Will flatwounds kill my neck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by w33nie, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. w33nie


    Jan 27, 2008
    I heard things about the neck bending when you go from rounds to flats. Well I added flats today and it seems fine, but will the neck bend or get damaged over time?
  2. no, the type of string has no effect on the tension on the neck, if anything, it is good for your neck because your not wearing down the frets as much
  3. w33nie


    Jan 27, 2008
    I asked somewhere else, someone answered

    "After changing to a different type of string your bass will need to be set up. Dont attempt this unless you know what you are doing. Having said that, it's not too hard to do. There's lots of info on the net about this."
  4. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Thats not true. Rounds actually have greater tension than flats.

    You really should tweak your trussrod whenever you change strings because different brands have different tensions.
  5. jayarroz


    Jul 10, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    some round have higher tension some rounds, matters what gauge you get length etc. Best thing to do is give it a couple day's take a long metal ruler put it down the neck and see if your getting a lot of bow, if so loosen the strings adjust the truss rod, a little. Look up some threads on proper truss rod adjustment.
  6. w33nie


    Jan 27, 2008
  7. Beta


    May 9, 2007
    I don't think this statement, as presented, is accurate.

    While tensions vary from brand to brand (and probably material to material, too), the .045 and .065 flats from the Chromes set I previously had on my fretless have greater tension than the .045 and .065 rounds from the XL nickel set I'm using now. I'm using these two as examples because they're the only similar size strings between the sets. D'Addario is kind enough to put this information on their packaging.

    As was previously said, give it a day or two then check your relief.
  8. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    RIC advises against using rounds on their old basses because they have higher tension and could snap the head stock off.:meh:
  9. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    It could be a problem if you have, say, a thin neck with no reinforcements, like on vintage and reissue Fender Jazz basses.

    If you put high-tension strings there, even by doing a setup and adjusting the truss rod, those sometimes cannot take such high tension and will bend over time.

    Regarding flats vs. rounds, as stated, don't generalize that one type has higher tension than the other. Tension depends on string design (round-core strings usually have less tension than hex-core, for example) type of metal used, and string gauge.

    Some low-tension flats I use are Thomastik-Infeld, and Sadowsky light-gauge. Some high-tension flats I've used are D'Addario Chromes, and Fenders.
  10. My own personal experience with this same situation as-of-late... I got my new fret tools from my local luthier supplier. I re-leveled and re-crowned the frets on my '92 Fender Pbass 'Lyte'.. I liked what I saw and felt so much that I took the strings right off again and immediately bought my first 'flats' to KEEP my frets looking/feeling that same silky way post-re-leveling.. Sure enough, those flats (D'Addarios) put noticably more tension on the neck, so the action went up an extra 2mm at the 12th fret. "No problem" sez me.. After a 1/8 turn (tightening) on the 5mm hexnut and a small saddle adjustment, I'd put the action right back where it originally was with the Carvin roundwounds.
  11. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    Every flat set I've ever tried has been higher tension than it's counterpart round set. I've heard of headstocks snapping after switching to flats, but this is a rare case. Usually nothing more than a setup will fix your problem.
  12. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005

    when you switch to a different brand or type of string, have the bass set up. the intonation will need to be tweeked and probably the truss rod should be adjusted, if necessary. you're not going to damage your bass by changing from one type of string to another.
  13. My '73 4001 has worn roundwounds of many different brands, guages and tensions since 1976 with no problems whatever
  14. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    That depends on the particular strings and gauges in question.

    BP did an article several years back comparing many different strings and they mention the relative tensions in their results.
  15. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canuck Amateur

    Aug 8, 2002
    North of GTA, ON, Canada
    Long&McQuade Employee
    You can't make blanket statements like "Rounds put more tension on the neck than flats" or vice versa.

    It depends on the string, the guage etc.

    I had Fender flats (mediums) on a Precision and they were as stiff as rods. I didn't like all the high tension it was putting on that neck at all and it wasn't as easy to play as I'd like. They were quite thumpy. On the other hand, they were THE smoothest flats I've ever played. Such a nice finish they were almost slippery.

    I have a MIJ Fender Jazz fretless and I use TI flats on them. They are very low tension and soft to the touch.

    It depends. Try some out.
  16. w33nie


    Jan 27, 2008
    Seems fine, but I'm still a bit scared
  17. Probably not, but they'll definitely kill your tone. :smug:
  18. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Relax. I've switched back and forth between rounds and flats on my P and J basses without a thought. A minor trussrod and intonation adjustment is the most I've had to do. For me, D'A EXL165 rounds and D'A Chrome mediums are close enough in tension to not even need those adjustments.

    Depends on your definition of tone.
  19. Showdown


    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    The tension varies by manufacturer. For example, TI flats are low tension and will be less than most roundwound, but Fender flats are high tension and will be higher tension than most roundwound. LeBella James Jamerson flats are very high tension and are the highest tension strings I've ever tried.

    The answer to the OP's question is that it depends. If the strings you are replacing are a different tension than the new ones (regardless of whether they are RW or flats) then you will need to adjust the truss rod.
  20. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    witch hunt.