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Pbass tones for Floyd and other rock

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by smeet, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    So, I have a nice new 2012 MIA Fender P5. I'm playing with a Pink Floyd copy band, and I'd like to get as close as I can to an authentic sound while keeping versatile and having a clear and aggressive live tone when needed. We'll be playing all eras of Floyd, so I need to get thumpy fat tones and also some bright grindy tones, all on the same bass. I also want a really good sounding B string thats not all boom and thump. And I want a nice mid focused sound along with a strong fundamental.

    I'm not that familiar with how P basses react to strings. Ive also always used almost exclusively rounds.

    I currently have Sadowsky Blue steels on there, and they sound good but not quite right I think. My first impulse was to get a set of Chromes. Will that give me everything I'm looking for?
  2. awamori


    Dec 10, 2009
    Roto 77's will get you close to Roger's tone.
  3. miles'tone


    Feb 26, 2008
    Wales, U.K
    Rotosound jazz 77 flats are what Roger Waters used.
    Tried them myself and they gave my jazz bass a huge tone. Found them to lose their zing pretty quick but they are great though.
    Chromes are excellent too, enjoyed them for a couple of years but not really heavy sounding enough for me.
    I've settled on Fender CL flats which do growl a bit like Roto rounds when new. They do keep a nice growl I find even after they have seen alot of use. Kind of like the perfect cross between Rotos and Chromes.
    If I was in a Floyd band as you are, I would try the Rotos first and see how you get on.
    Fwiw, the Fender flats are made for Fender by D'addario now who of course make the Chromes. The Fenders are cheaper to buy though by a long way so worth a try too.
  4. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    I have a P5 with strung with Chromes and I love it! I had always heard about the "p-bass w/flats" tone but I never realized how damned good it actually sounds! Im sorry I digress, I find that I can cop Roger's tone pretty well if I keep my EQ relatively flat, play with a pick and use a pretty hard compression, like 8:1, YMMV though.
  5. jbednarski

    jbednarski Supporting Member

    May 31, 2010
    Chicago area
    +1 for Roto 77s. Also used by John Deacon of Queen on his P basses.
  6. miles'tone


    Feb 26, 2008
    Wales, U.K
    Cool, I didn't know that. John Deacon + P-bass + flats = one of the finest electric bass tones ever put to record.

    (imho and all that jazz)
  7. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    I have to agree with Queen recorded bass tone being some of the very best out there...however u left a significant element out of the equation:

    John Deacon + P-bass + flats + some of the awesomest studio engineering of the day.

    To smeets, 77s are pretty stiff and lose their brightness eventually, like all "conventional" flats, so you might be happy wth the brightness at first. There is NO string that covers all tones perfectly well without compromise in some tonal area...sometimes that compromise is very large, which IMO is responsible for the "Neverending Search for the Perfect String".
  8. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    This is good information, thanks all.
    I have used Chromes before, and I know their basic tone.
    How do Roto 77s and Fender CLs compare to Chromes tone-wise?

    I get the impression the Chromes are the brightest and least thumpy, 77s in the middle with more growl, and Fenders the thickest and thumpiest, is that about right?
  9. sigmafloyd


    May 1, 2011
    New fenders are pretty bright and not super thumpy. I'd recommend ghs or labella for thump
  10. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Oh yeah, what about the B string? I love those low notes and need a good strong B that sounds good and defined, like an extension of the E. how does this compare on the various strings?
  11. Blues Bass Man

    Blues Bass Man

    Feb 2, 2010
    I seem to remember reading an interview with John Decon...he said he used Round Wounds on his P-Basses.
  12. jbednarski

    jbednarski Supporting Member

    May 31, 2010
    Chicago area
    From the Rotosound website:

    Flatwound. Monel. One of the original Rotosound sets from the early 1960s. These strings can be heard on many famous albums, used over the years by Sting, Phil Lynott, Steve Harris, and John Deacon. Rotosound makes the world's most famous and highest-quality electric bass strings. Outstanding brilliance and superb tone. Long scale. RS77LD Gauges: 45-65-85-105
  13. jbednarski

    jbednarski Supporting Member

    May 31, 2010
    Chicago area
    I've heard that he did try rounds later in his career, possibly on his Stingray.
  14. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Note on the Fender CL's: Although made by D'Addario, they are not Chromes as some rumors once suggested.

    Too bad about Roto 77's dying. I am sick and tired of finding the right string only to have to toss it after a month. Since I am not a pro, I simply can't afford the expense.

    GHS for thump. They seem to have the greatest percussive attack of all the flats I have tried.
  15. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I went ahead and got Chromes because I'm chicken and don't want to lose my high end... :) So far, they sound good, I'll see how they sound at rehearsal tomorrow. They are bright enough that with a pick I need to back off the tone a bit. That's good, because on some songs (One of These Days for instance), I need a really bright, clanky tone.
  16. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    More info on Deacon's strings from a gentleman's Deaky fan site-



    RotoSound - Jazz Bass 77 flatwound
    "One of the original Rotosound sets from the early 1960s. These strings can be heard on many famous albums, used over the years by Sting, Phil Lynott, Steve Harris and John Deacon." (quoted from ROTO SOUND)

    RotoSound - Superwound 606 & 707
    "They are the wire wound ones with just the inner cable and it only starts being wound when it gets over the bridge -- it's meant to be a bit more twangy. I use those and they're quite a nice light gauge really. I suppose I ought to use a heavier gauge at times to get more of a solid sound but I find the light gauge easier to play. I've always used them and haven't really tried others because I'm happy with the sound I get. If I wasn't I'd perhaps search and try some others." " ("International Musician and Recording World" '79)
  17. giacomini


    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    I have Chromes in my P, heck, I can even slap them and get a good tone...

    Roger used rotos + pick and in some songs he gets a really bright tone, different from what you get with ghs or labellas... My string of choice for PF are Chromes all the way, can roll the tone back and have a thumpy P with flats tone and I can have the tone full open and slap it, too good to be true... (but it is) :D
  18. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I vote Circle K Strings (Balanced 136) if you want versatility.
  19. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I use and like Circle K's but they can't do that flat wound sound.
  20. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    After the chromes wear out, I'd highy recommend Sadowsky Black Label flats. I can pretty much get any tone with those strings and they're medium tension and really smooth on the fingers. We play Money in my cover band and I get compliments all the time about how close I sound to the bass on the recording. I've found throughout the years that matching the string brand of the musician doesn't necessarily get you that musician's recorded sound. Listening to the recordings and experimenting with different strings and EQ usually gets me closer.