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Which flats for a fretless (and why)?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ivan R, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. Ivan R

    Ivan R

    Jun 8, 2012
    Hello, folks.

    Which flatwound strings would you recommend for a fretless Precision (and why)? My favourite brand is currently Thomastik-Infeld, but for my fretless I would like a little bit more stiffness (the TIs are the least stiff in the market) and punch.

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    Note: Rounds are *not* an option for me.
  2. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    I'll always recommend GHS Precision flats. I use them on both my basses, fretted and fretless
  3. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I use TI flats on my fretless P (I like the nuance I can extract from the more flexible strings). That said, for short cash, the flats from Carvin are just fine, thank you; and their string tension is higher than TI flats. I've also had good experiences with Chromes and LaBella's Deep Talkin' Bass tape-wounds. All comes down to what you're looking for. :)
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Unfortunately, there's only one way to really find out $.
  5. banks


    Jul 18, 2006
    I use ROTOSOUND MONEL RS77LD, I use on my fretless. They play well, sound great and are affordable.
  6. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    GHS black tape strings are nice. LaBella Deep Talkin' med light flats are nice. Fender flats light gauge are stiff, punchy and low priced. Fender's other gauge flats are nice too but can max out a truss rod.

    More or less, you'll have to experiment with flats and that's can be expensive. Used strings sell pretty good on TB.

    TIs are my favorite but if they are too floppy for you, the action can be raised on your bass or picking/plucking can be done a bit closer to the bridge where the strings are stiffer and that'll reduce the strings smacking the frets.

    Good luck.
  7. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    GHS is always my "standard" string. "Never the best, but always good enough"!

    Lots of people like TIs but $$.

    However, my "favorite" strings for fretless are not flatswounds. They are either GHS Bright Flats or D'addario "half-rounds" ( I think they call them something else now like semi-flats or something?) Both are ground-wound strings and do not chew fingerboards any more than flats do. (which is none)
  8. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Rounds. The growl and harmonics come out better and louder. To me a fretless with flats just sounds really dead and muddy.
  9. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I use GHS "Brite Flats" on my fretless '77 Ripper, which is a ground round (or half round or halfie).
    True flatwounds are a little too thumpy for my taste and I wind up using a lot of energy pulling the hell out of them to get any attack.
    I like the sound of rounds on a fretless, but was a little tuff wearing into the ebony board up by the nut. Maybe wouldn't be a problem on a composite board - I don't know.

  10. justBrian


    Apr 19, 2002
    Kansas City, MO
    I have used D'Addario Chromes--on my fretted and fretless. They sound great on both. I also LOVE La Bella tape wounds. You can get them for a steal from Carvin!
  11. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs
    there ya go!'

    I just had a semi-custom fretless made and the builder put flats on it...I tried and tried to "love it" but could not...2 days later and a set of rounds and I am in wonder-lust!
  12. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    TI JF344's are my favorite fretless flats.

    I like the tone, even balance and tension.
    Yes there more money. But have had a set on my fretless P-Bass for 6 years, and they still sound amazing.
    I just wipe them down with a clean rag after I play.
    So I'm paying $10.00 a year for these strings.

    They save you money in the long run.
  13. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass. Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    I only use DR Sunbeams nickel roundwounds on my fretless, as I'm really only playing fretless for the mwah and the harmonics. Tried flats over the years, and found D'A Chromes the most tolerable balance of tone and feel... but still utterly unsatisfactory compared to the Sunbeams.
  14. La Bella's are the absolute best flatwound strings I've ever put my fingers on. I hear great things about the TI's too.
  15. JZQuantum

    JZQuantum Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2008
    +1 for GHS flats. I use them with great success on my fretted p bass clone.
  16. I like EBMM Stage III's on my Fender Fretless; boosting the mids on the amp really enhances their already lively tone.
  17. There are so many players that love TI Jazz Flats and they like them better the older they get. Many are on for 6 - 8 years or more. If you leave them on, then the cost is not a factor. It is hard for some to shell out $65 to $75 for a set, but look at it like a savings account.

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