Who makes custom-made flat-wound strings?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by Jack Clark, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. I need somebody who makes custom flat-wound strings for unusual instruments. Somebody who knows how to calculate how thick a string of a certain length needs to be on a particular instrument for a given open-string note.

    Do you guys know of any such string makers?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. zeytoun


    Dec 19, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    The calculation is not THAT complicated...


    Your variables (simplified slightly) are mass, tension, and length.

    I take it that it's for the Guitarron? Poor string selection?

    I apologize if this is presuming, but what about using short scale bass guitar strings, but instead using the next "size" up (use a low B string for your E, etc). I wonder if that would compensate for the reduced tension appropriately... sorry just brainstorming.
  3. Thanks for the equation, which is very interesting. I did not already have it. But I can't do anything with it myself because I only know one of the variables: length. How to juggle tension and mass is the question. Additionally, the equation does not take into consideration the elasticity and other characteristics of whatever material is selected.

    I know people who could make a string to order if I told them all the variables. But I need someone who has some experience with various instruments and will have some idea as to the tension that could be used with the guitarrón. I may even be that I would have to have my luthier reinforce it somehow. The neck must have received some reinforcement because of the thick fingerboard he's already added, but how much that did structurally, I don't know.

    Trying a short-scale BG string is interesting. They don't attach the same way at the bridge, though (I have loops instead of a ball). I did try a BG string early on in this project with limited success. But that was just a shot in the dark--I have no idea how close that was to optimal. I could just trial-and-error that again, though.

    And you're right to question the choice of flat-wound strings for the guitarrón in the first place. But this whole project is one continual effort to make it do something it was never intended to do--that's the game here. I'm not the first to try this experiment, though. What I'm trying to accomplish with flat-wounds is improve the ability to slide between left-hand positions. Round-wounds do not make that very easy . . . and they whistle.

    After my OP, I did send an email to D'Addario & Co., Inc., so maybe I'll hear something in a few days. All ideas from all you guys are welcome.
  4. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I once inquired with Dan Larson at Gamut strings, but he does not make flatwound gut strings.
  5. zeytoun


    Dec 19, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    (I certainly wasn't about to question your rationale for flatwounds, only in brainstorming to help you reach your goal. :) And I like flatwounds on ALL my instruments... I have light gauge flatwounds on my acoustic guitar, and couldn't be happier...)

    By the way, I'm sure you've already done a thorough search, but these guys do custom guitarrón strings...

  6. Yes, I have been purchasing all my round-wound strings from Guadalupe, including my custom E1 string. They're good people, and I like their strings. Actually, I haven't asked them yet whether they make flat-wound strings, too--I was just assuming that they did not. But I shouldn't assume, so I'll contact them this week about the flat-wound idea. Thanks for the reminder.
  7. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Mr Gerold Genssler of Sonores Strings makes incredible flatwound on gut or on synthetic core. He will do anything you want, for a price.

    He works in Berlin.
  8. An update regarding my search for guitarrón flatwounds:

    I heavily modified the bridge on my upright guitarrón so that it accepts bass guitar strings with ball ends. I'm currently using Rotosound nylon-taped flatwounds on it that were made for a 6-string BG: The Tru Bass 88s. It doesn't sound just like a DB, of course, but I think this is probably the closest I'll come to getting a DB sound on my odd instrument.
  9. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    La Bella.
    They have strings for about anything.
  10. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I'm sure you've thought about this, but what about gut strings?
  11. Actually, Troy, I hadn't. Of course, DB gut strings would be way too heavy. Do they make gut strings for some kind of acoustic bass guitar? Or . . . ?
  12. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Something way in the back of my mind makes me feel like there's been a discussion on custom gauge gut in the past and Bobby a few posts up suggested the owner of Gamut. Maybe the process on gut is just easier?

    Tough to say if it would work, but it might give you a big sound.
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
  14. I dunno, Troy. I've heard that guts are expensive, inconsistent, require higher string height, and don't last long. And who knows if they'd buzz on my modified fingerboard.

    The nylon-taped flat wounds I'm using now give it a dark, thumpy sound with just decent sustain, which is a vast improvement over the original guitarrón strings which were round wounds and made it twang and ring more like an acoustic bass guitar. It'll never sound like a DB, just closer than it was. But I'm not ever going to play professionally anyway, so . . .
  15. I'll look into this site. Thanks, Jake.
  16. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    This is a great little film about Aquila:
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    If you've found what you're looking for, maybe it's time to leave well enough alone. I'd love to hear it.
  18. Well, I dunno if it's well enough, yet. I sent an email to Aquila. Maybe they've had some experience with something like this already.

    I haven't made any short sound bites of my UG's current sound, so I'll do that and post them here on this thread, later today I hope. Thanks for your interest, Troy.
  19. Ok, Troy, attached is a very short sound clip of an ending on my UG with its current Rotosound Tru Bass 88 strings. The purpose is only to give you an idea of my UG's sound, so I hope you can ignore my lack of chops. I'm sure my odd instrument would sound much better played by a real bassist.
  20. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    And now for something completely different: Sheldon Dingwall in Canada has to have custom bass guitar strings for his fanned fret basses, some of which are bassically (pun intended) 1/2 upright scale. You might contact him as to where he gets his strings.

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