installing flatwound strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by progrmr, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    I've really been looking for a dark/thumpy sound for my p-bass and flatwounds seem like the ticket!

    I've only ever had roundwound strings on my basses and I'm ready to try some flats - now my understanding is that the term "flatwound" refers to the profile of the final wrap/shape of the string.

    So if the sides of the strings are flat, how do I install them? Meaning should the flat side go facing up/down, on the side, does it even matter?
  2. Bardley


    Nov 16, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Flatwounds mean the outer wrap of the string is flat. The strings are still round. They are just smooth. They install just like any other string.

    I love my TI Jazz Flats on my P-Bass. I hear great things about LaBella as well.
  3. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio

    haha, I was thinking its a funny sounding question since I've never seen one in person...just mentally preparing so when I get them this weekend I'm ready to rock and roll.
  4. bhass


    Oct 21, 2008
    England, UK
    ? :scowl:
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Unnecessary !! :scowl: You could at least have given him some info, seeing as you posted.

    OP : I'm only familiar with TI Jazz flats as mentioned above. I like them a lot, but from what others here have said, I think other brands would give you a more thumpy sound.

    You install them exactly the same way as you would rounds.
  6. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Yup, TI's are sweet, but not much thumpy. Fenders, Rotos(once they're broken in, Chromes are bright, but still have a bit of thump.
  7. MarcusPocus


    Aug 28, 2008
    Allen, Tx
    I don't route flats through the body. The tight bends will separate the outer wraps. Some manufacturers will let you know this. Go through the back of the bridge. Plus, the silk ends look awesome on both ends.

    When I first started playing bass many years ago, I too though flats were...well.. flat, like playing a 1/8 strip of sheet metal wrapped in wire or something like you were thinking. I didn't have a forum to ask on either.

    You won't regret it, they are pricey but you'll see threads on how long they last. Don't toss them when you think you want to go back to rounds. Put them away so when you come to your senses, you can put them back on.
  8. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    dave-chaulk: Reported.
  9. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    No, he's not. He needed information and asked, which is the intelligent thing to do.

    Mate, you are malevolent.
  10. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    thx for the defense guys - yea, that was a pretty jerky thing to say even if it wasn't the most brilliant question!

    I've read a lot of posts saying that people like the D'Addario Chrome flats, but the TI Jazz flats sound interesting too - have to do some research on those!

    Can't wait to hear the sound difference vs. rounds
  11. Bassman316


    May 27, 2008
    Longs, SC
  12. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    +1 on the TIs.

    I really liked the fact they were thumpy and musical at the same time.
    I also dig the ultra light tension.

    tried Chromes, GHS steel flats, LaBella FM760s and Lakland flats and they all lacked mids and sounded too muffled with the Chromes and LaBella introducing very high tension and stifness which I didnt dig at all.
    the TIs win hands down for me with the punchy mid range.

    btw, don't bother the troll, from the way he wrote I gather his parents were brothers.
  13. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I've been using - and loving - TI flats for a good while.

    But I just started using heavier Fender flats on another axe. It feels different from what I'm used to - less adaptable, more of a shock coming from medium/light rounds. But I'm finding there's thump and then there's THUMP and the higher tension seems to give me the latter.

    Welcome to the flat side.
  14. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    As a teenager I was lucky to have seen a few used basses strung with flatwounds in a few of the music stores I used to haunt, otherwise I probably wouldn't have understood what "flatwound" was either in the days before the internets. ;)

    Roundwound on top, flatwound on bottom.

    Going from rounds to flats is a good experience, even if eventually you decide flats aren't for you. Like already mentioned, it might be a bit underwhelming at first.

    A new set of flatwounds often takes several weeks, if not months, of playing before they "break in", so give it time if you are tempted to yank them off and chuck them.

    Also give them time in a band setting, that's where their power really shines. Played solo, maybe not so much.

    And like roundwounds, there are all kinds of flatwound brands and styles, so it isn't fair to assume all flatwounds are dull and thuddy. TI Jazz flats are very bright and have a strong midrange "woody" voice and a good grind when digging in, and D'addario Chromes are also bright with a strong bottom and a strong metallic overtone. All IMO and IME of course, as those are just two brands I have experience with anyway.

    Good luck. :bassist:
  15. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I remember buying my first set of flats, in 06, and the excitement of opening the pack, as I had no clue what they'd be like, look like, feel like, anything!
  16. for shame...:scowl:
  17. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    that picture is perfect!

    It looks like the flats will address a plucking problem I have too - sometimes I pluck too hard and because there is so much grip on the rounds that the string really gets to moving - sometimes enough to brush the pickup and give me a nasty note! Seems like the flats will give me less of that with the smoother profile.

    Friday can't get here soon enough (payday!) - Can't wait to play these for a weekend. I have 2 basses so I'll string the p-bass with the flats and keep the rounds on my ATK until I can decide if one or the other is better for me.
  18. markdavid


    Jun 29, 2007
    This link may be helpful , its a comparison of different flatwounds and will give you an idea of the sound of flats
  19. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Be aware though, that he has his strings muted with padding, it can be seen sticking out during the Chromes section.

    I'm suprised to find, in this clip, I like the Fenders most. Now I wish I didn't throw th set that came on my jazz away.:scowl:
  20. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    Well I wound up buying D'Addario Chromes (45-100 I think) at the local sam ash. Curse guitar stores and their lack of bass supplies!

    Still I'm pumped to try them out tonight - first experience with flats! And this brand seems pretty popular so I think it'll work out good.

    I'll post up some impressions once I've got an hour or so on them - be interesting to see how drastic the change is compared to rounds!