight set such as most steel's or nickel plated sets.
  8. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Good question :confused:. Accordin' to the LaBella site...

    Deep Talkin' Bass Series / Flatwound / Stainless Steel:

      Set 760FX Extra Light 039-056-077-096
      Set 760FL Light 043-060-082-104
      Set 760FM Medium 049-069-089-109

    "Original 1954" Fender Style / Flatwound "Jamerson Set":

      Set 0760M Medium 052-073-095-110
  9. Might the Jamerson set have a different wrap/core ratio, or perhaps a silk jacket a la the Thomastik Jazz Flats?
  10. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    I thought the Jamerson set was nothin' BUT core (sorry, j/k).

    I DO know they are insanely high tension. I tried a set once, and
    before I could tune up the E, it broke off a section of the nut :(.
  11. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I have a question for you TI Flat guys. Aside from adjusting the action, did anyone (aside from me) experience an increase in string slap? I've backed off my playing, but I still seem to hear too much snap on the frets/neck. Thoughts?
  12. SCH


    May 3, 2002
    San Antonio, Texas
    I just put on a set of TI jazz flats for the first time and gigged with them over the weekend. Based on what I had read at TB I was anticipating having to adjust the string height, and maybe even the truss rod. Neither turned out to be necessary.

    I'm really liking the strings. The lower string tension is great. Before I put them on I wondered if they'd be too loose, but that wasn't a problem. The reduced tension makes playing down by the bridge much nicer. I can get a wide range of tonal difference between playing near the neck or bridge. Very nice.

    If you have a light touch you may not need to do much adjusting with TI jazz flats. But if you tend to dig in when you play you'll probably have to do some setup tweaking.
  13. Si-bob


    Jun 30, 2001
    Hemel Hempstead, UK
    Focusrite / Novation
    i bought some Rotosound Flats the other day, first flats i'v ever tried, i started to put them on and i noticed the tension issue, i got them on ok, but i never realised they'd be that much of a difference between them and rounds. Gotta love the feel and sound though.
    i have to say this as well, my basses neck didn't even need the smallest tweek, gotta love my basses neck :D

  14. I prefer flatwound strings and just put on a set of TI flats yesterday and I really like them. TI's exert considerably less tension than other flatwound brands so I was concerned that they might be, well, sloppy. That is not the case. I play a 5-string and even the low-B is great. By the way, the strings are said to be for a 34" scale length but they fit my BTB405 with a 35" scale just fine. The B-string was a "just barely" fit though. Once the "B" is tightened up, the silk does clear the nut with about 1/4" to spare.

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