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Inexpensive flatwounds

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Maude, I put a set of these Olympias on my PJ about 8 months ago.

They felt slightly odd to begin with - somehow slightly 'sticky' - as is there was excess friction between your fingertips and the steel. This has pretty well gone now.

They hold their tune perfectly week in week out ( I play and gig quite a lot) and it's quite difficult to find fault.

Mind you, these were my first flats after having used rounds since forever, so I can't really say how they compare against other flats.

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I find Chromes have that same 'grippy' feel when new. Disappears after a few weeks of playing.

I haven't bought the Olympia ones as I don't actual need any at the mo. I know, I shouldn't really let something silly like not needing them stop me :D

Edited by Maude

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I don’t really understand why anyone would compromise on strings - they are integral tone, feel and quality on any bass. 

Given the longevity of flatwounds it seems a false economy to not get the set that does the job for you.

We spend so much on basses and amps, and I’ve spent more on cables and wireless systems than I ever have on strings....

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^^ I agree but not paying through the nose doesn't necessarily mean a compromise. More expensive does not always mean better. 

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I also have the aforementioned Adagios (45-100 I believe) on a P bass; they felt shiny out of the packet and have stayed so, very slinky and polished. Relatively high tension. Enough tone with the knob well up, and super subby with it all off. I am tempted to whack them on my J bass to check that out; I suspect they will be less versatile than my slightly dulled rounds (and I know I won't be chuffed to fiddle with any intonation...) but could be fun to get thumpy for a while.

I have some D'Addario Chromes (also 45-100) on a short scale; they have stayed very matte, and are mid tension (but I don't know how they would feel on a full scale). I seem to remember them being quite expensive and were actually bought in error (I didn't see that they were SS); they are almost as expensive as the (admittedly cheap) bass! They sound very rich though, and with a full tone knob have a good character which is slightly brighter than the Adagios probably... That could be down to the pickups though, hard to say.

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8 hours ago, Maude said:

^^ I agree but not paying through the nose doesn't necessarily mean a compromise. More expensive does not always mean better. 

Indeed Maude,
and the whole purpose of a thread on inexpensive flats is to let others know of what's out there, and to alert others as to what's good value or worth a punt


Bridgehouse, you may know what flats you like or prefer - but there are many out there who haven't tried flats or avoid them because the one set they tried... they didn't like
At £11 or £12 a shot - the Adagio's are amazing value - are they a quarter as good as Thomastik's, which are £50+ a set? - No! They sound and play great! My bass with adagio's, sounded better than my bass with TI's on at my last gig

In fact, I bought my TI's from someone on here who paid full price.... and didn't like them. I'd say, at £50+ with P&P, that's an expensive experiment, if you then decide you don't like them
Even selling them on to me, at under £30 inc P&P that's a loss of 2 sets of ADagio's ;)
A while back, I tried a set of Steve Harris sig flats, at £30+ a set, and I really didn't like them.... and that's 3x sets of Adagios ;) - plus, it put me off flats for a while, so the more expensive strings were counter-productive, for me

I'm definitely going to try a lighter gauge set of the Adagio's soon. And at that price, if they last a long time - they're superb value, great sounding strings
And far from being a "compromise" they're a contender for my Flatwounds of choice :)

Edited by Marc S
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11 hours ago, Maude said:

There's also these from Olympia I've had in my watched items for a while but haven't committed to yet. 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F302719180784

Not tried those Olympia strings Maude
But I can say, I have felt that "drag" with flatwounds in the past - it's one reason I tended to avoid them
I can also say with confidence, there's definitely no drag with the Adagio Flats :)

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I've tried many a flat. La Bellas are where it's at. They feel great and are thunderous. 

Thomastics are good but they're a bit like rubber bands in feel. They sound good. I used them for some years. I went through a run of snapping the A strings though. I sort of like Fenders. All the others I've tried were a bit meh. Although I don't recall ever trying the Ernie Balls. 

To be honest, and has already been said £13 or £30, they're cheap. They last and they are integral to your tone and feel.  Just put some La Bellas on and forget about it. Or if you don't like them, sell them on. 

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Twincam said:

What's there tone like? 

Classic flat or more brighter like fenders or eb cobalts?

I would say they have a flatter deeper sound than the fender ones I have on another  jb , if you’re after brightness I don’t think these are the ones.   They’re great for reggae and maybe metal  ‘not that I’ve ever played it’ 😀

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16 hours ago, bigjohn said:

I've tried many a flat. La Bellas are where it's at. They feel great and are thunderous. 

Thomastics are good but they're a bit like rubber bands in feel. They sound good. I used them for some years. I went through a run of snapping the A strings though. I sort of like Fenders. All the others I've tried were a bit meh. Although I don't recall ever trying the Ernie Balls. 

To be honest, and has already been said £13 or £30, they're cheap. They last and they are integral to your tone and feel.  Just put some La Bellas on and forget about it. Or if you don't like them, sell them on. 

