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ThePapabull

Best strings for a P Bass?

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Posted (edited)
I'd be really grateful for any advice regarding the best type of strings for a P Bass. I'm unclear about flat wounds . half rounds etc
I've got a Fender 62 vintage RI (second hand ), but it came with some very bright sounding round wound strings. The bass sounds very punchy but I'm struggling to get the sound I'm after. Any advice re actual make , gauge etc would be gratefully received. I love that James Jameson tone as well as the bassist who played for Donny Hathaway (don't know his name but he's an awesome bassist.)

Also I'm not sue if string gauge is responsible for lower string tension (which I like) or if thats to do solely with scale length.

Thanks in advance for any help.

cheers

paul h (PB) Edited by ThePapabull

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Don't know about the strings but it's probably Willie Weeks you're thinking of!

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You can't beat some good flats on a P bass, Chromes and Fender flats are a reasonable price and won't let you down, mid to high tension. TI flats are a beautifull string, smooth and low tension, if a little pricey, lots of mids and really cut through, some people love them, some people find them just too floppy! I love the sound but just too low tension for me.
Pyramid golds are a quality string, but a little dark sounding for my liking.
If you want a compromise between round and flats you could go for GHS compressors which are round wound strings which funnily enough have been compressed! (I quite like these)
Never tried any of the Ernie Ball flats so can't comment on them.
I'm currently playing La Bella deep talking FS flats, quite expensive and a high tension, but great feel and lovely deep tones. If you wanted a little less tension you could go for the FT set.
I tend to go for 105 gauge and find anything less a little too "dainty" under the fingers, but thats very much a personal thing.
Hope this helps

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I was recently looking for some flats so read the threads on the subject. Got a bit shocked at the price of some of the options, especially when folk are saying you might not like this brand, or that brand might not suit. I decided to start at the lowest priced but still often recommended ones and bought some Fender flats. Thought I would work my way up the price bands until I found ones I liked.
Verdict?
Love 'em. Silky smooth, not too high a tension for me and sound good to my ear. Granted, I'm not the worlds expert on the subject but I'm happy enough. ;)

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Sounds like you are looking for flats and enjoy low tension... TI Flats all the way! They're good enough for Pino!

They are expensive but my P has had the same set for about 10 years!

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SIT Silencers are quite a decent compromise between flats and rounds. I'm not sure what they are, maybe groundwound(?), but my P bass has had some on for a year or so. They're not as smooth as flats and not as scratchy as rounds if that makes sense.
TI's as mentioned are nice but the tension can take some adjusting to especially if you tend to dig in often.

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James Jamerson used LaBellas I think. Some are pretty high tension though.

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TIs on my 64. They are just the best string I've ever used. Bloody love em!

I have picked up a set of la Bella low tension flats to try but can't bring myself to take the TIs off even for a day or so..

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GHS Precision flats are great and won't break the bank.

I have a set of TI flats on my PJ at the moment. I was interested to find out what all these tension comments were about, but IMO the TI strings don't seem to be very different from my GHS set.

On the gig, both bands loved the GHS strings but I've also had good comments about the sound of the TI's.

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Fender flats are cheap and good sounding

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I dig in a lot and don't find the TI's too loose at all, they are pretty much perfect for me.

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Another vote for La Bella Deep Talkin' Bass (as used by Jamerson). I like the 760FL set, which is quite light (43-104), but combines the requisite thump with some nice stringy tones and comfortable tension under the fingers. I find D'Addario Chromes suit my Jazz better than my P Bass. They're quite bright for a flatwound string. Tried fender Flats (which look very like re-branded Chromes and sound similar), but found them too bright/clanky for that classic P Bass tone. The beauty of La Bellas is they last so well.

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I used D'Addario half rounds on MY 62 USA reissue & recently had a rather nifty set of nylon covered strings given to me on here.
Thump for days, huge mellow tone. I will find out what brand they are...

FWIW on my original real 62 P bass that I bought used in 1963 I used the original Rotop (became rotosound) Ks. Chrome or nickel wound flats.
I have a recording of me playing it from 1963 on a scratchy old 7" EP and it STILL cut through like crazy.

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As said by the others TI's are really the go to low tension flat strings - I didn't find them super flappy when I had them on one of my basses, I'd say they were similar in tension to earnie ball rounds.

I've got some mystery flats on my P at the moment (they were on it when I bought it used & the selling shop didn't know what the previous own had put on it) - they're substantially higher tension than the TI's but I'm getting used to them, like the feel & they sounds great. They're black silk at the nut end, nothing at the bridge end if anyone knows what they are?

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Posted (edited)
You can (shock, horror!) even try roundwound strings on a P bass.... Try nickel plated ones if the stainless steels are too bright.

Edited by Conan

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Another big P bass/flatwounds fan here.

Mine has been strung variously with La Bella 760FL flats (nice tension, similar to 105-45 gauge rounds) or occasionally Daddario EXL165 nickel round wounds.

Both have plenty of warmth and thump - flats better for the sound you're describing, but rounds arguably a more versatile all-rounder.

Don't be put off by price of flats tho - you won't have to change them for years, if ever, as they don't go dull the same way as rounds. They also feel smoother and more comfortable than rounds, and have a fat thumping low end you won't find anywhere else.

I've only tried La Bellas (great sound and feel) Thomastik Infelds (great sound, tho tension is a lot lighter) and Rotosound Sm77s Monels (quite stiff).

Like everything else, there's an element of suck it and see, or try them out on other people's basses if you get chance. There are sometimes used flats for sale on Basschat, which is a good cheaper way of getting to try some.

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Thanks to all for your contributions. This is such a brilliant forum/site for this and other issues. I'm definitely going for flats and start with some low tension ones.

I'm REALLY grateful for all of help..

cheers

Paul

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That's what we do around here :)

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I have a 62 RI P bass currently strung high action with La Bella 110-52 Jamerson style. Great tone but really high tension, feels like a forearm work out without the happy ending. :) Have even more respect for him.

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I have a 62 RI P bass currently strung high action with La Bella 110-52 Jamerson style. Great tone but really high tension, feels like a forearm work out without the happy ending. :) Have even more respect for him.

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Most of my basses now have Chromes on them, though the two that haven't are both Precisions, strung with D'Addario round wounds. I'll probably move them to Chromes as well eventually. Great strings, I wasn't keen on them as a finger style player but now I have to use a pick (hand injury), they are perfect.

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I've got TI's on 3 Precisions and my Ric (although some people would say that's sacrilege), and I'm just so used to them now, they feel normal.

I've tried the La Bella Jamerson Deep Talkin' flats, and they sounded ok, but were too high tension & gauge for me. I've got some of the La Bella lighter flats (760FL, I think) on my Tele bass, and they sound great, and aren't quite as rope-like as the Jamersons.

My default is TI's though B). As someone above said, if they're good enough for Pino...

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Thanks all...... I had to make a decision and I,ve gone with the TI's from Strings Direct.

said it earlier but this forum is brilliant ..... really appreciate everyones contributions ......

However I know feel the (real) need to start a new string related topic.......

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