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Flatwounds Playability

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Bass_Machine, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. Bass_Machine


    Oct 29, 2004
    Ok, so I have a new fretless, and with my rounds I got a nice "Jaco" tone and the playability seemed fine. Now I out on some Rotosound Jazz Bass flats and I think the playability is a little worse. It feels like it takes that extra little bit of effort to pluck, and this is slowing me down. I also seem to not be able to get that "Jaco" tone anymore, which is why I started fretless (that and Pino Palladino). My questions are:

    1. Will reverting back to flatwounds give me better playability?

    2. Is it possible to get "Jaco" tone with a set of flatwounds? I've heard TI jazz flats are good, would you recommend them?

    Thanks, Hector
  2. billbern


    Sep 11, 2004
    Daytona Beach, Fl
    Endorsing: Inearz In-ear Monitors
    I also don't like the high tension of "regular" flats. I've had TI Jazz Flats on my BTB 1005 fretless for over a year now. Real low tension, great feel IMHO

    Here is a clip BTB 1005 fretless, rosewood board, TI Jazz Flats 12 months old.

  3. Bass_Machine


    Oct 29, 2004
    Thanks for the help there man. I may just go with a set o' these TI flats.
  4. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    I would like to suggest D'addario Chromes. I have a set in gauges .45-.100 but you can get lighter ones than that.

    I have them on my jazz fretless with DiMarzio Model J's. I found the XL roundwounds a bit too twangy for it, so I got the chromes to mellow out the sound a bit.

    IMHO they are easy to play-a little stiffer than TI's, but not as stiff as Fender flatwounds I've used. They also really sing on a fretless bass.

    And yes, they can be growley too, if you want that sound :)
  5. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    I have them on my fender american Jazz bass and they will make you lose some of that Mawww that is the Jaco sound . it is enhanced by roundwounds against the fretboard . That is what makes that sound and unfortunately they will make much less of that because the Ti's are very smooth.
  6. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Belfast, UK
    It is quite difficult to get close to the Jaco tone without rounds, at least in my experience. Those TI Jazz flats do a good job, however they still don't have the treble attack that rounds do.

    I used D'addario Chromes on my old fretless 5 for the longest tone, and I could never get the Jaco tone, but they still sounded and played great. A little brighter and better feeling that other flats I've used.

    On my epoxied fretless 4, I use D'addario Prosteels tuned BEAD (.130 B to a .65 D I believe), and when I was using the top 4 of the set, the Jaco tone was really good. Sadly, it's hard to get without having a jazz PU set-up as well. Check out the tune "The Chamber" from my Soundclick http://www.soundclick.com/bands/7/jakeposega_music.htm to see what I mean about mwah. Those steels rock.
  7. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Rotosound flats are very stiff, so you want to drop your action a bit. Experiment with different string heights.

    Jaco used roundwounds on epoxy coated board I think, which is much slicker than the wood surface, resulting in different sound. Much of the fretless mwah comes from the strings grinding against the fretboard so smooth flats lessen the effect.
  8. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    If you want low-tension and roundwounds, you will not do better than TI Jazz ROUNDS.
  9. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    They are soooo low tension, they kind of scare me. LOL!
    But I'm going to try them on my Modulus Fretless Jazz and see how they sound. I have LaBella Tapewounds on it right now (came with the bass when I bought it).

    The tapes don't sound too bad actualy, but I really want to open her up. Also, those tapes are pretty high tension. They are smooth, but high tension to be sure.
  10. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    If you want a good sounding roundwound with the TI sound, but don't want the super low tension of the Jazz Rounds, then try the SuperAlloys. I'm using them on a few basses and they are the closest thing to the Jazz Flats in a roundwound. Even the same color silk!

  11. I use them on an American Jazz Bass and love them. They will not have the zing of a roundwound but they are smooth, deep sounding on the lows and have excellent mids and smooth highs.
    I really like them.
  12. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Actually, it will be a toss-up between the Powerbass (SuperAlloys) and the Jazz rounds.

    I hear so many people say that the Jazz rounds are ideal for fretless, that I am inclined to try them, despite the fact their tension is even lower than their flats.

    Hell, I may just buy a set of flats, rounds and Powerbass and try all three. An expensive experiment, but it sounds like fun! :hyper:
  13. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    I won a KSD fretless 5 on thebay and it came with ken smith roundwounds. It has a lined fretboard, I preferred a unlined but the noone else bid and I got it pretty darn cheap. Does a lined board sound different than an unlined? This bass has very little mwah that I can hear, it came with the action set pretty high. I am droppin it off tomorrow to get a setup
    (lower action) and have the D'Addrio flats put on it. Will the setup and flats make this bass sound more like a fretless than what it now does? All in all a very nice sounding bass, gobs of low end with the onboard pre. A few weeks ago, I passed up a good deal on a fretted 5er 70j, wish I knew then what I know now of this bass.
  14. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I'm not sure how much effect lines on a fingerboard should have. I have a fretless with inlaid lines, but the FB is so smooth that the lines should really have a pretty small impact I would think. I would think that the FB material would have far more impact. What kind of FB does yoour bass have?

    Make sure you follow up with a post on how the new Chromes (or are you using nickels?) sound and whether the lower action has helped in the mwah department.
  15. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma


    i have my Ric currently strung up with d'adario cromes and i have never heard that bass growl so much... but for fretless (my other bass) i know that i never like the rotosounds... but the TI's are god on fretless. i havent tried them on my ric yet though...
  16. I also just switched off d'addario XL's on my fretless 5 back to some TI JF's I had lying around, you do lose a little mwah, but the feel and expressiveness of these strings is just amazing. The sound is exactly what I had been wanting, slightly less sustain, more punch, more mids. That being said if you want the jaco sound, flats are not the way go, but you won't know until you try it, and as expensive as they are, TI's are at least worth the try.
  17. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    What kind of FB does your fretless have and do the Chromes wear it at all given that the Chromes are flatwound but stainless steel?
  18. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001

    The FB is rosewood, with lines in it. So far, there seems to be no wear from these strings. They actually feel pretty smooth.

    Even the XL rounds I had on it didn't put much wear in it at all, although they were only on for about a year.

    All in all, I really love the way the Chromes sound on this bass :hyper:
  19. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Cool! Thanks for the data point.

    I think I am going to buy a pack each of D'Add chromes and half-wounds, and a pack each of TI Jazz Rounds and Power Bass. And then I'm going to have an A/B Fest!

    If I had some recording equipment, I would do some some "Sound Bytes" as well. Unfortunately, I don't at this time.
  20. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001

    I'm curious about those half rounds. Let us know how they sound :hyper: