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So, I'm in a pickle. I love the feel of flatwounds, but I prefer the bright attack of rounds. These Ernie Ball Cobalt Flats are touted to sit somewhere in the middle. Does anyone have any real world experience of them?
 

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Very bright, really do sound like rounds and stay bright quite well too.

They did go through a phase of having some dodgy quality control but I don’t know if they’ve fixed that now.

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Halfrounds or Groundwounds (same type of string, different names) may interest you. These are ground down roundwound strings, so smoother to the touch, and have the brighter roundwound fundamentals.

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I had some Cobalt flats on a bass for a bit but didn't really get on with them tbh.  Put my 4-yr old TIs back on.

That having been said I'm going to give the Markbass Vintage set that I got with the BC offer a spin too.

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I like the Cobalts, depending on the bass they are going on. 
I see them as strings for people who like the characteristics of flats but want a brighter sound, as opposed to vice verse. They don’t attack like a round. 

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I`ve tried them on both a Precision and on a Stingray, wasn1t completely happy with either, though imo worked better on the `Ray, taming it a bit. They just seem to have a real spike somewhere that`s difficult to reduce.

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7 hours ago, fretmeister said:

Very bright, really do sound like rounds and stay bright quite well too.

They did go through a phase of having some dodgy quality control but I don’t know if they’ve fixed that now.

 

This.

They feel like flats, but sound like roundwounds that have mellowed down a bit, just a bit, losing the initial zing of the fresh strings.

They're much much more like roundwounds than half-rounds or groundwounds or pressurewounds (same thing, different brand nomenclature).

It sounds like Cobalt Flats are really the ones you want, OP.

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I love the sound of the cobalts especially on my P bass, but they’re higher tension than round wounds, so they’re a bit tougher to play.

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I had a set earlier this year (or around that time). The D had rust spots on it so I sent them back

There is a nice thread about them already

 

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2 hours ago, ClassicVibes said:

I preferred SIT Silencers to be honest. 

Sound wise I lke Silencers, GHS Pressurewounds, and EB Cobalt Flats about equally for fretless duty, which is by far my main thing. Out of those only the CFs really feel like flats texture wise though, IMO. Unfortunately that works against my current obsession, slide bass. Yel_wink.gif

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I bought a set a couple of years ago and as mentioned had rust spots on all strings. Emailed EB and got a replacement set which also had some rust spots. Apart from this , I actually like them. They feel a bit grippy when new but soon smooth out. Mine have been on and off a P bass and have mellowed out nicely. Shame they’re a bit pricey but I did get 2 rusty sets for the price of one!

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3 minutes ago, Jimbogubson said:

I bought a set a couple of years ago and as mentioned had rust spots on all strings. Emailed EB and got a replacement set which also had some rust spots. Apart from this , I actually like them. They feel a bit grippy when new but soon smooth out. Mine have been on and off a P bass and have mellowed out nicely. Shame they’re a bit pricey but I did get 2 rusty sets for the price of one!

I got mine from Amazon so was easy to send back. In the short time I used them i was really impressed with them. I will definitely try a set again when i can afford it. 

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This thread has very much got me interested in trying a set of these. I've been using Stadium Elites on my Jazz for several years now, had to put on a spare set of Dean Markley Blue Steels and have found that they have stayed a little too bright for my tastes (they were free with a subscription, so nothing lost).

Being sonically somewhere between a flat and a round, with the feel of a flat sounds really interesting, and my  Dimarzio filled Jazz spends most of it's life with the series setting engaged for playing ska and 2Tone.

Hesitations come from a set of these costing about twice what a set of my regular SS rounds would cost me, and the numerous QC issues that seem to get touted. Is it likely a case of those who draw the short straw are usually vocal, and those that get a good set don't feel the need to say ''I win the game, my strings didn't break'' making it seem like there was a larger problem than there really was?

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BruceBass3901 said:

Hesitations come from a set of these costing about twice what a set of my regular SS rounds would cost me, and the numerous QC issues that seem to get touted. Is it likely a case of those who draw the short straw are usually vocal, and those that get a good set don't feel the need to say ''I win the game, my strings didn't break'' making it seem like there was a larger problem than there really was?

 

I sure this a very small number, but i also think its a worry that it could happen at all. Never had a set of string with rust on them before, let alone brand new ones. 

I’d also like to think that although we are a large community there must be 1000s not on web forums, sp who knows how widespread it is. It does seem that those who got a bad string/set got them replaced with good ones, and if you do get a bad one just send the set back. Nothing to lose really, other than maybe time, and not liking them. 

Edited by dave_bass5

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When I contacted EB re the rust they responded and replaced them quickly so no problems there. But you would think that at £45 ish a set the QC on these premium priced strings would be more stringent. I think if they were priced around the £30 mark players would be more tempted to try them out as they are a versatile string.

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I had someone personally inspect my replacement set and they were rusty too. I quite liked them but found as they aged they sounded a bit harsh, I liked them fresh though. 

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Well I caved and bought a set. Should be with me next week.

Fingers crossed I get a get a fresh, sturdy set!

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I have Cobalt flats on two Thunderbirds. No QC issues with the ones I have and they sound & feel great.

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My Slinky Flatwounds arrived today. I'll get my go to bass strung up with them tonight and see how they feel.

I've opened up each of the string envelopes and I can't see any sign of corrosion. There was also a note, flyer, thing in there saying they now use treated envelopes to help prevent corrosion, so perhaps this was the factory response to the issues in the past.

Just from handling the strings a bit, they are going to be very different to what I have used before. I've always played rounds, so these seemed like a good place to start with an experiment into flats.

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Thanks for the post. Makes me want to try another set now. 

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Initial impressions are pretty good with these. Nice sound, definitely still got some brightness. Higher output than the Blue Steels I had on before, so will have to do some pickup height tweaking to keep everything playing nicely. Overall setup is going to need some tweaks as well as these are different tension and have generally thrown my bass out of whack.

Liking the smooth feel, but they are a tiny bit sticky, I suspect from some kind of treatment at the factory, so I guess that will disappear with time. Very different to what I am used to, but I can certainly see the appeal.

Sound great with a pick, which is nice to know, but I don't ever play with a pick with my band.

Will definitely be keeping them on and seeing how they break in a bit, but I need to put some serious time into getting my setup right as these have thrown everything out. Unfortunately, this will probably be a bigger job as there are a few things that I will take the chance to sort out (new nut, fret levelling) but that is far more to do with my bass than these strings, I think these have just highlighted the issues.

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Yes, they do feel a bit sticky at first but that soon goes away.

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I found them less gooey than other flatwounds. Give them a quick wipe over, all will be fine.

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Strings are such a personal thing, aren't they?  I tried a set and didn't like them at all.  Seemed neither fish nor fowl. 

TI flats have become my firm favourites, have them on everything.

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