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Late 70s disco sound w/ flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by SlapPopBass, May 7, 2019.


  1. Looking for some opinions on which sets of flatwounds to choose.

    I'm throwing them onto a 2 band eq Stingray, and trying to emulate that mid-rangey late 70s disco bass sound.

    To be more specific I'm not looking for the James Jamerson thump, but something a bit more punchy, less thuddy, and closer to the likes of Bernard Edwards or even Joe Dart.

    The only set of flats I've ever tried are Chromes and based off what I heard those are on the brighter side of things, which might not jive well with an already bright Ray.

    I was thinking of either DR Legends or Thomastik-Infelds (though admittedly the price point on this one scares me a little).

    Open to any suggestions and experiences. Just trying to gather some opinions and decide.
     
  2. nerkoids

    nerkoids

    Jan 3, 2014
    Montreal
    Well, the old Stingrays had a dampening system near the bridge. Maybe try a little bit of foam (really, a light, slight foam, not too thick) with the Chromes before taking them off. Might do the trick.

    Otherwise, maybe you can try the Ernie Ball traditional flats (not the Cobalt Flats)
     
    Brother Goose likes this.
  3. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    The original strings on the StingRay were GHS Precision Flats (until ca. '79 when they started shipping with GHS Brite-Flats or GHS Boomers), and those are probably what Edwards used. I've always liked them better than LaBellas because they have all the essential thump one generally expects from a flat just like the LaBellas do, but also they have a definite note pitch which I find lacking in the LaBellas.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  4. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Italy
    I feel you,man! Just started experimenting with flats on my Stingray,to get that. Bernard vibe...don’t know If I’ll keep ‘em all the time,because I love the tone of the roundwounds,but I love the tone! I’m using R&B flats by Optima Strings,I love them,thought they were very “Motown” but they fit well on the stingray...also Daddario Chromes,I used them in the past in my fretless bass and find them quite good
     
  5. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Italy
    here is a quick test with the Optima R&B Flats on my stingray...of course I chose a Chic tune :-D recorded via Roland Go Mixer, bass eq basically flat...hope you can see it (my Facebook profile)
     
    jmlee, tindrum, porterbass and 18 others like this.
  6. mouthmw

    mouthmw

    Jul 19, 2009
    Croatia
    I've just started experimenting with flats on my 2 band Stingray as well (a week ago). Currently I have EB Cobalt Flatwounds 45-100 on it. The feel and tension are great, but they don't sound old school. Not sure how they'll age, but I have a set of new TI flats as well, and I'm putting those today to test them out. I expect those to be more old school.

    If those end up being too floppy with their low tension, I also have a set of EB traditional flats on the way (Group IV 40-95) to test out. My P has been wearing 760FS La Bellas (45-105) for over 2 years now, tuned half a step down and those are absolutely perfect for that old school P tone. Haven't tried La Bella on the Stingray yet, and I'd have to get a lower tension La Bellas or a smaller gauge, since my ray is in standard tuning.

    I tried Optima flats (have a set of those) on my P as well, they sound cool, kind of that Rickenbacker tonal vibe, but ultimately I prefer La Bellas on my P.
     
    Phat Nick likes this.
  7. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Italy
    Yeah,I have the impression that the Optima Flats would fit better on a Rick or a P Bass...I would be curious to try EB Cobalts on my Ray,since I always loved the Louis Johnson/Nate Phillips tone...might be smoother than a common roundwound but just a little brighter of my current Flat set...
     
  8. lostpoet2

    lostpoet2

    May 20, 2008
    Killer tone and playing!
     
    MuttThud, Bassamatic and Phat Nick like this.
  9. mouthmw

    mouthmw

    Jul 19, 2009
    Croatia
    I dig EB Cobalt flats, but they're very clear sounding, I kind of miss that thud of an old school flat. I don't think they would quite age to that level of thud, and they seem to retain their brightness and modern tone very very well. Joe Dart signature bass comes with EB traditional flats, so those are definitely more on the old school side (probably similar to Chromes, but more smooth and less bright).
     
    Phat Nick likes this.
  10. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Italy
    Thank you,sir! I tried to stay loyal to the fill,but added a couple of things
     
  11. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Italy
    I remember the Chromes sounding good but not so smooth at the touch...I’m mostly a roundwound guys who goes flat from time to time,so probably I’ll give a try to EB Strings.. :)
     
    mouthmw likes this.
  12. mouthmw

    mouthmw

    Jul 19, 2009
    Croatia
    Cobalt flats aren’t the smoothest flats ever (not smooth like la bella), but after one use of fast fret they were smooth and I had zero issues with tackiness. They wouldn’t be as slinky and have that tone if they were traditionally smooth (they have slight gaps in winding). Great flats if you’re into roundwound tone but want it to be more smooth and have no fret sliding noises.
     
    Phat Nick likes this.
  13. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Italy
    ok,gotta press that button on Amazon :-D
     
  14. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Wow you really nailed that !
     
    Phat Nick likes this.
  15. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Italy
    Thank you!! :) I tried to get into it as much as possible!
     
  16. cxcxcx

    cxcxcx

    Mar 8, 2019
    Chromes will smooth out in touch/feel after a few weeks.

    Bernard’s sound is rooted in old strings. He never changed them and if asked what strings he used, he’d say that he didn’t know, and mention they were what came on the bass when he first got it.
     
    Wood and Wire and Phat Nick like this.
  17. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Do you remember what gauge you used

    I have a stingray classic 5 and might switch now from cobalt rounds to flats after hearing that
     
    Phat Nick likes this.
  18. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Italy
    Sure,I used Optima R&B Flats 45/100,might transfer them on my Yamaha BB414 to get a sort of P Bass sound
     
  19. Postscript: Duran's John Taylor (a HUGE Bernard Edwards fan) wound up with BE's Stingray. One of his roadies thought the strings were toast alongside John's other axes, and cut off the old strings (which had cut all of his famous sides . . . .) as routine maintenance of his basses and replaced with JT's usual strings. Oh well . . . . . he was mortified.
     
    Phat Nick likes this.
  20. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    for the record Bernard edwards used the stock roundwound strings the bass came with, he never changed them. so they are not flats but are completely dead and old and well used so they sound flat-ish if that makes sense.

    if you want true flats try GHS precision, they are healthy in the mids. TI are super weak in the low end, i would not like that tone with a Stringray (i've owned one). If you need more treble i would try the dead roundwound route ala Bernard.
     
    Phat Nick likes this.

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