New to Flat Wounds-- Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Wolfhound32, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. Wolfhound32

    Wolfhound32 Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    WA State
    I've been playing on D'addario XL round wounds on all my basses for the last three years or so. Now that I have a second G&L P-bass (LB-100), I thought I'd string one with flats so the two would be a little more different from each other.

    I play mostly classic rock, and old Motown tunes-- no slapping, just fingers & picks; any suggestions for a guy new to flats?


    nerkoids likes this.
  2. I have the La Bella 760FL (43-60-82-104) on my new Am Std P bass and love them for the classic thump. (Great for Motown)

    I would also recommend the Fender 9050L (45-60-80-100) for something a little bit closer to the roundwound tone. Less thump and more grind.
    unclebass, Eikari and BlueMINI like this.
  3. As michael_t above said fender 9050's are a nice flat without going super deep. My favorite flat right now are Ernie Ball Cobalt flats. They are a full range flat that holds onto some of the zing you get from rounds without all the overtones and finger noise. I have them on two basses and ones a Pbass and they sound great on it. Beautiful Bass by the way!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
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  4. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    For the Sound of Chocolate, GHS Precision Flats.
    Ianhin, fretlessguy, shrigg and 2 others like this.
  5. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    These seem to be the three most liked:
    LaBella Deep Talkin Flats: Most old school, very traditional.
    Sadowski Black Label: Similar to LaBella but with a tad more mids and articulation.
    Fender 9050 Flats: seem to be a brighter and more grind, growl, etc
    Chromes: Bright and more "modern" sounding
    TI Flats: I have not played so someone else will have to comment..:)
    BlueMINI, Coolhandjjl and Klonk like this.
  6. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    What he said! ^

    I'll add that the TIs are lower tension than most other flats, but they are also very organic, dynamic strings, with a well-balanced sound.

    Here is a video of some of those on a P bass, played fingerstyle and with a pick:
    NJSouth and BlueMINI like this.
  7. nerkoids


    Jan 3, 2014
    I would also suggest GHS strings, but more importantly, the best advice I can think of giving someone who is new to using flatwound strings is patience.
    Ianhin, bolophonic, BlueMINI and 2 others like this.
  8. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Any brand.

    A little fried chicken grease.


    Never clean them.

    And as stated, patience.

    spaz21387 likes this.
  9. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    I should have posted this before now, but better late than never. Written and recorded by @Jon Moody for Seymour Duncan. Listen carefully to the all the tracks, but especially the GHS Flats back-to-back with LaBella, and lastly Fender Flats back-to-back with D'Addario Chromes. More sonic enlightenment could hardly be packed into a single article. Flatwound Roundtable | Seymour DuncanFlatwound Roundtable | Seymour Duncan
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  10. Wolfhound32

    Wolfhound32 Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    WA State
    Thanks for all the input guys!

    "More sonic enlightenment could hardly be packed into a single article" I'm looking forward to reading that! What a great description :D

    "Fender 9050L...Less thump and more grind" ... "Chicken grease." I'm enjoying these descriptions!

    I like the idea of the lower tension TIs... I am pleasantly surprised to see Fender strings being on the list, though I imagine their production is farmed out to an actual string company.

    A few of you mentioned patience. I'm curious to know in what way? Do you mean in terms of the neck adjusting to the additional tension, or the different fell/sound of flats vs rounds?

    Thanks again!
  11. StevieMac


    Mar 17, 2005
    Vancouver, BC
    Yes, D'Addario makes them for Fender.

    Unlike rounds flats sound better to most folks once they break in. They often sound brighter than you expect when new but with time they mellow and get more of that vintage warmth and thud that is expected.
    waynobass and BlueMINI like this.
  12. Sadowsky Black Labels
  13. image.jpeg Leave them on for ten years or so.
  14. Rapisme

    Rapisme Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    They'll surprise you!
  15. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Of those I have used - in order from warm/thud to bright...

    - GHS (very warm)
    - LaBella (in between)
    - Daddario/Roto/Ernie Ball (they all sound the same to me - very bright)

    Thomastiks are their own thing. Nice tone, too low tension for me and expensive. Many players swear by them.

    Pyramids are their own thing too. Very warm/thud, expensive and some find the tone difference between the E string and the rest to be objectionable. Many players swear by these too but they are a little outside the mainstream.
    Klonk and BlueMINI like this.
  16. Mattster


    Aug 14, 2014
    Long Island
    When I first tried flats (Chromes on a jazz) I hated them! ***? Thanks a lot TB!!! I took them off after 2 days and went back to rounds. A few months later I accidentally gunked up the rounds with wood glue (don't ask!). Had no spare rounds, so I put the Chromes back on. I loved them! How could I have hated these? They've been on the jazz ever since (except for trying Cobalts briefly, which I didn't like).
    BlueMINI likes this.
  17. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    These were my introduction into the world of flats. I wanted the old school thumpy flats "thing" so I started here and nailed it. I've never tried the standard La Bella set which is reportedly a lot more tension. These feel, tension-wise, similar to the 45-105 rounds that I'm used to.

    I've since tried TIs and Chromes, and greatly peferred the La Bellas. I don't think any of them are better or worse, but they're certainly very different. I've great things about the Sadowsky Black Labels too; Specifically that they're similar to La Bellas, but not quite as old and thumpy.
    BlueMINI and michael_t like this.
  18. GregT


    Jan 29, 2012
    Southwest Missouri
    I have changed strings often on other basses. With my Precisions, there is no need. I use Thomastik Flats and can't imagine switching. I can't even imagine changing the strings I currently have on my Precisions ever in my lifetime. They will outlast me.
    NJSouth, old-fashioned and BlueMINI like this.
  19. Camaro


    Sep 25, 2013
    Germany, NRW
    Don't blame Talkbass, any flats-player here will tell you that flats have a brake-in period.
    One Drop likes this.
  20. bassandkeys42


    Feb 14, 2015
    I have found Chromes to be a good first flat to try. I love them on my p bass!

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