 

 

 

I was looking at La Bellas for my P - presumably they're not as low tension like the Thomastics? I had a set of Rotos on my Jazz, ddin't like 'em but hadn't been playing for long so that might be the reason

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1 hour ago, clunkie66 said:

I was looking at La Bellas for my P - presumably they're not as low tension like the Thomastics? I had a set of Rotos on my Jazz, ddin't like 'em but hadn't been playing for long so that might be the reason

Definitely not as low tension. La Bella do a set of low tension flats (I have some) and they are actually slightly stiffer than TI’s!

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I don't know these strings but the thought that strikes me is why have a top quality bass and put less than ideal strings on it!

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19 minutes ago, chris_b said:

I don't know these strings but the thought that strikes me is why have a top quality bass and put less than ideal strings on it!

But what are top quality strings? If there is a best string then we'd all be using them and the rest would go out of business. I've got a set of barely used LaBella white nylons in the drawer at home because I prefer D'Addario half rounds, but at nearly half the price are they half as good? No, they're better to me. So which of these two are the top quality? 

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For a few years I used GHS Precison flats. They produced a very good sound and didn't break the bank.

I now use TI's which I got cheap but were still more expensive. I just think that when you spend £1500 + on a bass you should be signing up to the whole package. Like when I tried to put cheap petrol in my Volvo 850 Turbo. The engine only started to work properly when I switched up to the more expensive higher octane petrol.

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2 hours ago, Bridgehouse said:

Definitely not as low tension. La Bella do a set of low tension flats (I have some) and they are actually slightly stiffer than TI’s!

OK, thanks! Might take the plunge...

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I must reiterate the point that I made earlier - the cost itself is in my opinion secondary to the strings - different strings suit different basses - some expensive some cheap. 

I love my TIs on some basses I have, but on others they just don’t work at all - on one, I find the Fender flats do the best job.

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Just picked up a set of those 45-100 Olympias, bnib, on eBay "Best Offer" for £11.04 delivered...well worth a punt I think. But I'll know once they're on my Revelation RBN J-bass...

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My TIs probably cost me around £40 but they’ve been on the bass for 10 years so I think I’ve got my money’s worth!

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I did both gigs this weekend with a new set of Fender 9050L strings on my Rickenbacker. I wanted to try them to see if they were actually Chromes with different coloured silks.

I am really impressed with them. They are pretty bright and the tension is about where I want it to be. Amazon are doing them for £22.94 so not the cheapest but not anywhere near the most expensive. I'll see how I get on over the coming months as they settle in.

I didn't find them grippy at all under normal circumstances, only when it began heating up in the venue and my fingers were sweating slightly

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1 hour ago, Delberthot said:

I did both gigs this weekend with a new set of Fender 9050L strings on my Rickenbacker. I wanted to try them to see if they were actually Chromes with different coloured silks.

I am really impressed with them. They are pretty bright and the tension is about where I want it to be. Amazon are doing them for £22.94 so not the cheapest but not anywhere near the most expensive. I'll see how I get on over the coming months as they settle in.

I didn't find them grippy at all under normal circumstances, only when it began heating up in the venue and my fingers were sweating slightly

Agreed. i recently put these on my p bass . They sound just the way I want them to sound. They're great for the price with plenty of mids.

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About to order a set of flats for my Precision and have no idea what to try. I've always used rounds so want to get something that's going to feel similar in tension. As for tone then just a balanced, warm rounded tone. Not after a big, fat, deep old school thump. Tempted to try the LaBella 760FL but worried about tension and being too thumpy. Fender's sound interesting but dont want anything too bright. Half tempted to try the Adagio ones but dont want my first proper taste of flats to be ruined.

Any suggestions?

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30 minutes ago, Linus27 said:

About to order a set of flats for my Precision and have no idea what to try. I've always used rounds so want to get something that's going to feel similar in tension. As for tone then just a balanced, warm rounded tone. Not after a big, fat, deep old school thump. Tempted to try the LaBella 760FL but worried about tension and being too thumpy. Fender's sound interesting but dont want anything too bright. Half tempted to try the Adagio ones but dont want my first proper taste of flats to be ruined.

Any suggestions?

For the material you are playing Michael I would suggest a set of Rotosounds.  I have a set on my '73P and they sound and feel just right.  If you want to test the tension then you are welcome to pop over.  I remember Billy Sheehan saying at the BGS a couple of years ago that 90% of hit records were recorded with a Fender P and Rotosound strings.

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1 minute ago, obbm said:

For the material you are playing Michael I would suggest a set of Rotosounds.  I have a set on my '73P and they sound and feel just right.  If you want to test the tension then you are welcome to pop over.  I remember Billy Sheehan saying at the BGS a couple of years ago that 90% of hit records were recorded with a Fender P and Rotosound strings.

As in Rotosound Jazz Flats?

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