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Flounds Revisited

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JimmyM, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    About 6 or 7 years ago, I came up with the idea of "flounds," a type of string that sounds like new rounds and dead flats both. As I generally only like to take one bass to gigs but I want maximum versatility, I thought this would be a great idea that with today's space age technology would be easy to accomplish, and I expected major string manufacturers to run with it. But as of today, still nothing.

    The closest I've gotten to the flounds concept are dead Dunlop Super Bright Nickels. If you play lightly on them with fingers or thumb, they do a fairly credible job of sounding like flats, and if you play harder or use a pick, they still have some snappy zing to the sound. But this is the only set of strings I've tried that can do this kind of double duty, the sounds are still approximations and not dead ringers, and technique plays such a big part that they can't be called "flounds." Close but still unacceptable.

    Most dead rounds just sound like dead rounds and are kind of blah in the zing department, except they have just enough of it when played lightly to sound like dead rounds and not dead flats. And while new flats can often sound like rounds, they have too much zing to sound like dead flats. And when they go dead, you get that "thwack" when slapped or played with a pick, which is great but sounds nothing like new rounds. Tapewounds sound like rounds covered in tape. And forget half rounds or pressed rounds, which to me are neither fish nor fowl whether new or dead.

    So what's the holdup? We can send satellites out to deep space, we can have video conversations with people worldwide for the price of a computer and an internet connection, we can squeeze 5000 watts into a 1 lb box the size of a whiskey flask, but we can't have flounds? I suppose everyone's going to play the "physics" card, huh? Lame. If we can send satellites out to deep space, that tells me we can defeat the laws of physics in other ways, and strings should be one of the easier ways of defeating them.

    OK, string makers...let's hear your crummy excuses.
    tindrum, REMBO, chupacerveza and 12 others like this.
  2. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca In the pocket n' thumpy. So woody, so greasy...

    I could see Rotosound coming out with with a dual pack of strings called the "Mellow string - thumpy zing flat pack". Each set comes complete with a lightweight , quarter sawn , dual neck bass guitar in the Jazz AND Precision configurations and retails for £3400 Sterling. Comes with a free polishing cloth....Available on the Talk bass store....:smug:
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Can I get it in PJ and P? I don't like to solo the neck pickup on a Jazz.
    chupacerveza, Pbassmanca and 2tonic like this.
  4. Did you give those Dunlop flats a good test run yet? Those stay in a nice happy zone between dead rounds and dead flats for a decent amount of time.
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. as far as maximum versatility.. there is no way to beat a 2 bass maximum versatility team of a Fender bass, and whatever else floats your boat for the other.
    Flats on the fender, rounds on the other. Fender with flats mainly because most stuff you heard through your life was likely recorded with one.
    dpaulb, chupacerveza and JimmyM like this.
  6. Biffa


    Apr 16, 2019
    I remember Ground Wounds from way back when, Roundwounds with the outer surface ground flat giving a flatwounds playing surface but the inner voids of a roundwound
  7. Dean Markley made some. I tried them. Sounded like rounds...felt pretty good like flats, but for some reason they didn't sound good when they broke in.
    chupacerveza, JimmyM and Biffa like this.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh yeah, I've had a set for a year and a half and you're right to an extent. But I wanted the dead sound for the new band, so I artificially aged the new set with Eucerin cream. Don't need versatility for them. I just need the dead flats sound. It's other bands I need more versatility with.

