Bass Strings: Flatwound/Tapewound, or Taped Flatwounds.

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by TonyFlyingSquirrel, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    I've been playing bass more recently and have traditionally used Rotosound Swing sets, but I've had a number of customer basses roll through that have various flatwounds, tapewounds, and I have a 6 string Ibanez BTB that has La Bella 750-N Black Nylon Tapewounds on it, and I absolutely love the feel.

    I've not been a cork sniffer when it comes to bass strings, but from a comfort perspective, I am finding that I am definitely developing a "lean" towards these as I prefer to play with my fingers rather than a pick, and since I don't play bass as frequently as guitar, the left hand fingers also benefit from the smoothness. I haven't done a recording test with it yet, but I am wondering what are some folks preferences?
     
  2. Merrekof

    Merrekof SS.org Regular

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    Experimented with D'Addario flatwounds once, didn't like the sound. You lose attack, I also play with my fingers so that is another way of losing attack so adding up became too much for me.
    The feeling in my fingers was great though, I'll give it that!
     
  3. akinari

    akinari SS.org Regular

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    I prefer the sound of roundwounds, but halfwounds are a nice balance between the feel of flats and the tone of rounds.
     
  4. akinari

    akinari SS.org Regular

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    Or is it halfRounds with an R? You get me, either way
     
  5. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Whatever regular d'addario XL's are :lol:
     
  6. olejason

    olejason SS.org Regular

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    I'm not a fan of flatwounds in general but I keep them on a Mustang short scale just in case I need "that" sound. I almost always take that bass to singer-songwriter recording sessions because it sits in the mix so well without much tinkering needed.

    Weirdly enough I've always found flats to be much harder on my hands over time compared to rounds. Not sure if it's the extra tension or increased surface area in contact with my skin but if my hands aren't in good shape a 3 hour gig on flats will wear me out. I'd agree they feel softer and easier to play when initially picking up the bass.
     
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  7. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula A series of interconnected fortune cookies.

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    I resemble this post. I generally prefer rounds, but I always have a P with flats on it for “those” gigs because it just sounds better than anything else will and requires no tinkering whatsoever. Sure I could make it work with a different bass and different strings, but why not use the best tool for the job?

    I also agree about the smoothness of flats actually making them harder on hands, particularly the right hand. Even though rounds feel rougher initially, the smoothness of flats actually makes them stick to my fingertips more, which in turn leads to more blistering.
     
  8. Phlegethon

    Phlegethon SS.org Regular

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    I don't have a preference regarding round vs. flat. I have roundwounds on my SR506E and SR650, and the only preference for them is that they get elixir coated strings. More important for the 506E because using a good set of strings on a 6 string bass is not cheap. And coated strings are going to give me better life, and by extension, less strings being thrown out.

    However, if I run into some free cash I might just pick up something with flats on it. Probably whatever SR I can find with a P/J ish setup.
     
  9. MFB

    MFB Banned

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    I had only ever used roundwounds on my J-bass as it's what came on there when I first got it, and never really thought about it; until I bought my P-bass which came with roundwounds on there from the previous owner.

    Originally, I absolutely HATED the feel of the rounds and had no clue why they got so much praise from bassists. I felt like I was constantly overshooting frets when sliding up a string, and it just felt like they were constantly 'greasy' or 'oily.' But as I continued to play that bass, not immediately restringing it with new strings, I fell in love with that same smooth feeling and can't use anything else now. Rounds feel too grating and I wonder how anyone gets along with them.
     
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  10. kumimajava

    kumimajava SS.org Regular

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    When I started out on bass, I started with the typical preconception that "flatwounds on fretless, roundwounds on fretted."

    A few years down the road - almost all of my fretted basses wear flats (LaBella DTF, and TI jazz flats), and most of the fretless have moved to roundwounds. The one exception of flats on a fretless is a black-nylon set of LaBella tapewounds.
     
  11. Aidil

    Aidil SS.org Regular

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    My string preference will depend on what matches the bass.

    I have and used most of string types: round wounds (stainless steel, nickel plated steel, phosphor bronze, 80/20 Bronze, coated/uncoated), half-round wounds, compressed wounds, flat wounds, nylon tape wounds. This is one of reasons a bass player couldn't just have 1 bass. :D
     
  12. Merrekof

    Merrekof SS.org Regular

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    It's true, there is just a whole lot more difference in bass strings than in guitar strings.
     
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  13. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I’ll go one further - I’ll typically keep whatever style is on the bass when I buy it. Once a tape wound, always a tape wound! I’m lazy, but it also gives me a lot of variety in my basses without me needing to spend a bunch of time fussing with it. It just becomes the “sound” of that bass. I’m the same way with guitar pickups. I rarely change them, and I just accept that as the sound of that guitar. The bass strings and guitar pickups have to be really shitty for me to want to swap them for something different. (I do have one bass that has ridiculously thin strings, and it pisses me off, so I’ll be switching those out. But I’ll keep them the standard round wound on there.)
     
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  14. Hexer

    Hexer Contributor

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    I've not played flatwounds on bass so far but if you play with your fingers and want flats but don't want to loose too much attack, you can always adapt your technique and bounce the strings off the frets. Steve Harris has been playing a P-Bass with Flatwounds for forever and uses that technique to keep attack. He also uses like the brightest sounding Flatwounds around though and as far as I know gets a new set for each gig, so...
     
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  15. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    Two of my basses now have half-rounds; D'addario's in-between strings that are round wounds that are ground to a flatter profile. My third bass is multi-scale/fanned fret, still with round wounds.

    Both takes have a very different feel to them. I do like the mellowness available from the half-rounds, but can still get a bit of growl out of them. They really resist ringing out higher harmonics in comparison to round wounds.

    It's just nice to have basses with both styles of string at this point.
     
  16. BMFan30

    BMFan30 SS.org Regular

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    For metal I can't see using anything but roundwounds on my bass.
     

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