Flatwound string advice please

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impmannimpmann Frets: 7353
I am not much of a bass player - but I have recently acquired a lovely old Shergold Marathon bass that I'm really enjoying playing. Thing is, the strings that are on it are knackered. This gives a lovely percussive yet woolly mellow sound on the low string but that isn't even with the G string, as that hasn't absorbed as much sweat/rust/cack. 

I'm thinking about fitting flatwounds to it in an attempt to preserve that woolly, thuddy sound but to even it up a bit. Plus, as I'm not the greatest bass player I'm thinking the flats wouldn't transmit so much finger noise.

I've measured whats on there with a micrometer and its got an odd set going from 105 (measuring 103... so there or there abouts) to 50 (measuring 49). So I reckon a standard 105-45 set would work without fiddling too much with the set up (insanely good intonation on this bass).

Whilst I kinda know what I'm doing with guitar strings, I'm not an expert on bass ones... so what would folks recommend? (Brands etc)

Many thanks 
Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    Daddario Chromes - they do a 45-105 set.

    Reasonably high tension, plenty of thump but some top end retained so they don't sound too "lifeless" - last for years and nice to play.

    I use them a lot (in fact, every bass except one which has La Bella low tension flats on, cos they seem to suit it better)

    Guve them a try - if you don't like them, unlike guitar strings you'll be able to flog them.
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  • British bass guitar. British strings. Rotosound. :)

    If I remember correctly, the woods in Shergolds make for a bright unamplified sound. Roundwound strings will sound fairly wiry unless you roll back the tone control a bit.

    If your example has the dual output "stereo" wiring harness, you could split the signals for each coil of the pickup and EQ them separately. 

    One advantage of the plastic control cavity cover plate is that it could be modified (or entirely replaced) to add active EQ.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    British bass guitar. British strings. Rotosound. :)

    If I remember correctly, the woods in Shergolds make for a bright unamplified sound. Roundwound strings will sound fairly wiry unless you roll back the tone control a bit.

    If your example has the dual output "stereo" wiring harness, you could split the signals for each coil of the pickup and EQ them separately. 

    One advantage of the plastic control cavity cover plate is that it could be modified (or entirely replaced) to add active EQ.
    Every time I try Rotosounds they are off within an hour. 
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7353
    British bass guitar. British strings. Rotosound. :)

    If I remember correctly, the woods in Shergolds make for a bright unamplified sound. Roundwound strings will sound fairly wiry unless you roll back the tone control a bit.

    If your example has the dual output "stereo" wiring harness, you could split the signals for each coil of the pickup and EQ them separately. 

    One advantage of the plastic control cavity cover plate is that it could be modified (or entirely replaced) to add active EQ.
    Every time I try Rotosounds they are off within an hour. 
    Thanks... yes, I have to admit my recent experiences with non bass Roto strings have been similar... and they are always a bit 'scratchy' sounding. Thats exactly what I'm trying to get away from with this - these old strings are great (or at least the low two are), as they are deep and mellow but my rubbish technique elicits a lot of string noise, hence my idea of flats.

    Shergold were shipped with Picato strings... whilst these are old, I'm not sure they are the originals!!
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    It's worth trying a few different ones tbh. Chromes are good, so are Thomastik Infelds, and La Bellas.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3237
    edited October 2017
    Bridgehouse said:
    Every time I try Rotosounds they are off within an hour. 

    I understand where you are coming from. Rotosound roundwound strings are kinda weird when they are brand new. They have chewed through the varnish and into the fingerboard of my factory fretless Precision Bass.

    I started using them on some bass guitars to get the over-sized low E. This helps when doing the Billy Sheehan Hipshot D-Tuner stunts. Strangely enough, I now have D-Tuners on some other bass guitars. On those, I use my usual gauges with no ill effects.

    Hijack over.


    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7353
    I've ordered some Chromes. Thanks for the input chaps!!
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32175
    Bridgehouse said:

    Every time I try Rotosounds they are off within an hour. 
    (Slight diversion, sorry!)

    Have you tried the cheap 'Roto Bass' ones? I did as a temporary measure when the shop had run out of DRs - having previously discounted them because I hate Swing Bass, and these cheaper ones could only be worse, right? - and they're so good I have still never got around to replacing them with DRs. They're so much better than the more expensive Swing Bass it's actually funny.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3364
    Thomastik-Infeld make superb flatwounds, got them on my jazz guitars and bass.
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    ICBM said:
    Bridgehouse said:

    Every time I try Rotosounds they are off within an hour. 
    (Slight diversion, sorry!)

    Have you tried the cheap 'Roto Bass' ones? I did as a temporary measure when the shop had run out of DRs - having previously discounted them because I hate Swing Bass, and these cheaper ones could only be worse, right? - and they're so good I have still never got around to replacing them with DRs. They're so much better than the more expensive Swing Bass it's actually funny.
    No, never tried them, only DRs.. however, now you mention it... I may have to give it a go
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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2330
    It's worth trying a few different ones tbh. Chromes are good, so are Thomastik Infelds, and La Bellas.
    Those are my favourites. LaBellas first choice and TI's a respectable second. I didn't like the Chrome strings, took them off inside a week - too bright and didn't have the silky feel of the La Bella's.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    Jalapeno said:
    Thomastik-Infeld make superb flatwounds, got them on my jazz guitars and bass.
    Very very good strings, IF you can cope with the low tension..
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    JezWynd said:
    It's worth trying a few different ones tbh. Chromes are good, so are Thomastik Infelds, and La Bellas.
    Those are my favourites. LaBellas first choice and TI's a respectable second. I didn't like the Chrome strings, took them off inside a week - too bright and didn't have the silky feel of the La Bella's.
    Horses for courses I reckon.

    The Chromes gave me the most p bass thump - and once you get used to them they have great harmonics to boot.

    I liked the la bellas a lot but found them a bit flat sounding, and TIs tension worked against my finger style a bit too much. Tho that might be me just being a crap player ;)
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  • I have fender flatwounds  on mine and I have no complaints.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    I have fender flatwounds  on mine and I have no complaints.
    Not tried them. Might try them on one of my PJ builds...
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  • martmart Frets: 2755
    Jalapeno said:
    Thomastik-Infeld make superb flatwounds, got them on my jazz guitars and bass.
    Very very good strings, IF you can cope with the low tension..
    But if you can't, you'll be able to sell the strings on. And there ain't many brands of strings that you can say that about.
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 623
     To me Chromes are among the very brightest-sounding flats as well as a bit stiff and they tend to stay that way, so if they don't work out for you, maybe take a look at LaBella 760FL (43-104, which are much lighter-feeling than the 760FS 45-105, despite the small difference in gauge, and they have great thump).

    Pyramid Golds are a very rich, dark and '60s sounding string. I've had a set on for about 5 years and they're still fab. 

    Thomastiks are amazing-feeling at first but I find they have a slightly contemporary, parpy, upper-middy sound (compared to LaBellas or Pyramids). Luscious (and loud) but not exactly woolly.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    @KKJale - you have described exactly why I like Chromes.. 
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 623
    Lots of people love them! I suspect they're the best-selling flats. It's just that the OP's needs don't immediately sound like Chromes to me... hopefully though they'll be just the ticket. 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    KKJale said:
    Lots of people love them! I suspect they're the best-selling flats. It's just that the OP's needs don't immediately sound like Chromes to me... hopefully though they'll be just the ticket. 
    I find with rolling the tone off a bit chromes give a wonderful woolly thumpy trad P bass sound on my 64..
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 623
    edited October 2017
    Sounds ideal then!

    I have GHS Precision flats on the 32" P-bass, LaBellas on the JV '57, and Pyramids on the JV '62. I like flats 


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    KKJale said:
    Sounds ideal then!

    I have GHS Precision flats on my 32" P-bass, LaBellas on the '57, and Pyramids on the '62. I like flats  :)
    Me too. Got La Bella low tension flats on the '74 and they are great too...
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7353
    Wow... so much input!! Thanks... I never knew there were so many variances with bass strings. As a bass tourist, this is a genuine learning curve. Ta!

    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    impmann said:
    Wow... so much input!! Thanks... I never knew there were so many variances with bass strings. As a bass tourist, this is a genuine learning curve. Ta!

    I reckon there's more variance in bass strings than with guitar strings.

    The first culture shock is how long flatwounds last - expect 5-10 years for a good set.
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  • How are low tension strings in comparison to normal tension ones?
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    How are low tension strings in comparison to normal tension ones?
    Depends on your playing style a bit - mostly it's as it sounds on the tin. I'm a light touch and find I get more control and more punch/volume with higher tension
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 2265
    Daddario Chromes - they do a 45-105 set.

    Reasonably high tension, plenty of thump but some top end retained so they don't sound too "lifeless" - last for years and nice to play.

    I use them a lot (in fact, every bass except one which has La Bella low tension flats on, cos they seem to suit it better)

    Guve them a try - if you don't like them, unlike guitar strings you'll be able to flog them.
    I can second this. I bought @Bridgehouse 's Stingray, and it has Chromes on them. I've never had flatwounds before as I was worried they'd not have the edgy rasp of roundwounds, a tone I like. However, these have that edge, and they feel really good to play. I'm seriously considering putting them on my fretless too.
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  • speshul91speshul91 Frets: 1299
    Another roto bass lover here.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7353
    I've fitted Chromes to the Shergold bass - blimey they are superb. Absolutely nailed what I wanted.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15391
    impmann said:
    I've fitted Chromes to the Shergold bass - blimey they are superb. Absolutely nailed what I wanted.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Told ya ;)
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