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Modern bass with dead flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JimmyM, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    ...Yeah, I'm going to try it. Wanna make something of it, punk?


    Went through my herd of basses this week and spent a little quality time with all of them. I love them all except for my Jay Turser violin bass, and even it's not all that bad, just not up to the rest of them sonically. Mostly I've been playing Fenders for the last 10 years and to me they'll always be the ultimate in versatility and tone. But the bass that makes it easiest for me to play is this 4-string on the right here:



    1996 Guitar Factory bass, mahogany/maple/pau ferro, EMG PJ's, neck-through-body, and I don't know if you can make it out in these pics but it has a Kahler whammy bar on it ;) All my basses play well but this one especially plays well...darn near perfect if you ask me. BTW, the one next to it is a GF bass also, but I stripped the original finish off and redid it with tung oil. I was playing it today and wishing it sounded more suited for the 50's-60's-70's music I'm mostly doing, and then it occurred to me...just put dead flats on it!

    Why didn't I think of that before? I guess it never occurred to me till just then. I mean, it's ridiculous to put flats on a more modern style bass, isn't it? But they've been working quite well for me on my P Lyte with EMG PJ's, so why not this one? I'm going to order a set of Chromes for it, rub them down good every day for a month with greasy crap, and it should rule pretty hard by my estimations.

    I realize this makes me an outcast...I can no longer be in the Purists Club because Jamerson and Jaco never did it, and the Driftwood Club won't have me because I'm committing the ultimate sacrilege and putting flats on it, not to mention the whammy bar and the lack of more than 4 strings being bad bad things.

    It's really strange how little I care, though. I just wanted to see if there were others on here who do it, or if it was my brilliant idea alone. At any rate, I'm going to have a lot of fun bringing this one back onstage. Been quite a while...only used it twice since 2005. Killer bass.
  2. OUT51D3R


    Feb 1, 2011
    I've got an ESP b50 that I loaded with a set of EMG PJxs and a set of Chromes(currently about 4 months old). I'm pretty happy with the tone of it, though I run with the tone fully open into a GK amp so I wouldn't describe it as an old school/dead flat tone.
  3. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    I have a Carvin LB76 (active 6-string) that I keep flats on. It sounds amazing! Almost acoustic. I use it as my main axe for jazz jams now.

    BTW, I am TOTALLY jealous of your whammy bar.
  4. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    I had a set of fender flats on my stiletto for about a year. Sounded pretty good, but then I built a P and put flats on that, and it totally rocks the flats sound.

    After a while I wanted a more aggressive sound for a project, so I threw some rotosounds on the stiletto and am loving it.
  5. 5StringFool


    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    I have a set of Chromes on my Spector NS-95, and I think they sound great. They've been on there for about a year now, and I wipe em' down, but they've mellowed quite a bit from their out of the box brightness. I'm not sure if they'd be considered "dead" though... I'm still a relative new flats user.
  6. arsie


    Jan 19, 2011
    My main player is a Stingray 4 with one year old Chromes, so I approve. Now the whammy bar...
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Appreciate the Chromes approval...wasn't asking for it with the whammy bar, though ;)

    The whammy bar is awesome. You can do a lot more than divebombs with it. I use it to simulate a fretless, hit lower notes on the E string on the rare occasions I need them, and of course, it does good old fashioned vibrato. And divebombs.

    I'm a little sad to see others have thought of it before me, but I guess that was kind of unrealistic to expect, eh?
  8. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I've been using dead sounding flats on a very modern bass (see my avatar) for a couple of months...but I might go back to rounds and just use the passive tone control more.
  9. enjoi1018

    enjoi1018 Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Auburn, AL
    My SR505 has some 12+ month old Ken Smith Slickwounds on her. And while they aren't new, I can still use the EQ to bring out the brightness in them without any "zing". Need some new ones, but they 'spensive!!
  10. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    Stainless flats won't "go dead" as quickly as nickels... And I'm NOT a "Chromes" lover either. Too RW like to cover "real" flats.

    LaBella Deep Talkin' flats will get there quicker than Chromes, too... Though I think nickel sounds better than stainless...

    Looks like you P like p'up will get you the rest of the way there.

    The Jamerson/Kaye sound is tops in "my book!" ;-)
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    They're only roundwound like when they're new. Once they die on me, they're what I like. Tried LaBellas, loved the thud, hated the mid scoop and the ultra piercing top end. They work great on darkly voiced hollowbodies but not my thing for solid bodies. GHS would be cool if they came in 40-95 gauges like Chromes, though.
  12. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    I think the only nickels are TIs and Pyramids. I have both, and prefer the Pyramids for everything.
  13. I had a set of nicely worn Chromes on my lakland 4-94 for a while. I really liked the sound except the slap sound I needed for one whole tune in my old band was a modern sound. so I decided to try some alternatives out.

    First I tried out some ground wounds for a bit which were great... until they died. Then I gave eb cobalts a try which are still on there right now. They sound good but I still don't like the tension even after they've broken in a little.

    I'm thinking about putting the Chromes back on now that I have no reason to slap on anything I play. They definitely were my favorite sound, especially combined w the flexibility of the active electronics. Hmmmmm...
  14. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Why chromes?
    Pyramid gold are gonna sound "1960s dead" right out of the package!

    Jimmy you need to start a "dead flats modern bass" club and I want a number!

    I'll put Pyramid golds on Ken Smith #42 and let's time the townies storming my castle with pitchforks and torches...
  15. My main player (a piece of crap Ashton bamboo-bodied bass) used to be a fretted roundwound strung bass. When I pulled out the frets I put some flats on it and oddly enough found the tone too clanky (new fender flats if anyone has experience) so I stuck with it a while until they aged, I started to like them. Then as they got older I found the bass improved tone-wise. The strings are now around 6 months old, and getting cooler by the day :D
  16. I don't think I would have ever thought about flats on a bass with EMGs.
  17. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    I have Chromes on my Warwick Dolphin for the last month or so. Experimenting but I'm actually quite happy with how it turned out.
  18. starmann

    starmann Flats and Fingers Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2011
    I have flats on every bass I own, And I own a few:bassist:
  19. NorCal Dog

    NorCal Dog

    Nov 28, 2005
    have had the same set of flats on my heavily modded Grind for a few years


    have had,

    brite flats - yuk
    chromes - didn't like
    760fl's - meh
    TI jazz flats - liked but too limber
    pyramid golds - liked but wasn't the ultimate for this bass

    & settled on a set of cheap webstrings detroit flats which have it all, a decent amount of thud, all the mids & grind & a very nice shimmer on top

    the sadowsky pre / vintage tone coupled with the Fat Stacks a is a VERY versatile setup, i can easily dial in all the thud/thump i need, or get a good mid grind thing, & the detroit flats sound incredible slapped

    have probably spent a grand thru the years on expensive flats for different basses & actually like the cheapest set out there < whoda thunk

    edit, i don't really care for the " dead " flats tone, to me it's all thud / thump with zero note definition, but i do like the versatility of a good bass that can dial up the dead as needed
  20. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Seems like this is more of a strings discussion, so I've moved the thread.

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