In my constant quest for the ultimate bass tone, I have come to realize that I have recently become seduced by flatwound strings. While I have played flatwounds on fretless and upright basses in the past, I have been experimenting with them more and more on my main basses. The band I am currently in plays a mix of rock, blues and R&B tunes spanning from the 50’s to the 90’s and I am finding that, more often than not, I am preferring flatwounds when we play.
Recently I decided to put a set of D’Addario Chromes on my Lakland Skyline 44-01. Initially I had put on a set of DR Sunbeams, but just felt that the D & G strings were way to bright and harsh. I had a set of Chromes lying around so I figured I’d go to the opposite extreme just to see if I liked it. Man, what a difference! I was instantly smitten. My tone sounded so fat and tight I couldn’t wait to try it out at our next rehearsal.
After playing the Lakland for a couple of weeks I decided to re-string my Fender Deluxe Precision with a set of Thomastik Infeld Flats I had on my old Squire P Bass, which I don’t play too often anymore. The TI Flats are much lower tension than Chromes, which was the one thing I liked about the DR Sunbeams. Personally I think I have found the best of both worlds with the TI flats. They seem to have more mids than the Chromes, yet still maintain the fat lows. The highs are nice and smooth, not bright or harsh at all.
From here I started to think about what each of my basses are current strung with and realized that I seem to be trending towards flatwounds. For now I am happy with the tones I am getting, though I am sure at some point the tide may change back toward roundwounds. Here’s my current line up:
Lakland Skyline 44-01 – D’Addario Chromes
Fender Deluxe Precision – Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats
Fender American Precision – D’Addario Tapewounds
Fender Mustang – D’Addario Chromes
Squire Precision – D’Addario EXL Coated Strings
Fender Deluxe Jazz – Elixir Nanoweb Strings
Carvin LB70 Fretless – Elixir Nanoweb Strings
Rogue VB100 – D’Addario Piccolo Strings
Fender BG29 Acoustic Bass – D’Addario Half-Round Strings
How about you? Any love for flatwound strings? Any string suggestions you think I need to check out? I’d love to hear from you.