GHS: PressureWounds on Fretless? Bright Flats on Fretted?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JacoNOT, May 6, 2012.

  1. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    I have an LTD B-205sm 5-string fretted bass - 34" scale.
    On-board active 3-band EQ and 2 ESP SB-5 pickups. Sales hype describes as "Bright and Punchy"

    I intend to buy it's identical fretless twin, the LTD B-205sm-FL - 34" scale.
    On-board active 3-band EQ and 2 ESP SB-5 pickups. Sales hype describes as "Bright and Punchy"

    I want my fretted bass to sound like THIS GUY.
    I think GHS Bright Flats are the right choice (or maybe the PressureWounds?).
    What do you guys think?

    I want my fretless to sound "typically fretless" but with more solid fundamental tone and not as much high end as the classic Jaco sound (and I want to avoid roundwounds that might eat my new fretless fingerboard).
    I think GHS PressureWounds are the right choice.
    What do you guys think?


    1. Are GHS PressureWounds and Bright Flats tight or loose...or what?
    These basses have 34" scale. My fretted bass shipped with cheap SIT roundwound strings (and so will the fretless). The B-string saddle had to be raised pretty high to compensate for all the thrashing about. So are either of these GHS sets likely to cause trouble on a 34" 5-string?

    2. Do GHS PressureWounds last a good long time? Do GHS Bright Flats last a good long time?
    I know some guys have TIs on for years, but I'm new to all this and just can't take a chance on blowing $100 (x2) on TIs that I might not like...:eek: If these two GHS sets have a good reputation for lasting more than just a few months, I'll chose GHS.

  2. I can tell you both sets last for quite a while. Both sort of split the difference tonewise between a flat and a roundwound set. But, that is where the similarites end.

    The Brite Flats are ground down rounds. They are quite high tensioned, moreso than I am comfortable with. They have sort of a grainy rough feel to them that's supposed to smooth down with time, but I never waited to find out. Ihave used them on both my 5 strings and were pleased with them.

    The Pressurewounds start out as rounds too, but are literally squashed in rollers. It makes it a very smooth string that's easy on the fingers, frets, and fretboards of fretlesses. The sound is slightly muted over a roundwound string, so it would fit the sound you are looking for in your fretless bass. The string has a round core vs. the hex core in the Brite flats, making the tension less than the Brite Flats but not as light as much as a TI Jazz flat.

    I would probably use the Pressurewounds on both basses, but that is just me.
  3. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    "Pressurewound" type strings are what I used to exclusively use on my Fretless Ken Smith. Especially back when i first got it and I was worried about finger board wear... Great overall fretless string, everything you could want out of a fretless tone without too much buzzy and fingernoise... They do last much longer than standard rounds in general.

    I agree with the last statement by Fretlessguy... and I have used them on fretted and fretless instruments.
  4. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    +1 Pressurewounds on both basses.

    The problem with the Brite Flats is the feel. They are sanded down strings. You have to play them for a good while before they "slick" up.
  5. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Thanks for those three very helpful replies.

    Did anyone listen to the MONSTROUS TONE achieved on the YouTube link I provided? I'd be ecstatic if I could get that tone out of GHS PressureWounds on my fretted 5-string. I realize there are lots of other factors involved in how that particular sound was created. But would anybody care to comment on whether PresureWounds can be the BASIS of that deep, powerful sound.

    Can anyone speak from experience on this?:
    Is the lower-tension of the round-core PressureWounds likely to cause a "Flopping B" issue on a 34" scale 5-string?
    Round core is lower tension than hex core, right?

    I'm new to bass, but am a technical guy and very process-oriented. So bear with me if this sounds odd:
    Has anyone tried wrapping a piece of #0000 (extra fine) steel wool around GHS Bright Flat strings, and stroking the length of the string until it's smooth? There's a slight amount of oil in the steel wool (to keep it from rusting, I guess) which should lubricate the process just enough...

    CAVEAT: If you try this, make SURE you wipe and vacuum every microscopic bit of metal from each string before mounting them. I've had a tiny metal sliver deep in my right forefinger for about three years now. There's a lump around/over it and applying pressure to it hurts. SO CLEAN OFF YOUR STRINGS!
  6. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    With all the variables going on I can't tell you that Pressure wounds will give you that sound. What I can tell you is that they are a good sounding string and are worth a try.

    Also, hex core strings typically have tighter tension. I don't feel like my pressure wounds are floppy at all. They actually have a nice tight feel to them.

    Also, if you're going to use steel wool on the strings. DO NOT do it with them on the bass and make sure the strings are clean before mounting them. If any of that metal gets around your pickups you will never get it out and it will affect them.
  7. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Thanks for all three comments, especially the one quoted above.

    I'm involved in some machinist stuff (how I got the metal sliver in my finger) and magnetized metal particles can be total pain in the butt. YOU ARE SO RIGHT! Man, if those tiny particles got stuck to your pickup coils you'd play hell trying to get them off again. And you sure don't want any of that stuff in your electronic pots and switches, either!

