I hate flats! am I nuts?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by slopeshoulder, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. slopeshoulder


    Nov 1, 2009
    Every time I play a bass or hear a bass, especially soloed or priminent in a mix, with flats, even on the famous records, I want to wretch and take up clarinet.

    I also engineer and produce, and have never found that a bass with rounds, hi pass filtered or tone pot down a bit, has been hard to mix.
    I just don't get it. Maybe it's a recorded frequency in a mix (that I like, say Jamerson) vs. the instrument by itself or in my hands?

    (having said that, i do get good results every now and then with my vintage hofner with pyramid flats after eq'ing, which I also don't get).

    What am I missing? I feel I should put some flats on my P bass, but then I'll hear one and it's hello clarinet teacher...

    Not trolling against flats. I want ot like them. But it sounds so nasal and one dimensional and farty to me.
  2. Surly


    Feb 2, 2007
    South Florida
    For those of us who have been converted, it's using them in a live situation, being able to hear ourselves, and making the whole band happy that attracts us. I didn't believe in flats until I came to this forum.
  3. Kromwarp


    Sep 16, 2008
    Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Master Luthier: Ironclad Bass Guitars
    Nope your not nuts, I still won't play anything but stainless steel roundwounds, not enough brightness/grittiness in anything else
  4. Sounds like your describing chromes... :bag:

    I think a lot of people these days don't know how to dial in their gear for a set of flats and end up with really screwy tone like you said. I use pyramid golds their tone is anything but farty and one dimensional, as you said you've experienced from time to time.

    If I were you I'd go get a set of anything but chromes and force yourself to play until you find a tone you dig.

    Think smooth and chunky instead of clanky and farty.
  5. dinosaur bass

    dinosaur bass

    Sep 1, 2010
    You're not alone -- I've never been a fan of flats either. While the tone can be pretty sweet with the right equipment, I just really don't like the feel of playing with flatwound strings. I'm not quite sure why. It's probably just that I'm so used to roundwounds.
  6. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    I recently started playing flats and I am really digging their sound. I wouldn't completely cross over and play flats exclusively, but having one bass strung with flats is a nice change.
  7. jwtjr999


    Aug 29, 2010
    Texas, USA
    Flats just sound dead and lifeless to me. I discovered RotoSounds about 30 years ago, and haven't been tempted to try anything else. JMHO, YMMV, and all that.
  8. I recently took up flats on my P. It's a love/hate relationship at this point. I DO like the way the notes seem clearer and more defined with flats (I'm running the Sadowsky flats), love the picked sound, but still hate the feel. We'll see.
  9. I'm not a fan of flats either. Its purely a feel thing for me.
  10. Klopp18


    Dec 25, 2009
    New Hope, MN
    i put a pair of jamersons on my pbass. i love and hate them also! i love the smooth thump sound. but i just can't stand the tension or feel.
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    You're definitely not alone. I can't stand flats either. I like to have some tone, not just a dull thud. Funny thing is, it seems like I buy a set of flats about every 3 years just to make sure I don't like them. I just can't get any useable tone out of them. The last set of flats I had were actually installed on my Peavey Millennium USA when I bought it. After playing it for about 10 minutes I just felt like throwing it in the dumpster and just eating my loss because I couldn't stomach selling a bass that sounded that bad to anybody. Then I put some Dunlop Nickel Rounds on it and BAM! One of the best sounding basses on Earth.

    To each his own I guess, I personally just can't get good tone from flats.


    Dec 29, 2009
    You hate flats? BLASPHEMY!! The Gods of bass will be most unpleased...
  13. edbass


    Nov 8, 2004
    When I started playing bass strings were flatwound. If there were roundwounds available, I didn't know about them.
    It wasn't until the early or mid 70's that I ever used rounds, but once I did I became a Rotosound devotee, and still use RS66LD's on most of my basses.

    I'm not sure why it has to be one or the other. There is no denying that flats can give you a different tone, even attitude to your style, and for me variety can mean gigging or not.
    I like what I like, and have spend many hours and countless money over the years refining my gear and tone, but "My Sound" is very often what the person paying me thinks is best. ;)
    I always keep flats on a fretless G&L and a P, I think it gives me more flexibilty to play a wider variety of gigs. If I take a job and I'm not 100% sure of what they want, I bring a Jazz with Roto stainless and a P with flat LaBella's.
    I've found that I can cover a whole bunch of tonal ground with that duo.
    dregsfan likes this.
  14. wideyes


    May 9, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    The simple answer is, no, you're not nuts.

    The less simple answer is yes, you are!
  15. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007

    I carry two, 4 string, passive, Fender Jazz basses to every gig.
    One has round wounds, the other has flats.
    The one with rounds I use almost 95% of the time.
    That other 5% that the flats are used is because certain songs just gotta have that flat wound "thud"!
  16. Muaguana


    Jul 28, 2009
    You're not nuts, just bipolar.
  17. Roundwound strings or flats?
    It doesn't really matter
    We're all bass players

    (note haiku format)
  18. Tommygunn


    Nov 8, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    Fender flats are the best. I'm guessing you haven't tried those. Cause you'd like flats if you have.
  19. I just threw some flats on my fender p/j bass yesterday for the first time and didn't really like the sound when practicing by myself but figured I'd leave them on there because of the rave reviews on talkbass and the fact that maybe they needed a breaking in period. I used the same bass with flats today in church and, while it still feels weird to play them, it sounded awesome in the mix. I'm still not sold on the idea of "one tone to rule them all" but it is definitely something that I will keep on that bass and maybe my p bass for the future. Rounds, flats, precision, jazz, upright, electric... they are all fun to play to me but I'm not going to force you to love something that you don't.

    Play what you enjoy. Whether it is a variety of tones like I enjoy or whether it is that one tone that you can't get out of your head that defines bass for you... Play what you enjoy. ;)
  20. DavePlaysBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    If I had to choose only one, it would be rounds. But I do like flats in the right situation.

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