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Is that 'Flatwound Thud' really coming back?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Tsal, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    This is ment to be a start for flatwound conversation and a thread for flat users like me, so you are free to speak everything even remotely related to flats - but also you roundwound users are welcome to participate!

    The title is taken from a flatwound article BP did couple years back, titled 'That flatwound thud keeps coming back!', if I recall correctly. Does it, really? The BP reported then that a worker of bass-only store had been "noticing that more younger guys are coming in asking for flats, so we've been stocking them more".

    Originally flats were THE bass string, I think Rotosound came out with first commercial sets of rounds a decade after first Fender basses or something like that, but James Jamerson, Duck Dunn and pretty much most of the "old school" players used flats through 60s or their whole career. Then, it seems, rounds took over sometime during the next decades - it certainly was standard string when I begun my playing in mid 90s - and for some reason, flats were almost forgotten.

    As an example of this, few years back I went to local music store to ask flats for my 5-string. The older, experienced salesman was taken by surprise: "Flats? For a five-string? I think we had one set for a four-string once, and I think that's pretty good from our part.." - closest I did finding flats was a set of D'Addario Halfrounds from another store.

    Nowadays, I certainly have been impressed with flats - the Rotosound 77's I've been using a while have been becoming an essential part of 'my tone', and then there's the factor of rounds dying out on you, no thanks, no more buying a new set once in two months.

    How do you feel about flats, then? Do speak your mind!
  2. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I'm to the point now that, with the exception of my ABG (LaBella black nylon tapes), ALL my basses wear flats. I much prefer that percussive thump.

    Also, I generally feel all bass strings are brighter today that they were twenty years ago. IMO, rounds have gotten unacceptably bright for my style, and flats have brightened up a bit. String manufacturing technology changes, maybe?
  3. I just switched from rounds to flats about 2 months ago and i'm loving them. I think flats work better in every situation except slapping.
  4. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I've gone to flats on my SR5. It tamed some of that agressiveness ito a deeper yet very forceful tone. I've been using the LaBella stainless steel flats. Love the tone
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    No flats for me except on staff paper.
  6. No flats for me , please !
  7. I prefer flats to rounds now. I can't stand the feel and brightness of rounds. The thump is where it's at.
  8. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    I havent had as much experience with flats, they were on fretless jazz basses with INSANE high action, so basically unplayable to me. I also play a lot of slap, so unless I find a good flat for slappage then rounds are where Ill be. I like the thud tho, and I like the sound of kinda middle aged rounds, kinda thumpy, good for slap, sounds cool.
  9. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I've said this a few times recently... here and on other bass boards... here is my string history ;)

    from the early 80s to the late 90s I replaced my round wound Stainless strings sometimes weekly, at longest... monthly. I quit playing for a couple years because of being fed up with musicians and a sence of personal loss of motivation to grow as a player. I spent 3 or 4 years with an acoustic guitar just LISTENING to any and all music. Well, getting back into playing, I've really listened to 'my' tone and ended up with a set of DR hi-beams living on my bass for almost a year... they kept getting better and better, but not perfect. The closest to flats I'd ever tried was Dean Markley Ground Wounds in like 82 or so.... worst strings I've ever tried. But I kept an open mind and grabbed a set of SIT flats from www.thelowend.net last fall and...

    OMFG!!! exactly what I wanted to hear and feel! Great sustain, cutting harmonics, nicely rude 70s slap tone, etc... but the finger-style is heaven! Thick & thumpy yet still sings. Very strong and clear. Ghost/dead notes punch like Bruce Lee. They took almost a month to settle in and keep sounding better and better everyday.

    I've got my strings... no need for me to look any further!

    :rolleyes: Sorry to ramble, but you did ask :bassist:
  10. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I don't use any rounds except for slapping. I really prefer flats for everything else. The flats are much more comfortable for me to play. I also prefer the nice thumpy tone, especially since my style of playing is rather soft, yet bright (sounds odd I know). I'm not a "digger" but I still tend to pull alot of brightness out of strings. My fav strings right now are D'addario chromes and half-rounds..very versatile. loads of tone :D Long live flats!:bassist:
  11. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    lol......bruce lee wasnt known as much for punching as much as his feet :p
  12. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! ...... xconfused.

    ummm, ok
  13. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    You must be thinking of a different Bruce Lee. Speddling was prolly thinking of the guy known for "Fists of Fury" and the famous one-inch punch.

    But, back to the subject at hand.

    I've tried lots of flats, and I like them, but for most of what I play, rounds work better. I have TI JF's on a four-stringer, but it's not my main bass. For me, Roto 66's, GHS Boomers, Everly B-52 Rockers and so on have enough punch, although I admit that Fender 9050M's on my Franken-P were almost brutal. Extremely punchy. However, that's not the sound I necessarily need now. I also play mostly five-string, and I like the liveliest, most-defined B string I can get.
  14. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I've been using the Labella James Jamerson set on my Guild Satrfires for the past 5 or 6 years and it's the bets move I ever made. You wanna see a recording engineer's face light up? Lay some old school flatwound tone on him (so he doesn't have to EQ all the excess frequencies out in the mix). Thye just sound killer diller. I also find that they really cause me to anchor my playing. I use the 1.10 to.50 set with medium action and it keeps me from going off on silly flights of fancy. I just play really basic bass and when I play a bit more melodically, it sounds really mellow and groovy as opposed to everyone going "aw ****, the bass player's going off". I get so many compliments on my bass playing and I'm fairly certain it's just because of my sound. I'm certainly not playing anything that somebody didn't do better 30 years ago (my whole approach is state-of-the-art 1968), but it's rock solid and I think the flats contribute greatly to that. I literally get tons of non-musicians commenting on my bass playing at gigs and I'm certian it's just 'cuz I rumble their tummys.
  15. when you think about it, stocking flats is probably just not profitable. seems most flatwound guys keep the same set on as long as possible, whereas roundwound guys want to buy a new set every time they lose their "zing."
  16. I like the sound of flats, though I've tried them on a crap bass. They sounded pretty nice, I might try them on my own, if I can find some.

    They burn my fingers kinda bad though.
  17. In the last year or so I've tried many different string sets and I keep comming back to Thomastik flats.
  18. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    nobody can tell when I'm being sarcastic sometimes. :rolleyes:

    oh, and Jaco wasn't nearly as good on bass as he was on the banjo.

    and I'm really good at deciding where to randomly insert sarcasm for the sake of inserting sarcasm into that which sarcasm is needed to be inserted randomly into..
  19. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Very overly well said
  20. boilerbass


    Feb 14, 2003
    Hudson, OH
    I've never tried flats, but you guys have peeked my interest. I have a jazz bass and a P-bass. Which one should I try them on???

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