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Roto 77's VS. D'Addario Chromes

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JetBlackJazz, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Looking for a punchy, clear, warm, but smooth string. I play Roto66's and I'm trying to get rid of clank. I don't whine about roughness or stiffness so don't mention that.

    Opinions, recommendations, and considerations.
  2. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    In my experience, getting rid of clank is more likely to be a matter of rolling off the treble, or perhaps raising your action a touch, or maybe even ripping the frets out all together. I've played on both chromes and rotos, and in my experience the sound is very similar. The advantage of chromes is longevity, due to a sudden muddy quality that emerges in the rotos after about a year. I also like Fender flats and DR's flats. All are on the bright side compared to LaBella's or Thomastiks, but still have a warm, round, punchy, and focused sound.
  3. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Well I think I can offer some opinion...

    I had roto 66 steels, cool, still use roto 66 nickels (awsome tone). I have another bass I tried chromes on, then 77's, now chromes again.

    The 77's are a lot more taught, with lower output (monel isn't as magnetic as steel), but a warmer low mid rich tone. They lose their new string sound in a couple of days and become good flats. I like them, but found the 45 - 105 set too tiring to play for long (I can't play fast on heavy strings without getting tired... who'd a thunk it?)

    Chromes keep the top edge a lot longer. less warm sound but still a great flat tone - I'd love to try them on any bass. The roto's are great but didn't match my telebass. It needs brighter strings.

    The bass you use and sound you want will give you direction. The 77's or chromes will probably sound fantastic. The 66's can be tamed with treble attenuation... but you'll always be battling finger noise on rounds. I strongly recommend trying flats, but be aware you mightn't get a good match first time.

    TIP: Try not to clip the strings too tight... if you have large (bass not guitar diameter) tuning posts leave 4 - 5 winds on the strings (maybe less for E and B). That way you can try the flats with another bass in the future. They keep better than rounds IME.
  4. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    Have two of my basses string with Chromes & Rotos; I have to chime in with a difference experience. The clank goes away once both sets are broken in, Chromes have an infamous "piano-like" zing that seems to be harder to rid of, but only in the lighter gauges (ECB80-81). I wouldn't say Rotos have a "muddy" quality (depending on the EQ), I would say that they are just "different" from other flats. I like Fender flats as well, but they sound kind of muddy from the get-go. Punchy and smooth, yes. Warm and clear? Not so much. Fenders got so much mid-range grind they can sound a bit harsh at first, then when they break in, they have a good thump, but not as warm or smooth as La Bella or GHS.

    For the OP, I would recommend (even though I didn't like sound clips of them) TI flats. No string is for everybody, but those flats seem to be made of magic for those that love them. It's either that, or Pyramid flats. Many apologies for recommending two of the most expensive flats on the market, but those seem to have the "punchy and clear, warm and smooth" qualities you asked for.

    Last alternative is Ernie Ball flats. Most say they are the same as Chromes (due to origin) but since they kept the old formula, they break in with a more vintage, old-school vibe. They start out clanky as fingernails to a board though, but after a break-in, they turn into a regular flatwound. Nothing fancy about them, but their neutrality is a bonus, kind of like a flatwound with a flat-EQ (horrible analogy, I know). From there, you can shape it to your likings. Back when I was doing a ton of research on flatwounds, EB flats tend to be favored by those that just so happen to play them on an active bass. Go figure. Also, something similar could be Black Diamond flats. Even though they come in only 1 gauge (medium-light), they have similar qualities of the EB flats, but with less clank out of the package. Every string also has different silk colors, which is a plus or minus, depending on how picky you are on your headstock aesthetics. Both sets (either EB or BD flats) will run you $30 or so.

  5. Thank you for your experiences. I may try both Chromes and 77's. I'm not sure I'd have strings on for over a year though lol. Not unless I adore the tone.
  6. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I really like Chromes. I found the 77s to be meh. They where not bad... just boring if that makes any sense. My favorite flats are still LaBella 760FLs.
  7. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    I have a set of Chromes that are 3+ years old now, and they just get better and better. I'm sure there are other TB'ers around that have older ones that that.
  8. Just for everyone here, I play Prog, Jazz, and some Metals
  9. PBnJBassist


    Mar 8, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    In that case, you want Chromes.
  10. Chromes, I'll try
  11. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    About my tele and the 77's... it's like this 0241502503_frt_wlg_001.

    The neck and bridge pickup soloed or almost solo'ed* sound great with the 77's and chromes. But the chromes allow me to play over the bridge for some sweet grind. The roto's aren't flexible enough to allow that sort of play for long (at least for me).

    I couldn't get the right balance with the medium rotos (45 - 105) I may try the 40 set in the future. For now the chromes are great! :bassist:

    *If I put both pickups on full or near it the mids suffer (like most multipickup instruments IME)
  12. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    Having owned both, I can state pretty categorically that you'd be happier with Rotosound 77s. You might be happier yet with Sadowskys, though. Chromes clank and chime something awful, worse than any round I've ever played, including SS Rotosound 66s. Rotosound 77s sound phenomenal, really amazing bass tone, they were just too stiff for me. I switched to Sadowsky Black Label flats, and they have 90% of the 77's tone, but are much easier to play. Rotosound 77s and Sadowsky Black Label flats are both mid forward but balanced strings, they are my "go to" strings for everything but Motown (Labellas still rule there) and Surf (TIs for that).
  13. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Your mileage varied :D

    The 77's have a beautiful broken in sound, I think the low output is a big part of it. Chromes are an acquired taste - Worth a shot IMO, esp. if you like rounds. If I roll a lot of treble off they become wonderfully tame - but that's after a month of fairly heavy playing, as chromes take a long time to reach 'broken in' status.
  14. Tractorr


    Aug 23, 2011
    I just put some Chromes on and I love them. While they do have a bit more high end than other flats (or at least the Steve Harris' that I had on my bass) it is not the same as rounds. It is hard to describe but it is like a thump with a snap on top, if that makes sense.
  15. Makes plenty of sense, haha. That describes Steve's tone but amplified.
  16. BloozBass


    Oct 29, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    Thank you!!! With all the love for Chromes on this site, I thought I was the only one who felt this way, but now I see there are at least 2 of us - specifically comparing them to Roto 66's. I, also, have enjoyed the Roto 77 sound in the past, and I will probably try GHS Pressurewounds the next time I need a livelier string. Currently enjoying the thumpy goodness of GHS Precision Flats.

    Blooz :bassist:
  17. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    Although I have tried them on many basses, Roto 77s sounded best on my Squier VM Jaguar, which had the P/J setup. Chromes didn't sound good for me until I put them on a Lakland Skyline JO 5 string with Fralins. 77s have more bite, Chromes are smoother but lack top end. I'm loving Sadowsky flats on my Lakland 55-94.
  18. Changed from rounds to Chromes recently after hating the feel of the flats I had played in the past. Now I just love the Chromes. All the different tones I could want by just playing with my EQ (active), and the feel of the strings is just perfect (for me). Couldn't be happier and they don't break the bank.
  19. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Just put Chromes on a Fury yesterday. They tone is very good, but they are quite clanky, especially compared to LaBella 760s and the T.I.s I will give them a few days to settle in, but I am already considering a swap. They are also quite bright - nearly the same as my other Fury with rounds.

    The sound of the T.I.s on my J bass is hard to beat, and I am now quite used to the low tension, and love the feel.
  20. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I think you will find the Chromes will always be brighter than the LaBella's. It's actually something I like about them. LaBella's are my favorite, but I like the difference I get from the Chromes.

    I did not find the Chromes clanky.... what gauge did you get?

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