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Fretless players Flats or Rounds?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by tjclem, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Just wondering what you all prefer............t
  2. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I use flats becuase the rounds would chew up my fretboard.

    I use roundwounds on my fretted and I like being able to get a flatwound sound.
  3. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Nickel rounds...easy on the board, great sound
  4. But I high quality nickel like Thomastik-infeld Jazz Bass shouldn't be too bad.

    Ebony wood is pretty tough I think. But I don't know about rosewood or some of these other boards.

    I prefer flatwounds when I had my Linc Luthier fretless five, which is a very alive bass anyway.

    But I soemtimes use half-wounds or "ground wounds". THese work good on fretted basses too.
  5. I use GHS Brite Flats on my fretless and Fender Flats on my fretted basses. The Brite Flats seem to make the fretless "sing" more than regular flats. I have gotten to the point where I don't care for roundwound at all.
  6. I have nickel rounds on both of my fretless basses, but both are Pedulla (one Rapture J2 5 and one Hexabuzz with soapbars) and have the coated fingerboard. The coating is claimed to be 80% as hard as glass, I know that with a light touch mine and two others I know of are showing no wear after a lot of use so it may be harder.

    On an uncoated board I'd use flats or ground wounds (aka "bright flats"), or pressure wounds. There are a lot of people who just accept that rounds on an uncoated fingerboard will wear the board quickly and use them though. As with everything else, personal preferences vary and the choices need only be 'right' for the person making them.
  7. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I used to think I prefered flats, but lately I've been loving groundwounds. I tried some Elixir Nanowebs on my F Bass and I like that a lot too. Hopefully it'll be easier on the fretboard than other rounds, but if I start to see some wear, I'll put on groundwounds.

    I do like flats on my fretted P.

  8. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    I have 5 Fretless basses and have different strings on all, for
    different tone.

    1978 Fender P-Bass: Tape wounds, good upright tone. No board Damage.
    1994 Fender MIJ Jazz:Nickel DR Sunbeams,good tone,no board
    1994 Carvin 6 String: Ken Smith Compressors,slight board
    marks if I vibrato. Good Steve Bailey tone.Works well on Primus
    songs also.
    1998 Fender MIM Jazz: RS66 Steel Rotosounds,leave lots of marks and grooves in board.Great "Jaco" tone, I only paid $250
    for it and put the roto's on it on purpose to get the "Jaco"
    1998 Carlo Robeli ABG,De-fretted: GHS phospher Bronze.
    Great for unplugged gigs.great for tunes like Tears in heaven
    etc etc.
  9. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    Round. I think I have the Billy Sheehan Rotosounds with an additional 130 for the B on my Stingray5. I really don't change them very often. At all. Not real great for 'presence', but okay if you want that semi flatwound sound.
  10. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    I like flats on my MIM J, but plan to put roundwounds on my Browne fretless 6 when it arrives.

    Don't worry too much aboot fretboard damage. Yeah, the strings'll wear a LITTLE bit, but once the lil'grooves are there, they won't really get any worse. You don't need to worry aboot wearing low spots in the fretboard or anything. Just try both, and see which you prefer.
  11. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES

    DR nickel LowRiders!!
  12. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    had flats on my old '75 resissue - sounded good, but now that i've got a double bass the fretless i now have (Late 70's yamaha thru neck) has really bright roundwounds and sounds ACE!

  13. I use Nickel Roundwounds (different brands though) on all three of my electric fretless basses (Elrick, Lakland, Roscoe)
  14. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    This is a myth. Flats also cause damage to the board over time. If you have a fretless and you play the snot out of it, yes, there will come a time when you need to have a new board put on it. You must remember that it will take an awful lot of playing to get to that point even with round wounds. My suggestion is get the strings that sound the best to you.

    Rick Turner puts TI jazz rounds on his Electroline fretless basses. They are very nice sounding strings.
  15. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Nickel rounds on mine. The fingerboard has a hard poly finish that so far has shown to be nigh invulnerable to nickel rounds.
  16. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I have a stabalized/acrilyzed ebony board taht is very hard, but I use TI jazz-flats on it. The whole point of fretless for me is for the combination of thump and "mwah"
  17. TI Jazz Flats on my Musicman Stingray 4 fretless. I know my fretless idol, Pino Palladino uses rounds but flatwounds are so sssexy...I guess that's the ebst word to describe it. It makes you feel like you're at one with the instrument, especially when the string vibrates. Ooooh babeh...
  18. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    Do you avoid driving your car because the tires will wear out? How about brake pads? Better not wear those shoes...the soles will wear out...

    Bob said it...Go for tone, and then deal with the wear as it comes up. Big deal, so you have to have the 'board resurfaced every now and then. That's the price you pay for the tone you want. What do you think God invented luthiers for, anyway? Do I have to do an Arnold and accuse some of you of being girly-men?
  19. BassMann2112


    Jun 21, 2002
    I have only 1 Frettless bass. I have a set of hand made Ribbon Wound strings on it. Not sure but I think they are the same as flat wound? Are they? Anyway, I love EM!!! However I did not like the ground or round wound due to fretboard damage.
  20. Just flats.

    Although thought about trying a nylon coated round on it.