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MiltyG565

Flatwound Chromes on guitar

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So forgive me for breaking the cardinal rule of BASSchat, but I have to talk about these somewhere!

They're awesome! To play, they're lovely and smooth. They aren't very pliable, unfortunately, as of course, that makes them a bit harder to play. But standard open chords are easy enough, although the plain strings can dig-in to your fingers a bit *whimper*. Oh yes, that's another different thing about them - they have a wound 3rd, unlike most electric sets, which have a plain 3rd. In terms of looks - It does genuinely look like my guitar has chrome strings on it. It's sitting next to my bass with ProSteels, and my other guitar with Ernie Ball slinkies, and they're both just grey, but the Chromes are actually shining. I think it looks cool, especially on the Les Paul copy, which has a lot of chrome on it.

Sound-wise - Again, totally awesome! I don't have a proper guitar amp, so I ran it through my bass amp, cut the bass, kept the treble in the centre, then rolled up the Mids. I rolled off the tone pots a bit on the guitar too (the strings are brand new and probably a bit brighter than I expected). It reminded me of old Gretsch style guitars, which I love the sound of. They have that kind of nasal honk to them, and with a bit of fettling, I got that sound too. Tone purists will say that it wasn't a perfect Gretsch sound, and of course it wasn't, but I was playing a £200 Les Paul rip-off, and I was happy with just how close I did get to a Gretsch sound.

So I spent a considerable amount of time yesterday learning/playing Californication, by Red Hot Chili Peppers. The guitar part on it is played on a 1950s Gretsch White Falcon, and I fell it's the sound of that guitar that makes the song (as well as the lovely little dance the guitar part and bass part do with each other throughout the song - I originally found it hard to decipher what were guitar notes and what were bass notes).

All-in-all, I love them! I think they're great. Maybe not an "everyday" kind of string, but I reckon they should be much more popular than they are. Maybe a lighter set (I got 12s) and a bit of a setup on my guitar would help. Due to them not being just as easy to play as, for example, Slinkies, EXL Nickel Wounds, Roto Rs etc etc, I can't see myself stringing all my instruments with them, but I'm definitely going to keep them on the Les Paul for a good while.

Any suggestions for my next set of bass strings?

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[quote name='Beer of the Bass' timestamp='1416133849' post='2607108']
I used to use these on an archtop I had. With a neck humbucker and a clean amp it's a pretty classic jazz guitar sound.
[/quote]

Yeah, they're really cool! What did you think of how they played?

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I didn't find them too hard to play and I think the smoothness helps with that. But then I'm used to 13-56 roundwounds on the archtop acoustic I'm playing now, so I may have a skewed view of such things!
They wouldn't be my first choice for a lot of bending - little semitone bluesy bends worked OK but for anything wider than that I'd look at something different. They can be kind of dark sounding but they have a snap to the attack which can make up for that. It strikes me that the sound works best for styles played clean or only slightly dirty, so jazz, 50's or earlier blues, old reggae styles (Ernest Ranglin-esque) or surf music all sound great.

Edited by Beer of the Bass

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[quote name='Beer of the Bass' timestamp='1416140447' post='2607222']
I didn't find them too hard to play and I think the smoothness helps with that. But then I'm used to 13-56 roundwounds on the archtop acoustic I'm playing now, so I may have a skewed view of such things!
They wouldn't be my first choice for a lot of bending - little semitone bluesy bends worked OK but for anything wider than that I'd look at something different. They can be kind of dark sounding but they have a snap to the attack which can make up for that. It strikes me that the sound works best for styles played clean or only slightly dirty, so jazz, 50's or earlier blues, old reggae styles (Ernest Ranglin-esque) or surf music all sound great.
[/quote]

Exactly - my bass amp is very clean (I even turned the gain up, and there was very little grit to be had out of it), and that's possibly why it sounded so nice. A nice little clean amp might be in order for me :)

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I've just put some D'Addario flatwounds on my SG and they're superb! I went for 10s, as I was already set up for this gauge, and am very happy. They're really high tension (compared to my usual D'Addario XL10s), but the sound is superb.

I tend to just play Jazz, and riff based prog rock (think TOOL etc…), so the issue about bending high tension strings isn't really an issue for me.

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The guitarist in my country band plays with flats on his Ibanez semi - very sweet sounding.

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My son uses flats on his Epiphone Casino (13-56) and on his Fender Jaguar (11-50). You probably aren't going to bend them much but they sound real meaty.

I've read that John Lennon even had Pyramid Gold flats on his Gibson acoustic.

Edited by EssentialTension

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Hi,
I have various flatwounds on my base's's and have been itching to swap the strings on my les paul to tape/flatwound for a deeper-cum-smoother tone. I've already swapped it from 10's to 11's but it just don't like the wire wound feel at all,
any recommendations on which make of flatwounds would yield the bluesy'est or deepest sound ?
Ta.

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I think as usual you have to try them but a cheap but reliable place to start is Rotosound Top Tapes. D'Addario Chromes are slightly more expensive but nowhere near the price of Pyramids or Thomastiks.

Son of ET is playing Pyramids in his 'Gypsy Dub' 11-piece big band but I know he'll use Top Tapes when needed.

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Ah !
now I use Roto-sound black nylons on one bass with the passive pickups, and stainless steel flats on the active bass, if your recommendation is a value for money thing, (rotosound ), I could give that a go, I've tried flat Chromes on the bass and not found them deep enough but they were a lighter gauge than I'm used to. Thanks.

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Oh I didn't think they would be, but thanks, and apologies for hijacking this thread !

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