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Metal Flats with Tapewound Feel/Sound?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by slap2much, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. slap2much

    slap2much Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2004
    I've been experimenting with getting as much of an upright sound as possible from a solid-body fretless, and had put on some tapewounds (GHS black nylon). It actually got fairly close with the tone rolled off on the single P pickup, the action set pretty high, some foam pushed under the strings near the bridge and me plucking up around the 14th fret or so.

    Anyway, the next step in the experiment was adding a piezo pickup at the bridge (also a Cafe Walter buffer). At first I thought the pickup wasn't working properly but after a few minutes I realized the pickup just doesn't work with non-metal strings. After switching to some flats I had handy (Fender 9050) it sounds a lot better, but seems to feel a little less 'upright' than before. And although I can't compare with the piezo, the sound with just the P pickup and tapewounds seems closer to an upright to me.

    Can anyone recommend flats with a metal exterior winding that might be closer to the sound and feel of those GHS tapewounds? Alternately, anyone looking for that upright sound/feel have any string recommendations?
  2. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    The piezo is one type of pickup that should work with any type of string. That is the type of pickup used in the new U-Bass with plastic strings.

    Sometimes with piezos, they kind of choke off if they see uneven tension (like during restinging) and just easing off the string tension and restringing in a more evenly distributed way will completely correct it. You may want to retry your tapes now that the piezo is working well.
  3. slap2much

    slap2much Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2004
    I will check that out, thanks. There's not a lot of definitive info on this topic, but I ran across some literature for Spectorcore basses (their piezo bridge assembly is similar to what's on mine) and it mentions the limitation regarding non-metallic strings there. If I just touch one of the saddles with my finger (contacting both of the tiny metal points at the string's contact point) the note suddenly rings clear. I thought maybe it was an intermittent short but after I switched out to metal strings there were no problems at all.

    Edit: I should add this isn't a 'doorbell buzzer' film piezo, rather it's a complete surface mount bridge with a pickup built in to each saddle.

    Another edit: looks like I may have found a better analysis of the problem, and a workable solution, here.

    If that's the case, no need for me to look for replacement strings...

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