    That would involve bringing two basses. However, plenty of stuff I love and heard all my life was cut with rounds as well as flats.
    chupacerveza and 2tonic like this.
  9. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    Can I have your jazz neck pickup then, I'll swap you for my jazz bridge pickup. Jazz bridge pickups to me sound really awful. Lots of people love them though.
    chupacerveza and JimmyM like this.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm not fond of them soloed, that's for sure! And most of the time they're off. However, occasionally I like the brighter more scoopy tone you get with it on, depending on the song.
    chupacerveza and Pbassmanca like this.
  11. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    Yeah it's an articulate sound for sure. I think it can be useful when blended. However I think the popularity of certain players has swayed a lot of opinions on their sound.
    On the flounds I too would love a string set like that, touch sensitive from flatwound-like fundamentals to roundwound-like upper harmonic content.
    I kind of get that happening with some broken D'addario Nickel XLs (see not really a bright tone player) but flounds would take it to the next level.
    Develop it Jimmy, I'll happily be your first endorser. :thumbsup:
    chupacerveza and JimmyM like this.
  12. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I want HalfFlats® strings.
  13. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    I'll see your "I don't want to take more than one bass to a gig," and I'll raise you: I don't want to own more than one bass. So flounds would have an appeal to me--but not for the zing; what makes me occasionally want to stray from flats is a particular chewy midrange sound that rounds can deliver to a greater degree than flats (perhaps excepting some, like TI Jazz Flats).

    If I could have a string with the fundamental thump of flats and the chewy mids of rounds, but without the zing, that would be great. (I'm sure someone will be along to recommend GHS Pressurewounds any moment now. And someone else might recommend Ernie Ball Cobalt Flats.)
  14. You'd be surprised about how little has actually changed in the last hundred years. Sometimes, things really just can't be improved upon - none of the developents that we've made that you've mentioned actually break the laws of physics or thermodynamics, they just came up with new ways to manipulate things.

    Absolutely, nowadays you could totally gig with a U-bass or one of many knockoffs, and it's totally viable in spite of how tiny it is. But it didn't really break any conventions - a double bass is as big as it is because it needs to get loud, a U-bass just makes really thick strings on a very short-scaled instrument with a tiny body, the ultimate compromise is that if you brought the thing unamplified to a campfire with other acoustic instruments, you'd be inaudible. Yeah, we've gotten space probes out of earth's orbit, but that's not breaking physics, that's understanding how physics works so that you can develop a machine to make it happen (and I'm NOT trying to diminish that as an accomplishment, it's truly awesome the kind of stuff humanity has pulled off).

    The way I see it is that it's kinda like cleaning off your fingerboard - are you going to want some kind of product that contains a cleaner to clean up all the oil and grease and gunk off your fingerboard and then coats it with some kind of oil, doing a half-arsed job at both things at the same time, or are you willing to suck up the ten minutes to clean your fingerboard with a damp rag and then put some linseed oil on it? Well, do you want a string that carries a strong fundamental with a nice thumpy-yet-smooth grunt with another bass that has strings with a nice snappy zing to them, or do you want one bass with strings that can kinda do both, but not %100.
  15. bench


    Dec 28, 2007
    the sound you describe is what i associate with mike gordon. he uses slick rounds on a modulus....
    chupacerveza and fermata like this.
  16. burgerdj


    Dec 4, 2006
    EB Cobalt Flats are the most responsive flatwound string that I have ever come across. With tone/treble turned down they are plenty thumpy but also provide enough grind and zing for a legit slap tone with boosted highs, especially with a tweeter.
  17. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017

    Dunlop Flounders. I’m confident you can convince them. I’ll buy a set.
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    What about Chromes?

    I think you are kinda looking for a unicorn (as we all are).
    miljoneir, JimmyM and Mktrat like this.
  19. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I play rounds on my basses - flats feel like I'm fighting to drag tone out of the instrument, I can't play them. I practice straight into a DI and headphone amp. When I gig, I use a Tech 21 Q strip that functions as my DI, my cabinet emulation (low pass filter), and has a bit of dip at 250 Hz, and a bit of push at 1.6 kHz.

    OK, all that said....when my strings get to sounding a bit dead in practice, I know I have a gig or two where, with the gig rig, and a little more fret clank (I play a bit harder on the gig when I dig in; just part of what happens) they'll sound just right. If I turn off the EQ on the Q strip, I get...flounds - rounds that are slightly disappointingly dead. So, while not striving specifically to achieve what you are looking for, I think I may have stumbled on it accidentally.
  20. Try GHS Balanced Nickels?

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