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That opening note to 'What's Goin On?'---will flats get my Jazz closer?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by heat@500Hz, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. heat@500Hz

    heat@500Hz Guest

    Jun 11, 2005
    Lago Blanco de la Roca
    it's no obsession or anything, i don't worry much at all about sounding just like someone else, but between now and when I have a parts-Precision built up, would flatwound strings help me get closer to that sound?

    i'm playing a fender jazz with vintage pickups through an old ampeg SVTII and 8X10

    i can get pretty close as is with the roundwounds, and i've found the bass to be pretty versatile too

    ...just looking for any comments before i make the decision whether or not to try some flatwounds

    lately, old motown lines and solo church pieces are about all i've been playing, and since my bass has a lot of snap and highs in the bridge position in the first place, i can't imagine missing too much without the roundwounds

    thanks for any help!
  2. In my opinion, yes. I'm crazy about those Motown recordings, especially Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On". I have TI Jazz Flats on my Jazz Bass and I get a decently-close sound, though it lacks that puff (?) of the Precision bass. I can get close, but never there. I think it'll certainly help you get closer, though. I'm dying to pick up a Precision Bass and to throw some flats on it.
  3. heat@500Hz

    heat@500Hz Guest

    Jun 11, 2005
    Lago Blanco de la Roca

    puff is actually a pretty good description of that sound--i wanted to say bloom, but it's a quicker bloom--puff
  4. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area

    I love flatwound strings. I have a Modulus VJ4 -- a very "modern" sounding axe. The flats help give it more booty as well as a vintage feel.

    I'm currently loving my set of Rotosound flats (very bright). I also have a few sets of Ernie Ball flatwounds as backups. However, I can see using the Rotosounds for another couple of years.

    Try them -- you'll like them!

  5. heat@500Hz

    heat@500Hz Guest

    Jun 11, 2005
    Lago Blanco de la Roca
    thanks jason, your description of what it does for your instrument helps, as that is pretty much what i'm looking to gain, some roundness at the low end
  6. KYJazzy


    Nov 10, 2004
    Lexington, KY
    Flats will definitely get you closer to that sound. Half the groove is in the flats alone. Then 25% the Precision, and 25% 'The Hook' (one fingered playing for a smooth even attack, Jamerson's sig style).
  7. You could also try a set of La Bella 'Deep Talkin' flats. They sound soulful on a jazz bass or a P bass.
  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I've got an alder/rosewood J bass strung up with Sadowsky flats and it kills on motown-style tunes. I think the woods and strings cound just as much as the pickup for that sound. The TI flats I tried didn't really nail that sound, they had their own vibe.
  9. heat@500Hz

    heat@500Hz Guest

    Jun 11, 2005
    Lago Blanco de la Roca
    thanks for all the help fellows!

    i just put TI jazz flats on my instrument, and after playing them in for a bit, they sound like they will give me what i was looking for

    i'm pretty stoked with my sound right now :)

    one thing that really surprised me though was how fantastic slapping and popping on these strings sounds!

    anyhow--back to jamming, thanks again :bassist:
  10. Contrapuntal


    Mar 1, 2004
    I think the sound also has quite alot to do with how it was recorded, likely straight into the analog tube-driven board giving it quite a bit of tube-compression and richness. Live, I find I can get that "poof" a bit better with my compressor in the chain.
  11. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    Well, if you want that sound a P bass, strong with high gauge labellas, plus some tubes and a 12" or 15" speaker would probably do the trick....
  12. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    IF I remember right, and I often don't, Jamerson used huge guage flats, never changed them, and recorded his P mic'd thru an Ampeg B15-N. He had his action unusually high, other bass players from the period commented they could never have played his bass. Sounds like you got your flats on already-give them some time to break in, roll the tone off about halfway, and think Double Bass finger position with your right hand-don't use just your fingertips, use from the middle knuckle on down, and play "where your right hand would go if you still had the pickup cover on." In other words closer to the neck than the bridge.

  13. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest


    P-Bass, with 760 LaBella's and ideally for me the 15" with tubes would be a '70 Ampeg B-15S Portaflex.