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Long time flatwounds users..need your help!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by michele, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. michele


    Apr 2, 2004
    I've just put a set of La Bella Deep Talking Bass flatwounds light gauge (.43 .60 .82 .104) on my Sadowsky NYC 4 strings and I'm very surprised by the wonderful tone. It's my first experience with flatwounds and I really enjoyin' it!
    I'd like to hear from you long time flatwound users about this:
    1) When I used roundwounds I favoured La Bella DTB .41 .58 .83 .106 and I feel ok... now the flats, despite of the similar gauge, seem tighter. Since I got small hands do you think I better use a lighter gauge set?
    2) I like the round thumpy tone of the LaBella Flats, but I'm thinking about givin' a try to TI Jazz Flats. I'd like to hear the opinion of someone who tried both.
  2. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I'm actually a first time flat user like yourself, but I'm gonna throw some TI flats on my Sadowsky five sometime this week (just waitin' on the mail), and I'll let you know what I think. I'm kinda concerned about the tension, but I play towards the bridge, so hopefully it won't be a big issue (although I'm probably guaranteed to yank the G off the fretboard). And I can't get too much mids. I'm just so sick of finger noise I could scream. Pretty excited about trying these out. :bassist:
  3. michele


    Apr 2, 2004
    Yeah, let me know about your Sadowsky+flatwounds. All that I can say about mine is that the sound is really DEEP, ROUND and WELL-DEFINED ... and if you need a drop of clarity you know how to get it out from the Sadowsky! As far as finger noise ... forget it!
  4. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I've recently switched to TI Jazz Flats and used to use the LaBella Deep Talking Flats.

    As mentioned before the LaBellas have alot more tension.

    The Labellas sound more forceful or powerful but the TIs sound just as round and warm but more defined and articulate

    BTW I'm using the on an SR5
  5. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    The TI flats had nice tone but I couldnt play on them because of the low tension. Im a double bass player also and I am used to heavy tension in my strings. I gave them a shot but they didnt work for me. If you like soft low tension strings the TIs would probably work for you.
  6. And no, that's NOT what she says! :cool:

    Actually I greatly prefer and use only flats on my 4-string BGs, both on the Godin fretless and the Warwick FNA fretted. I prefer the metal ones as opposed to the black tape jobs, as I've found it's easier to slide your fingers around on them and also (IMO) they do give a bit brigher sound, with more sustain, then the tape ones do... I don't like TI's tho; I've found them to be way over-priced and over-rated as I dislike both their tone and their feel. (Last ones I had I sold, only slightly used, here.)

    The Godin A4, a sturdy semi-acoustic fretless, has fairly heavy gauge metal flats of unknown origin on it. (The E string looks and feels like a silver worm!) They came with the bass 2 years ago and still sound so good I've never replaced them, and only wipe them down with an alcohol pad now and then. (I did try La Bella black tapes on this bass for a short while, but found them to be too thumpy and somewhat short on sustain...)

    The Warwick FNA, after trying many different types of rounds and flats, finally now gets set up regularly with GHS thin gauge (40-60-75-95) flats. These of course don't add any pressure at all to the (also very sturdy) Warwick's neck, although I did have to lower the action quite a bit to accomedate them. AFAIC once you get used to their extreme thinness they are a joy to work with; lightweight and quick, good feel and smooth sliding, they are also easy to tap on with because of their thinness. Plus they give good tone and sustain with almost no finger noise! (And one can slap fairly well with them too, if that's your thang...)

    I don't see any real advantage or good reason for me to ever use those frickin' ringing pinging sharp edged finger bruising fret scratching roundwounds again.......!!
    Greywoulf :)
  7. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Okay, I got 'em loaded up. Initial observations of TI Jazz flats on a Sadowsky VJ 5:

    - Installation was a b!+ch, since I was switching from taper core rounds. The B is HUGE, and barely fit through the bridge, although it sits fine in the nut. In fact, I had a little trouble in general getting the strings to seat correctly since ball ends seem to be smaller than usual. They're definitely smaller than the DM SR 2000's I removed, based on visual comparison. May not be a factor on other bridges, but it was on mine. Of course, I had to redo the entire set-up, but I know how and have done it many times before. Not an issue for me, but could be for someone else.

    - As has been observed in other threads, they initially leave a funky gray residue on your hands. No biggie. The B, E and A have a little texture to them, while the D and G are smooth as glass, as mentioned before.

    - Okay, about the tension, which is something I really worried about. Based on the fact I had to loosen the truss about half a turn, I would have to say their tension is lower than the DM's. But my hands can't tell the difference. There is nothing I can't physically do on these that I could do with rounds, including slap. They seem to be about the same tension as nickel rounds, and have plenty of bounce. From what I understand though (again, I'm a flat rookie), flats are usually much higher tension than rounds, so going from LaBella's or whatever might be different. But transitioning from rounds, I can't feel any difference. Also, a trend I've noticed in reviews is that those who complain about the tension are P-bass players. Don't know if there is a connection; just an observation.

    - I don't want to talk about the sound too much until they settle in, but I will say that the B and E are not flabby AT ALL. They still growl like a mofo. Low D, which is usually as low as I go, is the voice of God. The B, E and A have some zing to them, but the D and G definitely do not. I really like what I hear so far, but I'll reserve judgement until they settle in. They feel great though, and don't squeak on every position shift. :rolleyes:

    Anyway, that's it for now. Sorry for the long post. I will say it is a testimony to Sadowsky basses that the B is still so tight. Roger recommends taper core Bs, but even this fatty .136 non-taper is tight as a drum. The secret ain't the taper core--it's the bass. Very impressive. :bassist:

    [Edit-Lefty loosie, rightie tightie :rolleyes: ]
  8. Artisan


    Apr 14, 2004
    The thicker the string and the higher the tension, the richer and rounder the sound will be. Also, the better damping you will be able to accomplish. The latter prevents muddiness.

