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Low tension flatwound or tapewound strings?

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


  1. RomanS

    RomanS

    Nov 18, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
    I recently picked up a cheapo Asian-made Höfner Club Bass for next to nothing, because the top has started sagging underneath the bridge - the two layers of the laminted top had separated there, I assume it might have got hit on the bridge or sat in a case that wasn't tall enough.
    At any rate, I tinker around with guitars and basses a lot, so I used this opportunity to test my repair skills - wicked in some glue between the separated plywood layers, and glued a layer of maple veneer as a kind of bridge plate to the inside of the top - seems solid now...
    But still, I don't want to take chances, so I'm going to use lower tension strings; the bass came with roundwounds (which I hate) - on my Precision I use D'Addario Chromes flatwounds, not sure what to use here?
    I heard Thomastik Infeld flats have less string pull than other brands? What about tapewounds? Never tried those, how's the string pull with these, compared to flats? LaBella makes those in medium scale (which I need for the Club Bass). Other options for low tension strings?
    BTW, the tone I'm shooting for is a thumpy, upright-bass-like old-school tone (I only use the neck pickup, and pluck the strings near the end of the neck).
    [​IMG]
     
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    TI Jazz Flats are terrific, and pretty low tension. Can you get them cheap in Vienna? :cool:
     
  3. RomanS

    RomanS

    Nov 18, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
    Their JF324 set (which seems to be the right one for my bass) is around 45 Euros, don't know what they cost elsewhere - about the same as LaBella or Pyramid flatwounds, a bit more than D'Addario. If I put those on, the value of that bass will rise almost 50%... :D
     
    davidprice likes this.
  4. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Here in the US, TI strings are 2x to 3x as expensive as D’Addario. But they sure are worth it!

    Other thoughts on your general question:
    • Flats come in a range of different tensions, so generalizations are usually somewhat misleading. Tension also depends on scale length and tuning, so a set that is “medium tension” on a P bass might qualify as “light tension” on your Hofner.
    • Flats come in a range of different tones too, from very thumpy and mellow to pretty crisp and bright.
    • The above two comments are equally applicable to tapewound strings. Some tape wounds are actually stainless rounds under the tape, so can be pretty bright sounding.
    • Is your aversion to roundwounds based on feel, or tone? If feel, there are some surprisingly smooth feeling rounds available (such as TI Jazz Rounds).
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  5. RomanS

    RomanS

    Nov 18, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
    It's basically a tone thing, not a feel thing, I like those deep, thumpy tones, the Stax/Motown Duck Dunn/James Jamerson tone, which I get with my Precision with flats.
    I got the Höfner for upright bass-like tones, for playing with an acoustic group, folk/country/Americana-style music ("from Hank to Lucinda Williams") - I think, flatwounds will get me much closer than roundwounds there...
    I used to play Rotosound roundwounds with a pick in my young punk/grunge days, but that was a loooong time ago...
     
    lowplaces and ctmullins like this.
  6. shoulderpet

    shoulderpet

    Sep 24, 2015
    either Labella Beatle bass flats or Pyramid gold short scale flatwounds will get you that thumpy tone, if you go for the Labella make sure to go for the 96-39 gauge set, Pyramid will be even thumpier but will be stiffer feeling but despite the stiff feel the actusl physical tension of Pyramids is not high.
    I use TI's as I have as arthritis that is sensitive to stiff strings, they are nice sounding strings but not particularly thumpy for flats.
     
    davidprice, Rock Salad and RomanS like this.
  7. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Jan 25, 2005
    UK
    In this case you are concerned with force on the neck and therefore true 'tension': the pull force applied to a string by the tuner, measured in pounds (strictly 'pound-force') and seen on tension charts/calculators.
    Be careful to not confuse this with 'stiffness' or 'how it feels'. Most people on this forum confuse the 3 with each other and therefore think tension is primarily determined by brand / string line, it isn't.

