Medium-gauge flats for Mustang?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Mustang Surly, Aug 6, 2013.


  1. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    Ack! Thread title error: make that "Medium-SCALE flats for Mustang?"

    Long-time guitar player, here, new to bass. Have a recently-acquired, 30"-scale, MIJ, Fender Mustang Bass re-issue that I gather needs medium-scale (rather than short-scale) strings due to the string-through construction.

    Any specific suggestions on flat wounds for this instrument in the event that I want to try some at some point to replace the round-wounds that came on it from the factory? I'll eventually haul out my digital micrometer and measure them, but does anybody know, off-hand, what gauge strings Fender puts on these these days?

    Thanks in advance for your input.
     
  2. bassobrutto

    bassobrutto Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    Yellow Springs, Ohio
    Labella makes a set specially for the Mustang. If you want smooth, solid old school flatwound sound, no string is better. They are well worth the money.
     
  3. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I recall the factory strings being .040, .054, .076, .096. These are pretty low tension/flexible. The LaBella flats should be quite a bit stiffer. (I don't know for sure, since I use roundwounds or pressurewounds on my MIJ Mustang RI, but I use LaBellas on my Precision and they are stiff.)


    And yes, you are correct, you need medium scale strings since they go through the body at the bridge and this requires extra length.
     
  4. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    Thanks, guys.

    I am considering flats partly because I think I may have an easier time learning with them. Specifically, I'm finding that the round-wound E string feels a bit "flubbery" and tends to make rattles and other extraneous noises when I play that the other strings do not. Extrapolating from my experience with flat-wound guitar strings, I would expect bass flats to be stiffer (as you've pointed out) and, therefore, less prone to creating the problems I'm having with getting clean notes on the E string.

    I haven't had anybody set the bass up (yeah, I know, I know) but the intonation seems fine and the action is not excessively low nor does the neck relief seem to be out of line. I check regularly to make sure that the strings are properly tuned, so this issue isn't due to having them tuned lower than standard.

    I've noticed that some players complain about low string tension on short scale basses. Being a newbie, I'm sure my technique may also be partly at fault. I've tried moving my right (picking/plucking) hand closer to the bridge and cranking up the volume a bit so that I won't need to pick the strings quite so aggressively and that has reduced the problem noticeably. Playing with a "lighter touch" seems to really help. I've also slowed the tempo of everything I'm playing so that I can concentrate harder on clean, accurate fretting of each note. My muscle memory is still adjusting to the bass's wider fret spacing, so things turn sloppy pretty quickly if I try to play too fast. Still think I'd feel more in control with a bit more string resistance, though.
     
  5. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    The "flubbery" string is what we call low tension or flexible here. You can get rid of that with thicker strings. Some people like low tension, though. In any case, the thickness of the strings should not affect how much fret buzz or clank you get--it will just partially mask a less-than-developed technique.

    Regarding setup, it will be different for a bass than you are possibly used to with a guitar. Almost certainly the best online guide for setting up a bass is by John Carruthers.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te44eWXd9pc

    Your third paragraph seems to show you turning in the right direction. I am not a pro instructor, but I have given bass lessons. IME most beginners try to pluck the strings on a bass much too hard. Turning the volume up on the amp and then reducing volume back to where you want it by keeping your fingers under control is a good start. I strongly recommend at least 4-5 lessons from a good bass player to establish a foundation for your technique. Watching YouTube videos is not a substitute. ;)
     
  6. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    Seems like sound advice. Thank you.

    The problem seems to be diminishing the more I play, so I must be doin' something right. That not withstanding, makes sense to take a few lessons in order to "start on on the right foot" and maybe avoid developing some bad habits that will be more difficult to break if I let them become ingrained.
     
  7. Do Labella still offer the Mustang flat set??? The last few times I've been on their site - no mention or sight of them.
     
  8. djg714

    djg714

    Jun 14, 2013
    The medium scale GHS Pressurewounds are a good alternative to the flats.
    I use them on my RI Mustang and really like the results.
     
  9. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I don't know if they do, but the last time I looked they still had some sets at Elderly Instruments.
     
  10. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    djg714,

    Which length GHS Pressurewounds do you use on your Mustang, the (7700) for 30-31" or the (7500) for 32-33"?
     
  11. For my money (ie., free) I like Carl Pedigo's setup videos:

    Part 1:
     
  12. djg714

    djg714

    Jun 14, 2013
    The medium scale 7500.
     
  13. eagle67

    eagle67

    Nov 12, 2010
    Originally Posted by Mustang Surly
    djg714,

    Which length GHS Pressurewounds do you use on your Mustang, the (7700) for 30-31" or the (7500) for 32-33"?

    Mustang Surly - GHS Pressurewounds are real nice strings, but they will sound more like rounds than flats
     
  14. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    boynamedsuse ,

    Close enough on the factory installed Mustang string sizes. I checked the Fender website which indicates that the Mustang is strung with Fender USA Super Bass 5250XL short-scale NPS (.040-.095) strings.
     
  15. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    When they are new. For me, that roundwound tone left in a few hours of playing. I also think they are the only "non-flat" string that actually ventures into "flat territory" (depending on the particular flats you are comparing them to, of course).
     
  16. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    If it helps, here's a vid I made months back, comparing the sound/tone of 3 month old Pressurewounds (that had many hours of playing time on them) to brand spankin' new ones.

    GHS Pressurewound Flats Demo
     
  17. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Hey GHS Official nice video. Not dissin' the Pressurewounds at all. I don't know if enough comes through to really compare them with MP3 encoding, though. :bag:

    I was just commenting that to me Pressurewounds are not like roundwounds--at least not for long. I ran a single set of Pressurewounds (7500s) on my Mustang for about a year. I liked what I heard except for the first few days and the last week. It included home practice on most days and ~25 gigs.
     
  18. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    I know what you mean; nothing we can do about how YouTube (and other sites) compress. However, the tone on the video is pretty close to what I usually go for live. Definitely more midrangy/hi-fi than what many like, but in the mix it works great.

    Oh, I agree. I grabbed them for a gig when I needed something different than my usual Super Steels could give me. They definitely bridge the gap between flats and rounds, and for me, that solidified my adoration for them.
     
  19. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    GHS Official,

    Thanks for the video. I actually already string a couple of my guitars with half-rounds (after a brief flirtation with flats in that arena) so it was interesting to hear a clip of their lower-frequency brethren.

    Pressure wounds may wind up being the ticket for me: a shade stiiffer and smoother to the touch but maybe retaining a bit more of the high end than going with full-on flats.

    Thanks again, everyone. Your comments are all providing valuable feedback to someone who is still pretty much "groping in the dark", as it were. If further thoughts occur to you, fire away!
     
  20. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I don't think Pressurewounds are any stiffer than rounds with a hex core. Smoother in texture and mellower in tone, though.
     
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