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Halfwound/Groundwound Strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by rarbass, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    I'm looking for something in between rounds and flats. Something that will give me more mwah without quite being rounds. I believe halfwound or groundwound strings might be what I'm looking for, but I'm not sure where to look beyond that.

    Is there a light set of strings in this category that you guys can recommend?

    EDIT: Yes, an electric fretless bass is what I'm using.

  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    D'Addario Half Rounds & GHS Brite Flats are the two main makes of groundwound strings; have been for nearly the past 40 years now.

    As for compression-wound strings, Ken Smith Compressors are one of the best known, though others exist as well. Nearly all the DR strings, with the exception of the Legend flatounds, are also compression-wound - though most players seem to think of them as roundwounds... :meh:

    Most of the DRs are available in a light gauge, at least the four-string sets (and some of the five-string & six-string sets, depending on the model). As for the others, perhaps you could have a look for yourself?

    Since you mentioned "mwah", it seem that the instrument in question is probably a fretless electric - although you didn't explicitly state that. Yes? :eyebrow:

  3. Dos Inus

    Dos Inus

    Nov 25, 2012
    IMO d'Addario half rounds are something you've got to try for yourself to see if that is the tone you're after. They have a tone that is thuddier, if you will, almost "dead" sounding.

    Depending on the kind of music you play, you may want to consider d'Addario chromes regular light flats, 45-100, they seem to retain that flat wound sound while still being a bit on the bright side... Of flats anyway.
  4. circuitspore


    Aug 27, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I second MysticMichael's Ken Smith Compressors suggestion. Love those strings.
  5. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    You would be correct on the fretless electric note. I haven't been the happiest with the sound of flats though I should try a lighter set. I just thought halfwounds might be the next best thing.

    Can you tell me about compression wound strings a bit? I'm not sure what these are. Also, if players think of them as roundwounds, does that mean they have the potential to tear away at the neck?

    I have meant to try lighter flats, but I thought something like what I thought halfwounds are would be even brighter. "Thuddy" is sort of how I feel about my current set of old flats.
  6. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    How do they fare in terms of brightness? I'm looking for something closer to Jaco's brightness (or John Myung on Dream Theater's "Through Her Eyes"). Obviously I won't get that bright without rounds, but if I could at least get closer, it'd be very nice.
  7. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I recommend GHS Brite Flats, which arent really flats, they are groundwounds. I put them on my Ric and in the mix of my band they sound awesome! Not expensive either.
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Well the process depends somewhat on the manufacturer. Generally, they're roundwounds that have been run though a precision set of high-pressure rollers, in order to slightly flatten down the outer wrap, so that they're smoother in texture, with a slightly smoother, more refined tone (I've found). It could also entail winding the outer wrap at high pressure, in order to compress it into the core wire to some degree.

    No. That means that many players don't pay much attention to fine details, so that if a string isn't obviously a flatwound or a tapewound, they'll automatically classify it as a roundwound without really thinking about it. :rollno:

    By the way, I think you don't mean "neck". You mean "fingerboard". And ALL strings are capable of causing wear of the fingerboard to some extent or another. It's just a matter of how much, i.e. a great deal to not even noticeable. Compression-wound strings are typically easier on the fingerboard than are roundwounds, i.e. they cause less wear. :meh:

  9. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    Oops, sorry. I'm a bit tired, but yes I meant fingerboard.
    This is good news, though, thanks!
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I do think that either groundwounds or compression-wounds are likely to give you what you want. In fact, splitting the tonal difference is pretty much their purpose, i.e. to provide most of the smoothness and fundamental of flatwounds, with most of the brightness, definition and articulation of roundwounds.

    So you're definitely on the right track...

  11. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    Every demo I come across seems to be on a fretted bass, which makes it a bit harder for me to decide on which ones I'd like to try first.
  12. I recently installed D'Addario Half Rounds on a Squier VM Pre TB bass and Chromes on my CV Squier 60's Jazz. They are both very nice. The H-R still have some of the Rounds growl and you can play them forever! The Chromes can play plenty bright, just don't have that Rounds type of sound, which is fine. I left my Fenders at home for our last practice and took both Squier's and had very positive feedback from my band mates on my sound. I think the Chromes would be best for fret-less, but the H-R would work just as well. Two different sounds, I think the half's would provide a very unique sound with out fingerboard damage. IMHO
  13. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Smith Compressors are my favorite. Hands down.
    Just enough treble, but not to bright.
  14. soulman969

    soulman969 Banned

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    An awful lot of players are using compression would strings on the fretless and fretted basses. They're easier on the fingers and the fretboard than rounds but retain some of the round wound characteristics. Mellower than rounds yet brighter and more versatile than flats. They're a very expressive string.

    From you original post this sounds like what you're looking for and the Ken Smith Compressors and GHS Pressure Wounds are two of the tops in that category.
  15. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    GHS Pressurewounds on a Warwick Alien fretless electric/acoustic bass, tuned B-C:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  16. manolo578


    Nov 21, 2011
    halfwounds seem like the best medium between the two

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