    Tension is determined by string mass, which is primarily determined by gauge. So there's no need to search for another brand / string line, you can if you want just use Chromes in smaller gauges like 40-95 or 32-90.
    TI flats only come in one gauge, so in that case the brand and string line does determine a particular tension.
    Tapewounds come in a variety of gauges, so tension varies.
     
    TL23NC, RomanS and ctmullins like this.
  8. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Hey Roman !

    Good seeing you posting here.

    I have enjoyed your posts over on tdpri and tgp. (Wyzsard on tdpri and nodepression on tgp)

    TI Flats are hard to beat.
     
    RomanS likes this.
  9. RomanS

    RomanS

    Nov 18, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
    I do realize that for a given string gauge, type, and scale, the actual tension (as a scientific property) has to be the same every time, to be at the right pitch, and that this is different from "perceived tension"/feel/slinkyness, whatever you want to call it (I actually got into a big discussion on TGP about this a long time ago) - BUT: I believe that differences in construction (esp. round vs hexagonal core, different alloys of core and windings, etc.) might result in a different required tension for various strings, even if they have the same gauge? After all, eg. a round-core .040 string is going to have a different (higher) mass than a hexagonal core one of the same gauge, so it should require more tension to vibrate at the same pitch.

    But we're getting slightly off topic here...

    BTW, I haven't checked - but do medium scale Chromes also come in lighter gauges?
     
  10. RomanS

    RomanS

    Nov 18, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
    I rarely ever check into TDPRI these days, and on TGP I'm usually only on the Alt.Country-mega thread. But I do want to start playing bass a bit more again, so I'll be around here, too...
     
    lowplaces likes this.
  11. bearfoot

    bearfoot Inactive

    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    I have been checking the D'Addario site comparing strings. There aren't a ton of options in Chromes, I think the lightest you can go is 40-100. They seem a fairly tight string to me.

    http://www.daddario.com/upload/tension_chart_13934.pdf
     
    RomanS and Alex Bass like this.
  12. theguy316

    theguy316

    May 4, 2018
    Santa Cruz
    Edit: Sounds like you might be interested in trying Chromes. Pretty effortless to get woolly/thick tones with them.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    RomanS likes this.
  13. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    Medium scale D'Addario Chromes only come in one gauge.
    I've used, and liked the thumpy sound of, Pyramid flats and heard great things about their black nylon tapewounds (which I've seen described as noticeably less bassy-sounding than old-style flats, but very upright-like). D'Addario tapes are low-tension and sound good, but I'd describe them as...muffled rounds (which most tapes actually are) rather than thumpy.
     
    RomanS likes this.
  14. rwkeating

    rwkeating

    Oct 1, 2014
    Chicago
    none
    cactus1 and RomanS like this.
  15. Hammerfield

    Hammerfield

    Aug 1, 2016
    Argentina
    My fav Hofner sound is with the Roto Tru Bass strings
     
    Trabeen and RomanS like this.
  16. RomanS

    RomanS

    Nov 18, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
  17. RomanS

    RomanS

    Nov 18, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
    Great sound, but 65-115 gauge might require a bit of work on the nut - and I'm not sure how much string pull they have (as I said, I'm looking for something with less tension - no experience how tapewounds compare to flatwounds there...)
     
    davidprice and Hammerfield like this.
  18. shoulderpet

    shoulderpet

    Sep 24, 2015
    Rotosound always used to market the Trubass strings as low tension,so I was surprised when someone said that Rotosound quoted nearly 180 IBS tension for the Trubass set, always thought they felt kind of stiff
     
    RomanS likes this.
  19. rwkeating

    rwkeating

    Oct 1, 2014
    Chicago
    none
    Order direct from LaBella. Even if it cost more it is worth it since flat wound strings last forever.
     
  20. RomanS

    RomanS

    Nov 18, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
    Unfortunately: "Non-Standard scale sets (Medium, Extra Long) are not available to purchase on www.LaBella.com. Please see drop-down of “Trusted Online Retailers” below the product image to locate one of these sets." (from the LaBella webpage)
     
  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.

     
    May 7, 2021

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