    Bends are not the forte' of such strings, but warm, rich sound certainly are their thing.

    I use Rotosound and Labella flatwounds. Once in a while I venture to another brand just to learn what all of the hype was about. So far, all of the "bright" strings that I have tried have turned out not to favor my particular playing style.

    I do keep a couple of basses strung with roundwounds "just in case" I have a need for that sound. Frankly, it hasn't happened yet. To me, roundwound strings are mostly for bass beginners, unless one is into popping and slapping, which I most definitely am not. To each, their own.

    I haven't tried TI flatwounds yet. I'll have to give them a chance.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I am liking the TI Jazz Flats I have on my fretless. They have a very low tension for a flatwound string. When I first started crossing over to electric a few years ago, I thought they were too light. Now the tension is perfect. They feel and respond very much like a round wound string.
  10. Mongeaux


    Apr 14, 2004
    I love TI flats.

    The only time I ever had them get flabby is when I took them off to try another band of string. After I put em back on the E was a bit flabby.
  11. fortress1w


    Aug 25, 2003
    Burlington, VT
    Do the TI Flats have spacing between the wraps?

    I know most flats do...
  12. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Or people that don't like the usual high tension of flats, or the sound -- which really isn't appropriate for a lot of music, or the fact they cost more than half again as much as roundwounds (in most cases, IIRC, the TI flats and rounds I got cost the same). Or possibly the fact that unless you're at something big like a GC or a Sam Ash or something, chances are, they don't have any in stock so you'll have to wait until they're ordered. There are a lot of reasons people don't use flatwounds other than that they're beginners or slappers.

    Fortress1w: Yeah, but it's only noticeable on the E and the A.
  13. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Huh??? I don't even remotely see how the two things are related. I played flatwounds for my first four years. That was until I heard that "ping-zing" of a new set of roundwounds. I havent played flats since then. Maybe I'm a bit backwards???
  14. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Can't really agree with this statement. There are a number of players who use flats in music where it has been deemed inappropriate and it still sounds good. Steve Harris comes to mind. It's really a matter of taste and personal style. Everytime I have used flats when no else would I get tonnes of compliments on my sound. Especially if I use TI's or Chromes.

  15. MsLadyEvans


    Apr 20, 2004
    Hi everybody! First post here...

    This statement intrigues me, as I have also noticed this unexpected (to me) variation in flatwound strings. For someone who wants to approximate the old Jamerson sound, with a big, deep, dark and rich tone, would you all say that the Labella set once known as the 'Jamerson's' gets the job done? Pyramids? Tis? Regular old Fenders? Are there certain flats which are known for their 'darkness'? I'm looking, not so much for the JJ sound, but for something very much along the lines. I know that the bigger the better (or closer), but before this college student goes and puts fifty bucks on the counter I'm doing a bit more research.

    Thanks a lot. From just lurking for a little this board has helped out a lot already.
  16. Yes, I would say that the Labella flats will get the job done, but so will the Fender flats.

    TI's in my experience are a tad brighter, warmer, rounder, sounding. I use them but to compare them to the tone Jamerson got, no way are they as dark sounding.

    Below is a quote from another TB member, FlatWound to be specific and I agree with his findings regarding flatwound strings!

    Welcome to TB! I hope you find what you need before you make your purchase!

  17. MsLadyEvans


    Apr 20, 2004
    Thanks Treena!

    Very helpful indeed! I've got the 9050 Fenders on the P right now, and that gets pretty close to what I want (I've recently made a switch to flats after almost ten years on rounds). I just have a hard time knowing if there is something out there that is going to be a lot closer and I just don't know about it, or even what variations I'm looking for on what the Fenders already do. Ah, the wide world of strings.

    Ultimately it will come down to me going through all the strings that aurally reside in the niche I'm looking for - like your sig says, its all subjective - and going from there. Gotta start somewhere, though.

    Thanks again, and I appreciate the welcome. I'll be stringing up some of those Labellas next time around.

  18. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK

    It's been a week now, and the strings have stretched a little, as strings are wont to do. I can notice the lower tension now--I'll qualify my previous comment a little further and call them comparable to light guage nickel rounds. My right hand still doesn't notice much since I play by the bridge anyway, but my left hand does now. What's odd is that I can get the action lower than I could with the SRs without buzzing, even with what is theoretically a wider excursion. Maybe it's the quicker decay that's the trick. At any rate, left hand is like butter now (and I only pulled the G off the fingerboard once). ;) I did notice a weird "new" noise for a bit though--a teensy buzz as I release the left hand, probably caused by the fact if I use the same pressure as I did with my old strings, I'm pressing the string down further and get fret buzz as I release. Just gotta lighten up a little. :cool:

    I am SO happy with the strings. I had always thought of flats as being muddy, and these AIN'T. Super growl. I love low mids, and between the Eden amp and now these strings, I am in low-mid heaven. They are also a MUCH better blend in the low volume situations I usually play in. We'll see what happens when the honeymoon is over, but I am SO digging these strings right now. They are really changing my approach, and I hope, in a good way. :bassist:
  19. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    I Love TI-flats for fretless.
    Fot fretted I've been using Roto- flats.
    Tighter tension, brighter than TI.
    Flats rule.
  20. michele


    Apr 2, 2004

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