Flatwounds history question!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by KoalaBass, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. KoalaBass


    Aug 12, 2011
    Have the "bright flats" (not talking about half-flats, groundwounds or those strings) been around since the 50's-60's or did they drop on the market more recently? for exemple: how long have d'addario chromes been here?
  2. LHbassist


    Apr 4, 2003
    Reno, Nevada
    I've been repairing basses and stringing them, since about 1967. Seen a lot of strings... boy, have I ever!

    Half rounds, are a total mistake... I could take several paragraphs to explain why- just know there's a number of good reasons, from direct experience, why I say this. A new set of flats, or a broken in set of rounds will sound, feel, and play much better.

    The GHS Brite Flats have been available since at least the late 70's. Don't like them so much- too dead in the 'E', and 'A' initially, and after break in.

    D'Addario Chromes are relatively recent. They're really GREAT strings. I have them on three of my basses. Bright, like a round new- break in nicely, feel great. NICE even tension across the sets. AND-VERY reasonably priced!

    LaBella flats- killer, they've been making them a VERY long time...Joe Osborn used them, and James Jamerson likely did, too... and probably a lot of other well recorded bassists of the 60's and 70's. I used to buy LaBella single flats in 1967. Blue tape back then, red silk ends now, great strings. A little more pricey now, than the Chromes.

    Rotosound 'Jazz Bass' flats- available only in super stiff "Steve Harris" gauges until fairly recently. The original heavy set (.95 'A') - 'is incredible, bright, long lasting. VERY high tension. If you're used to light tension strings, you will hate these. The 110-95-70-55 set BENT my Gotoh 201 bridge up like a Rick pot metal bridge. The lighter gauged set is terrific, and easier to play.

    Fender flats. Great strings, bright on install, and a bit dull as one would expect, after break-in. 9050 ML is a favorite set of mine. VERY reasonable cost.

    DR flats. Beautifully made. Overpriced, and overrated, just like all their strings are, in my opinion. I string a lot of guitars, too- with owner supplied DR's- I still don't get the hype- Ernie Balls are better...and more consistent. and less expensive! Ironic- their bass flats are the best set they make, among all their string sets. But- 60 bucks? Pass.

    Ernie Ball flats- good journeyman flat. Not too much to make me recommend them over a superior D'Addario Chrome set. And I LOVE the Ernie Ball Stainless Hybrid Slinky set above all other rounds!

    TI flats- the "Holy Grail" of modern flats.
    If you have problems with medium or high tension flats, this is a great set. I thought they were well made, and sounded wonderful. I HATED the rubberband -like low tension of them. The deal breaker, plus- they're way too expensive.

    The D'addario Chromes- in the 45-100 gauges will please just about any bassist looking to get into flats. They're a LOT like the LaBella flats I used to buy when I was a teenager in 1967. They shouldn't cost you more than 25 bucks after you bribe the salesman at GC with a Gene Simmons autograph.
  3. KoalaBass


    Aug 12, 2011
    well thank you for that very complete answer! I might throw a set of chromes on my mustang currently strung with GHS precision flats. what gauge do you recommand? 45-100 or 50-105? the GHS are 45-105. I've been using that gauge on my full lenght scale basses.
  4. LHbassist


    Apr 4, 2003
    Reno, Nevada
    Wow...a niche' I wasn't prepared for! Mustangs are 32" scale. I'm not sure if the Chromes are made in that length. Perhaps a long scale set will be o.k., just wind them slowly around the posts, I hope they don't break.
    I'd suggest the lighter set- the bass is already a lighter tension than a p- or Jazz bass' 34" length, but a big string will not really be much of a sonic advantage. The other thing is, that the heavy Chromes on my Fender Japan
    '62 P-bass, have forced me to pretty much max the truss rod. I don't like doing that...
    Two of my Fenders have the lighter gauge, and the big set is on the precision. The lighter set feels, sounds, and plays great.
  5. KoalaBass


    Aug 12, 2011
    Mustang are 30'' scale. I've always used long scale sets without any problems. Thanks for the input!
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You have to understand that until mid 70s, all Fender basses shipped with a non movable foam mute. People were after flat tone, at least the majority of them.
  7. You better go 50-105 with the chromes on a 30 inch scale. The chromes have less tension than the GHS-Precision flats, so be prepared for a litte bit floppier than your GHS 45-105's
  8. ddawson2012

    ddawson2012 Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    Farmingdale, NY
    D'Addario Marketing Specialist; Don Dawson
    UPDATE - Chromes for Bass have been around since the early 80s.
  9. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
  10. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    Rumor has it that Jamerson never changed his strings - EVER!:eek: Carol Kaye said his bass was poorly set up (high action), and very grungy... That indicates Fender flats for Jamerson. Weren't Fender flats nickel plated back then?
  11. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    Jamerson was an upright player originally and preferred high action.
  12. And didn't change the strings (nor took he care of his bass), giving a very thumpy, grunty low-end. He played with LaBella heavy-gauge (0.052-0.110) stainless steel strings.
  13. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Which still rule over all other flats if you want that huge solid old fashioned thump. Amazing strings I keep coming back to, though for more easily played or modern takes on a trad flatwound I'll take a lighter guage Labella or a Sadowsky flat with no hesitation. Not all necks are comfortable with the big Jamerson set, but the right P bass and a these strings are magical, even more so now with modern amplification so you can get that sound out to the audience.

    TIs are beautiful such richly complex mids and so responsive to fingerstyle playing, but they are really not for anyone who needs or wants a bit of tension in a string. They are very hard to play picked IMO, way to easy to overplay them and they don't aound good when you dig in too much, unlike most higher tension flats which can sound really well indeed with a bit of digging in.
  14. lmfreeman9

    lmfreeman9 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    Pyramid Gold also delivers that old school thump with nickel-very warm.

    I am convinced Ernie Ball and Chromes are identical. Using a set of each, in the lightest gauge on 2 similar G&L basses.
  15. hotbass57


    Nov 27, 2011
    I've had a set of med. scale set of Chromes on my Hofner. They fit perfect and I've never adjusted the neck, action is low and buzz free.
  16. I have La Bella flats on my P-Bass and Fender flats on my Jazz.....I prefer the La Bella flats a little more.....unlike most people I also like higher tension....seems to produce more punch.