Reggae Flatwounds?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by groovejam, May 18, 2005.

  1. groovejam


    Apr 26, 2005
    Good reggae flatwounds at a decent price? Other recomendations for reggae strings? I want that reggae tone but I still want a little punch.
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Really dead roundwounds.

    The last Robbie Shakespear interview I read he said he'd never changed the strings on most of his basses.

    A couple of the other reggae players I hang with also are no-change guys.

    I prefer pretty new strings with the high end rolled off my bass, that way I get punch without highs but retain some livelyness. On occasion I've used half-flats or ground wound strings.

    I know one player who's playing an old Vox bass that he swears has the original strings.
  3. TI Jazz Flats! They rock so hard once broken in.
  4. groovejam


    Apr 26, 2005
    Well, BurningSkies, do you think even stock strings would do?
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    No need to over think the reggae sound. It's like when we were talking about's more to do with how you set it up and tweak your tone than about which amp. Same deal with strings.

    I like the feel of newer strings. I find I can play better and tighter with them, but once you roll the highs off at the bass and at the amp, you get this fat low which is still vibrant.

    I don't personally like the string tension of most flats, they're a bit too tight and sound that way to my ears.

    Of course, your personal tastes may differ.
  6. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    TI Jazz Flats for me. They sound great for reggae. I haven't been able to get a great reggae sound by turning down the tone with roundwounds. Turning the tone down with rounds definitely gets you in the ballpark, but for me there is something about the attack and decay of flatwounds that nails the reggae tone. I've tried EQing roundwounds, but I'm much happier with flats (old ones!).

    Another advantage to using flats in reggae for me is that I don't have to turn the tone down to get a deep, fat tone, which leaves the natural, but subdued top end to give the notes definition.
  7. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    getting warmer
    Robbie Shakespeare uses Dean Markley flats, boosts low mids and plays with a light touch and often with his thumb.

    Family Man Barrett uses Fender flats, also boosting low mids.

    I agree with BurningSkies though that it isn't something to sweat over too much. Pretty much any string should work so long as you play it and eq it properly. Flats do make it easier to get the vibe though.
  8. Davo737


    Feb 29, 2000
    Syracuse, NY
    I only use flats, and my favs by far are the Labella DTF. Massive fundamental, but still punchy. Fender flats are also nice, but pretty high in tension - definitely a great value for the price, though. Burningskies mentioned half-rounds, and I've found the D'Addario Halfs, especially the new all-nickel ones to be a very nice compromise.
  9. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    I also use Labella DTF. With a little rolloff on the highs they are great for reggae.
  10. reggaeman


    Jul 12, 2005

    I'm curious... How do you know what strings these guys use?
  11. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    I met Family man about 2 years ago and had a long chat with him and he told me that he uses Fender Flats and aims to get a sound that is close to a double bass.
  12. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    I've always used roundwound strings but I'm considering getting a set of flats to try out on the bass I use almost exclusively for reggae. But I don't see anything on the sites that sell the strings to indicate if the bridge ends of the strings are tapered or parallel. My bridge saddles are cut for parallel strings. Is there a code or something in the string type that gives this information?
  13. As a general rule, tapered strings should have the letter "T" with the gauge. For example, .125T = tapered .125 B string.
    jazzyvee likes this.
  14. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    I've read about him using Fender flats in pre-2011 threads here; am I correct in assuming he still uses old package, pre-changeover Fenders, or has he embraced the new ones (light green silk on both ends), which sound a lot different from the old according to folks who tried both?
  15. BossOnBass


    Aug 11, 2012
    IMO using a mute and dialing back on the tone knob are more important to achieve a reggae sound than the string type. As others have said, a broken in set of rounds will work fine and flats will also sound nice.
  16. Hopefully the OP figured out what strings to buy since 2005...regardless, I will chime in since I am a reggae bassist for the most part. Playing live, I prefer using rounds as I often get sticky fingers with flats when I sweat. No one can hear the difference through a PA anyway. For studio work, I tried almost all the flats on the market and I'd say Fender, Sadowski, LaBella, GHS are all good for reggae playing. The Chromes are way too bright and I was not convinced by the TI's.
    I sometimes palm mute and play with my thumb (a la Sting).
    nerkoids likes this.
  17. Hamish MacCleod

    Hamish MacCleod Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2014
    South America
    I used to use TI flats but recently switched to Roto 88's [tapewound] on the fretless I use for Reggae. I like them a lot. YMMV
  18. DirkP


    Jan 18, 2013
    Hamburg, Germany
    How long were they on your bass? I have to admit while I hear the difference between the Jamerson Labella set and most other flatwounds, I would have a hard time to hear a huge difference between a set in set of Chromes and say Fender flats. I play two nearly identical Fender Jazz basses. The bass that stays at home and is used for gigs has chromes, the one in the rehearsal space has Fender flats. Maybe in a direct comparison the chromes have a bit more highs.
  19. My set of chromes was on my bass for about 3 years. But you are correct, I heard the new Fender flats are quite similar. I only tried the old sets about 10yrs ago.
    I recently found a really old set of GHS with this odd gauge 95-45 and put them on my JazzBass. They sound so good for reggae. I use the LaBella's on my PBass and they are definitely my fav.