Gold tapes vs Cobalt Flats or What's the brightest non-round around,

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Antisyzygy, Aug 21, 2017.


  1. Antisyzygy

    Antisyzygy

    Dec 8, 2014
    Washington
    Labella Gold White Tapes, are they brighter than Cobalt Flatwounds?

    What in your opinion is the brightest and longest lasting string?

    I'm partial to Cobalts but I've never used gold tapes. Chromes are next up but they mellow out after a month or so.
     
  2. redwood

    redwood

    Oct 3, 2002
    Buffalo, NY
    SUBscribed to this one.
    I actually have my Bongo strung with Cobalt flats. They seem to be losing some of their flavor, albieit after about 6 months and plenty of gigs and practice.
    I have a G&L strung with LaBella gold tapes. I play this bass much less. But the strings show no sign of losing their flavor.
    Problem is both of these are fretted. I just picked up a fretless Warmoth Gecko. And I can't decide which string I want to put on there first. And me, the dumbazz, cut the strings I have too short to use on the longer scale Gecko :-/
    So, while I have an interest in everyone's opinion on the op's question, I'm also interested in the lifespan, and sound of both on fretless.
    I hope you'r not upset with me Antisyzygy?

    And to the op, I love the sound of the gold tapes. The tension seems pretty darn low though. Might even be TI tension territory. And for the sound difference between the two, I find the cobalt flats have a little more meat to them, especially on the D & G. The Golds have a tiny bit more zing, but are slightly mellower overall.
    Also, I've played chromes on and off plenty of times. And I personally thing the Cobalts blow them out of the water for sound and playability.
     
    ET42, Antisyzygy and HaphAsSard like this.
  3. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    NYC
    I am pretty sure the white tapes are brighter than the gold.
     
  4. redwood

    redwood

    Oct 3, 2002
    Buffalo, NY
    Yep. Whites, White Golds, then White Coppers. Brightest to warmest.
     
    ColdEye likes this.
  5. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    I have the La Bella white tapes, and they're quite bright. They're a bit more muted than a normal round wound but still somewhere on the round wound end of the tonal spectrum.
     
  6. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    How do the white tapes compare to 45-105 Chromes? I love Chromes on a Pbass. I can slap on them if I want and basically do anything with them, plus they are tensioned well so I can keep the action low. They do die a little faster than I would expect for flats. That is about the only complaint I can think of.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  7. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    They're pretty different, especially in feel. Tapes are quite flexible, and Chromes, well, aren't.
     
    AngelCrusher likes this.
  8. Antisyzygy

    Antisyzygy

    Dec 8, 2014
    Washington
    Really? I thought the Gold tapes had some alloy added to brighten it up. I didn't know that. In that case, this thread is already helpful, thank you!

    In that case I'd wonder how Whites compare to Cobalts.
     
  9. Antisyzygy

    Antisyzygy

    Dec 8, 2014
    Washington
    Thanks! Do you happen to know how the whites compare to a round, or a Cobalt flat?
     
  10. Antisyzygy

    Antisyzygy

    Dec 8, 2014
    Washington
    Nope! All good.

    Yeah, I prefer Cobalts to Chromes. I use Cobalts on my P-bass (actually a SB-1). My fretless is a Fender Jazz Special from the 80s using some pressurewounds. The pressurewounds are mellower than a round I'd say, but they seem bright enough. My Jazz special has the TBX circuit though so I can brighten it up.

    I'm thinking of putting some brighter strings on my Mustang PJ, currently strung with Chromes. I also am working on a Warmoth shorty that has a T/B stack, so I think I'll be fine using some Labella flats or black tapes (I have a set of each) on that one.

    I don't think they make short-scale cobalts so I'm actually asking the community because I want to put something brighter on my Mustang. My Mustang will be the passive back-up as my new build has to remain full active.
     
  11. ThudThudThud

    ThudThudThud

    Jun 4, 2010
    I'm not sure I'm understanding you here. Chromes have a little more brightness to them than most flats (not including tapes), and if they lose a little of that over time (varies from person to person) they still sound just like a worn in flatwound string. What is your expectation of life on a set of flats? Some here think 15 year old flats are 'not worn in yet.'
    I don't think they are the brightest of the 'non-rounds' to begin with, so I just want to understand what you mean by "die."
    Full disclosure: My body chemistry will take a brand new set of Rotosound 66 from zing to thump faster than it takes a tube amp to warm up. Chromes/Nickels/Tapes last MUCH longer for me.
     
    Dandolin and chaurett like this.
  12. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    NYC
    the white tapes are a covered round wound and sound round. Chromes are very different. I use both quite a bit, mainly on my fretless basses. The tapes are super slick and take some getting use to even compared to flats and are a very low tension for their size. The white tapes hold their tone for a long time where the flats can start with some brightness which basically goes away and they settle in to "that" sound.
    On the other hand the black tapes can sound more like flats.
    This is very apples vs oranges.
     
    AngelCrusher likes this.
  13. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    Arizona
    I would think the cobalts would be brightest. I used to use those on my P Bass and they were almost roundwound bright... FWIW I prefer the LaBella black tapes now, but that's because I like the warmer/darker tone and it's less glaringly different when I double upright and electric bass in the same set
     
  14. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    I like when Chromes have the crisp sound. When they dull up a little too much, I usually swap them out. That being said, it's a a very slight complaint. I absolutely love Chromes and was just curious about tapewounds. I don't think I will try them out,but I was interested in reading opinions.
     
    ThudThudThud likes this.
  15. mngnt

    mngnt

    Aug 9, 2015
    Alberta, Canada
    Based on my experience tapes are brighter than flats across the board, except maybe in very extreme cases of either.

    I've had TIs, Chromes, and Cobalts, and the set of tapes I just got (LA bella tiger blood, which I believe are white coppers) are brighter than all of them.

    This video is representative of my experience. The good stuff starts at around 7:30 I believe, and towards the end are back to back comparisons.

     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
    jallenbass and Killed_by_Death like this.
  16. Yahboy

    Yahboy

    May 21, 2008
    TiJF344 for sure.
     
  17. Antisyzygy

    Antisyzygy

    Dec 8, 2014
    Washington
    Cobalts to me sound the brightest of all flats. Even brighter than fresh chromes. They do some of the round sound in the upper mids to highs (though less presence) but have enhanced bottom.

    My understanding though is black tapes are more like a flat. Although in that video I hear some extra snap there or something.

    Sounds like I need to try some white tapes. We can't get strings for so cheap like guitarists so I tend to prefer a string that lasts and doesn't settle into a thuddy tone too fast.

    Warm flats have their place for sure but om looking for something bright for a passive PJ bass that will back up an active P bass I am putting together. The active bass is a P with a 2 band EQ but it has a piezo pickup under the bridge. I have to use a buffer so it's always going to be active.

    I was thinking chromes or Labella flats for the active bass. I think the piezo and tone stack will be able to brighten it as much as I need.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  18. mngnt

    mngnt

    Aug 9, 2015
    Alberta, Canada
    There's no arguing with the tone of flats on a P-Bass... but since you haven't mentioned the word "thump" (which most folks seem to conclude is the "desireable" end goal with flats), and based on everything else you've said, I think a set of Tapes is definitely something that you should try out.
     
  19. Antisyzygy

    Antisyzygy

    Dec 8, 2014
    Washington
    Sure, flats sound good. My Mustang PJ currently has Chromes on it and though I like the sound, I am trying to retool it to be a backup bass for a active P that will have flats. As a result I want to give it a little more highs, I can always roll it off. Even with the bridge pickup it's not quite bright enough with these chromes on it.

    If I had more basses I'd have a passive longscale P dedicated to strictly flats, but for now I make due. I only have three basses. Four if you count the build currently in progress. One fretted and one fretless longscale, then two shorties both fretted.
     
  20. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I have used both the white gold tapes and the EB cobalt flats. The cobalt flats are definitely brighter, but that's not all. They're way punchier and are much more articulate across frequencies. They're actually one of the best strings, for the tone I prefer, that I've ever used. Unfortunately, they don't come in short scale and that's all I play currently.

    Data point- this was on a fretless Jazz bass.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Aug 2, 2021

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