Putting flat wounds on a 5 string...

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Dlew919, Aug 13, 2022.

  1. Dlew919


    Dec 7, 2020
    Had them on a 4, liked them. Put round wounds back because the Ibanez RB-850 is a great slap machine, and the rounds slap a bit better.

    But on my Ibanez SR305DX, I'm wondering if the flats might bring out something new, but also desirable?

    Anyone have any experience with this particular bass and flats?
  2. What specific brand/model of flats did you have on the RB-850? And which flats are you thinking of putting on the 305?

    I ask because not all flats would work equally well on an active 5-string.
    Dlew919 likes this.
  3. One of my active PJ5s is always strung with flats, and I rotate between TI Jazz flats, Chromes and Cobalts. IMHO, the electronics really bring out the nuances of each string. For the last couple of years I've had the TI's on there as they just work great with the bass it's on. Cobalts are a little brighter and Chromes are in between. IMHO

    The only flats that have not worked for me are LaBella DTF and the Sadowsky flats. The Sadowskys had my favorite tone, but, like the LaBellas, the tapered B made that string sound totally different from the rest of the set on every bass I tried them on. So I stay away from tapered Bs now.
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  4. Dlew919


    Dec 7, 2020
    I can't remember the 4s - I think they were d'addarios.

    The 5s are Ernie Ball slinky's 45-130s...

    May I ask how often you change your strings? Flats last years for me...
  5. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I've had good experiences with LaBella DTFs on my Ibanez BTB. It sounded well and had serious thump 'down there'.
    Dlew919 likes this.
  6. Are you talking about the Slinky Flatwound, aka Cobalt Flats, or regular Slinky rounds?

    I was going to suggest the EB Cobalt Flats as something that might work well on the active 5-string.
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  7. Dlew919


    Dec 7, 2020
    the flats. So sounds like I fluked a good set!
  8. The EB Cobalt flats are probably the brightest and the most roundwound-like in their tonal character of all flats. They're also quite manageable in term of stiffness/flexibility.

    The two others I was going to mention that are in the "semi-modern" category...

    Ernie Ball Stainless Steel Flats - Slightly more traditional in tone than the Cobalt Flats, but still with a decent midrange for clarity.
    Dunlop Flats - Comfortable tension/stiffness with clear mids.
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  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I use the Cobalt Flats on my SDGR 1405...highly recommended. They've mellowed a bit over the past year but not by much. Do follow the install instructions.

    Marko 1, burgerdj, Dasgre0g and 2 others like this.
  10. TyBo


    Dec 12, 2014
    I had Chromes on my 5-er for a while (not active electronics though). They worked well, had a nice deep and strong tone. I'm sometimes tempted to put them back on again, to have that as an alternative to the rounds I have on other basses, which I tend to like for their clarity and articulation. So yeah, I like Chrome flats as a general thing, for what they do. Not specific to your instrument brand though, which I haven't played.
    Scotty4string and Dlew919 like this.
  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    That’s interesting - with rounds, I find I need a tapered B to have it match - non tapered B’s sound different than the rest of the set.
    Dlew919 likes this.
  12. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Strings are the easiest and cheapest way to change the sound and feel of your bass. Try it.
  13. ELG60


    Apr 26, 2017
    I'm another fan of the EB Slinky Cobalt Flats although the only flats I have on any of my 5 string Devons are TI's. The tone is really nice and often complemented upon.
  14. ColdEye

    ColdEye Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Ti Jazz flats on my one and only 5er. Love it. I had sunbeam, then cobalts on them. The TI is perfect in feel and sound for me.
    Low8 likes this.
  15. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    The EB Cobalt flats are a very nice match to many active basses, for instance working well on a Stingray. I've only used them on 4-strings, so I can't speak to the clarity of the cobalt flat B-string. The other EB "Group" flats are quite close to D'Addario Chromes in character and share their remarkably clear-sounding B string.

    The B-string is often the weak element in 5-string flats sets: e.g. the Labella DTF B-strings are notably flabby. I solve this problem by using a Chromes B-string with a 4-string set of say the Labellas and the result is remarkably good.
    SteveFromBerlin likes this.
  16. raphaeldc


    Mar 24, 2010
    Porto, Portugal
    I have a Yamaha BB435 with GHS flats. The B string is a bit muddy but overall the bass sounds very woody, very close to an acoustic upright. The strings don't feel very stiff, definitely a bit more flexible than Chromes.

    IMO it all depends on what kind of tone and feel you're looking for. For me, it worked very well because I have 2 Jazz Basses, one with rounds and the other with Chromes.
    Dlew919 likes this.
  17. jemerpi


    Feb 26, 2022
    Carol Kaye uses TIs on her Ibanez SRX700 bass. Not sure what electronics it has.

    Flats are very different, tonally, as well as in feel and playability. So, it will come down to your personal preferences.
    Dlew919 likes this.
  18. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    I have TI flats on an L2500 and it sounds big and warm. It would be my #1 if it didnt weigh more than your mom.
  19. I just rotate them for whatever tone I want. I've owned all these sets for anywhere from 3-8+ years.
  20. LHbassist

    LHbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2003
    Reno, Nevada
    I put a set of Ernie Ball Slinky flats (Cobalt) on my Sire V7 five string. They are, indeed the most roundwound sounding of all the flats I use. Most of my basses have flats. I have 23 basses. The low 'B' is really loud in relation to the other strings. I actually had to lower my pickups on the bass side to help with that. The large string presents a large vibrating mass over the pickups, and you'll hear that. I also use RS77 Rotosound, D'Addrio Chromes, LaBellas, and mostly Fender 9050 ML's.
    I would like to try a .120, or .125 flat... as I think it would balance better in amplitude with a conventional set of flats. Try finding a single .120, or .125 stainless flatwound string! I have. It seems like no one makes one, or if they do- it's in a set of other gauges I don't use.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2022
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