So last night at practice, I was looking at my aging (18-24 months or so...I don't usually change strings until they really die) set of Elixirs and the coating that's flaking off like skin shedding after a sunburn, and it suddenly occurred to me that, in 23 years of playing, I've never once actually tried putting flats on a fretted bass. Could be because my early role models were John Entwhistle and Chris Squire. Could be because I always just assumed that flats would be too muddy, and I kind of like having some growl (but not excessive zing). Anyway, on a whim I pulled the set of Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats (.043-.136) off of my fretless and stuck them on my fretted 5. Surprise, surprise....they sound great (at least to my ear). They feel great. They're smoother-sounding than the old Elixirs, but there's still some growl there...enough to keep me happy, anyway. Perhaps it's that they've got a round wrapping under the flat wrapping. They seem to sit better in the mix, too. And a part I've always had a bit of trouble playing cleanly and smoothly, with a complex run all they way down near the nut, became much easier. D*mn. Now I need to buy another set...$71 shipped from Juststrings. The whole thing with choosing strings is very frustrating to me. Reviews and mfr descriptions are all totally subjective. And bass strings are just too blasted expensive to try a bunch of different ones looking for some you really like. And even when you do change strings, sometimes it's like going to the eye doctor...is A better or worse than B? Well, it's *different,* but sometimes that's all you can really say. I bought the TIs in the first place based entirely on subjective reviews from the net. They seemed fine...but better than others? Who knows? At $71 a set, I'm not likely to go try something else unless they really suck in some horrible way.