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What are my options?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by WhoFalls, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. WhoFalls


    Nov 14, 2010
    I just bought my first bass, a Highway One Fender P Bass. I've been playing a fender mexican jazz bass with flatwounds and I like the sound. The kind of bass tones I like are deep soul with low sustain. James Jamerson and Willie Weeks are my favorite.

    My question is what are my best options as far at strings. I've been interested in the jamerson set at labella, but I read that would put a lot of stress on the bass. I don't want have to put much adjustment on the bass and surely don't want to take it to someone and have then set it up. So how thick of strings can I go and what are good choices?
  2. BardoBass


    Oct 26, 2010
    Schenectady, NY
    Hey, congratulations on a really nice first bass. Here's my best advice: DON'T EVER SELL IT OR TRADE IT IN!!! If you do, you'll regret it later.

    I'm no flatwound expert, you'll find a lot of threads on them via search. Labellas are popular around here, as are the TI-Infelds which they say have a lower tension. You'll find fans of them all, so its highly personal - what sounds best on your bass to your playing style. Go ahead and try the labellas, if the bass needs setup adjustment you can definitely get help with that here.
    Personally I'd suggest going with a lighter set of flats, where the E is a 1.0
  3. WhoFalls


    Nov 14, 2010
    I want to get the Jamerson La Bella's, but after being out so much for the bass and then buying strings, having some one go into it would cost me to0 much. I don't have enough expertise I feel to do it myself. Will my P bass take to that gauge of strings? If it won't a lighter gauge of La Bella's that would come close enough to get what im looking for and not a lot of expertise to set up.
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Fender has reformulated their flats. After 35+ years as a roundwound guy, I'm switching over. They are a great all-round string while you sort out your personal tone, and not too expensive. The 9050L is the standard set, 45-100. Word on the street is in January 2011 they will have a 45-105 called the 9050CL, with a 105. A friend of mine got me a 105 single to replace the 100, and I really like the balance of tone and tension.

    If you're going to play that style of bass, remember that one of the elements to get the upright-ish decay to the tone is a block of foam rubber under the bridge cover slightly damping down the strings at the bridge. Right now I'm playing in a 9-piece dance band, and I've actually gone back to the foam under the bridge cover after years of playing rounds, including Rotosound, to get more sustain and drive.
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I've played a lot of flats in the last 30 or so years. Fender 850s, LaBella Old Originals (before they started calling that set the "Jamerson set"), Dean Markely, GHS Precison Flats, LaBella Deep Talkin' Bass, Thomastic-Infield Jazz Flats, and Lakland Joe Osborn flats. My favorites are the GHS Precision Flats and the Lakland Joe Osborn (same string with a slightly different gauged E string).

    They get the definitive "thump" one expects from a classic flatwound string, but they also have a definite note in there instead of just the thud of a kick drum. The LaBellas were great, except they lacked some definition to the note making them less useful live for a lot of gigs. The original Fender 850s were great, but they haven't made those strings since around 1983. The Dean Markley seemed identical to the GHS at the time. The T-I's are highly touted by a lot of bassists, and they're a great string. But, they don't have the classic flatwound sound so much. It's a very definite note, and while not at all twangy, they don't really have the same body as most other flats.


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