Fretless noob needs advice on strings!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by WayneP, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. WayneP


    Oct 11, 2004
    Katy, Texas

    I recently acquired a used Schecter 4-string fretless to “get my feet wet,” as it were. It needs new strings, so I looking for some advice from you experienced fretless guys on what to get.

    Primarily, I’m interested in maximizing that fretless “mwah” sound (fortunately, this bass is surprisingly good in that respect, especially for its price). I think I’ve already figured out that that comes more readily with light-gauge strings vs. medium- or heavy-guage, right? Beyond that I’m wondering, do round-wound or flats get better “mwah?”

    I don’t know what the strings are that it came to me with, but my guitar tech measured them as a rather peculiar 42, 56, 83, and 95.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly

  2. Pick up a used set of Jazz Flats from the classified section here for around $50.
  3. D'Addario Chromes or Fender flats are great strings IMO and are way less than $50!
  4. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
  5. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    Wayne, given that you want to maximize the "mwah" sound, I would recommend a round wounds over flats. Personally, I prefer Pressurewounds, because they have plenty of "mwah" but are a bit smoother on your hands, and have less finger noise than a set of rounds will.

    Other than that, play whatever gauge you are most comfortable with.
  6. popgadget

    popgadget Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    My preference is for Fender 9050 ML or CL.
  7. I prefer flats over rounds, but rounds will give more mwah. Low action, favoring the bridge pickup more, and playing by the neck help too.
  8. MethodsofDance


    Nov 19, 2013
    I really like Chromes. First flats I've used but they are really good.
  9. WayneP


    Oct 11, 2004
    Katy, Texas
  10. WayneP


    Oct 11, 2004
    Katy, Texas

    The D’Addario’s look interesting, but all the scales they offer – short, long, medium, super long, etc. – are confusing. Schecter’s web site says the 4-string fretless is 34” scale – what’s that, medium?

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly

  11. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I'm addicted to Ernie Ball flats, which I use on both basses I own. They come as singles, so you're free to compose a set of gauges to your liking. Soundwise they are identical to Chromes.
  12. fjadams

    fjadams Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    You might want to look at GHS Brite Flats. Still get the bottom, but more top end than most other flats.

    The La Bella white tape wounds also give bottom with more top than other tapes or flats. I use them on a Danelectro Longhorn, and on a Gretsch 2224 strung BEAD.
  13. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Flats would be the worst choice here. They give the opposite sound of what the OP wants.

    Medium scale D'Addario's should fit just fine.
  14. Crackle


    Nov 3, 2007
    Plano, TX
    I highly recommend Fender nylon tape wound strings on 4-string fretless. If the fingerboard is a hard material such as Pao Ferro or ebony, then I like DR roundwounds.
  15. OP is looking for mwah, as Bongo pointed out. Tape wounds probably won't generate much mwah as they will a mellow smooth sound.
  16. Kael

    Kael Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Rounds are what you want for mwah. Yes you can set up flats to get some mwah, but that is not there natural sound. Get a set of rounds. I can't understand the flats recommendation. Not sure if those posters read the original posters tonal goals or not.Heavy or light gauge is up to you. Lighter gauges are easier to set up for mwah, but you can lower higher gauges some and still get pretty damned respectable mwah there.

    PS: Ignore the rounds eat fingerboard crap. Yes they will eventually wear you fingerboard and you'll have to get it dressed. No different than needing to get the frets touched up once every umpteen years or so.
  17. Crackle


    Nov 3, 2007
    Plano, TX
    I was actually surprised at how much Mwah the Fender nylon tape wounds have -- a lot. Of course one important variable is having the neck as straight as possible.
  18. billgwx


    Apr 10, 2009
    Centereach NY
    +1 for that. I once had a fretless that at first had not been set up properly, and so would not mwah at all until I got both the neck relief and action just right so it would mwah up and down the neck on all strings. Nickel-plated rounds were my string of choice for that bass--wanted a warmer sound and easier sliding than with stainless steel rounds. And 34" qualifies as long scale, but if the strings go through the body on your bass you'll want super long scale strings.
  19. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    +1, pressure wounds are fantastic on a fretless.
  20. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    A lot of ppl here posting for u to use flats- who knows of any fretless players that even use flats? Jaco- round, Gary Willis - round, Alain Caron- round, Michael Manring- round, Jimmy Haslip- round etc...FYI, the "mawh" sound is not going to come from ur strings alone, but rounds will definitely help u get there.
    you can hear a lot of my fretless work on my website: