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How would you rate the flats you've tried?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Thibby, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. Thibby

    Thibby Supporting Member

    May 2, 2015
    New Orleans
    Always curious how everybody's experience with their flatwounds went. I've always been a flats player so I've tried a few sets. All of these are IME and IMO, and while some sets were quality, they just didn't speak to me.

    Here it goes! In no particular order

    D'Addario Chromes
    1st Set - 50-105
    2nd Set - 45-132
    I'd give both sets a solid C+
    A great starter flat and my first set. IMO, they sound a bit too modern to me, are medium-high tension, and take a while to break in; when they do it's thump city! A good set but not my tea. Blue silk with a slightly rough feel

    Fender 9050L - 45-100
    I'd give this set a D
    Admittedly, this was a rush order for a pack of backup strings, but these were the worst flats I've tried yet. Floppy and bright, I had them on for a few months but they just weren't tight enough for me. Low-medium tension and growly, with light green silk and felt a little rough like the chromes.

    Curt Mangan FusionMatched Flatwounds - 45-105
    I'd give this set an A
    I've loved this set on every bass I've owned. Great tone with a little higher tension than the Chromes. No silk (which was interesting) with a very smooth feel. Very slick!. I loved the tone because after a few months, they broke in to a beautiful thump with a defined tone. Highly recommended!

    Rotosound Jazz Bass 77 - 45-105
    This set gets a B
    Bright and growly with a high tension. Rough feel with red silks. If you're looking for a bright, high-tension flat, these are the ones. I also bought a set for my five string, which will go on after I'm done modding it

    GHS Precision Flatwounds 45-105
    This set is a solid B+
    Vintage sounding and thumpy. A medium tension, smooth feel with royal purple silks. I did like them on the jazz bass that I had but took them off after a while because when they settle in, they become slightly less tense than my preference. Before they break in, they seem a bit unbalanced and take about two to three months. Sound great and vintage afterwards!

    LaBella Original 1954 aka Jamerson's - 52-110
    Oooohhhh ooohhhh ooohhh this set is an A+
    Very high tension with an incredibly smooth feel and deep blue silks. These are my favorite flats yet, dunno why it took me so long to try them out but these are right up my alley. Very mid-present and I'll report back when they break in but for now they are still new.

    I know there are a thousand topics on flats, but all seem really inconsistent with each other and I'd like to give one thread where we can all lay down our opinion on flatwounds so if anybody was searching (like I was), here's one mega topic for opinions.
    dagrev, Pbassmanca and Pier_ like this.
  2. I cannot abide Chromes. I try and try to like them yet they leave me flat.
    Duckophile, aldaa, lowplaces and 7 others like this.
  3. I'm with ZenG in disliking Chromes,too bright and tensions too high. Have the same complaint with the Ernie Ball Cobalts.
    Fender flats are fine and a great trade off between tone/price,cheapest flats in the UK.

    TI's and La Bellas are tops for me.
    Duckophile, dagrev, aldaa and 2 others like this.
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I'm trying my second set of Chromes. Not sure I dig them.

    But I do like the regular Labella DTF set with black silks. I am also using their Low Tension Flats, which are kind of dead and rubbery right out of the pack, but I think they would be good for the right project, so I'm keeping them. I have the Jamerson set, but they were so thick and sticky!
  5. Have to agree with you on the LaBella Jamerson set.
    These are tough on your fingers and the neck of your bass, but they are the real deal if you want this sound. If it matters much to listeners if you record your bass and use some eq and play really well and use other flats, I'm not sure. But simply to get exactly this sound it is worth the experience. I have them installed on a 1982 Squier JV Precision.

    You seem to really like the high tension of the Labellas.

    On the two Jazz Basses I use the most, I have Fender flats and Chromes. And it seems I like them for exact the same reasons you don't like them: their tension isn't as high as the Labellas and - although they have many of the characteristics of flats - you can even slap them.
    Marikk likes this.
  6. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I've got an ancient set of (I think) Dean Markley flats NIP that were in a box of assorted stuff i got as part of a trade. I've also got a set of LaBella Deep talkin black nylon wound also NIP from the same box. Have not tried either because i have not had a bass with flats since my preteen days and i don't want to mess up a set of strings or a nut trying to put them on any of my basses as i've never strung a bass with flats. Am i being a wuss or am i doing the right thing.
  7. ahadl2500


    Nov 28, 2003
    Greenwood, IN
    Tried Chromes a few time and thought I just didn't like flats 10 years or so ago. Got a fretless bass (Tobias Growler) that I really wanted flats on and tried Thomastik Infeld jazz flats. Use Infeld strings on everything now with their flats on about half of my basses. Their flats have a great tone, the nice flat feel, without the ridiculous tension that the Chromes had. They are not cheap, but they last forever and are well worth the price.

    I even like the Infeld flats on basses that do not really scream for flatwounds. Love how they changed the tone on my Peavey G-V.
  8. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    All flats---awful
    JRA and ajkula66 like this.
  9. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    LaBella Flats mid present? Really? They have got to be the most scooped sounding flats out there..... Right up there with the old Fender Flats. The Jamersons especially.
    Linnin and matante like this.
  10. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    What would you consider a flat with good mid presence?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  11. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    Since joining Talk Bass I have tried La Bella DTF's and I love them. Before joining Talk Bass I put any flatwound that was available and was happy. I am now in the process of blowing my brains up trying to decide what flats to put on my Carvin jazz bass. I guess that I am now as pedantic as the rest of TB.
    Pbassmanca, Admiral Akbar and matante like this.
  12. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    I have tried probably a dozen or so brands, and it really depends on all the other items in the chain, and the setting you are playing them in ...

    Best I can probably do is to say what I currently have strung ... old set of ECB-81 (100??) Chromes, Sadowsky 100's (lights??), and a VERY old set of Dean Markley flats, probably 20 years old ... all on Jazz basses ...

    FWIW, I tried a several occassions to like TIJF's, and no matter how long I played them or cleaned them, they never felt smooth, they just seemed to react negatively with my skin ...
  13. twinjet

    twinjet What does God need with a starship? Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Chromes, first set medium .45-.105/Ibanez SR305F: C-
    Something about these had me feeling just "meh". Kept them on for a few months because I was a broke teenager. Just sounded dull to me.

    Chromes, second set medium .45-.105/G&L L-2000 (ten years later): A+

    Maybe it was the bass, but these sounded fantastic. Or maybe my tastes changed. But these strings were easy to play, sounded great. Awesome mids, great lows. Not muddy at all.

    LaBella 760FL/Fender USA Std. Precision Bass, G&L L-2000 Bass: F

    The worst flats I have ever played. Absolutely not for me -- muddy and hollow sounding, absolutely nothing else to them. To those who like them, get these off my hands!!!
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
    Marikk likes this.
  14. Inara

    Inara Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2017
    Seattle, WA USA
    I love Thomastik Jazz Flats ... My favorite strings I've ever used, period. I also like Chromes, but prefer the lighter tension and increased flexibility of the TI strings. I'd like to try the lighter gauge Chrome set, or @JimmyM's custom gauge set assembled from singles that he just mentioned in another thread, 40-55-75-95.
  15. SheaNC


    Jun 15, 2006
    Marysville CA
    I have a well-broken-in set of La Bella DTF on my Squier bass, I am very happy with them. And I recently put some La Bella Low Tension Flexible Flats on my Danelectro, and I am extremely pleased with them... best strings for the Dano I've ever tried (for my sound, anyway).
    Tony B. Filthy likes this.
  16. Pedullist


    Oct 31, 2016
    Ernie Ball Cobalt Flats. First set that's still on after 2 months. :)
    Ric Vice likes this.
  17. kohanmike

    kohanmike Gold Supporting Member

    Since I only play bass ukes and mini bass electrics, I have a limited string choice, until just recently. My main stay bass uke strings for piezo under saddle pickups are Road Toad black Pahoehoe poly, I much prefer very smooth strings so I immediately change the Aquila Thunderguts that come with many bass ukes. I tried using steel round wound over nylon core, but they were just too noisy for me. When I started converting 3/4 size 22" to 24" scale electric guitars to mini bass, I used 30" flat wound strings for which I had to work out stringing them through since flatwound should not be cut.

    Then I discovered that Gold Tone commissioned LaBella to make them special 25" scale flatwound Deep Talkin' strings for their M-bass solid bodies. I tried a set on one of my mini electric basses and loved them. I've even used them on a couple of my solid body under saddle piezo basses and they work fine. So those are now my 10 rated strings, with the Pahoehoe a close 9.
    el jeffe bass likes this.
  18. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    Two really stand out from the crowd....
    • TIJF'S
    • Sadowsky Blue Label Flats (my favorites)
    kodiakblair likes this.
  19. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Correction: silver-plated copper round wound over nylon. ;)

    My post from a similar thread:
    Stack Rank Your Three Favorite Flats
  20. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    Most flats aren't even broke in yet at 2 months!
    Duckophile likes this.

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