Wonderful world of flatwounds

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by RedGrange, Jun 30, 2001.

  1. RedGrange


    Jun 11, 2000
    Springfield, IL
    Does anyone here string a G&L fretted with Flatwounds. I'm kind of interested in how it would sound. I'm looking for a drastic change in tone. I play a jazz-metal hybrid. I was told flatwounds sound like a piano... don't know if this is true or not.

    Would the change from roundwound to flatwound affect string tension if i stayed with the same gauge or the speed at which you play. I do a lot of really fast fingerstyle playing.
  2. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    Flatwounds sound like a piano?? IMO bright roundwounds like DR Hi-Beams and Dean Markley SR2000 are piano like in tone.
  3. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I love flatwounds. However, the "piano-like tone" is generally considered to be a roundwound thing, stainless moreso, and taperwound even moreso. Flatwounds, rather than sounding like a piano, sound like a BASS. Still, you can get a pretty agressive tone with flatwounds by cranking your treble, throwing in a little boost around 800 hz., and playing with a pick. You can get a fairly sharp sound fingerstyle as well. Still, they do not sound anything like rounds.

    As far as them having the same tension, I can give you a definite maybe. A lot of things enter into the way a string feels, including tension and core design. I'm currently using .050-.105 Ernie Ball flats on my Precision, and they feel very stiff. Much stiffer than, say, .045-.105 Rotosound 66's. Ernie Ball nickel roundwound .045-.105's also feel stiffer than the Roto's, which kind of illustrates what I'm saying. For fast fingerstyle playing, Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats might be good. They are low-tension, flexible strings, with a strong midrange presence.

    If you're looking for a drastic change in your sound, and you're currently using roundwounds, well, flats would certainly do it. Whether or not you would like the sound is another question.
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I was looking for a deeper tone out of my StingRay so I got a set of GHS Precision Flatwound Mediums the other day and I slapped them on. Wow! A much different sound, and it gives me the best recorded tone I've ever gotten with this bass. Definitely a drier, more solid sound than roundwounds, and this set works well for fingerstyle, pick, and even slapping and tapping sound good. The tension on these is not too extreme and a whole palette of old-school tones is now at my fingertips.
  5. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Piano tone is definitely the domain of roundwounds especially steel rounds. Flats have an unpiano-like "thud" or "thump" in the bottom end. I am a Flat afficienado who has gone back to rounds because they cut through better in the band mix. But, for recording and playing alone, I still prefer flats.