Short Scale Piccolo Flatwound Strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Oxblood, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Oxblood

    Oxblood Banned

    Apr 17, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Im looking for a 4 string set of Short Scale Piccolo Flatwound bass strings for my future SX Short Scale Fretless that im going to order very soon. But do these even exsist?! And if they do what would be the best brand? Thanks for all your help in advance.
  2. If Rondo's pictures are accurate, your bass will have standard bass type tuners as opposed to skinny post guitar tuners. If this is actually true, then pretty much any bass string can be cut down to fit that bass.

    I don't know of any flatwound sets (If anyone does, PLEASE enlighten me - it would make my life simpler) but piccolo gauges are typically around 0.020, 0.030, 0.040, 0.050 - just a general guideline. you may be able to go slightly heavier if you need to use a particular string to make things work, since you have a short scale. has a good selection of strings in both sets and individuals. If you search for piccolo to verify the gauges you need, you will find all the sets are roundwounds but it is a starting point.

    Another way to is to figure that your new E string will be approx the gauge of a standard D string or slightly smaller and go from there - you will just be tuning that string up a step and moving it up a couple of notches in the bridge and nut - please perform the physical actions in the reverse of that order ;). Same thing for your A relative to a standard G string.

    The issue with flatwounds (Chromes for example) is that there are relatively few thinner than about 0.040 available but on a short scale an 0.040 may just work very well for your D string. If it does not, Rotosound does make an 0.030 flat and GHS does make brite flats ground wounds down to 0.027 - juststrings carries both of them. Also, I'm sure I don't know every possibility out there yet.
    is the roto for example.

    A plain steel string around 0.18 to 0.22 should work fine for your short scale's G. GHS and the others who make piccolo sets make those.

    Another possibility depending on the bridge, tuners and headstock would be to try some flatwound guitar strings. They will not work with some bridges due to the smaller ball size and may or may not reach the tuning pegs depending on the particular string's length and the design of the bass. I have found that some brands of guitar strings have a wound area that is over 36" long. The nice thing about this is that some brands flatwound guitar strings go down in the area of 0.022" to 0.025" size meaning that this may offer the potential to have have a wound G and to even get a complete set of flats for a short scale bass cheap.

    YMMV of course and I will not be responsible for injury to anyone or their instrument or any bystanders and... in other word use any of these possibilities at your own risk.

    Also consider that you got them from an unemployed lab geek who never sleeps.

  3. Oxblood

    Oxblood Banned

    Apr 17, 2005
    Baltimore, MD
    Anyone else got any suggestions? I need help!
  4. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    This may or may not work for you, but I've been experimenting with my custom Warwick Corvette Proline 30" scale and cello range tunings. I discovered that D'Addario Chromes flatwound stainless guitar strings are long enough to work on my Warwick, but the lightest wound gauge, an .020 wouldn't hold get quite up to the high A without snapping around G#. That was with tuning in fifths CGDA, so a regular piccolo bass EADG tuning may work with those strings. I was using a custom gauge set of .065/.045/.030/.020 for my experiment, so obviously, you'd need a different set for fourths tuning. I think if I tried an instrument with a baritone scale length or cello scale length (~28"), These strings would work for my purposes.

    I've also used the top four strings of six string long scale sets of TI Jazz Flats and Rotosound Jazz flats to tune in fourths beginning around the same C as a cello. I call this tuning "contralto" tuning. They work quite nicely, but I sometimes have a problem with the unsilked part that ends up on the tuning pegs coming apart a bit. Haven't broken any, though.

    Right now, I've got on a set of D'Addario Prelude 4/4 medium tension cello strings on, tuned in fifths in cello range, CGDA. They're long enough, but because of the scale length difference and construction differences between my Warwick and an actual cello, part of the ball end silk ends up over the bridge. This deadens the sustain somewhat, but it's actually sort of pleasing. I would have used a light tension set, but the store was out of stock at the time. Boy, was I nervous plunking down $60 for a set of student-grade (as far as cellos are concerned) strings that I didn't even know would work for me! Well, they were the only all-steel cello strings I could find.

    Oh, aside from the cello strings, I got all my others from They also have the same cello strings, so I'll order a set of light tension when I get to it. Here's a pic: