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What are flatwound strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Skel, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I already know I'm going to get ripped apart for this thread, but searching isn't always as easy as people think - it's very difficult sometimes to find answers to simple questions. Also I don't think it's that bad to have something of interest to people float by again sometimes.

    What are flatwound strings? I can't imagine anything about a round string being flat. If somebody could just tell me the make up of flatwounds verses roundwounds I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks - Skel
  2. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    They are round like every other string, it's just that when you slide your finger along the string, it's smooth.
  3. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I just googled this; the outer winding on flatwounds *is* flat, or "ribbon like" and apparently, is stainless steel wrapped around a stainless steel core. On roundwounds, the core is stainless steel, but the winding is continuous round and could be made of stainless steel, nickel, nickel alloy, bronze, etc. Roundwounds are brighter and flatwounds are more mellow sounding.
  4. fazzball


    Dec 9, 2005
    Ive been getting terrible blisters from my roundwounds lately as have only recently picked up my bass again for the first time in years. Would flats be easier on my fingers? by fingers i dont mean the fretting fingers by the way, im talking about down the pickup end of town.
  5. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I don't know, but hopefully somebody with flatwound experience will pipe in and inform all of us.
  6. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I think its pretty much the same. You shouldn't chose strings based on how many blisters they give you. You will get over the blisters. Find a string that sounds best for you.
  7. appler

    appler Guest

    In terms of abrasiveness, flatwounds will be easier on your fingers. Many flatwound strings have higher tension than roundwounds, however. You should choose based on the sound you like.
  8. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Hope this helps:

  9. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Reminds me of the strings on DBs...probably because they are.

    Man, I need to get a set of flats...
  10. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    flatwounds are great, but the tension is just as hard on your fingers. Try both types, there are tons of advantages and disadvantages to each.
  11. I decided flats were for me because of these reasons in order.

    The tone
    The feel
    They last a lot lot longer
    They taste good in a nice marinara!
  12. fazzball


    Dec 9, 2005

    yea of course, but sometimes you have to allow for both. I mean when i get unbearable pain with an hour left in the gig and have to either start using a pick or play with my pinky finger you have to start looking at other alternatives.

    Think flats would be good for SRV type blues covers?
  13. JJd2sc


    Jul 31, 2003
    Marietta, Georgia
    I think flats would work very well for SRV tunes, fazz.
  14. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    I'm pretty sure they're what Tommy Shannon uses, and most blues bassists.
  15. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    AZ, USA
    True, but there are low tension flats strings, such as Thomastik-Infeld. Sound good, too.
  16. fazzball


    Dec 9, 2005

    thanks for the help
  17. BassStringConstruction.
  18. Brad Maestas

    Brad Maestas Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    Oakland, CA
    Great replies Alvaro and borden!
  19. Andy73


    Aug 12, 2005
    So Cal
    So if I understand correctly that "in general" flatwounds are higher tension, could that help tighten up the sound of a B string?
  20. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    NO! Not T.I. Jazz Flats!

    I can hardly think of switching now - those T.I.J.Fs just feel wonderful to me. ..And let me tell you:
    they're in no-way just for 'mellow music'! AAAND they're not high-tension.
    They're so smooth to the touch - and low-tension - that you can count the frets
    'bumping' under your finger when you do a slide.

    I play raucous stuff on mine - tons of gain and compression and fret clatter;
    if I set up the tone on roundwounds to have as much lovely, raucous clatter as I do
    with my Jazz Flats, there'd be WAY too much finger squeek-noise!

    ALSO! ("but wait: that's not all!")... I used to have a problem with the sound of the low-B
    string on my less-than-high-end, 33"-scale bass - I mean BAD non-musical harmonics;
    every note on the string sounded like a 'wolf tone'. With the TIs, it was an instant-fix;
    my low-B sounds great now in all pickup configurations!

    Give'em a try. Just whip-out your eighty dollars, and give'em a try.


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