Maybe flats and Jazzes were not meant to be

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JazzyJacuzzi, Oct 18, 2021.

  1. JazzyJacuzzi


    Sep 17, 2021
    I love flats on my Precision, but I've come to realize my Jazz just sits in its case whenever I string it with flats. It's akin to boarding the windows of a beach-side house. Sure, you still hear the waves, but you're missing half the experience.

    Where do I go from here? I haven't tried rounds in almost five years, except for this past month when I found an old set of DR Sunbeams and put them on the Jazz just for the thrill of it. I'm looking for something vintage? Something without too much snap or top-end? I have a Fender American Original 60s.

    Anyone else loves flats on a Precision, but not their Jazz?
    armybass, babaseen, Mr Cheese and 2 others like this.
  2. I wanted to like the sound of flats on my Jazz bass when it was my one and only bass. But most flats I tried seemed to suck the Jazz bass character out of the Jazz bass with one notable exception, ie Fender 9050 flats.

    The day I discovered the GHS Pressurewounds was the day my Jazz found its perfect match!
  3. Bass4ThePublic

    Bass4ThePublic Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    Kansas City
    If you're looking for something vintage, LaBella DTF or GHS P flats do vintage all day. Thing is, you have to give flats time to break in to sound vintage. You can't really get around that.
  4. Dan_reeves


    Jun 14, 2013
    I love Labella DTFs on both my jazz basses, but I do have both wired in series all the time so not your traditional jazz tone.
  5. I didn't like the La Bella 760FL on my Jazz (wired normally). But I can see how they would work better on a J wired in series with a P-like low-mid bump.
    Mastermold likes this.
  6. e-flat


    Jun 15, 2009
    Washington State
    I have found a few sets of flats that I really like on a Jazz, but I’m in the same boat w/ OP: sometimes you just want that top-end “air” that a Jazz excels out WITHOUT the zing & clank of a modern Jazz sound.

    Aside from dead rounds (which I love on a Jazz), have you tried Tapewounds? If your Jazz is well shielded and won’t hum like a bee , tapewounds can get you a range of tones from close to a round wound tone (La Bella White tapes) to dark & rich but with great definition (Pyramid Tapes, my favorite) and work incredibly well when looking for clarity without the dreaded zing of rounds.

    For rounds, I really like a nice dead set of pure nickel or NPS strings, but was recently surprised by how good a dead set of DR Fat Beams sounds on my Jazz.

    Good luck!
    mrperkolator likes this.
  7. For "vintage rounds", I can also suggest the GHS Balanced Nickels, which are pure nickel roundwound on a round core. Deep, focused lows with smooth, warm mids and very little zing up top.
    Border and Father Gino like this.
  8. Lowendchamp

    Lowendchamp Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2021
    Shelton WA
    I'm normally a P guy but I play my Jazz more now because I put EB cobalt flats on her and now she sounds Awesome! Of coarse the bass matters too and I have an American Performer Jazz Bass with the Greasebucket circuit and that thing was too bright sounding before the flats. Even with the flats on it sounds brighter than my P even with no tone. So yeah I would say each make of bass is unique.
    JCooper, Evets1987 and Yahboy like this.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I’m not too big on Js or PJs with flats either, to be honest. They can sound good, sure, but in other people’s hands, not mine.
  10. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    EB Cobalt flat will make your jazz bass sound healthy and juicy growl !!!

    I also suggest a Dunlop Super bright Nickel which sound pretty close to DR Sunbeam, has smooth string texture and sweeter top end.

    Or, Fender 7150 pure nickel.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
  11. My affinity for the sound of flats on a Jazz was first inspired by Van Morrison's Moondance album (1970), where John Klingberg plays a Fender Jazz with (possibly) La Bella flats. If you dig the bass tone on that album, then why not?
  12. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I play rounds on a J sometimes. If I want something round wound but not as brittle as a HiBeams set I like TI Jazz Rounds.
    TrevorOfDoom, RobertAuCoin and e-flat like this.
  13. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Whatever you do, don't try TI Jazz Rounds!

    Replacing all the other roundwound strings you used to be satisfied with gets REALLY expensive.
  14. 7dollarbologna


    Apr 22, 2014
    Downtown Albuquerque
    Desert Eccentric
    I love flats on a Jazz Bass, but if were to go with rounds I go with Rotosound nickel 66
    LoTone and -Asdfgh- like this.
  15. I have D'Addario light gauge chromes on my fretless jazz and I get a nice Jaco like growl out of them. I can also get a nice mellow thumpy sound as well. It depends on where I pluck, if I use thumb, fingers or pick and the type of amp. Chromes work well for me.;)
  16. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    I just installed this past weekend a set of Rotosound Monel flatwound I had used on a P-Bass that I didn’t like but WOW on the J-Bass they sound just amazing. The set I installed are the medium gauge (45
    - 105), I also just received a brand new set hybrid gauge (40 - 100) of the same brand that I will probably install in a near future just to lighten up the tension.

    This was the first time I installed a set of flats on a jazz bass, I have set of pressurewounds on a P/J and I also like them on this bass.
    keith1r and Jason Hollar like this.
  17. Evets1987


    May 20, 2020
    Try cobalt flats.
    FRoss6788, JCooper, Yahboy and 3 others like this.
  18. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I’ve found a few sets of flats that sound good to me on a P-bass but the only flats I’ve liked on a J-bass so far have been TI flats. I keep a set on my Noel Redding Jazz. My other J-basses wear nickel rounds.

    An old friend of mine has a very old, dead set of Fender flats on his mid-‘70s J-bass and he gets a terrific “classic rock” sound with that combination but in my hands it doesn’t sound like that. I guess there’s some truth to the “tone is in the hands” argument but it’s not going to stop me from buying gear!
  19. mrperkolator


    Jan 4, 2020
    try labella's low tension flats. They are more modern sounding, but still smooth. the flexibility brings out more in the tone and less muffled, to my ear anyway. Closer to TI flats than traditional flats. Labella makes some stellar tape-wounds as well. Those are easily becoming my favorite string. My favorite tone was a BTB strung with labella black tapes. But "Btb" stands for "breaking the back." Damn thing was a boat anchor. I had to sell it because it hurt me. She sung perfectly though...
  20. BassJuju


    Jul 9, 2016
    I’m about to speak blasphemy… jazz bass, with La Bella flats, and play with a pic. There are a few guys around that have made a living with that combo, especially country, and a little palm mute doesn’t hurt.
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