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Set up questions when changing from rounds to flats.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by BEADG, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. BEADG


    Jan 8, 2006
    North Carolina
    With a bit of luck tomorrow I'll be stopping by UPS to pick up a new Fender Precision 5 string. I've had several 5 string basses in the past however all have had round wound strings on them. My plan with the precision is to put flats on it as soon as I'm sure I like the fit, finish and quality of it and decide to keep it.
    From the guys at Just Strings I got a set of Flat wound LaBella "Deep Talkin' Bass" strings (760FL). These are the longer strings with a .128 low B string. My plan is to string them through the body and I didin't see where these couldn't be strung through.
    My questions are
    1: Will this require me to set the intonation?
    2: I'm guessing that the tension will be different and will have to adjust the neck, will the tension switching from rounds to flats be more or less?
    3: Will I have to change the nut?
    4: How high/ low do you set Flats? Or is it player preference?
    5: I also have a set of Rotosound Electric Jazz Flats (RS-775LD) on order with them but they must be on back order as they didn't arrive with the LaBella's, which set would you put on first?
    6: Am I forgetting anything?

    Thanks for all constructive advice.
  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Congrats on your new acquisition.

    1. You will probably have to reset the intonation. At least check it. Most often the intonation must be adjusted when you change brands, gauges or type (round to flat, etc.)
    2. Gernerally flat wounds have more tension than rounds. Consequently you may need to tighten the truss rod a bit. I find that you can often do with a hair less relief when using flats because of the increase in tension that usually occurs with flats.
    3. Unless the gauge of the string is significantly different than the strings you are removing, you should not need to adjust the nut (assuming it was cut right in the first place)
    4.Player preference generally. But because of the increase in tension you may be able to get away with a slightly lower action - just maybe.
    5. Take your pick. I suggest you go with what you've got.
    6. Probably. But then so am I (probably). Take it easy, one step at a time and it should all work out fine.
  3. BEADG


    Jan 8, 2006
    North Carolina
    Thanks Turnaround I appreciate the input.
    I picked the two sets because they were the closest in gauge (I think the Roto's were closer in gauge) but because the LaBella's are here they will likely be the first ones I try.
  4. dbcandle


    Jan 30, 2008
    I have the Medium La Bellas (760FM), but mine came with a notice that you should not string though the body. The JustStrings site, when I as last there looking at the price also mentioned not to string through the body.
  5. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    The 760FLs are not high tension. The D and G are a little on the thin side so you may need to raise the saddles. IME, a new setup will be needed when changing brand or gauge of strings whether they be flatwound or round wound. And the last step in that is the intonation.

    Also LaBella tells you not to string their flats thru body. But many have without significant issue.

  6. Labellas are great strings, but they SPECIFICALLY say they are not to be used in string-through applications. If they break, don't complain. I know that many players have used them in string-through applications with no problems, but Labella doesn't recommend it.

    Here's the statement on the Juststrings.com website: "Important note: La Bella flatwound strings are not suitable for use on instruments that require through-body stringing."

    The rest of your questions really don't depend much on whether the strings are rounds or flats, but on the difference between the basic characteristics of the strings that were on it and the that are ones going on.
  7. BEADG


    Jan 8, 2006
    North Carolina
    Hopefully the ones I got won't be too long then to string through the bridge and not the body too. Guess I'll find out once I get the bass and have a chance to look everything over.
    Thanks guys!
  8. Those are great strings - if the bridge allows you to go either way, my suggestion would be to just use the bridge and don't string through the body.
  9. dbcandle


    Jan 30, 2008
    On my Ibanez, with 34" scale, I found that I could not properly intonate the low B (La Bella 760FM) strung through the bridge (string-through-body is not an option on my bass).

    The low B is the only tapered string, and the only one that I couldn't intonate properly. Maybe a "bad string", but I'm living with it, rather than experimenting with a new string (or bridge!).
  10. Mrdak

    Mrdak uber bass geek baby!

    Feb 1, 2006
    Middle GA
    The round core of the Labella flats will crack for sure if you go through the body. It's the best sounding flatwound string in my opinion. Sadowsky flats in a light gauge are great too, but those are made by Labella, so that's probably why. Although Sadowsky flats have a hex core, and will go through the body with no problem. Good luck brohiem,
  11. BEADG


    Jan 8, 2006
    North Carolina
    Thanks man, I'm not going to chance breaking a $50 set of La Bella strings and they're too long to string through the bridge so I'll see if I can send them back to Just Strings for a shorter set or something different set. I did just order the Sadowsky strings with the hex core and should have them later in the week.

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