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Most versatile flat wound that is thumpy and slappable (or slappable and thumpy)

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Nov 12, 2018.


  1. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    I have not put flats on a bass since 2007 and I know there are more options on the market these days. Let me say as well I understand there are going to be trade offs. There is not going to be a string that thumps like a Labella DTF or GHS Precision and has slap tone like DR Highbeams or a bright SS round.

    I would think the string needs to have somewhat lighter tension, not a bridge cable so it can be slapped. Also the string must have some zing to it and be a little on the bright side, and still retain that flat wound fundamental. That's where I think it gets tricky. From my research flats can be zingy, yet the lack the thump. If a flat is thumpy, then it doesn't zing and have some of the round characteristics sought after with today's modern slap tone.

    Searching pages and pages TB I think I may have it narrowed down to these, and if there are other please chime in.

    1. Dunlop flats: A newcomer on the market, some say it has some zing but still digs deep. There isn't much out there yet as far as sound clips to get a good opinion on these. Tension seems medium to medium light.

    2. EB Slinky (Cobalt) flats: These have the high zing and slap nice. They seem to lack the thump yet have a nice deep fundamental. The clips I have heard they do sound really nice and have lighter tension.

    3. Fender ML: An old standby. Can thump but not sure on the top end if they are good for slap? Medium tension

    4. Chromes: Maybe too high of tension to be considered? Also the reviews are they have the zing but smooth in the low register.

    5. GHS Precison light gauge: Thump city, but I know these don't have the highs that is sought after for slap. The low gauge strings have lower tension.

    6. TI flats: I have never had the pleasure of trying these, but they can be slapped do the the low tension. They say the tone is midrangey versus low and thumpy.

    7. Labella low tension: I heard these are not good for slap, a one trick pony that is all thump and no zing.

    I would appreciate some input as to what everyone feels is the most versatile flat wound and can do everything well, with some trade offs of course.

    If there are other considerations (which I am sure there are ) please chime in..tnx:bassist:
     
  2. First off, I do commend you for the homework well done! :thumbsup:

    Both the Fender 9050s and the D'A Chromes are slappable but I would recommend something fairly light. For the Fender, 9050L (45-100) and for the Chromes, 40-95.
     
    thunderberg likes this.
  3. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    michael_t I was hoping you would chime in. Your posts popped up more than anyone else in my research! Definitely anything I think would need to be lighter gauge with exception of maybe the TI's. If you have to pick one (that wasn't pressure wounds...LOL) that did it all pretty well which would it be?
     
  4. I know, I know... Just trying to live up to my being a fully-certified TalkBass Junkie! :D:roflmao:

    This is a tough one for me to answer as I'm not a slapper. That said, for a set of middle-of-the-road, all-purpose flats, I would probably pick the Fender 9050L.
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You can slap on anything. I've done it on Chromes, Rotos, TI's, old school Fenders, LaBellas, GHS's, and Dunlops. I ended up loving the Dunlops (I'd say tension is medium light...tenser than TI's but not as much as LaBellas or Chromes), but when they go dead, they do get pretty dark. Still, I have no problem slapping on them. If you want really zingy flats, the TI's to my ears might as well have been rounds. I didn't like them, as I'd much rather play rounds when I want a zingy sound, but they lasted 4 months and still sounded the same as when I first got them, so you might enjoy them.
     
    Clark Dark and Bassist4Eris like this.
  6. Yahboy

    Yahboy

    May 21, 2008
    Sound like you looking 2 sound in1 Flatwound string.

    Suggest EB cobalt flat + mute foam + .1uf cap + Fender Rumble head or combo.

    My idea for setup:
    Slap tone - Full open tone knob+ smile Rumble EQ + bright on + contour on + horn on.

    Grandpa tone - Roll off tone knob + Rumble vintage button on + horn off +mute foam.

    My 2 cents.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
    Aidil likes this.
  7. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Yes I know I am asking a lot. It sounds like to me a string that thumps has a hard time getting the zing with modern slap tone. Or if it has the zing, the string won't thump. The EB flats are an example of that.

