String Choice for Fretless

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Mike, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    After yrs of putting it off I've decided to plunge into the world of fretless. I'm wondering for those of you who play them regularly or exclusively what type of strings you use. I know you can use anything for anything but was wondering if there were any generally recommended or preferred.


  2. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    Most people I know use flat's man.
  3. I'm on my second fretless now.

    My first was a MIM fretless Jazz. It came with Fender flats, and these strings sounded good. I changed them to Rotosound 77s, and these were much better IMO. They had more thump, brightness, and a better feel.

    Now, I have a fretless Ibanez EDA905. This came equipped from the factory with Elixir strings. I'm not a big fan of roundwounds on a fretless, but these are the exception. They're coated, as you probably know, and have a dark tone for a round string. I feel they agree with what you want to play at the moment; thump when you want it, sustain when you need it.

    Regular rounds would be too bright for me, but these strings seem to give you the best of both worlds.

    Although I love Ernie Ball Slinkys, I couldn't imagine them on a fretless. Like hot sauce on ice cream, know what I mean? :(

    I'm very satisfied with the Elixirs. I highly recommend them for fretless.

  4. TI jazz flats would be my suggestion. I use them myself!

  5. I have to agree with Treena on this one. Thomastik-Infeld Jazz flats. Less string tension, long, long, long, long-lasting, and great sound. These people have been manufacturing upright strings for 90 some-odd years. I have TI's on my fretless and fretted P-basses and on my upright.

  6. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I'm using TI Jazz Roundwounds on my Roscoe fretless, and they sound killer. Very warm, but lots of mwah when I want it. Much better than the flats in my opinion.

  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Pyramid stainless steel roundwounds.
  8. Trucker


    Oct 12, 2003
    Providence, RI
    I use D'addario half-rounds on my fretless six string. I used to use flatwounds, but they were too dull. Half-rounds are great because they have a roundwound sound, but they're nicer to the fingerboard. In fact, I like the sound of half-rounds better than roundwounds; I find them smoother without sacrificing character.
  9. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    All of the strings mentioned in this post work well for the players that use them and they give the tone that the particular players like. If you like alot of growl and mwah roundwound strings have always suited me more. If you want more thump and more of an upright like sound flats will more likely give you that tone. (Exception being the TI flats, they have nice growl and a warm blossoming fretless tone.
  10. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    1- T.I. Flats
    2- Ken Smith Compressors
    3-D.I. Low Riders-Nickel
  11. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    i use LaBella tapewounds on my MIM jazz fretless. i love them, its a personal preference of course but i like the amount of thump i get with them. plus they feel great on the hands.

  12. A set of Fender 9050M stainless flats were installed on my used MIM J fretless. They came off immediately in favor of a set of EXL-220 DA rounds I received as a gift from a friend. These are awfully small strings, but they mwah for days. And they are chewing up my rosewood board.

    I'd like to install flats on the fretless again, but have doubts about TI Flats low tension in conjunction with very low action for mwah. I play TI Flats on my fretted P and really like them. Dunno about low action fretless.

    I have a set of DA Chrome Flats to try on the fretless next.
  13. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    D'Addario flats.
  14. I have a very low action on both my fretless and freted P-basses on which I have the JI flats. The tension hasn't been a problem for me. They have the same tension as a good set of roundwounds. Remember that flats require (typically) more tension because they usually have more mass. Not so with the TI's. Very nice to play on low action. At least in my experience. One tip: They can be expensive ($50.00 or more) so order them from Lemur Music ( You can get them for about 34 dollars.

  15. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
  16. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Hey Mike I'm confused.. I thought you sold me your Sterling fretless because you were a fretted guy? Change your mind? :)

    Anyway I used DR Sunbeams on the fretless first, but then I just got some TI Jazz Flats 43-53-70-100 and I love them. Nice soft feel, insanely low action. Very comfortable and easy to play.
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