Half-Rounds on a fretless

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by alexbrownebass, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. alexbrownebass

    alexbrownebass Endorsing Artist - Genzler Amplication, NS Design Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Before everyone goes on a tangent about "You should have used the search feature/this has been discussed millions of times before bla bla bla LOL", I have a legitimate questions about half-rounds that I couldn't find using search. Here goes:

    I'm looking to find a bit more of a growl with my Lakland fretless, which currently has flat-rounds, but I'm skeptical to use round-wounds, since I heard they tear up the fingerboard if you play aggressively (which I do). So, are half-rounds any better than round-wounds as far as fingerboard damage is concerned? If so, what is the damage factor on half-rounds?
  2. El_JimBob


    Oct 31, 2007
    Kent, UK
    I use halfrounds on my fender fretless, primarily because flats weren't giving me the sound i wanted, and rounds were marking the rosewood board pretty easily. Turned out to be a good compromise, and although there is still wearing going on, it's far less and far more uniform wearing than before. Mine are stainless steel halfs - you may find that nickel halfs are even kinder to your fingerboard....
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I use Ken Smith compressors on my fretless basses. They are nearly identical in sound to rounds but are significantly smoother with the compressed outer wrap. They don't have the life I think to be ideal, but they sound great.
  4. Yvarg

    Yvarg Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Lake Forest, CA
    I have some nickel half rounds on the upper six strings of my seven string and the wear on my uncoated, rosewood fingerboard is minimal to none, whereas I am starting to see a little bit of wear underneath the round wound seventh string.
  5. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    I had the same dilemma. The answer?:
    Fender 7120 Nylon Roundwounds.

    The black nylon coating will help prevent fingerboard wear, and they sound awesome. The 7120's (70-100) totally transformed a somewhat lifeless sounding fretless (with flats) into a real great sounding bass.

    Hope this helps.
  6. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    My experience (having used D'Addario HR-72 when they first came out in the '70s, then the steel HR, and GHS Brite Flats, for several years) is that modified round wound strings are a compormise I don't like. They offer the reduced life of rounds with the muted highs of flats.

    If the sound you want is the sound of roundwound strings, suck it up and add that to the cost of playing. See the current thread about rounds on a fretless board...

  7. I have used both GHS Brite flats and D'Addario Half Rounds. I found both to be really brighter than flats.
    Another possibility would be GHS Pressurewounds, which have been compressed by rollers. This leaves them extremely smooth. Thier sound sits somewhere between a flat and a roundwound, and are easy on your fretboard.
  8. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    I prefer compressor-wound halfs to groundwounds (I think they feel gross). I actually found D'Addario Chrome flats sounded brighter than D'Addario Half-Rounds (groundwound) on a Stambaugh fretless 4 I had.

    A better solution (IMO) is to use coated roundwound strings (I had good luck with DR Black Beauties on the Stambaugh). You'll get about 95% of the tone with much less wear.
  9. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I really like the Rotosound compression wound strings (Solo Bass, they're called). Excellent compromise for those who want roundwound type tone but a smoother feel and definitely worth a try if you're going to have chance to check a few brands out before settling on a favourite.