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Flatwound vs Roundwound

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Tab92, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Tab92


    Jul 23, 2012
    What's going on fellow jamboozlers -

    I'm thinkin about switching my string of choice from Ernie Ball Super Slinky Nickel Wound to some flatwound strings. I don't know what a good brand is or what I can expect from them, so I'm relying on some words of wisdom from you guys.

    I play a Fender Jazz bass in a three man band, and I read somewhere that flat wounds don't give as full of a sound as round wound or nickel wounds do, which isn't what I'm looking for since I need to fill in as much space as possible. I enjoy slapping and generally getting a nice booming sound, but I don''t like the sliding sound of the nickels and the toll it can take on the fingers sometimes, still got some callouses to build up it would seem.

    If you have some input on this or on string suggestions in general I always enjoy reading about equipment.

    Thanks guys
  2. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    Don't do it.
    Flats are not good for slapping.
    Flats do somewhat limit the versatility of a jazz bass.
    I play flats, but I like Precision style basses which matchup well with flatwounds.
    If by the sliding sound of nickels, you mean finger noise-it goes with the territory and if you can learn to be more careful, you can limit the noise in between the notes.
    I recommend trying other rounds like Sunbeams, Low Riders and stainless steel, but I think they are harder on the fingers.
    I use nickel rounds.

    There are dozens of very long threads on the subject. Use the search function to find them.

    Like these: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f16/confessions-flatwound-convert-pt-2-a-685391/
  3. I have Thomastik-Infelds on three Fender Aerodyne and I won't play anything else. If you try them you will never go back.
    Jens1 likes this.
  4. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    I think rounds will gove better sound fopr your wants. Try lowering your action if your struggling with fretting and try to use lighter fretting technique. No heavy handedness, etc. super slinkies are light gauge so suggesting lower action first rather then lighter gauge.
  5. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    i use GHS Compression Wounds ... the outside wrap is flatted out a little bit from the way it wound ... gets rid of some of the finger noise and is better on my fingers ...
    my main instrument is keys ... so i don't keep my fingers caloused up as i used to ...

    i have these on both my fivers ... and TI flats on my 4 string ...

    i've tried other ' Bright Flats or Half Rounds ' and like these the best ... they still have that Full Spectrum sound , but are missing just a bit of the highs ... i usually order them from JustStrings.com

    usually the finger noise can be EQ's slightly somewhere between 1k-4k ish ... ?
  6. I'd recommend TAPE wounds which retain a lot of the qualitites of rounds without the rough texture. Not as dull/thuddy ad flats, tension is relatively low and slapping is good.
  7. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    TIs are terrible for slapping even by flatwound standards.
  8. BassBob1


    Dec 21, 2010
    The soundcloud clip in my sig is my jazz favoring the neck pickup with flats. D'Addario chromes which are still my favorite flats. I stuck with flats for quite a while and only started experimenting with rounds again within the last few months. I'm pretty happy with dunlop nickels right now. As far as sound goes, once flats break in they don't have the high end that rounds do. You can slap all you want on flats and it will work just fine unless you are going for a modern sound. Flats will sound a little more old school I guess. The thing with flats is they generally they sound better in a mix than by themselves especially if you are used to rounds. Do they sit better in a mix than rounds? That depends and is entirely up to you. I say give 'em a try and if you don't like the sound try something else.
  9. Personally I don't think you'll find any flatwound much good for slapping it that's part of your style. I play GHS Pressure Wounds on my Jazz. Most expressive strings I've ever used on a Jazz. Still not a great string for slapping but somewhat better than a flat.

    Very round and full sounding and easy on the fingers and frets. Cost you around $20 a set through bassstringsonline.com. Try those and see if you like them.
  10. bladerunner347


    Aug 20, 2012
    I think Larry Graham achieved a great slap tone with flats and I have actually heard some really sick tones from the black nylon tape wounds... Verdine White "Earth Wind and Fire" uses them to this day... I don't know if anyone gets a better tone than he does...
  11. Well I stand corrected then. So if the OP has the skills of Larry Graham or Verdine White he should be fine then. But for the rest of us mere mortals slapping flats presents more of challenge.

    SRV could play and bend the hell out of .013s too but most of us settle for .010s or .011s on our gits because we don't have fingers made of steel or the of the grip of the "jaws of life".

    I was speaking more to the average than the exceptional. :meh:
  12. slick_tu


    Sep 19, 2006
    South Jersey
    I don't slap, but it seems, as others have said, that flats wouldn't be so good for that. FWIW, I have TIJF's on my J's and P's and I love them.
  13. TalkingWaffle


    Sep 2, 2012
    I blew $50 on flatwounds a few days ago to try them out and I absolutely can't stand them... Really friction-y and weird for me. Its gonna be a long few months...
  14. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I love slapping my flats, I don't know what you guys are talking about.
  15. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    TalkBass has alot of words and alot of hype, but I never saw the benefit of flatwounds. If I want to sound thicker or less bright, I'd just roll off the tone knob. But I never do, becuase it just sounds so much better with tone knob open.
  16. So do you do any slapping on your flatround P-bass? Just curious.

    Every now and then I pick up my daughter's Fender Squire Affinity p-bass (which she doesn't use any more but that's another story) and contemplate putting a set of TI flatwounds on (and getting it set up properly).

    I don't slap a lot (want to get better at it). However, the p-bass is the easiest slap bass in our household. So I tend to agree with you not to put flats on a slap bass. Then again, it would be nice to have some flat rounds on at least one bass I play (my other two are a RIC 4001 and a Dean Edge Pro 4).
  17. Buy another very cheap Jazz, defret it and put flats on it. You'll thank me later.

    EDIT: Yes, you CAN slap a Precision with flats. Try to find some oldschool funk like Forget Me Nots. Look that up. You'll thank me again later.
    jalapejoe likes this.
  18. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Flatwounds have an entirely different tonality. They don't ring out and sustain like roundwounds, they have a more quick and percussive sound with a strong low-frequency attack to the note. I like a lot of brightness, but I still use flatwounds for that percussive sound.
  19. mozilla314


    Dec 19, 2011
    I'm normally a roundwound jazz bass
    config type of guy, but I keep a Precision
    with flats in the stable for recording sessions.
    Last week I recorded with a rapper who
    wanted to do a remake of a 70's Isley
    Brothers song. I had to re-create the bass
    sound as close as possible and the Precision
    was the only way to go because that was the
    bass of choice during 70's R&B.
    I couldn't JUST play with flats on a daily basis.
    I like a bass that is able to get a variety of sounds
    using different pickup combos. It's good to have
    different basses with different strings on standby,
    ready to go when needed.
  20. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Give them a few weeks. Your opinion may change. Make sure you do a complete setup.

    Yes, you CAN slap on flats. It's a different sound, but still very useful.

    I'm a Chromes on a P fan, though I keep rounds on my main player because the band I'm with requires both.

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