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Strings on a fretless: Your opinions

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by speak2planets, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. speak2planets


    Oct 25, 2012
    So I scored a Modulus VJ4 fretless REALLY cheap today and am completely stoked to delve into the world of the fretless. The fretboard is a phenolic composite fingerboard. What exactly is that? Graphite like the rest of the neck? Anyways, I have played with roundwounds on my Sterling for years. I don't want to screw up the fretboard on the Modulus so I figure that I probably need to string it with flatwounds. I know any questions about strings are mostly gonna be answered subjectivly. Thats kinda what I want. Just let me know your opinions on what you think are best. Let me know about tapewounds, coated roundwounds, and half rounds. The half rounds are what I am leaning towards to get the classic feel without killing the fretboard. Thanks everyone!!
  2. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Graphite is an allotrope of carbon; basically an inorganic form of carbon. Phenolic composites are basically organic resins that harden to a nice smooth surface. The good news is that you'll likely be able to use roundwounds without marking the board much.

    To me, half rounds are the worst of both worlds; I don't recommend them. Go with rounds if you like rounds. Worst thing to happen is you mark up the board a little bit and you replace them with something else.

    The Fender tapewounds sound great on FL.
  3. The_Funk


    Nov 29, 2012
    I personally love flatwounds on a fretless. To a certain degree, they sound better when they are a little old IMHO. They don't break like roundwound strings do, and once the original brightness wears off (to the extent that flatwounds are bright at all out of the package), the buttery warmth of flats on a fretless is really great. Playing flats takes some getting used to, but for pure sliding fretless goodness, they are the answer. Congrats on the Modulus. Great instruments.
  4. speak2planets


    Oct 25, 2012
    That quote is basically the reason I got a fretless. "Buttery" is now how I plan on describing the tone I am hoping to get and will always be looking for!!
  5. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Id use the most popular and famous string for fretless myself, rotosound swing66. Modulas basses are made better then most under $800 basses. Though id prefer they used real wood like high grade ebony for fretboard, their manmade one should be as durable.
  6. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I use LABella Tape wounds on my G&L L2500 frettless & Love them
  7. speak2planets


    Oct 25, 2012
    I looked at the La Bellas and the sizes were kinda crazy. The smalled E I could find was a .115. I really don't wanna screw with the nut
  8. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    TIs. They may cost a little more but no one I've heard ever complained about the price.

    Pyramid Golds are cool too.

    Remember that just like UR bass strings one should use all due caution when installing these strings. Gollihur's site has a bit about installing bass strings that I found very informative.
  9. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    Use some stainless steel rounds and be happy, mmm.
  10. hotbass57


    Nov 27, 2011
    I use SS rounds on my VM fretless, love it! Chromes on my Hofner. I just prefer the growl and sustain of the SS.
  11. Tim Brosnan

    Tim Brosnan

    Jul 30, 2005
    D'addario XL220 for me =)
  12. I use D'addario NickelWound Rounds Exl-165s on my Fretless, but they do kinda tear up the finger board, but I like the sound
  13. Randy S

    Randy S

    Jul 7, 2008
    Western WA
    I've use both Elixir and DR Black Beauties on my fretless with a rosewood board.
    The only flats I would even consider are the Thomastiks.
  14. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    I use half-round on my fretless and like them.

    I admit that YMMV, but don't discount them unless you've tried them.
  15. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
  16. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    I use Ken Smith Compressors, which are compressed roundwounds. Much smoother than rounds, but retain some of their sound. I have them on my fretless jazz and they sound great and super versatile.

    With that said, my next bass will be a fretless P with flats. I will likely buy GHS Precision Flats or try out Labella Deep Talkin's.
  17. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003

    TI JF344's Flats.
    Ken Smith Compressors.
    DR Sunbeams.
    La Bella Nylon coated flats.

    Buy one set each of the above.
    Find out which you like the best on your bass.

    All of these string work great on fretless, It depends which set you like.
  18. speak2planets


    Oct 25, 2012
    So out of curiosity, does the fact that your strings are coated kinda protect the fretboard from getting messed up even though the strings are roundwounds? I play DR Blacks on my fretted Sterling and love the feel of them. BTW, I ordered a set of D'Addario flats and a set of their tapewounds from bassstringsonline.com. I guess these will be the first ones I try. Also, thanks to everyone with their input. Your comments have been overwhelmingly helpful!!
  19. Roto 66 rounds are the strings I have prefered over the decades.

    Some months back I tried a Squier [LINED] fretless, with phenolic finger board at GC.

    It was strung with flats. Action was too high for my taste, however, it played like it had either been recently sprayed with WD-40, or had a fresh application of chicken grease.

    It was like roller skating on a floor sprayed with oil..never had any bass play that slick and smooth...almost too much of a good thing.


    Regardless; first thing I would do with the bass I mentioned would be to replace flats with rounds.

    Yes, SS rounds eventually will dig into frets or slightly mar the surface of fretless phenolic; a small price to pay for THAT tone.

    Others may enjoy flats of half rounds..all a personal preferance.