Which flat wounds ?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Polaris, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Polaris


    Oct 2, 2005

    My name is Dave. I am a guitarist-recently-turned-bassist. I am looking for some insight into getting a vintage bass tone similar to what Jack Bruce had in the Cream era. I so far have been able to get a similar bass to the Gibson EB-3 (mine is a 1970's Japanese copy), a '68 Marshall Plexi head going through 12" speakers in closed back cabs. The sound is close but somehow it is missing that round thumpy quality.

    I was thinking the strings I am using might be wrong, and was wondering if anyone knows what types of strings I might try? The bass I have came with roundwound strings which are the only ones I've even used, but from what I understand, flat wound strings were more the norm in the early/mid 1960's. Can someone recommend specific brands and/or diameters that would go well with this type of bass (30 inch scale) to get me that kind of sound? I went to juststrings.com and saw several brands that come in flats, but the string sets seem to vary a lot in terms of diameters and price.

    Any insight most appreciated..


  2. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    Try the Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats. IMO, the best flat wound strings on the planet.

    Others like the Labella's (the "Deep Talkin'" set, I think), but I haven't had success getting them to fit on a short scale bass. They seem to break easily if the bare string (without the silk wrapping) wraps around the tuner post. I should know-- I broke two (count 'em-- 2-- :scowl: )-- La Bella E strings this way!
  3. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    For that tone, I'd probably try some Fender flats. My personal favorites are the TI flats, but those are more middy, and Daddario Chromes, which have that deep low end, but are quite bright on the top end for flats .
  4. Labella Flatwounds. might be a bit more on the expensive side, but its worth every penny.
  5. jz0h4d


    Apr 26, 2005
    Everyone knows that Jack used La Bella flats.
  6. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    I like TI flats....but don't expect that old'school trad. flatwound sound...much more articulate and defined sound...
  7. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    TI's are far from a traditional sound, although its a nice sound. More traditional sounding flatwounds are- Labella (my fave), Fender, GHS. Rotosound are also considered a traditional flatwound, although, to me, they have less lows, more mids. Daddario Chromes are also more middy than the 3 I listed above. Don't know what strings Jack used back then, but his Gibson accounted for a lot of the tone. I think if you got some traditional sounding flats, you'd be the rest of the way there to getting a "Bruceish" tone. Just be aware that recording techniques, playing style, and a zillion other things also contribute to tone.
  8. Polaris


    Oct 2, 2005
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the input. There seem to be a lot of choices out there, when you once go shopping - all the details are a little overwhelming. I ordered a set of GHS Electric Bass 30" - 31" Scale, .045 - .095, Precision Flatwound , #3020. Hopefully I won't be too disappointed, and they should at least serve as some kind of point of reference.

    thanks again,

  9. pschaafs


    Aug 27, 2005
    I just received a set of those GHS Precision .45 -.95 and am sending them back! I was surprised to see how skinny they were, being a newbie to bass strings...The ones they would have replaced seem twice as fat.
  10. I like the RotoSound Jazz Flats...

    Today at practice, I got a sweet tone out of them...

    ... I mean... SHWING! ;)
  11. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    I tried a set of "old" Fender flats on a '72 Jazz..........Talk about ultimate vintage tone! Plus a variety of tones when plucked form the bridge p/up to the neck, from full round to percussive thud. These flats are about the smoothest I have ever felt in a flat, and yes they are somewhat tight in tension, but when set up properly (you can set these up really low to the board) they require very little effort to play.
    I'm taking the TI JF's off my P bass and putting the Fender 9050ML's on! :hyper:
  12. johnp352

    johnp352 Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist:,Rick Turner, GK, Malekko, Dredgetone, Pigtronix, DTAR
    not to confuse you further, but jack also played a fender bass VI, and a danelectro long horn ..he recorded with both of these, as well as felix's gibson..i have owned all of these at one time or another..night and day difference in tones across the board. so when you say you want jack in the Cream ..which jack?

    as far as flats..The Thoms are not what you want at all..LaBella flats are it, followed by fender flats. if you want a compromise, iow, you aren't going to use your shiny eb3 copy for mimicking jack bruce in 1968 on a daily basis..you could also try a 1/2 or "ground" wound flat, which will give you a bit more articulation, especially when using a plectrum. (as jack would say). though most internet geniuses disavow them, i have used D'aDarrio's with great success..especially once they are worn in, about a year or two.
  13. John, what did you use when you recorded "Lazy Ass (Live)"?
  14. beam


    Dec 29, 2002
    Labella Deep Talkin' Flats get my vote. I've tried a few different brands, and these fell/sound the best to me.
  15. johnp352

    johnp352 Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist:,Rick Turner, GK, Malekko, Dredgetone, Pigtronix, DTAR
    I play synth too. That's a Subtractor patch in Reason.
  16. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    That 'burpy' tone he had? Don't forget he also had that little passive fuzz-circuit installed; that diode or whatever it was.

  17. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Sold you on them, huh :)

    I was playing that bass with those strings when I read your post...plunk-plunk-plunk!
  18. Mean Mr Mustard

    Mean Mr Mustard

    Oct 8, 2005
    Will a bigger gauge fit on my beatle bass. I want a 100 E string is that too fat.
  19. 59jazz

    59jazz Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma Supporting Member

    Yes Dan, lets hope that old neck on my P can hold those strings.
  20. snake


    Jul 21, 2004
    Aurora. CO
    I have a Jay Turser Beatle bass (LH) and I wanted to put flatwounds on it as well. I had to take a drill to the tailpiece for this to work.