Halfwound Users – Recommendation Please

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jaywa, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    About 3 years ago I switched from roundwounds (Ernie Ball Slinkys) to flatwounds (GHS Precision Flats). I have loved the feel and the thump/punch of the flats but find that on slower material (country ballads, P&W etc.) the lack of sustain is really an issue. I am also having a little trouble getting the “cut” and definition I need in a lineup with 2 electric guitars + occasional acoustic and drums. So I’m wondering if there’s a string set anyone can recommend as a “best of both worlds” solution.

    FWIW the bass in question is a 78 Precision with active EMG PJ pickups. Money is somewhat of an object… I would like to keep my total outlay below $30 if possible and prefer medium gauge (.105 E string), with moderate-high tension. Also curious to know if halfwounds eventually go dead (like rounds), or if the effect is just less pronounced), and about how long I could expect a set to last assuming 6-10 hours a week of rehearsals and gigging.

    EDIT for more background: I play about 90-10 fingerstyle to pick (no slap), use a pretty light touch and run my action very low.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. emblymouse

    emblymouse Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    I can recommend Ken Smith Slick rounds, I have grown to love these. Good tension, stiff but not too, and snap when you want it. I've used then on everything I've got at one time or another, right now on my Sterling 4, 77 jazz, and 5 string fretless. And inexpensive, I get these locally for $25 a set.
    Like a lot of half/ground wounds, they start out feeling a little sticky until the outer wrap edges get smoothed out. Then they keep it together for a long time.
  3. I like GHS Pressurewounds. I've used their .044-.106 and .044-.102. These feel similar to nickel rounds and are lower in tension than most flats.

    I am also using D'Addario Half-Rounds .045 -.100. These are more like flats, a bit duller in sound and sustain than the Pressurewounds. They are also higher in tension (package says G: 45.2 lbs.; D: 51.9 lbs.; A: 43.0 lbs.; E: 37.6 lbs.).

    I wish all string makers would list tensions!
  4. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    "Stickiness" is definitely a consideration as I have a lot of outdoor gigs coming up and it can get pretty humid in these parts this time of year.
  5. emblymouse

    emblymouse Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    Lakland Artist Endorser
    After a couple hours playing time it's really a non issue. It's not actually 'sticky, but your skin gets pressed into the slight grooves between wraps. These teeny gaps get filled and smoothed over quickly, then it's more like flats feel. Fingers slide more over the round tops of the wrap of roundwounds I suspect.
  6. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    I can't compare to others because the only set I've used are LaBella quarterrounds, which I really like. Sounds like a set of rounds fresh off the zing. They've been holding up well.

    You might also consider tapewounds. Brighter than flats, and I had a set that lasted 4 years with little if any change in sound.
  7. beate_r


    Jan 25, 2012
    Me, too.
    And GHS brite flats - these are actually halfrounds, comparable to the D'Addarios, but i like them more - higher tension, more "definition", better attack. Slightly - their overall characteristics are similar.

    Another option might be SIT Silencers. Or black Nylons.
    If money wasn't an issue i would also suggest to try out TI flats. They are more on the bright side, and they do not lack sustain in any way.

    BTW: i am also playing with two electrical guitars and a drumset. And no problem cutting through.

  8. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    GHS Pressure Wounds. A medium gauge set is .44-.106 and will run you around $20 plus the shipping at Bassstringsonline. If you don't need them in a hurry ask for regular shipping rather than priority and say a couple bucks more if you want.
  9. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Thanks for all the suggestions... I've done well with GHS in the past so I may give one of their options first shot.
  10. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I use the Brite Flats on my P bass. They start out a little "grabby" but after about 8 hours of playing time or so they smooth out pretty good.

    I love em.
  11. I used to use Dean Markley ground wounds, great strings but I'm not sure they still make them.
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA

    Well after some deliberation I've decided to give the GHS Pressurewounds a whirl.

    None of my local music stores including GC have them in stock, however, so I put in my first order with bassstringsonline this past weekend and am hoping to have them in-hand and on my bass in time for playing at church this coming Sunday and then two big street dances the week of the 4th. I'm going with their heaviest available gauge which is a .106 E. I played .110s pretty regularly back in my roundwound days so am not expecting that will be too much gauge to handle

    Pretty excited to see if this will finally give me the winning combination of sound and feel. I'll file a report once I've got a couple gigs under my belt with 'em.

    Thanks again for all the advice!
  13. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003

    Ken Smith Compressors.

    They kill on a P-Bass. Period.

    I've tried them all. they are my favorite.
  14. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA

    Put the Pressurewounds on today. First impression is that they feel and sound a lot more like pure roundwounds than I was wanting. I had forgotten how nasty fresh roundwounds feel under the fingers. Hopefully they mellow and smooth out real fast or I may not be sticking with them for long. Kinda wishing already I'd gone with the Brite Flats but I'll see how it goes with these on my outdoor gigs this week.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    1st Gig Update:

    Played the Pressurewounds live on a street dance gig Tuesday night. See post immediately above for my initial reservations and happy to say, in a live environment they seem to be just the ticket. I was really concerned about the "sticky" factor as the outdoor temperature at gig time was at least 85 degrees with enough humidity to put haze in the air. On top of which, I had only played the strings for about 10 minutes total since putting them on two days prior. The stickiness actually turned out to be not a very big issue so I was happy about that.

    Sonically, the strings really interacted nicely with both my bass and my amp to give me a real nice sound through our P.A. The only adjustment we had to make at the board (vis a vis my previous GHS Flatwounds), understandably, was to add a little more bottom end to the bass guitar channel. Otherwise my bass sat in the mix great and sounded even better than usual in conjunction with our kick drum. String noise was less than I had expected/feared, and I especially happy to note that the annoying high-end "clack" I had experienced with the GHS Flats was replaced with a more rounded (yet still definite) attack. There were only a couple of songs where I missed the old-school vibe of the pure flats ("My Girl" and "Folsom Prison Blues"), but for the bulk of our material the PWs seem to be a much better fit.

    One other note, many have commented on the "balance" of these strings and I found that to be true.

    All in all, a very successful first outing into the world of semi-rounds and I'm looking forward to another gig with them tomorrow night.
  16. GHS pressurewounds rock. Every once in a while I will try some new strings but I always go back to the GHS pressurewounds. I agree they can sound a bit brighter than what you would expect but they do tame down and sit nicely in a live mix. (IMHO the Ken Smith compressors are the same strings).
  17. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I'm a big fan of the DD Halfwounds.
  18. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    Glad you liked them jaywa. Personally I like the fact that they have more of a round wound feel to them but without the finger noise or the zing it takes hours to mellow out. These come pre-mellowed yet they're still very punchy.

    In a perfect world I have the PWounds on my Jazz Bass and a set of PFlats on a PBass for when I want that good old fashioned "thump" and in my world that's all I need.
  19. ProdigalBassman


    Mar 22, 2012
    I've played bass casually on and off for decades. I've used D'Addario Half Rounds for several years, to avoid finger noise which drives me crazy!! D'Addario HRs eliminate 90% of the finger noise and have 75% of the briteness of roundwounds. I've recently switched to GHS Brite Flats 52-103, EADG, on my Ibanez SR505 (still use the D'Addario C string bcs GHS doesn't have one), which are "ground wounds", just to try something different. GHS Brite Flats eliminate 75% of the finger noise of roundwounds and maintain 90% of the briteness. (NOTE: these are my TOTALLY UNSCIENTIFIC impressions!! your mileage may differ :)

    Both will chew up your frets much less than roundwounds and are easier on the fingers too. And because there's more surface area in contact with a fret (obviously depends on fret type) they wear slower. I also use D'Addario Half Rounds on my Ibanez electric guitar to avoid finger noise.

    Personally speaking, I think half rounds are the best kept secret in bass & guitars! Every bass and guitar player in several music stores I've shown them to have been amazed.

    If you want a fatter sound, go with the D'Addario Half Rounds. If you want as much briteness as you can get while getting an almost flat wound feel, go with the GHS Brite Flats.

    Let us know how things work out.
  20. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    My impression with GHS Pressurewounds was similar to jaywa's. When playing them the first time they seemed rougher and brighter than I expected, but in a short time they became the compromise between flats and rounds I wanted.