Stiffer tapewounds?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bassnyc1, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. I love the sound and feel of tapewounds. I've tried 2 brands, GHS and D'Addario and both were really floppy. Is this just the way they all are?
    I tried a friend's vintage musicmaster and they weren't floppy at all but maybe because it was a short scale? She doesn't remember what brand she used.
    Any info is appreciated.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  2. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    Both GHS and D'Addario are lighter gauge tapewound strings, seemingly intended to be installed on a bass without any potential need to file the nut. Labella makes some sets that are thicker, as does Rotosound. I haven't used any tapewound strings for a while, and I do not remember any that I ever used feeling especially stiff, but I would think that, for example, the 60-115 set from Labella would feel stiffer than the 50-105 D'Addarios.
  3. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I’ve tried D’Addario and La Bella and both were limp noodles although I enjoyed the sound and texture under my fingers.
    Quantized Harmonic likes this.
  4. Dee-man

    Dee-man Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Rotosound and LaBella - neither are floppy IME. Rotos were thicker/greater tension.
    Pbassmanca, Rezdog and Dabndug like this.
  5. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Which LaBellas? White nylon or Black?
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  6. Dee-man

    Dee-man Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Rezdog likes this.
  7. Thanks for the replies, everyone!
    I'm leaning towards the heavier Rotosounds based on the feedback. As long as they're not as stiff as regular flats, I'm guessing they would be a good fit for me.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  8. shoulderpet


    Sep 24, 2015
    Roto tapes are much stiffer than most tapes
    Paul New, ajkula66, CapnSev and 3 others like this.
  9. Playing closer to the bridge fixes some sloppiness in feel/tone. I use La Bella black nylon 50’s.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  10. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I used to use LaBella copper white and LaBella gold white, but have since switched to Rotosound 88 (black) because they have just that little bit higher tension that I prefer :) I did have to file the nut slots a tiny bit, but I'm never going back, so that's quite alright ...
    Dabndug likes this.
  11. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    I started my playing days with Roto 88s and loved their smooth tone. Definitely not floppy at all! If I was after that sound again, they'd be my choice.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  12. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Rotosound 88 are very stiff feeling but they are NOT high tension. They can easily be lifted out of the nut slots at full tension. This MIGHT be a problem with aggressive playing on some basses, like Höfner style bridges (basically just bits of notched fret wire). But they're not floppy at all, very stiff.

    The gauges for the long scale set are 65-75-100-115 so you'll probably need to widen the nut slots. The E-string on the Roto 88s is also notorisously difficult to intonate but perhaps more so on the short/medium sets.

    The 88s are also prone to chorus-like tones which may vary from set to set or even day to day with the same set. Normally I would suspect twisted strings but I've never really found a specific cause with the 88s.

    Very quirky strings. I love them for some basses/sounds (mostly palm muted Höfner) and the 88s are THE vintage sounding tapewound for me. But they're not exactly great allrounders and on some basses they sound horrible IMO.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  13. Again, thanks for the replies. I plan to use them on a P bass
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  14. TideSwing


    Oct 31, 2014
    Las Vegas
    I'm currently using Labella White Nylons and have used the Black and Copper before and all have been low tension. I've had the Rotosounds and they were also low tension. A long time ago - early 90s, I had Fender Black tapes and I don't remember them being as low in tension - not sure if they're still made.
  15. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    I'm late to the party, but 50-105 tapewounds are really something like 35-95 in flat wound department.
    60-115 is something like 45-105 and it's a lot stiffer.
  16. Inky13


    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    I’ve used Fender tapes and they’re not too floppy.
    Also, there is a tapewound club around here somewhere.
    A lot of good info to be had there.
    onosson likes this.
  17. Cedde


    Dec 4, 2007
    Pyramid Nylons are higher tension than most other nylon flats
  18. TapeWound Club~Anyone?
    mikewalker and Inky13 like this.
  19. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    If memory is accurate, GHS used to make a fairly stiff TW that was called the Pro-Formula.
  20. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I have the white nylon tape wound LaBella's on my Jazz Bass and am VERY pleased with them. They are not floppy AND they have the best balanced sound from string to string that I've ever had. I've been playing bass since 1965 so my "ever" is a long time. I used Fender Flats in the 60's and then Fender Black Nylon Tape Wound strings in the early to mid-70's. Until last year, I had only used round wound strings on the bass you see in my avatar, which I bought in 1985. Used Dean Markley Blue Steel and DR Black Beauties until 2018.

    In 2018 I bought the La Bella's white Tape Wound flats from the Talkbass store. They are not floppy strings but they are also not opaque white. They are primarily a semi-transparent tape with a whitish cast to it. They said that in the description so I knew what to expect. I was using them to replace black strings so I went with the white to match the rest of my bass. Best string choice I've made yet!