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Flatwounds and string tension

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Juniorkimbrough, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    From your experience which flatwounds have the most tension?

    I have a P-bass and a Jazz both with flats, the Jazz has Chromes which don't have a lot of tension IMO while the flats that are on the P-bass have a very high tension. They were on there when I bought it so I'm not quite sure what brand they are but I'd like to find out because I really like them.

    Thanks for your input!
  2. phaneo


    Mar 14, 2001
    Fort Worth TX
    I just put my first set of flats on my Jazz bass. I used Fender Stainless 105-.55 and man is the tension high. I thought I was going to break the nut when I was tuning the G and D. I really like the way they sound, but playing four hours on them.....I don't know. I think I'm gonna step down a guage.
  3. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    What color is the silk?
    Are the windings smooth like Cromes, or a bit coarser?

    My guess would by Labella, they make some heavy flats.
  4. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The fender flats, 9050M if I remember properly, where the highest tension flats I have tried.

    When you talk about flats, guage is very important. For example the chromes are fairly high tension depending on the guage. I get the "orange set" which is 50 to 105. You may have the 45 to 100 set which are much lower tension.

    LaBella 760FS are fairly high tension, the 760FL, which are only about .002 to .001 different, are much lower tension. They are a completely different string.
  5. PhilMan99


    Jul 18, 2003
    US, Maryland
    I think you'll find all true flats have high tension. As I recall, juststrings.com has tension listed for some strings, but I've not looked in a couple of years.

    "Alternative" strings like TI Jazz Flats (there's a nylon wrap inside) and "half/ground-wounds" have lower tension.
  6. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Can anyone explain the reason why the tension in flatwounds?

    With a regular wrapped string and a flatwound in the same gauge, why is the flat higher tension?
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I've always wondered this too. There is more metal in a flatwound, that might cause the higher tension. This is also less flexibility since the flat wind doesn't bend as well as a round wind with gaps to flex.

    Or is it just historical? All the flats I have tried, except possibly the TIs, trace their origins back the the early days of the bass.
  8. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Does anyone else find it true that with the higher tension flat wounds you are able to get your action quite a bit lower because the strings don't have as much "flop" to them?

    And yes I went and looked and I am using the lighter flatwounds on my Jazz. .045-.100 Chromes
    I'm only seeing one other set of Chromes that is a heavier gauge on musiciansfriend....and the E string is only .105, which isn't much heavier at all.
  9. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Hmmm. Interesting. I'll have to look out for this.
  10. PhilMan99


    Jul 18, 2003
    US, Maryland
    I would guess because the diameter of the metal "core" at the center of the string is larger on flat-wounds. This is probably intentional; because of the higher tension, lower-order harmonics are favored. A string with less tension can vibrate more freely, and produce higher-order harmonics.
  11. Yes.
  12. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Thanks, that's what I was thinking. The action on the P-bass I just got is so low it just ridiculous, the thing is easy as heck to play. I'm a pretty aggressive player and I think the higher tension would help me out.
  13. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    The Ernie Ball flats are a decent string and you can order them individually in different gauges to find the best match for your instrument.

    Last year I switched to Rotosound Monel 77s and love them!

    I use 45-105's plus a 130 for my 5 string. Oh yeah, the tension seems a bit higher with these. I also tune down a half step on my 5 string and the 45-130 set is a perfect match.

    For a lighter gauge, I thought the TI's were great -- just not for me.
  14. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Steve Harris flatwounds.....very high tension IME
  15. String pitch is a function of mass, tension and string length. Leaving length out of the equasion, if you have a string where the outer winding is flat, it will sit more closely on the core, so for a string of a given overall diameter, it will have a higher mass compared with a round wound string of the same overall diameter.

    Higher mass strings need to be strung tighter to get up to pitch, so an all-metal flatwound will always be tighter than an equivalent sized roundwound.
  16. In the STRINGS section of my spread sheet, I keep the tension data for all the strings I can find. Rotosound and Fender do not publish, so I have no data for them. Pity.

    I suppose I could make a tensioning jig and scale, but that is too much work, and I'm too lazy for that.

    I recently added a new column that calculates tension for 4-string basses strung B-E-A-D.
  17. Bgavin said:
    I agree. Some months back I phoned Rotosound about tension for their Jazz Flats, 77s. Not only do they not publish, they flaty refuse to divulge these figures on the grounds that it is a trade secret. :( :(

    I mean, it seems no big deal really. Some of the worlds most respected manufacturers are willing to share data with their users. Why not Rotosound?

    If I knew what to do - and had the means, time, etc, I'd make this jig and take the measurements, just for the hell of it.

    I'm very, very disappointed in Rotosound's approach on this issue.

    Having said that I still bought a set of their 77s and 88s... Don't think I'll bother again, though.

  18. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses

    Which link do I click on to see the different string tensions?

  19. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    Your statement here interests me. Could you could elaborate a bit more about the difference. Is it just the tension, is it really that much higher, and how about the sound?

    Desiring a bit more tension, I switched from TI flats to LaBella 760FL and have been very happy with them. The 760FL set is just a bit higher in tension than the TI's, but not really by very much. But after using them for about 1.5 years, I'm now thinking I might want even a little more tension. I was wondering about the 760FS since they are only .002-.001 thicker. Are they really that much tighter than the 760FL set? I think I'd like just a little more tension, but I don't want to go too tight. Maybe I'll just try raising the action a bit and see if that does the trick.
  20. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Junior; it's my understanding that the LaBella Jamersons are really high tension. They're big fat muthas too.