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Which Brand of Flats for my Bongo?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JessRobinson, Oct 19, 2005.


  1. JessRobinson

    JessRobinson Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2004
    Fairfax, VA
    I’ve decided to take the plunge and equip my Bongo 4HH with flatwounds. I love the feel and sound of flats, and frankly can’t stand string noise when I shift positions and don't care for "zing" either. I’m not worried about losing the high end with flats, as the Bongo has a great 4-band EQ so I can dial in the upper frequencies if it suits me. So flats are in my near future.

    The question is…. which brand of flats should I use? I know that strings vary in the degree of tension put on the neck, which translates into how tight/loose the string feels when you pluck them. I have a rather aggressive finger technique so I suppose a higher tension string would suit me better (or maybe not, I'm not really sure). Also I’m not sure about nickel vs. stainless steel.

    I’ve been considering the following so far:

    D’Addario
    Thomastik-Infeld
    Ernie Ball
    Rotosound

    Any thoughts, opinions, recommendations? Thanks in advance.

    Jess
     
  2. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    Where's Bovinehost when you need him?

    TI Jazz Flats sound wonderful on MM-style basses.
     
  3. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I've tried D'Addario Chromes, Sadowsky flats, and TI Flats on both my fretted and fretless Bongos.

    I've currently got TI Flats on my fretted, and Sadowskys on my fretless.

    I really love the sound and feel of the Sadowskys, and I think they are a good compromise between the tension of the TIs and the Chromes. They are a bit more warm sounding, too. The TIs are great strings (mine are set up EADGC), but I've never been a big fan of the TI Flat B string, which won't be a problem on a 4 banger unless you are tuning low. The combo of the TI flats, and the 4 band EQ, really gives the strings a chance to shine. The two mid controls allow an almost infinite variety of sounds that can be coaxed from the Bongo.

    If you want balls out, I would say go with the Chromes. They are the most "Rock and Roll" of the three flat varieties I've tried.

    Since I've got piezos in both my Bongos, I've never really warmed to the sound of rounds on them. Too much squeak. Some might say that you are ham-stringing the Bongo by giong with flats. But, those people have obviously never actually tried flats on a Bongo. :D


    As always, YMMV. :bassist:
     
  4. JessRobinson

    JessRobinson Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2004
    Fairfax, VA
    Bassmonkee - could you tell me more about the tension of the TIs? High/medium/low? Thanks....
     
  5. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    TI Jazz Flats are rather low in tension. I do not have numbers, though. They are not the lowest tension strings I've used -- that would be TI Jazz Rounds.
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    TI Jazz Flats are great if you want a flatwound that sounds sort of like a roundwound. Otherwise I wouldn't even waste my time, and I'd go for a set of LaBellas or Fenders.
     
  7. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I can only agree with this statement to the extent that TI's are less "dead" sounding (and I do not mean that in a pejorative sense) than brands like LaBella. TI Jazz Flats do not sound at all like roundwounds to me.
     
  8. 7flat5

    7flat5

    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Me either. I have heard this said repeatedly, and I am finally jumping in and saying what I have been thinking for a while. Rounds sound like guitar strings, while the TI flats sound like sweet singing bass strings. They are very lively, midrangey, and do not die like really broken-in flats, but they certainly do not sound like roundwounds. I have a set on a bass I had roundwounds (GHS Boomers) on before, and it's day (rounds) and night (TI flats). Sweet, summer night.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I didn't say they sound EXACTLY like roundwounds. But they sure have the sustain and midrangey response of roundwounds. Not what I'm looking for in a flatwound at all.
     
  10. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I cannot argue with that.
     
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Oh, come on, Bob. This is the internet. You can argue with anything! :D
     
  12. jacove

    jacove

    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    Jess, try to desribe what tone you like, then it would be much easier to give you an advice, for example have you got a record where "THAT TONE" is on etc...TI's do sound more midrangy, but if you really want to cut the mix with low mid thumb, I think they are awesome...if you want the deep scooped thumb I think the Labellas Deep Talkin would suit you just fine...
     
  13. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    No, you can't!


    ("I paid for an argument. This is not an argument. You're just negating everything I say."

    "No, I'm not.")
     
  14. TI's are just too floppy feeling for my taste. I like high-tension flats much more. I haven't tried LaBellas in about 30 years but I know they're tight. I like D'Addario Chromes which are quite tight and Fenders which are, perhaps, a tad tighter.
     
  15. JessRobinson

    JessRobinson Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2004
    Fairfax, VA
    After considering all of your above comments, I've decided to go with TI-Flats. I'll report back how I like them once I get the bass properly set up with them.

    Thanks again,
    Jess
     
  16. Good luck, I hope they work for you. They have a lot of fans here at TB.
     
  17. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    For rock I prefer chromes, for everything else LaBella. I also like Fender flats, although they are high tension.

    I just found the TIs too floppy. My personnel feeling is that you need good technique and a light touch for TIs.

    Let us know how they work out!
     
  18. zippydog

    zippydog Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2006
    Chicago
    I use DR flats and like them a lot on my Bongo 5HS
     
  19. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Which DR flats?