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Thump AND Definition on a PBass?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bilco, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. bilco


    Jan 25, 2006
    Austin, Texas
    I have an '84 Fender PBass with a set of Rio Grande Vintage pickups. I have been using roundwound for ~ 30 years now, Rotosound, Smith, Boomers and GHS. I finally tried the TI Jazz Flats and after a week of extreme playability, but floppy rubber band like feel, I had it reset up with the action purposely higher than recommended by Fender. What a difference

    Positive: Now I remember what thump is.... It feels like being punched in the gut; I never had that kind of punch with any of the round wounds. The TIs push the groove really well on walking country or swing and old Motown stuff. Combining the TI strings with a Sansamp gives me the sound I have had in my head, but never been able to achieve. They record GREAT too.

    Negative: Because I had to set the action high to get some tension, it is taking its toll on my left hand if I have to play 2 long swing songs in a row. Also, I traded off some of the definition, that grand piano ringing sound of the round wounds. It is harder to distinguish the actual note. I am felt more than heard now. On softer singer/songwriter stuff, I am missing the clarity of the round wounds.

    2 questions:

    What is the flat wound string with the most thump that will not kill my left hand and bring back my carpal tunnel?

    Are there any flat wounds out there that have as much or more punch than the TIs, but more definition (overtones, bell tones, clarity, piano string sound)?

    Now I am mulling over getting a beater to put the thumpinest strings I can find on for gigs and keeping the PBass set up with the TIs for recording. Perfect world I guess would be a the TI Pbass for recording and a thump bass and a round wound bass for gigs...

  2. Let me preface this by saying I have never used TI flars. I know they are low tension strings and I like more tension. On my P-Bass clone, I use Fender 9050 flats and on my CruiseBass I use D'Addario Chromes. Both are punchy, the Chromes are brighter. Some physicist will probably shoot down my premise, but I like high tension strings because, IMO, I can get the action much lower without buzz because there is less motion in the strings. If you're looking for both more punch and more clarity from your P-Bass without carpal tunnel worries, I'd suggest you try a set of D'Addario Chromes and lower your action.
  3. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
  4. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    The Fender flats I use are havier than TI flats for sure(I've used TI's in the past)

    What I've found with Fender flats, is that as they break in, they actually seem easier to play on. I find that I don't really notice the extra tension-this has been my past experience with Fender flats too.

    BTW, I would just like to point out-the 9050ML's do this well. The 9050M's do feel like bridge cables IMHO/IME. They didn't seem to break in as well as the ML's, and did not sound nearly as good as the ML's. I can't explain why, but that is my experience.
  5. Tension does not increase by raising the action. A given string has a specific tension at its tuning point, no matter its position on the finger board.

    I played TI Flats non-stop for 5 years. One does indeed have to get used to the loose feel, and change playing style accordingly.

    I never got much thump from my MIM P, and suspect the TI Flats are the cause. I went through the stock pickup (most thump) to a Duncan Hot for P, and finally to a DiMarzio Will Power Middle, and no thump. This occurred from 2000 to 2005, same set of TI Flats.

    These aged TI Flats have a very ka-chink, woody sound to them. I think they would be perfect on a fretless P, to closely emulate an upright. I have moved them to my fretless J to stop board wear, and put a sound of EXL-220 rounds on the P. I'm enjoying the clarity and deep bass of the P with the rounds.
  6. I realize raising the action has nothing to do with string tension. I'm saying that when you pluck a string with high tension, the string excursion is less than if it was a low tension string. That allows a lower set-up.
  7. ElBajista


    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    Nor does tension increase with 35" scale basses. A floppy B string on a 34" bass will be a floppy B string on a 35" scale bass. That's a point for another thread, though.

    +1. This is the route for both "Thump" and clarity with a P. I have rounds on my P, and I love both the clarity and the bassiness as well. They install tone knobs on these basses for a reason. :D
  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Lakland and Sadowsky flats are very simmilar to each other, and both have a very nice level of tension (not toooo much, but definately fairly stiff), and a great thumpy but clear tone. Great strings. I never liked the TIs, too floppy with wierd dynamics.
  9. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    I suggest you try the LaBella 760FL set.
  10. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I recently strung up my '97 AmStnd P with these:


    I used the medium gauge.

    I was AMAZED (not just surprised) at the amount of clarity and low-end impact these strings offered.

    And the price was sure right! :)
  11. I disagree.

    A quick check of my string chart shows increased tension for a given string in 36" length vs 34" length, for the same gauge.

    It is my understanding the longer the scale, the higher the tension at a given tuning. I'm not an upright player, but I understand they have much higher string tension, and a much longer scale.
  12. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Nope. That statement is not true.

    All other things being the same, a 35" string will have a slightly higher tension then a 34" string when tuned to the same pitch.
  13. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I was looking for some really thumpy flats a while back. I did some researce here and bought Chromes, Rotosound Flats, Dean Markley Flats, and Fender Flats.

    Here's how they compare in my opinion:

    Bright and Punchy____Rotosound___Chromes________Fender___DeanMarkley__Dark and Thumpy

    The Dean Markley Flats were the thumpiest and the Fenders were close behind. Both the Chromes and Rotosounds were much brighter.

    All the strings I tried were medium guage. I thought that all of them were similar in tension.

    I'm currently using the Chromes on my P because the thumpy Dean Markleys were getting lost in the live mix. The Chromes seem to cut through better and can still sound thumpy if I turn down the tone knob.
  14. bilco


    Jan 25, 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. The never ending quest goes on.... and that doesn't even include the quest for the perfect acoustic guitar string...

    I do like the TI Jazz Flats.... just keep thinking there's always something better out there...

  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Have you ever tried tapewound strings? Fender makes a set that sounds great with a P pickup IMO.
  16. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Correct on all counts. The laws physics dictate that if we increase the mass of the string, the tension must be increased to keep the pitch the same. Pythagoras figured that out around 500 BC.

    Tension on upright strings- which generally have a scale length of 41-43"- is generally in the 50-60lbs range.
  17. ElBajista


    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    Woops, my mistake then....:cool:
  18. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    I agree

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