    I think the only solution for pickups would be to hold a much STRONGER magnet in close proximity (not touching) and hope the metal shavings respond. I wonder though if that exercise might somehow disrupt/damage the pickup's proper magnetisim...? I would not want to try.
  8. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Hex core at similar gauges as round cores will typically be stiffer yet have lower tension.

  9. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Any time steel wool comes anywhere near your bass, cover the pickups completely with low-tack masking tape (artists' tape). When the work is complete, there will be metal dust all over the tape where it was attracted by the pickups. Put another layer of tape right over the metal dust to encapsulate it and then peel the whole mess up and throw it away.

    Be sure to carefully vacuum the entire work area (and the bass) before removing the tape or all that precaution will have been for naught as you watch more metal dust jump right onto the pickups where the tape had just been.
    ...and yes, sadly, I know that from experience. :(
  10. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Man! I think you just just blew my mind.


    I'm sure you know what you're talking about, buy in my limited experience, I can't seem to wrap my mind around "stiffer but with lower tension".

    Thanks. I'm sure it's just me... I'll probably understand what it means 6 or 8 months from now. :D
  11. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    EXCELLENT! I will do THAT for sure.

    I have a small milling machine - sort of a glorified "drill press" with a table that glides in the X and Y axes (left-to-right and forward-to-back) for removing metal thickness, cutting slots, etc. Milling metal makes varying sizes of "chips" depending the operation and type of metal being worked - everything from small spirals to chips to tiny slivers.

    When I was new to it--as I'm new to bass now--I got the "bright idea" of using a powerful dregging magnet for removing the metal chips "quickly and easily". Cleanup is a cumbersome task because the stuff gets into every nook and cranny of the machine.

    Man, I was so pleased with myself as I watched all that stuff JUMP from the machine to the magnet, that mess was stuck the magnet! I was able eventually to clear most of it from the magnet, but after several years some it remains.

    That first mis-step taught me (too late) to PUT THE MAGNET IN A PLASTIC BAG FIRST, AND THEN PICK UP THE METAL BITS. Afterward, turn the plastic bag inside out and seal it up, with the metal bits inside.

    I think a similar approach might apply to working on the neck of electric stringed instruments - as in dressing frets or whatever:
    a) Put the body in a plastic bag and use blue painter's masking tape (GREEN is better) to really seal the opening around the fretboard.
    b) When finished, vaccum everything and then pull the bag off so it turns inside out, with any metal filings contained inside the bag.

    Actually, your approach sounds very effective for protecting the magnetic pickups. I would do that, and perhaps employ my "body bag" as a good second-line defense.
  12. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Just using the tape has been fine for me. Steel wool dust is a lot more tenacious than milling swarf.
  13. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Milling "SWARF".

    Ahhhh, a fellow Rennaissance Man... That makes sense.

    'Gives a whole different meaning to the term "Metal Head", yes? :D
  14. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Just chiming in with another plus one for the PressureWounds. BTW, Ken Smith Compressors are essentially the same string - get whichever you can get a deal on.
    They, and DR Sunbeams, go back and forth as my favorite fretless strings, and I play fretless pretty much exclusively.
    As far as if they can give you THAT sound - as madbassplaya pointed out, there are so many variables (bass, amp, settings on each, etc) that go into that equation. But they won't get in the way of you getting that sound, that's for sure.
  15. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    kesslari ==

    Thanks for chiming in. Hearing that kind of positive statement from a player who USES these particular strings is very helpful, especially now that I've decided to begin The Quest with GHS PressureWounds. Been studying "String Science" online (no less baffling than String Theory physics, I'll bet) and have come full circle, back to the PressureWounds I first thought looked 'right'.

    And thanks to fretlessguy, Jason, LoTone, madbassplaya, tylerwylie and Master Lo(-E). All you guys have helped to shove me off the fence - which I need sometimes.

    kesslari, in reference to your avatar photo:
    Man's best friend(s): Bass and dog. What's the black thing between them? An exotic speaker cabinet with an amp head (silver thing) on top? To me it looks like a black ATX computer case with 4 drives mounted (probably not ;))
  16. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    I also recently purchased two sets of the Ken Smith Compressors. We'll see how they work since the DR Hi Beams don't really dent or anything on my bass' diamondwood fingerboard but I still roll off a lot of high end and like a more mid heavy tone.
  17. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Yep, rolling off the highs sounds like we're on the same Tone Page.

    You're trying the Ken Smith Compressors and you've been using DR Hi Beams, right? Have you used GHS PressureWounds? I ask because I'm wondering if you could offer a comparison between the Ken Smiths and the GHS based personal experience with both...
  18. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    As far as I know they're the same string, one has a tapered B string the other does not. Both are made by GHS. If I were to go with another string it would probably be DR Fat Beams or Sunbeams.
  19. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Thanks. Unless I go crazy and try TI Jazz Flats ($100, so not likely) I'll try the GHS PressureWounds first.
  20. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    The dog is a type of Mastiff (a Boerboel).
    The speaker cabinet is an odd design, a Bill Fitzmaurice Omni10 - an amazing horn-loaded 210 design. The amp on top of it is a Genz Benz NeoPak - great little amp.
    That was my rig at the time, with an extra Woofer :D
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