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Mixing and matching flatwounds

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by MKA, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. MKA


    Apr 14, 2012
    Northern Europe
    I recently put a new set of La Bella Deep Talkin flats (light set, 043-060-082-104) to my American Standard P, and like the last time used these strings, the E sounds quite a bit different from the rest of the set. It's a lot more "thuddy" sounding, lacking sustain and harmonics compared to other strings. I know that the different sounding E with la bella flats has been discussed here many times before, and it seems to happen with other flats too. If I remember correctly from the last time I used these flats, the difference evens out quite a bit when the strings really wear in, but never to a point that I could call the set truly balanced sound wise.

    So, thinking about it, I have always loved the sound of the TI E-string, real nice woody but articulate character and some thump too, not too different from the la bella A string. So I decided to to order a single TI E string, and replace the la bella E.

    And what do ya know, it's a great match! :hyper: TI E sounds lot more like it's part of same set than the original La bella one. It's a bit looser in tension, and being brand new a bit brighter compared to the rest of the strings that have been in the bass for about a month. But I expect it settle just nicely in couple of weeks. Nice! Now I have my perfect "custom set" of flats for my P, all the strings thump while remaining articulate. :cool:

    Has anyone else tried this? I know that the "search for the perfect flats" has been going on here for quite a while now...
  2. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I'm about to, for a different reason. I've been tuning CGDA for a while and using even string tensions by buying custom sets from BassStringsOnline.com . Lately I am thinking I want a bit more tension in the C and G strings. The G is no problem to bump up a gauge or two, the C is harder. I've been using a GHS Precision Flats 0.128 C string and most people don't make a flat any heavier than 0.132 which probably isn't enough of a change to bother with. But TI makes a 0.136 so I wanted to try that. Unfortunately TI doesn't make all the other string gauges I wanted. So I decided to get a TI 0.136 and GHS Precisions for the rest of the strings. They should be here in a day or two....

  3. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Interesting. I would think placing a TI string with either of those brands would be a huge tension mismatch. TIs sound a lot different too.
  4. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    The big TI flat came directly from BSOL and it arrived yesterday. The other strings I ordered at the same time are shipping direct from GHS and they are still in transit. I guess that makes sense, California being so much closer to Illinois than Michigan is. :confused: I jest, it has only been a couple of days since I ordered, there is nothing to be upset/impatient about here.

    I wanted more tension on my C string because I hammer the strings pretty hard on occasion and I don't want to have to raise the action a mile high to prevent them from clanking on frets and pickup poles. The new TI flat is not large enough to meet that goal entirely but it does definitely help. Both my C and G strings were pretty clanky and equally so. Now the C is noticeably better than the G. Plus the TI really doesn't sound bad at all even though until the balance of my order shows up it is mated with three very different GHS Pressure Wounds. It should fit right in with GHS Precisions. Tonal balance from string to string is something that some prize highly, while others accept and put to good musical use the string to string tonal variations that exist with some string choices. There is no right or wrong, just another case where individual string sales let you get the result you prefer.

    I knew going in that I would probably need a 0.145 flat to get the tension I want on the C string, but no one makes them. That is why I ordered a set of Boomers for my other bass. I'd rather have flats but it is an experiment to see which I prefer the most: higher tension or flat wound strings. Oh, the TI string immediately fixed another problem I was having. I don't know why but the 0.128 GHS Pressure Wound C string would not intonate properly for me. I found a thread that talked about this issue and I tried the fixes suggested. They helped but only to an extent. The new TI string intonated perfectly with its saddle set to the same spot as the GHS Pressure Wound.

  5. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    I replaced the G string on my 760FL set because the .043 was fretting out, replaced it with a .045 GHS, problem solved and no diffrence in tone or tension
  6. Brams77


    Jun 30, 2009
    I have experimented with flats also, but I would still encourage to use the same brand of strings and vary with gauges within the series to get an e or g string to bring the bass to better sound. I can imagine GHS and LAbella to be a bit closer in a mixed setting, but TI's and La bellas are completly different as was referred too.
    TI uses a very very flexible light guage string with nylon under the outerflatwound winding. Infact is a really strange string compared to anything else. Also Labella and GHS have different characters GHS does sound right out of the box but is a very stiff and high tension string that produces a very dry thumpy tone, La bellas take time to sound good and are alot smoother in sound, both using sililar gauges ofcourse. In the beginning the have a ring to them which I dont like but that disappeas when playing it for like a month.

    Anyways what works works but my experience is that the character of the string vary to much to use 2 brands on one bass.

    Take care
  7. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    The balance of my order came yesterday and I don't think the TI sounds out of place with the GHS Precisions at all. It seems to be at least a little tighter than the 0.128 Precision on my other bass was. The new set of progressive tension strings plays well but only partially addresses the clanks. It's either raise the action or play lighter I suppose.

    I put the new Boomers on the other bass too but that was the last thing I did before bed last night so too little time to form even a preliminary opinion of them. I plan to put a fretless neck on that bass if it ever gets here (and it has been long enough to be impatient about that, grrrr) so the Boomers might be useful for getting more mwaaaah out of it in the long run, if nothing else.

  8. G.Bisson


    Feb 26, 2009
    ^ I had this problem.

    ^ I took this approach.

    It was a set of Rotosound 77's monel flats. The E string sounded much different then the rest of the set. It had a clunky sound with unusal buzzing harmonics. I dont know if the 105 was just a defective string or something. Bought a single string here in the classifieds from another person parting out a set. Replaced the strange 105 string with a 100. The 100 matched the tone and tension of the rest of my original strings.
  9. MKA


    Apr 14, 2012
    Northern Europe
    Yes I was thinking about getting another La Bella E, but then I thought that the last time had La Bella set it was the same thing. So I think that thats just the way those strings are.

    Also I couldnt find any place to order la bella single strings here in Europe, so I would have had to buy a whole new set.

    Mixing TI E with La Bella set was just silly thing I thought I'll give a shot, if it doesnt work, no biggie. But honestly tonally its a lot better match than the original la bella string. Tension is a bit lower and I did raise the E string saddle just a bit but other than that I think its great. I think I'll keep this mixed set on at least a month or so, fwe rehearsals and gigs and see how it goes. So far I'm really diggin it!
  10. bladerunner347


    Aug 20, 2012
    I put a set of La Bella's on my 60's Jazz Bass... They are medium gauge so they are heavier.. I ended replacing both the E and A strings with heavy gauge chromed.. Sounds Great...

    On my 75 FSR Jazz I put a set of Pyramid Gold's which some players have complained about a dull E string... The funny thing with this one was that I had been using La Bella Quarter rounds and really felt that the E was over powering. I did many adjustments with pickups to no avail but when I put the Pyramids on... Walla

    Perfectly balanced and the most beautiful sound ever... The are known for having a very warm high mid... I find that I can dial in some frequencies in that range that I normally leave out.. The result is a beautiful, warm, flat wound sound that cuts...

    By the way.... I'm never going back to rounds...

    Play the flats....

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