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rounds to flats tension and setup ease

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by kkaarrll, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    hello, I want to transition over to flats and would like to make my setup as easy as possible, just make it a simple string change which I can do.

    What flats would be the most similar to D'Addario EXL170-5 strings. Nickel. Regular Lights. 45-65-80-100-130 in terms of tension for truss rod adjustment, and size for not having to mess with the nut?

    I think I can do the intonation myself, but truss rod scares the crap out of me and I don't have the time or money to get someone else to do it.

    Suggestions? I am looking for a 60's 70's kind of classic rock sound for my gl tribute l2500. I play primarily with a pick and I adore Carol Kaye. (not sure I can swing ti's though)
  2. You're doing the right thing, my friend. ;)

    The truss rod tweak is one of the simplest things you can learn to do as part of the bassics of bass ownership. No harder than adjusting the tire pressure on your car. No need to be scared.
  3. hotbass57


    Nov 27, 2011
    Most guys will go down a guage from their rounds. GHS precision flats, Labella low tension flats and Sadowsky flats are good old school tone once they break in.
  4. This is exactly what I did when I went from XL Nickel Rounds (45-65-85-105) to Chromes Flats (40-60-80-100).

    Just to illustrate my point, here's the comparison in tension between the two:

    EXL165 (Nickel Rounds)

    G 045 - 42.52
    D 065 - 48.35
    A 085 - 45.34
    E 105 - 38.08

    Total 174.29 lbs.

    ECB84 (Chromes Flats):

    G 040 - 37.83
    D 060 - 46.49
    A 080 - 47.52
    E 100 - 40.29

    Total 173.13 lbs.

    Now, the XL Nickel Rounds you're using work out to be around 198 lbs. in total tension, while the Chromes Flats in the same gauges work out to be 268 lbs.

    If you were to put together a custom balanced set for the Chromes from BSO, 40-55-75-95-132, it would come closer to the current set you're using in terms of overall tension.

    Custom Set (Chromes Flats, 5-string)

    G 040 - 37.60
    D 055 - 36.60
    A 075 - 36.40
    E 095 - 39.06
    B 132 - 35.90

    Total 185.56 lbs.
    kkaarrll likes this.
  5. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    perfect, thank you
  6. You don't necessarily have to limit yourself to the Chromes; I only used it as an illustration.

    You can also put together a custom set of GHS Precision Flats @BSO, 40-55-75-100-128, which work out to be very similar to the Chromes in tension numbers.
  7. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    Thank you,
    I went with the GHS in those sizes. I am wondering if I will need to do some intonation work. I know how to do it on a guitar, but bass? I am new to it.
  8. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    do you guys think I will have any nut problems going down from 130 b string to a 128 b string?
  9. Whenever you're changing the make/type/gauges of strings, you should always do a setup. If you already know how to set the intonation on a guitar, it's basically the same process on a bass.

    Downsizing by .002 shouldn't affect anything.
  10. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    If you intonate open string-12th fret, its pretty much the same. If you get flatwounds with more or less the same tension as your rounds, you probably won't have to tweak the truss rod - but check it, anyway. And, +1 to michael_t. Going down by a smidgen shouldn't be a problem; going up is where the problems start.:)
  11. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014

    check it anyway? just look down the neck and see if there is a ski jump?

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