Late 70s disco sound w/ flats

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

  1. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    tindrum likes this.
  2. I was in my first bands playing bars back in the Disco days. Hadn't been playing all that long, and Rod Stewart's 'D'Ya Think I'm Sexy' ( . . . . he'll NEVER live long enough to live that down . . . .) was a crowd fave, and I thought that damn Phil Chen part with that triplet octave figure was going to turn my left hand into a mushy stump.

    As I remember those days, this was when roundwounds were really hot, and amps had not much top end. I couldn't say what those records were cut with, but IF I had to remember those days and that fat tone (especially on a StingRay with that big humbucker), I'd lean towards something like the GHS Pressurewounds.

    Back then, we all wanted to get as far away from flatwounds as possible. I still have nightmares about a Gibson EBO I once had to use for a night, strung up with maroon-colored tapewounds to match the cough-syrup red finish on the axe. I guess if I lived through that, I can handle anything . . . . .
    tindrum, Gunga Din and Phat Nick like this.
  3. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    Molto bene fatto, nick! Suona molto buono.
    Phat Nick likes this.
  4. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    Remember to give TI flats an extended trial period. They are painfully bright right out of the pack.

    A couple weeks of moderate to heavy play, some sweat, French fries and bbq. Fried chicken.

    They need to gather funk from their new owner to really bond.

    All the other flats I’ve tried have been too stiff for my tastes.
    mouthmw, kodiakblair and Phat Nick like this.
  5. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    Thank you :)
  6. Phat Nick

    Phat Nick

    Mar 14, 2018
    You need funky food to funkyfy your strings :-D :)
  7. Holdsg

    Holdsg Talkbass > Work Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    agree completely. the tackiness does wear off naturally in about 2-3 hours of play time. but yes, you can expedite that process as well
    tindrum and mouthmw like this.
  8. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    If he used the factory strings, they would be different depending on when he got the 'Ray. CLF used GHS strings from the start well into the G&L days. The StingRay basses originally all came with flats Sometime in '79 they started shipping with Brite-Flats (the modded rounds similar to D'Addario Half-Rounds, which Joel Dibartolo of The Tonight Show band with Johnny Carson and Doc Severenson used) or rounds which seemed to be GHS Bomers. As Edwards was using a rather early StingRay, I'd assume they were the flats. And based on the few live recordings I've heard it does sound like flats more than dead rounds. But likely John Taylor or perhaps Nile Rodgers are the ones who know for certain.
    tindrum likes this.
  9. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    Do not underestimate the foam mute! It is NOT the heavy Motown-style mute. The original Stingray mute could be set up for each string, so you could 'deaden' the string a bit, without killing note definition.

    Morrighan likes this.
  10. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    I have flats on two basses now. One has Fender 9050 (too bright) and the other has Dunlops. But, like @jwilson above, I hated flats back then. My first bass came with black tapewound which I used for a year though I detested them. I then got a Rick copy with what I presume to be Roto RS77 flats and used them for a few years before I guy borrowed my bass and put RS66 roundwounds on it. And I, too, remember the dead- sounding EBOs (and the copies thereof) that had dull, lifeless flats on them.

    I have also tried Chromes but didn't like them. I like the Dunlops.
  11. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    Although if you watch that Tokyo Producers concert, it sounds like a fresh set of strings.
  12. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    They'd worked closely together in Power Station, and Bernard became a mentor.

    As I've mentioned before though, if you watch Bernard's final gig, it sounds like he had fresh strings on the bass - so I'm pretty certain that the strings John's roadie destroyed, were not the strings that Bernard recorded on all those hits (they probably only had a few hours of Edwards' DNA worn into them).
  13. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    Speaking of dead roundwounds, I was a fan of Wishbone Ash back in the '70s and remember reading an article in International Musician (muso/tech/retail magazine) in which bassist Martin Turner said he used RS66 but liked them dead. I distinctly remember the article quoting him as saying that when he had to change the strings he smeared them with ketchup. That probably passed for chicken-grease mojo back then. I'm sure Prince would have approved.
    tindrum likes this.
  14. I've had La Bella 760FL flats on my SR5 for several years and they still maintain enough brightness to be real versatile. Never tried GHS flats but use TI's and yeah they are pretty mid-focused but the Ray's EQ can dial in the bass to compensate.
  15. Try some old rounds with a sponge. Probably better off with a strip of sponge over a large block. They are incredibly finicky to get the sound you’re looking for though, so better off leaving the sponge on instead of on/off, on/off.
  16. Versatek6

    Versatek6 Fretless is like Trombone

    Oct 7, 2008
    Twin Cities, MN
    The DR Legends have a very classic sound, minus the intonation quirks.
  17. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
  18. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    California Republic
    I always figured the Bernard Edwards sound was well-used rounds. If you have to try emulating this with flats, I'd suggest the DR line. Medium tension, well-balanced tone.
  19. Playing technique is key here, also. Awesome stuff, I love BE.
    tindrum and Phat Nick like this.
  20. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I'm not sure what you call 70's tone, but back in the early 70's, I was using Fender black nylon tapewound flats on my '65 Jazz Bass into my Standel amp (215 cab) as you can see in the picture below. Perhaps the clothes we wore also had something to do with it?;)

  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 27, 2021

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