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Who's had Flats Strings the longest time.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by rubo, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    I'm reading thru archives that Flats get better with age. Any truth to that? If so, who's had it longer then lets say 5 years or maybe even more. Do they get more sticky with age or less. What sound characteristics you found change with time, and pro/cons of each? My favorite set is D'Adarrio Chromes 45-100. So if anyone here had these for a long time please share your input, or any other Flat string.

  2. I've had a 35-95 set of Roto 77 flats on a defretted Hohner ABG for 9 years now.
    they were bright at first, but now sound very double-bass like.

    they've become smoother-feeling - and are noticeably shinier over the fingerboard-to-bridge area than the nut-to-machinehead area.
  3. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    Do they get faster feeling or slower?
  4. I think a bit faster in terms of friction on the left hand, but a bit slower on the right hand- I suspect that the extra mass of all the dirt accumulated in the windings means more tension needed to pull the strings up to pitch- I'm convinced they are stiffer than they were new.
  5. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    My father's old late 60's Precision hasn't had its strings changed since 1979. Fender flats, IIRC. I removed the bridge mutes quite some time ago.

    It's a sort of family heirloom now, but this axe did see a lot of playing time from '70 to '80. It has a very genuine old-school "thud" and seems to have a stronger fundamental than new flats or roundwounds in general. Of course, the strings feel worn in and user-friendly.

    Since the old flats are very dead sounding, the notes you play don't flow into each other very well - there's not a lot of sustain. If it's quantifiable at all, this gives a "slower" feel to the bass. The most demanding Motown tunes found fine on this bass - that's no surprise. However, any modern sort of advanced, high-speed techniques don't translate well on it.
  6. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    I have a set of Roto Sound Jazz Bass Flats on my 59 p bass since 1982 -- 22 years...they sound great...
  7. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    22 years, how often do you clean them?
  8. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've read many times that Joe Osborn and James Jamerson never changed their strings. That;s gotta be like 15 to 20+ years. Their tone is memorialized on many recordings of the 60s and 70s. way cool tone!
  9. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I use cromes on most of my basses; my oldest sets are on my 74 P it's 10 years, my 70 P 8 years and on my 93 SR 505, 6 years [my low E broke so I change the whole set so the sound would mach up], I think the longer the strings are on the more musical and warm sounding they get.
  10. Don W

    Don W

    Jan 30, 2004
    East Bay, CA.
    I've had a set of Rotosounds on my fretless for about six months now and they sound the same as they did when I first put them on. I was thinking of replacing them because it just seemed like it was time, but reading everyone's post here I think I'll just leave them on for another year or so. :D
  11. you must have dry hands- when I used Roto Jazz 77's on my P bass they'd go dead (ie. all the clanky twanginess they originally have goes, replaced by a traditional flatwound thump) in one gig (Steve Harris sometimes changes basses mid-gig for this reason)....
    sounds like your strings have a lot of life left in them.
  12. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    I just wipe down the neck when I am done...I never removed these strings.... they sound very nice...
  13. 7 years on a set of Labella Deep Talkers....
  14. 4 or 5 years now of Ernie Ball Flats on my Fender Jazz Fretless. There's been no real change. They went thud or zing depending on how I played them then, and they do the same now. There was a very brief settling in period. My perception of the sound and playability goes up and down, but I think that's more me, or the weather, than the march of time changing their characteristics in one particular way.
  15. emor


    May 16, 2004
    From an April, 1974, article in Guitar Player magazine (Joe Osborn, Top Studio Bassist):

    "His axe is a 1959 Jazz Bass which the Fender factory gave him in return for the endorsement...The serial number on the back plate can be traced to a manufacturing date in March, 1959, and is most likely a prototype rather than a regular production model.

    "The strings are heavy guage 1963 LaBellas which have worn smooth and shiny up past the 15th fret, which is an indication of Joe's technique as well as the string's age. The G and D strings have begun to notch where they meet the frets, but this has not affected their tone or tensile strength since the strings are held taut by their core rather than the wrapping. The strings are absolutely dead, having been stretched, vibrated, gummed up with finger oils and dirt, and otherwise having suffered the kind of abuse that three to four sessions a day will provide.

    "Grammy-winning engineer Armin Steiner says, "In its own way Joe's bass is a Stradivarius. It has the same warmth and clarity that you get from a 300 year old violin. And its strings are magnificent. There has never been another set like them." Joe says," I'm not superstitious, but I've never tampered with it. In fact I don't even wipe it clean." "
  16. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    a prototype Jazz?!?! that must be worth a million bucks..... i think im feeling a sly cooper moment coming on :ninja:
  17. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    7 years for my TI jazz flats..about 4 years for my chromes.

    I let some stupid guitar tech (who I will never use again) convince me that I needed to change my dead strings, in order for him to do a set-up....

    I often wondered what ever happens to washed up old head bangers/hair bangers from the late 80's, and now I know!

    I doubt this guy had ever heard of flats before!!

    needless to say, the chromes went back on...for good!!

    I don't think flats should ever be changed, unless they have been damaged!!
  18. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    Duck Dunn also never changes his strings, 20+++ years.
  19. orskard


    Mar 17, 2004
    i played with my rotosounds on for the jazz band season, half a year or so. and took them off for rotosound roundwounds to play with my blues rock band.

    after having them off for 5 months. putting them back on makes me love playing bass and having BASS tone. i just put the same pair back on and i love playing them strings, i cant wait for them to get really broken in.

    i just miss not having good slap strings.

    oh if your wondering, i took off the flats to play with my blues rock band because my flats dont come well threw my amp, so i really have to crank it, so i just put rounds on.

  20. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I have always had the opposite problem; rounds make me have to turn up. It also comes down to how you play and your EQ, with some amps you need to turn the mids and or treble up a bit. I play rock and metal [and just about anything else] and I use the same gear I do if I play blues, roots or folk. The slapping thing is a downside with some flats, but then there are TI jazz flats. This is also a good excuse to get another bass ;) ;)