    I will say the Fender light gauge flats are a bit intriguing. The highs sing but don't do zingy, they do have a little thump. The EB slinky flats do sound great in some of the clips I heard. They can bark on a back pick up, but not sure about the thump. Maybe after a couple years they may get there, hard to say; but can get there with mute. Dunlops like JimmyM said so seem to be in the old school realm, but since they have lighter tension and there are not many clips out there to listen to I added them to the discussion for consideration.

    I wonder if there are any sleepers or brands out there that are not talked about much on TB that would be considered?
     
  8. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    Hamer and Dunlop.

    I just put some on my Hamer USA Monaco. This is a chambered bass and I wanted a string that could get old-school IF I wanted it to, but also I wanted something articulate. These strings are great!
     
    mikewalker, JimmyM and RicPlaya like this.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That bass looks pretty great too, Roger!
     
  10. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    The EB Cobalts are probably the most versatile flats I can think of, and I’ve played a lot of flats. They are easily slappable, and they will do thump, however; you’ll have to do some work on your end (I.e. - adjust a tone/treble knob and do some muting)

    No flats will excel at both things you describe, but they will do them both in their own way. The only one I would hesitate on would be slapping on TIs. Their tension and soft attack make slapping more of an effort for sure.
     
    Passinwind and RicPlaya like this.
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Word. I think I'd stay away from the light Cobalt Flats too if slapping was a factor. But I'd guess that people who actually are good at slapping could make them work fine, and they certainly are bright enough. Absolutely love 'em on my fretless, much less mid-centric than the T-I JFs I had an my #1 for many years, and much more versatile.
     
    RicPlaya likes this.
  12. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    What I am wrestling with is do I want a string that is maybe more in the thumpy camp and has ok top end, or a string that has the highs but maybe not as thumpy. I think the EBs (and I could be way off on this) have the zing but maybe not the thump like the Dunlops or Fenders would. It's the whole trade off thing. The Colbalts do sound excellent with some of the clips I heard. The Fender flats don't have zingy highs, but the high are very nice. The Dunlops, not a lot of sound clips yet. From what I heard the do seem old school thumpy.

    My next question would be tension of these strings. Are they still like traditional flats, or a little more pliable? I think the Fenders maybe more traditional as far as pliability. Not sure about the EB or Dunlops.

    I read the Sadowski blacks may have been a candidate for this discussion if they still made them. Are there any more candidates out there?
     
  13. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    EB Cobalt flats
     
  14. EB and Dunlop would be "medium-light" on the stiffness scale - not as stiff as Fender 9050 but not quite as flexible as either the La Bella Low Tension Flats or the TI Jazz Flats.

    You might want to try the new Blue Label Flats.
     
    RicPlaya likes this.
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The lightest gauge Cobalt Flats are just a little tenser than T-I Jazz Flats, IMO and IME. So very supple feeling. Haven't tried the heavier sets.
     
    CapnSev and RicPlaya like this.
  16. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Right. I would put the light gauge on par with the TIs, maybe a hair stiffer. They are kind of strange in gauge though. The E and A are lighter than the D and G and you can feel it. I play them regardless, but a 40-100 gauge would be ideal.
     
    Passinwind and RicPlaya like this.
  17. Yahboy

    Yahboy

    May 21, 2008
    The EB 2814 45-100 set are absolutely unbalance in tension if compare to Ti flat.
    I have similar experience like you, the D and G are bit stiffer than E and A, but still better than the D and G string on GHS 3025 I use before.
     
    RicPlaya likes this.
  18. AboutSweetSue

    AboutSweetSue

    Sep 29, 2018
    Lebanon, TN
    The Dunlop flats are probably the most versatile flats I’ve used. They dominate the best of both worlds market, right smack in the middle of thump and modern flat.

    I did have an issue with the A ringing a bit after only a month of use. Loosened it, twisted it a 1/2 turn and it’s good to go. Definitely would buy again if I ever need to.
     
    JimmyM and RicPlaya like this.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I think the JF344 gauges are a little goofy too, personally. But I had no problems switching to the light Cobalts as far as the nut, although I did have to do a slight relief tweak, something this particular bass almost never needs in general.
     
  20. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Oh, for sure. I think the TIs are balanced well, other than the looser A string. I think they did it that way to match tonally.
     

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