Flatwound vs Roundwounds

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Jimbo, Jul 30, 2001.

  1. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    i bet this has been posted before, but i searched i couldn't find anything.


    i hear a lot of people talking about flatwound strings. what the difference betweent hat and normal strings? i've also heard a lot about using flatwounds on a fretless. now would roundwounds tear up your fretboard? can i use flatwounds on a fretted bass?

    sorry if this is redundant, but can anyone shine some light on this topic for me?
  2. You can use flatwounds on a fretted. The way a string is made is that they take a core, either round or hexagonal, and put an outer wrap on it. I think there's also an inner wrap, but I don't know anything about it. On a roundwound string, the outer wrap is a round wire, hence the name. It makes a brighter sound because of more overtones, or something like that. On a flatwound bass, the outer wrap is a ribbon, so the surface of the string is flat and smooth. It has a deeper, flatter sound, because it doesn't have the bright overtones. They both have differences, that I'll try to sum up as best as I can.

    Brighter, more sustain
    Cuts through the mix better
    Most people use them today, so if you're trying to get the same tone as someone for a cover song, then rounds would probably work better.
    Generally cheaper

    Deep, thumpy, old type sound
    Easier on frets and fingerboards
    Less fret noise

    As for the sound, I didn't list that as an advantage for either, because that's purely subjective. Also, I'm sure I missed a lot of other differences between the two that others will add later. Personally, I like flatwounds, and have a set on my Yamaha RBX260 fretless, and they work great on it. But I also have a set of rounds on my RBX765A, and they work for that. Whatever works for you.
  3. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Flats can cut through the mix just as well or just as poorly as roundwounds. Because they have more low end (or less high end if you prefer) if you EQ them the same way you you do rounds, you end up with mush.

    You can use rounds on a fretlesss but unless you coat the fretboatrd with some kind of protectant (Jaco used epoxy) you will chew grooves into your fingerboard pretty quick. BUT, if that's the sound you're after, that's what you should do, IMO.