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TI flats aren't working for me. Am I crazy?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Espresto, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. I have my fretless strung with TI's, but I just can't get used to them. I like the tone, they feel great, and they're friendly to the fingerboard. Unfortunately, I just can't seem to get them to play well. The low tension makes it feel like they hang onto my fingers, and makes it impossible for me to get the low action I want. Also, the E string buzzes unless I set the action really high, and it sounds odd. TI's seem to be very well respected around here, and they're really expensive (I know that's a bad way to judge things, but, you know...) so I guess I feel like they should be a better fit. Am I doing something wrong?

    Do you guys know any alternatives to TI's, preferably bright, light-gauge, and easy on wood fingerboards?
  2. Are you talking about the Jazz Flats set? They're very unique, and not EVERYONE likes them, in terms of sound or their low tension. I found them to be too low tension for me even though I kinda dug the tone.

    If you want a set of light gauge, bright-sounding flats, you could check out D'Addario Chromes, or maybe a set of ground rounds...
  3. It's OK not to like TI's. There are still some of us out here who feel the same way. I couldn't stand them on my fretless for the reasons you described. But then again, I prefer higher tension (and far less expensive) strings.

    I have had Chromes and GHS Precision flats on my fretlesses, and both were great. Chromes are a bit more versatile IMHO due to their brightness. IME, the older they get, the better they sound...
  4. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I can understand not immediately liking the feel - the low tension takes some getting used to. But the sound? That I can't understand, unless you are looking for the "zing".
  5. I meant the E string sounds odd, other than that the sound is great.

    Do you guys think it'd be worth trying out some light Chromes? I want to be able to get that bright Jaco tone if need be, but, for the most part, be a bit more mellow. Do the Chromes have much thump to them? I'd like to avoid that if possible.
  6. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    You're not crazy. I couldn't deal with them, either, for several reasons:

    1) too low tension - I couldn't get the "bounce" or feedback I needed for how I play;
    2) too mellow - when I wanted to growl, I couldn't growl;
    3) nickel intolerance - my perspiration eats the pure nickel wrap, and at the end of a gig my fingers were black.
    4) inconsistent gauges - the A was too floppy compared to the rest of the set, even taking into account the lower tension overall.
    5) expensive. Did I say expensive?

    I went with Fender 9050CL flats 45-60-80-105. The most underappreciated set of flats out there. Perfect tension, perfect feedback, mellow when I want them to be, growly when I need them to be, consistent string-to-string and up the neck, economical, durable - the current set has been on going on two years and sounds better every gig.
  7. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Bright, light gauge, easy on fretboard?

    Sounds like the light gauge Chromes to me. Maybe the light gauge Fender 9050 set.
  8. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    What bass are you using them on?

    Experimenting with different strings, I've found I love TI flats on P-basses but not on Jazz basses, for example. Light guage Chromes are probably a good alternative to try as are light guage La Bella flats (the FL760 set is my personal fav).
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    TI flats aren't working for me. Am I crazy?


    No flats "work" for me ...
  10. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    Light gauge chromes (ECB80) or D'addario tapewounds might be some strings to try. I don't like the TIs on my fretless Jazz either, but it's not a tension problem, it's a lack of articulation, ie, flubflubflubflubflub problem. Maybe it's just the model J pickups, but they sound horrible on that bass to me.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The TI lovers can make you think you're crazy for not liking them, but I absolutely hated them, and no amount of them trying to talk me into liking them could change my mind.
  12. rockinrayduke

    rockinrayduke Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Henderson, NV
    Well, they're not for everyone or every bass, like any string. I use them but I also use EB flats and Chromes. Works better on some basses than others.
  13. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    No...they don't work for me either. Something about their wet noodle floppiness bugs me no end. It's GHS flats for me.
  14. jobo4


    Apr 19, 2006
    Austin, TX
    No, you are not crazy. I like them and haven't played any other string for more than 6 years, but there are a ton of cool flats these days with a wide variety of guages and tones.

    Plus lots of folks are experimenting with them lately, so you should be able to trade the TIs for another set you are interested in.
  15. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Trinity, FL
    i've used TI's on a few different basses , Fender P , Jazz ...
    now on a j type 5 strg bass tuned e-c .. but i just used it occassoinally for recording ... nothing Live ... they are a bit floppy , .. so i don't dig in to much ... or stay a bit close to the bridge .. and i do think the Ti's take a while to break in and to feel right ... mine are a year old , and feel pretty good ... but they don't get played more than once a week .

    and with the lower tension , your neck might be bowing back a tiny bit .. ?? which could make it hard to get the action right ... it make just take some time to get it set just right as you and the bass both adjust .. !?

    i found the Chromes a bit boomy and stiff ... but i did not leave them on long enough to get broke in .. !

    i use GHS Compression Wounds on another bass ... an ' in-between' kinda string .. smoother than regular wounds , not quite as brite ... not near as costly as TI's ...

    good luck .. take your time ... Dave C.
  16. Britbonic

    Britbonic Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    True, not for everyone. Took me awhile to get used to them but only have them on 1 bass, my AVRI 57 PBass and they are fantastic. I find it depends on the application. For funky r&B finger style - Meters, MMW and of course motown style stuff there is nothing better IMO. They can be very punch in the low mids and sit right above the kick. Just yesterday with 2 guitars, keys, trumpet, drums with this style music and was awesome. Saw a local band last week and the guy had TI flats on a P with a sponge under the bridge. Band was in the same vein. His tone was fantastic. Incredibly punchy and so perfect for the music.

    If it's more of a rock context where there's more competition in the low mids and you need to cut thru with more upper mids than they're not as well suited. That's why I have DR Sunbeams on my other PBass ;)
  17. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    Use the rounds and took awhile to get used to but they work for what I wanted them for.... They bend great and stay in tune. Did have to change out the g string cause wasn't cutting thru
  18. neebs


    Oct 25, 2011
    Manteca, California
    I can't vouch for ti flats. But I have used chromes on my fretless. They're an awesome string, but they couldn't do 'everything' I wanted them to do.
    And a jaco tone it can not. If you want a jaco'ish tone, you pretty much need a roundwound. Go for the warmest string you know of, from personal experience. Or experiment once more.

    I like fender pure nickels on my fretless.
  19. Maybe groundwounds would do the trick then?

    The bass is a Modulus, so neck relief is not a problem.

    I really appreciate the advice!
  20. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    I have to be careful when playing TIJF's...... the lower stiffness and tension will cause me to get really sore when playing my other basses. I have to agree with Britbonic in that they may not work well for everything. They really are in a class of their own tonally speaking.