Tapes VS. Flats

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Tapes are generally brighter than Flats, but which of the two have a longer sustain?

    Reason I ask, is I play a fretless and only want some sort of flatwounds (no half rounds of anything like that), especially something with medium to low tension that doesn't require me to adjust my nut. But I want the longest sustain from the brightest string that I can get with these requirements.

  2. In my experience, Rotosound tapes were brighter with less sustain than TI Flats, but it m,ay depend on the bass just as much as the brand of strings. I also found that although the tapes sounded great in the studio, they didn't cut it live, at least for me. If you're looking for bright flats with good sustain, I suggest Sadowsky Black Label.
  3. adivin


    Jul 9, 2009
    New Orleans, LA
    GHS Tapes sound perfect. I love them.
  4. How do the Sadowsky's compare with TI's for brightness, sustain, and tension?

    I have them on my bass now. They are great and surprisingly bright, but I would like them to have a bit more sustain, and maybe even a bit brighter if that's possible in what I'm looking for.
  5. adivin


    Jul 9, 2009
    New Orleans, LA
    Tried the TI, Sadowsky, GHS Pressure Wound and came back to the GHS Tapes. I wondered about Daddario tapes.
  6. I don't know... the Sadowsky's seem good, but from what I've read they're too high tension for me.

    So the initial question really hasn't been answered though, and I've searched everywhere as well... Hopefully someone can chime in with regards to which of the two types of strings generally have more sustain?

    I'm also a bit curious as to some low tension flats/tapes that would be the best for chordal playing and harmonics. I know I'm not going to find something great for those with tapes or flats, but I'm just wondering which brand would be the best out of these two types, because I don't want any wear on this board, even just cosmetic. Thanks.
  7. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    It sounds like these two answers do not help you, but I feel like bridges have a significant amount of effect on sustain. Also, simply pressing more firmly and with more fingertip with your frethand helps.

    Also, sometimes on older basses a VERY SLIGHT tighten on your neck bolts can help sustain, but you wanna be sure youre familiar enough to know if you need it
  8. Thanks, I was actually reading up a lot on this most of the day, then GAS took over, and I, very impulsively, splurged on ordering a Hipshot A chrome bridge. It does make sense, and the Squier bridge on my bass does rattle so I do think this will help a lot. And thanks for the tip about tightening the neck screws. I will check out if that's needed in a bit.

    With that said though, I'd still like to know which tapes/flats will help bring out my chords and harmonics the best. I have been contemplating taking off the GHS tapes and putting on my set of Chromes that I have when the bridge comes in, but I'm not sure if the Chromes are brighter, or have more sustain than the tapes, plus I really don't like the stiffness of Chromes, hence why I have them just sitting around.
  9. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Ive got some fender tapes that are very surprisingly bright (clear) with chords and stuff like that
  10. Thanks, I will look into them. I think their gauges may be a little high and I'd be worried about that. I know my GHS tapes are on the thin side for tapes and I really had to force them in to sit.
  11. Has anyone tried black coated roundwound strings on a fretless? I've been reading up on them and one TBer said that they don't hurt the fingerboard, but I don't know if they are as smooth as flats, or if they're more like half rounds or something.
  12. Coated rounds aren't much different to un-coated rounds. Just an ultra-thin coating on em to keep out corrosion. I wouldn't think they'd be much (any) different to un-coated rounds on a fret-board
  13. Thanks... And yeah, they don't seem to be the answer for me.

    Well, after searching like crazy, it does seem that flats have more sustain than tapes, and Chromes seem to be the brightest flat. So when I get the bridge, I'll put the Chromes on and see how that helps.

    I'd really like to not go to half-wounds or compression-wounds or anything like that, but if I can't get the tone I'm looking for, then I may have to. Thanks everyone.
  14. mastershake


    May 12, 2011
    Would you be opposed to putting epoxy on your fretboard?
  15. It has an ebonol board. Can ebonol be epoxied? I know it cannot take any wood finish because it's not wood, but I never thought about applying epoxy to it.
  16. Well, I was still very curious about the GHS Tapes or Chromes for brightness and sustain, so I decided to A/B the two and record them to see the differences.

    The tapes are GHS Black Nylon Tape Wounds (.050 - .105), and the Chromes are gauges .045 - .100.

    I did four different comparisons, the first recording of each comparison is the GHS Tapes and the second is the Chromes.

    It was pretty obvious to me as I was tuning them which one was brighter... The sustain comparison wasn't as different as I was expecting. The most obvious difference can be found in the harmonics. When I saw the difference in the soundwaves alone I started laughing... And I'm expecting things to get better when I get the new bridge.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  17. mastershake


    May 12, 2011
    I Don't think it's fair to compare two different strings from different companies head to head. have you heard of daddario tapewounds?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  18. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    GHS Tapes!
  19. No, you're right, I should really do comparisons within brands. I do have GHS flats, but I know that they're not what I'm looking for. They're my favourite flat but with that said, they are pretty thumpy and I know that the Chromes are a brighter flat. And I do see your point, by this logic then D'addario tapes could be brighter than GHS tapes.

    I really wanted to do this for myself, so I could hear the difference between the two without relying on my memory, to find out which strings were better for me on this bass, and I figured that I might as well throw it up here because I'm sure someone will find it useful.

    And I will go back and edit my post... I shouldn't use terms like "winner", because in no way do I wish to imply that the other string is a loser. They're both great strings and excel in different ways... I also shouldn't have used the term "Tapes VS. Flats" as the thread title, as it's not a battle between the two of them... I was just curious as to which strings have more brightness and sustain. This test isn't a good "general" test, because I've tried two sets of flats in my life and they were vastly different from each other.
  20. mastershake


    May 12, 2011
    guess not according to this tb user/Lutherie
    "You don't even need an epoxy coating on an ebonol fingerboard. It's already harder than the epoxy"