Will flatwounds help cover up bad technique?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by linear, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. linear


    Feb 18, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    I was considering trying out flatwounds on my new bass, but I was wondering; do they go any way to covering up clumsy technique?

    The reason I ask is because I used to have my amp eq'd with a big mid scoop; I thought it sounded better, but I eventually realised the real reason for my preference was because it diguised my ham-fisted playing. I now practice with a frowny face eq and my touch has definitely improved.
  2. Shovelbone

    Shovelbone Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Yonderville Georgia

    No that's what pedals are for! Ask any gui****! (Let the attacks begin!) :D
  3. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009
    The easiest way to COVER up poor playing is with distortion.

    The BEST way to DEAL with poor playing is to practice and get better. :)
  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I suppose flats *might* help conceal certain flaws in one's technique. Less zing & squeal with sloppy shifting, less buzz & rattle with poor fretting.

    But I say, choose strings to get the sound & feel you want.

    If you're really concerned about developing clean technique, you can always crank the treble on your amp while you're practicing scales at home. (IME flats still put out plenty of squeaks & rattles when you don't muffle the signal electronically.)
  5. svtb15

    svtb15 Inactive

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    Reminds me of a story about Sting.. My buddy was recording at A&M in LA. Stings producer was doing the record... he said he wanted his bass to have that sting sound.. so they threw the 2 inch up on the machine and soloed Stings tracks on Ten Sumners Tales.. It was not that round sound you hear on the record but twangy, fret buzz,squeals when changing position etc.. but you put it back in the track and its fine.

    Again Geddy Lee bass sound required string noise!
    And my favorite of all time Lee Sklar says he hates the sound of a Soloed bass track.. It sounds awful.. but drop it backin and its all good.

    People can pick stuff apart in forums all day long.. Its not a Keyboard synth track. its an analog instrument. and thats what makes it beautiful.

    One mans poor technique is another mans root to worldwide success...

    IMO.. i dont care for the huge scoop EQ,, it takes to much away from a character, and too much rev smiley is not goof for what i like... but thats just my take.. but if i had to pick between the two and had no option beside those two i would do a rev smiley...

    Flats, rounds i dont care, rosewood, Maple i dont care just as long as the end products feels good.
  6. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    You know what covers up bad technique?

    Good Technique, not flats, or at least it'll take you 10x further than flats.......
  7. TRob1293


    Feb 1, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    ...and certainly not Chromes - they will clack with the best of them.
    GHS Precisions are mucho more quiet on the frets, but the tone is a bit more 'muted'?
  8. Swampman Cory

    Swampman Cory

    Nov 9, 2009
    Los Angeles / ex-Michigan
    Endorsing Artist: Reunion Blues, 64 Audio, Mesa Engineering, Ernie Ball.
    I would venture say that flats would highlight poor technique more. When I played on TI's jazz bass flats, I needed to play very delicately to make them sing. If I ripped into them too much, the tone would get sapped.
  9. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    Chromes will let you get lazy about how you go about lifting your fingers off of the fretboard just like any other flat wound. Ask me how I know.
  10. 6jase5

    6jase5 Mammogram is down but I'm working manually

    Dec 17, 2007
    San Diego/LA
    Covering up bad technique with flatwounds is somewhat like covering brussel sprouts with cheese.

    I'm also reminded of the adage "You can't polish a turd."
  11. archer121


    Apr 12, 2009
    But what is good technique and what is bad technique, grasshopper?
  12. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    I like a fairly low action and with most of my basses i can get it and play it fine.
    When i had a Fender P5 last year i found i couldn't get the action, or at least the feel, good enough without a lot of clank and fret buzz, especially when i dig in a bit.
    I switched to Chromes and this made a big improvement, and i did like the tone.
    I dont like bright SS strings anyway but even my usual XLs sounded too bright and noisy when played in my normal way.
    I guess you cant always mix low action, pick playing and digging in on one bass without changing your technique but the Chromes really helped.
    I did notice that all this clank etc was never really a problem at gigs, as has been pointed out above. But i tend to do a lot of playing at home and it did bug me.

    I wouldn't say i was lazy as i play the same way with my current and previous basses, for me it was more the feel of the neck combined with not wanting a higher action.

    Just my thoughts.
  13. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I played my Ric with rounds at church practice last night. I've played my P with flats for the last year exclusively. With in ear monitors and the soundguys running them flat...... Hokey Pete! Talk about string noise! Apparently I haven't picked my fingers up off the fretboard this past year either.
  14. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - The Final Frontier.. Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    It think a lot of folks go through the flatwound stage when you're learning. I know I did. Nothing wrong with it either as you build your technique you may find yourself back on rounds. I went from rounds to flats to half (grounds) and then rounds in my first few years of playing.

    ..and of course lots of folks never go back from flats!

    The main thing is to have something that works for you!
  15. CrimsonGhost


    Nov 14, 2000
    I do not find that flats cover up bad technique at all. Flats are not training wheels.
    I set up my basses with a 99.99% FLAT neck, and very low action with Rotosound flats, or my sound, I like the extra bite from flatwounds and a pick with some clank. It gives you that nice precussive kick in the chest.
  16. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    Actually....it's easier for me to play faster runs, more syncopated runs, and stretched out box patterns on rounds than flats. So for me, flats are "harder" to play than round wounds. Flats seem to grip my fingers more than rounds....they have a stickier feel than rounds to me.

    Edit.....I am using chrome flats. Chrome flats still have some of that round wound zing but retain that percussive tone most of us associate with flats.
  17. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    The sound with flats can be muffled and indistinct, or it can be crisp, clear, and precise. It's how you set the amp's EQ. So, no, they won't prevent you from hearing your technique problems if you listen carefully to what you're playing.

    Now, when I was younger, the only people who used tape-wound strings were the guys who didn't know how to play bass. The strings helped them get a sound that had NO definition to the pitch at all, so it didn't matter what notes they played...

  18. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    So true! They say tone is in the fingers, and this is what is meant by that - everyone's technique is unique. Just make sounds that are musical to you, and let the rest fall where it may.
  19. Really? I've had the opposite effect. Rounds feel like miniature "speed bumps" to me, and the finger squeals make me want to play much slower. My Hofner Icon has rounds on it, and its only saving grace right now is that it's a short scale bass, but my P-Bass has flats on it, and I'm a much better player on it. I've got a set of La Bella Beatle Bass flats on order for the Hofner, can't wait for them to come in!
  20. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    You are gonna love 'em. Fantastic strings. Made all the difference for my Rogue VB-100 Beatle Bass. :cool: