Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
risingson

Thomastik flatwounds. And why I hate them

Recommended Posts

A cautionary tale to those who are fans of flatwound strings but like the more traditional feel of La Bellas et al.

Invested in a set a few weeks back. I'd played them before on a P and vaguely remembered being impressed but it was a while back, so I went in slightly blind on the expensive string purchase. The experience has been completely frustrating, the tension (compliance?) of the strings is lower than any [u]roundwound[/u] string I've ever used, very loose feeling due to the nature of the construction of the string. Unpleasant if you're into your classic flatwound feel, which generally speaking with flats I am. And the sound across the strings was hugely unbalanced. A mixture of bright on the A and D strings, dull on the G and E, very uneven sounding and because they're flatwounds they take some serious time to wear in to balance out the sound across the strings. Finally, the strings just didn't sound good IMO. Low mids weren't present and accounted for like a regular flatwound, no punchiness to speak of either.

Overall the strings just aren't for me and didn't merit the price tag. I understand there are more than a few people here that like TI flats but I'd be weary of buying a set if you're into your traditional flatwound string because they don't deliver the goods. I'm amending the situation immediately by returning to good old La Bellas!

On a sidenote, some of the most impressive flatwound strings I've come across have been the Status Hotwire Flats. Hugely affordable and excellent sounding strings for those who haven't tried them before.

Edited by risingson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me the low tension/high compliance is their biggest attraction.

Strings are very personal. You only have to see the number of people on here raving about DR strings. I bought a whole range of sets to try and found every single set to be horrible. Doesn't make them bad strings, just not the right ones for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The older I get, the more I like big, chunky man's strings with pig's arses and rusty nails in them.

I turn my amp up, and play them with a lighter touch. Lovely.

Nowt to do with the OP, really. Sorry about that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't particularly love the sound of TI's (which to me is very middy), but if I try ANY other strings I get immediate tendon problems in my left arm.

I really liked the sound of LaBella 760FM but even at drop D they were too high tension.
I'm cautious about throwing any more money at flats as it seems like TI's are lowest tension out there.
I must agree with BigRedX though - they appear to be low tension (to press to the fret) but the actual twanginess (which I think is compliance) seems fairly high?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='tedmanzie' timestamp='1378914628' post='2206457']
I don't particularly love the sound of TI's (which to me is very middy), but if I try ANY other strings I get immediate tendon problems in my left arm.

I really liked the sound of LaBella 760FM but even at drop D they were too high tension.
I'm cautious about throwing any more money at flats as it seems like TI's are lowest tension out there.
I must agree with BigRedX though - they appear to be low tension (to press to the fret) but the actual twanginess (which I think is compliance) seems fairly high?
[/quote]

TI Flats are the lowest tension strings I've used period. Just not to my tastes. I don't have as much of an issue roundwounds being lower tension, in some cases I prefer it but with flats it seems unnatural. I get why people like the TI's though, they just don't sit with my more traditional taste in flats.

Have you tried La Bella 760FL's? Lower tension than the FM's which are incredibly high, sound amazing. Still not great perhaps if you suffer from bad wrists though. Status Hotwires measure about the same too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I adore TIs, but they are real marmite strings, so I'm not surprised to hear you reacted so strongly against them. I'd definitely agree that you should try them before investing in a set.

Having said that, the resale value of TIs must be higher than just about any other strings! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like them, but found you do have to set up the bass specifically for them - loosen truss rod a bit, add some extra string height and usually move the pickups up a bit too. Then I like them a lot. Took me three sets to get it right, but got there in the end. I've also got them on a Turner Renaissance electro/acoustic, has a great sound and the lighter feel works well. These basses often have Thomastik Acoustic bronze/nylon strings fitted - I found those impossible to play! No tension at all...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought some TI Flats, but I couldn't get used to the basic feel of them. I use Overwater Flatwounds, which are super-smooth, and the TI's had a very slight surface 'texture'.

Horses and courses, I suppose.

Need to get them on the marketplace!

RK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='risingson' timestamp='1378923499' post='2206620']
TI Flats are the lowest tension strings I've used period. Just not to my tastes. I don't have as much of an issue roundwounds being lower tension, in some cases I prefer it but with flats it seems unnatural. I get why people like the TI's though, they just don't sit with my more traditional taste in flats.

Have you tried La Bella 760FL's? Lower tension than the FM's which are incredibly high, sound amazing. Still not great perhaps if you suffer from bad wrists though. Status Hotwires measure about the same too.
[/quote]

760FX's are apparently just about on a par with TI's in terms of guage and tension, but with the labella sound - has anybody tried them and if so what did you think compared to other Labellas or indeed the TI's?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='mart' timestamp='1378925143' post='2206652']Having said that, the resale value of TIs must be higher than just about any other strings! :)
[/quote]

Funny, I've never thought of strings as an investment... :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Conan' timestamp='1378987362' post='2207358']
Funny, I've never thought of strings as an investment... :D
[/quote]
I don't think even TIs rank as an investment, but they're something you can safely buy in the knowledge that if you don't get on with them, then you can sell them on without too much hassle.

Mind you, there ought to be a thriving market in well-used TIs, with a high mark-up compared with the new price, since they sound so much better. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget there is another set of La Bellas inbetween the 760FL and 760FM - the 760 FS. These are great strings and much easier to play than the Jamerson 0760M and more substantial than the 760FL. However, I think I'm gonna move up a gauge and try the 760FM next. I want to get as fat as possible but stop short of the Jamersons (which I believe are made differently to the others).

I've had a few sets of TIs over the years. They demand a lighter touch and do have a certain appeal but the D & G don't feel like bass strings to me. I like big chunky flats on bass. It just feels right and the tone is BIG and FAT. Funnily enough my playing has also got progressively less busy too but I think that's what real bass is all about. Less notes but make 'em BIGGER :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='bumnote' timestamp='1378841704' post='2205501']
I Love em, no problem with string balance at all. i prefer the softer feel
[/quote]


+1.

OP, with regards tone, and whether you like it or not, trying new strings for the first time is always a gamble.
As for the low tension, if you had done some research, you'd have found a tension chart for all their strings
on their website. As for being affordable, yes they are expensive...at the start. My set have been on my bass for the last ten years, still (IMO) sounding great. How is that for value ? ;)

Edited by Coilte

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the feel and tone of TI flats, but I do wish they did some heavier gauges - the tension is really low, and I find it hard to avoid string click on the frets, which I've never had problems with using other strings.

That said, the advantage of the low tension is I can play for hours with no fatigue at all, and also fast runs, hammer-ons etc become very easy and fluid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I`ve tried many different types of flats on my basses and can`t get on with them, however whenever I`ve tried a bass out that has TIs on it, I`ve really liked the feel. That said, when I play live I`m a fairly hard-hitter so I think the low tension wouldn`t be a good thing for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I loved my Tommysticks. Snapped the D & have now got a set of Chromes. They still need worn in, but so far almost as bright as rounds!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Lozz196' timestamp='1380447448' post='2225258']
I`ve tried many different types of flats on my basses and can`t get on with them, however whenever I`ve tried a bass out that has TIs on it, I`ve really liked the feel. That said, when I play live I`m a fairly hard-hitter so I think the low tension wouldn`t be a good thing for me.
[/quote]

Don't worry about being a hard hitter. I didn't have any issues & I can be quite aggressive with the strings (I suppose that's why they only lasted 3 years).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='xgsjx' timestamp='1380448371' post='2225281']
Don't worry about being a hard hitter. I didn't have any issues & I can be quite aggressive with the strings (I suppose that's why they only lasted 3 years).
[/quote]

That seems a very short life time for any flats. You must really give your strings some abuse. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Coilte' timestamp='1380450742' post='2225319']
That seems a very short life time for any flats. You must really give your strings some abuse. :P
[/quote]
If I was solely a finger player, then they would probably last a lot longer. But I have a few songs that I play pick or slap too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='Coilte' timestamp='1380186419' post='2221905']
if you had done some research
[/quote]

I'd played TI's before and remember enjoying them more than I did (mentioned this in the OP, basically the second sentence). Research not required.

It's fine, I amended the situation by stringing my P up with La Bella 760FL's which sound a thousand times better.

Edited by risingson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried the T.I.s myself and really disliked them. The tension was too rubbery for me, and I didn't like the sound. I prefer flats that give a big fundamental "boom" rather than the Thomastik's "dunk".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='risingson' timestamp='1380463466' post='2225606']
I'd played TI's before and remember enjoying them more than I did (mentioned this in the OP, basically the second sentence). Research not required.
[/quote]


Point taken. It's just that I (wrongly... obviously) interpreted from your OP that you were [i]surprised [/i]by the low tension.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...