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Pedal to make rounds sound like flats - stupid question?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Cieran, May 5, 2010.

  1. Cieran


    Aug 24, 2009
    Does any such pedal/ effect exist? I am reasonably new to bass guitars and completely new to effects pedals - i have never used one and have zero knowledge on the subject.

    The reason I ask is that I can see the benefit of using flats and rounds to get a varied range of sounds depending on what a particular song calls for.

    So I am torn between having 2 basses - 1 with flats & 1 with rounds, or just having the 1 bass with say rounds on it but using an effects pedal to switch to a 'flat' sound when need be.

    I have had a search around on the forums and I can't find anything related to this - however typing in different combinations of '"roundwound flatwound/ rounds flats" brings up lots of unrelated hits. Any help or advice would be much appreciated - thanks.
  2. Meyatch

    Meyatch Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    No offence, but it sounds like you want rounds and flats, and don't really know why.

    That said you could try to come close with an EQ pedal, or just roll off your tone knob, practice muting. A foam mute might help.
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    No, there's really nothing that will do that.

    Some will tell you that turning your tone knob all the way off and adjusting your right hand attack can make SS or nickel rounds sound like flats but while you can get in the same general realm, flats and rounds simply sound different. And I can't think of ANY effect that would make rounds sound like flats. MAYBE a perfectly dialed in parametric EQ, but it still wouldn't be exactly the same.

    Your best bet is just to string up two different basses and bring them both to gigs.
  4. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Roll off the tone knob. As much as you need. If you're picky about it, then there's no real solution 'but' flats and rounds. But honestly... and personal opinion... you can get by by rolling off the tone knob on rounds, or bumping up frequencies on flats.

    Just depending how specific you want to be.

    You 'could' try a VT-bass pedal and roll the character knob toward the left and roll off treble with rounds and it would be much closer.
  5. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    Muting (palm or attached/foam), killing your tone control, an eq pedal, a preamp pedal like the VT Bass (character rolled down, highs and mids slightly cut, bass slightly boosted), dead/old strings (or wiping them with some baby wipes - mind you there is no coming back from doing that), or an amp like a Markbass (VLE and VPF both dialed in) will get you somewhere close. However, nothing will really get you 100% of the flatwounds sound other than using flatwounds.
  6. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I suppose it depends on how bright of a rounds tone and how "dead" of a flats tone you want. If someone wants both extremes (super zingy, new SS rounds and Jamerson type flats) then you're simply out of luck.

    But I'd agree that you can get in the ballpark. My suggestion would be to use D'Addario chromes. To me they are the best string for straddling the rounds/flats line with just the tone knob.
  7. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I think that muting/using a mute will get you the closest.
    Rolling down the tone only cuts the highs (and some mids) and flatwound strings actually do have high end. That high end is pretty important for nailing the "flatwound" sound.
    Passive treble cut knobs (tone knobs) also vary depending on the capacitor value and pot value. Turning this knob will give you different results on different basses.
  8. This was my first thought. I can get close with my 5 band parametric but it's really not the same as the actual sound of flatwound strings.
  9. Cieran


    Aug 24, 2009
    Thanks everyone - i had a funny feeling that the only 'real' way to get the genuine sound of flats and rounds is to use both.

    When i first got my bass i went through alot of different types of strings - d'addario chromes, nickels, optima golds, la bella HRS & Rotosound steels. In the end i went with SS as I am used to their feel (being a guitarist 6+ years). However I do appreciate the flatwound sound as alot of the music i like uses them - if you had asked me before i got my bass i wouldn't have even known there was fundamentally 2 different types of strings!

    Think I will stick with the SS for now and when I am a bit more adept at playing I can think about getting myself another bass and stringing them up with flats. At the very least it's a good excuse to get myself another guitar!
  10. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    You won't be thanking us after a few years when you've got so much gear from all the GAS attacks that you need to buy another house to store it all. ;)
  11. Cieran


    Aug 24, 2009
    Don't worry - I have already started showing signs of the symptoms. So far I have a mental list of about 4 and counting..............
  12. Another thing to remember when trying to imitate flats wirth rounds is to alter your left hand technique to avoid sliding on the strings. Flats have no string squeak.
  13. TheMutt

    TheMutt Guest

    Apr 28, 2007
    On another note:
    I think it would be interesting, albeit not very practical, to have one bass that had both rounds and flats strung on it. Like a 6 or 8 string bass that was strung EAD/EADG with rounds and then again EAD/EADG with flats. :D
  14. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    if any pedal will do it, its going to be an EQ, just slice off all the highs. rolling down passive tone knobs, too.

    it wont get you that close, but will get you closer, than rounds. in the mix of a band, it might be enough for you.

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