Feeling the Seduction of Flatwound Strings

flatwound bass stringIn 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.





5 Replies to “Feeling the Seduction of Flatwound Strings”

  1. Ooohhhh yeah! TI jazz flats on a pbass? Thats it. My personal fave. Interesting to pair with something active? Also, on an inverse note, have you tried much nickle rounds on fretless? Thats nice. Love the TIs…the older the better…have some fried chicken and save some of that on your fingers!

  2. There definitely is something about a P Bass with TI Flats. My set of TI’s are a couple years old now and have been on 3 different basses at this point, so they are starting to get a certain amount of mojo to them. Thanks for the comment.

  3. I recently started playing with a singer/songwriter and when I approached some people about their opinions on mellowing my sound I was recommended to flat wounds. I always kind of thought as flats as old school or jazz only; but I was pleasantly surprised by them. They did give me the smooth touch I was looking for but they are still versatile enough that I feel like I could commit to flats regardless of the situation. They have been an exciting charge to my playing.

  4. That’s kind of how I went into it as well. I have used them on a fretless in the past but never really thought to use flats on my main gigging bass. Funny thing is, this past week was I think the first time I cut the lows and boosted the highs on my amp! Thanks for the comment

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