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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / What bass strings do you bass players use? Brands? Flats? Rounds?

Next 20 Messages  
HenryJ
Contributing Member
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Bogue Falaya River

is STILL dark and cold.
Jun 23rd, 2019 07:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

I am getting serious about playing the bass. I have been woodshedding on my MIM P-Bass and am about to offer my services to our church as a backup bass player.

I got this bass in 2001 for the same purpose, but nothing came of it. It has gone mostly unplayed until here recently and it still has the original strings (roundwounds). They sound okay to me.

But, in case I see fit to get new strings, what do you bass players recommend? I got a P-bass because I prefer "thump" to "growl." Should I spring for the $30-40 LaBella flats, or stay with roundwound strings in the $20 range?

Thanks for your help! I appreciate it. Open to all opinions.

Bigfoot
Contributing Member
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Indy

When I get older, losing my hair...
Jun 23rd, 2019 08:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

So IMHO I like roundwounds. If you want to get that piano string bass twang they will get you there. If you want to smooth it out just turn the tone knob down. With that said, I will let the others sing the praises of flatwounds.

(This message was last edited by Bigfoot at 10:27 PM, Jun 28th, 2019)

themaestro
Contributing Member
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Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Jun 23rd, 2019 08:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have no experience with the LaBella flats, but I do like flats.

My favorites are Tomastik Infeld (TI) Jazz flats. They are not especially deep sounding, but they have very nice low mids and fit well in a mix without sticking out. Think sit in the mix rather than cut through. I have them on a 4string P, a 4string SCPB, a 5string p, a 5string Yamaha J-style bass and a 4string Ibanez semi-hollow. They are a somewhat flexible string, which some people don't care for. If you're a slapper, they really don't work well for that. A downside is that they are pretty expensive, However, they last a very long time. Some of my sets of TI's are over 15 yrs old.

For something with a little more bite (and less cost), I go with D'Adderio Chromes. I have them on a pbass copy at church.

For rounds, I have settled into DR Lo-Rider stainless. they also have a nice low-mid presence and are not real bright and clanky (which I hate). These also last a long time for rounds. I don't have these on a pbass, but have them on a 5string G&L L2500 and an Musicman American SUB5 Stingray.

themaestro
Contributing Member
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Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Jun 23rd, 2019 08:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

"If you want to smooth it out just turn the tone knob down."

This is not my experience. Turning down the tone on rounds also dulls the attack and bite. It does not make rounds sound like flats.

digiboy
Contributing Member
****

New York City

Jun 23rd, 2019 09:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thomastik infeld Jazz Flats. Not much growl but great for old school thump. P basses love them.
Run about $80 now, yeah I know.
Occasionally on sale saves $10-15

The bad news, if you hate 'em, that's a lot of cash.

The good news, if you love 'em (and it will probably be a matter of love or hate) they can last literally 10-20 years or more, all the time sounding even better as they age.



Taildragger
Contributing Member
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USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
Jun 23rd, 2019 09:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like light gauge (45-65-85-100) D'Addario Chromes (flats). Like the sound and they are easier on the frets and fingers than rounds. All my basses are short scale, so I also like the fact that Chromes have a little higher string tension than some others.

Many rave about TIs, but their cost is just too high for my budget.

CAVEAT: I've played guitar for a long time but only switched to playing bass pretty much exclusively about 6 years ago, so most of the bass players here are probably far more experienced than I am. Weigh my opinions accordingly.

martin p.

Westbury NY

I am never unintentionally rude
Jun 23rd, 2019 11:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

I use D'Addario 45-105 roundwounds on my Jazz, and TI Jazz Flats on my Precision. The TIs are a bit pricey, but they last like 5 years so they are cost effective.

Rick Knight
Contributing Member
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St Peters, MO USA

Busy doing something close to nothing
Jun 24th, 2019 07:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've been trying to figure out what to use on a P since Fender changed the nickel plated Super Bass.

cisco
Contributing Member
******

Show Low, Arizona

Bottom Sucker
Jun 24th, 2019 08:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

Tomastik Infeld (TI) Jazz flats. They will also be the most cost effective strings you'll ever buy. They last decades.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jun 24th, 2019 09:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

LaBella Deep Talkin' Flats on the P-J and the fretless P, Rotosound black tape wounds on the Ric. I have a set of TI flats that I want to try, but it will take like forever for any of the above three sets to wear out.

