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John Paul Jones strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by smythe5, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. smythe5


    May 11, 2010
    Ok, I should know this, but what strings did Jones use when he was using his Fender Jazz on all those Zeppelin records? They sound warm like flats to me.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    He used flats and rounds at different times.
  3. smythe5


    May 11, 2010
    Ya, that is of what I've arrived to, by ear. There are recordings where it's seems impossible that they'd be rounds. Thanks for the lone response!
  4. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Rotosounds to be exact.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  5. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    First couple records, roto flats.

    The rest of the records, roto rounds.

    I'm sure there are exceptions but that's the general consensus.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  6. TimB 619

    TimB 619 Guest

    May 28, 2010
    He has said different things at different times. In 1977, he said he used Rotosound flats. Later he said he gave up flats in his session days before Zep, because they lacked sustain. I tend to think he did use flats on the first two albums.
    southpaw723 likes this.
  7. smythe5


    May 11, 2010
    thanks folks. Again, to my ear, i'd have to agree that the first two Zep albums sound like flats.
  8. He used Roto RS 77 flats on his Jazz during Zeppelin. The rounds you hear are on any earlier stuff are on his single coil Precision, up until he got Alembics, which also had rounds.
    southpaw723 and keith1r like this.
  9. This 1970 clip of What is and What Should Never Be has this killer closeup of Jonesey's bass around the 1:30 mark... it's definitely flats, with that characteristic smooth sheen (on top of the obvious fact they sound nothing like rounds).

    What has me a little perplexed is how black the silk ends look... Rotos have always been red, as far as I'm aware. Anyone know if the original Fender factory flats had black silks? LaBellas also come to mind, but I feel like there's too much growly upper-mid character in his tone to be LaBellas.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 5.21.11 PM.
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  10. Good job on the screen caps.

    Yeah - sure look black. What about the headstock end?

    Anyway - glad to see someone actually agreeing with me - no way he was using rounds, regardless of what he said in 2007 or whatever.

    Of course, that gets us to what he said in 77, which was Roto flats. Maybe they were Labellas at the time, and he had switched to Rotos by the interview time, perhaps even getting paid by them.

    The upper mid growl could be a result of rolling off the bridge pickup a touch, I dunno.
    SasquatchDude likes this.
  11. Seems decent headstock shots are pretty hard to come by, but these two screen grabs from '69 shows keep leading me to think black silks. The bottom pic – albeit limited to the E tuner – looks distinctly black, and in the B&W shot the wraps look too dark in relation to his 'burst finish to be Rotosound red.

    Shoot, if the cameramen ever gave Jonesy a quarter the attention they gave Page, we'd be able to tell the exact string gauge down to the 0.0001th and get an accurate fiber count on the silk ends :roflmao:.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 6.05.05 PM. Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 6.00.16 PM.
    AModestRat, wizay and JMacBass65 like this.
  12. The Dazed and Confused pic looks a bit dark blue to me, personally; don't some La Bella flats have blue silks?
    SasquatchDude and JMacBass65 like this.
  13. You're right, I think the original heavy gauge set does have blue silks. That could also explain why he iconically plays up by the neck so much... one way to cope with the bridge cable-like stiffness of those things.
  14. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    I play in a Led Zep tribute band, and I use flats on a P bass. Used rounds for a long time, and used a jazz bass and a PJ bass, but I just prefer a good ol' P. Flats to me are a must for that thumpy old school Zep tone. I use La Bella 760FS (45-105) - great strings (and they have black silk lol!). The first Zep tune that absolutely turned me towards flats was How Many More Times. Oh man, that tone.. bliss.

    Here's some flats on a P action in my Zep tribute band:
    kkaarrll and SasquatchDude like this.
  15. Nice job! I can't freakin' play it that fast, that's like early Zep speed. By late '73 they had slowed that tune down big time. They did the same with Over the Hills and Far Away. I remember Jones did an article in some rag talking about it. He called it a "stomp groove" or something like that. Just an evolution of the feel of the song.

    I like that your band plays the music sans the lookalike costumes. There is a band local to me that does the same thing.

    I'd take the gig either way, but the dress up part can be a bit silly.
  16. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Thanks man! Yea, we're not really trying to be "real tribute" or impersonate them or be completely copycat, just playing some good ol' Led Zep rock n roll. :)
    Nice little tidbit about the slowing down of their tunes! Didn't know that!
    SasquatchDude and JMacBass65 like this.
  17. mouthmw likes this.
  18. Very cool.

    To hear the tempo change, if you have the CDs:

    Listed to Black Dog and Over the Hills and Far Away form the How the West Was Won live set.

    Then get The Song Remains the Same soundtrack (only the recent remastered version will have OTHAFA), and listen to the same two songs. The slower tempo is really pronounced on Black Dog. But - if you hit Youtube and find one of the 1975 bootlegs, you'll hear how slow OTHAFA got by then - big time. It'll be the third song in any of the 1975 boots, BTW. By then they also extended the solo out quite a bit, and the slower tempo seemed to allow JPJ to get a lot funkier. If you find the Feb. 14th 1975 show, you'll see what I mean. It's a board tape, so the sound is almost album quality.
    Son of Wobble likes this.
  19. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Thanks a lot man, I will most definitely check it out! I'll tell it to my band as well, perhaps new ideas will come of it :D
    JMacBass65 likes this.

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