I've just never been into the styles in which round wounds excel.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 11:45 AM, Jun 24th, 2019)

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jun 24th, 2019 09:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

I’ve use a few different sets. I use the TI Jazz on the P-Bass, The Cuban, a home built fretless P-bass, the Guild B50, and have a set for the Five String Warmoth. On the two home built 30” scale Fretless I’m using GHS Stainless Precision Flatwounds, The Guild Starfire has a set of LaBella Deep Talkiin’ Quarter round stainless steels, these are great on this bass.

HenryJ
Contributing Member
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Bogue Falaya River

is STILL dark and cold.
Jun 24th, 2019 02:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks guys. Lots of useful information here. I hope to get even more.

Digiboy: you had me at "Not much growl but great for old school thump. P basses love them."

You lost me at "Run about $80 now..."

Sounds like getting what you pay for.

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
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USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Jun 27th, 2019 11:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

TI Jazz Flats on Jazz Bass and ESP LTD 5 String and Labella Low tension Flats on P bass

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Jun 27th, 2019 07:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

I really like the LaBella Deep Talkin' Flats I put on my J bass.

mroulier
Contributing Member
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Suburban MD.

You DESERVE an Ibanez Iceman!
Jun 28th, 2019 12:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Rotosound Solo Bass. 45-105's on my Fender P's.
Pressure-wound round wound, but easier on the fingers. Pricey but worth it.

If I'm feeling cheep, I get Rotosound Steel Swing bass, also 45-105's.

TheProfessor
Contributing Member
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MI

After 30 years, I should play better.
Jun 28th, 2019 10:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like Tomastik Infeld (TI) Jazz flats but have changed in the last decade to Pyramid flats (that is I've put a set on both my Jazz and P). Regardless, of brand flats will last for years.

edmonstg

Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Jul 1st, 2019 04:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

TI flats. Everything.

George

Bigfoot
Contributing Member
*******

Indy

When I get older, losing my hair...
Jul 2nd, 2019 07:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

I would like to ask a question of the experienced folks here as I am in a similar state as HenryJ. I had a set of flats on an old Gibson SB300 that were a good 45 years old . One finally broke. So I see that they last a long time. But I would like to hear some commentary on the sonic merits of flats over rounds. Hope this isn't a discussion hijack....

(This message was last edited by Bigfoot at 09:21 AM, Jul 2nd, 2019)

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 2nd, 2019 08:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

In general I find that the round wounds are brighter, the flats are a bit more subdued but increase the bottom to mid range in a way superior to what the rounds are capable of.

All my fretless basses have flats, obviously. The Guild I mentioned above has the greatest range in it’s tonal palette, the quarter rounds give me a lot of options.

A great bass amp can utilizes these characteristics and subdue those less desired. All of them are useful but we all try to dial in our own tones, different stings give us various options. A lot of great choices now a days.

(This message was last edited by hushnel at 10:44 AM, Jul 2nd, 2019)

themaestro
Contributing Member
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Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Jul 2nd, 2019 09:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Random thoughts on flats .vs. rounds.

Flats have a stronger fundamental and less overtones. I find it a more focused sound. In a band situation, the upper overtones of rounds are often fighting with the guitars in the high-mid frequencies. This can result in a lot of frequency masking where the upper bass tone isn't heard anyway.

A lot of the decision depends on what kind of music you play and what you are used to hearing. Growing up on '60's music, the sound of flats is what I hear in my head.

It also depends on where you want to sit in the mix. These are generalizations. Flats are good at supporting a mix from the bottom and sitting in the mix. Rounds tend to sound like they are cutting through the mix.

When playing at lower volumes or softer styles of music, flats don't "stick out" from the other instruments as much. In a raucous rock band, you might want rounds for their additional bite.

Some people say to just use rounds and if you want to sound like flats, just turn your treble down. To me, that doesn't really work. You loose the attack and still hear the overtones (although quieter) that you don't get with flats. You can't say that flats don't have an attack. They do, especially if you are using a pick.

Some people like the feel of smooth flats under their fingers. That is not a factor with me.

In my case, although I mostly like flats, I do have a couple of basses with rounds. A G&L L2500 and a Musicman American SUB 5 Stingray. Variety is the spice of life.

In my band, I will sometimes show up to a gig with flats and sometimes rounds. It depends on how I feel at the time and whether I think the night will be loud or a little more subdued. I also play in an 18pc big band. It's always flats with that band, as rounds just don't seem to fit the mix. At church, I accompany a piano with no drums. It's flats only there plus I simplify my playing so it doesn't sound like I'm trying to hotdog it.

Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / What bass strings do you bass players use? Brands? Flats? Rounds?




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