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inthedoghouse

Flatwounds available in the 70s

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Posted (edited)

I'm sure this is going to be a very short topic, but I've been wondering what makes of flats were generally available in the UK in the early/mid 70s.  Rotosound would be one of them.

Edited by inthedoghouse

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A bit before my time but fairly sure labella flats were around then , didn’t James jamerson use them at Motown records 

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I’ve just looked in a Bells catalog that i have from 1977 when I first went into a music store, it looks like picato did them 

318E3224-CBE1-45E5-8197-E3ACC80148E2.jpeg

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Don’t want to derail your thread but a few pages on look how much a new jazz or P was , 🙂

EC0F2B52-3429-4FE9-9361-B03A9713E55D.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

Wasn't Squier the string brand when CLF did the P?

Edited by itu

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Posted (edited)

@Reggaebass

Yeah but that was for ‘and-made quality , not your CNC rubbish 

Edited by Geek99

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

Don’t want to derail your thread but a few pages on look how much a new jazz or P was , 🙂

EC0F2B52-3429-4FE9-9361-B03A9713E55D.jpeg

Wow, look at those prices!

Here's the "HP agreement" on the back of his card from an early 70s white P I bought from the local muso shop in about 73/4ish.  It's painful to see and I wish regularly I hadn't sold it.

116795169_297398421702692_2224538450813898454_n.jpg

116797442_329527641575344_962896056978529833_n.jpg

Edited by inthedoghouse
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2 minutes ago, inthedoghouse said:

Here's the "HP agreement" from an early 70s white P I bought from the local muso shop in about 73/4ish.  It's painful to see and I wish regularly I hadn't sold it

It doesn’t seem real when you look at it now, but that was a lot of money then 🙂

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8 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

It doesn’t seem real when you look at it now, but that was a lot of money then 🙂

£1931 for a P, £2325 for a J. (Via the Bank of England inflation calculator)

Considering that these are almost identical spec to the current Player models, you get a lot more for your money now.

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Recently I was trying to work out just how expensive to an unemployed 19 year old a famous late 50s Strat was Dave Murray bought his. As far as I could see from prodding around online, in 1976 a young lad doing an entry level job would be earning about £20 a week. Does that sound about right?

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Recently I was trying to work out just how expensive to an unemployed 19 year old a famous late 50s Strat was Dave Murray bought his. As far as I could see from prodding around online, in 1976 a young lad doing an entry level job would be earning about £20 a week. Does that sound about right?

Pretty much bang on IME. I was earning £22 a week (take home pay) as an 18 year old then in my first full time job, in a record shop. Couple of years later I got a loan for £400 from the Yorkshire Bank and bought a Gibson Les Paul from a shop in Sheffield. It wasn’t brand new but had been owned briefly by a new up and coming local band, Dep Leppard.

Back OT, I think Fender were making flatwounds in the 70’s? Over here Rotos were probably more widely available and cheaper. The bassist in my band swapped his rounds for these on his 78 Jazz bass, and the neck developed a twist in it that never really got fully straightened. Most likely a fault with the bass but it put him off flats for good! 

Edited by casapete
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It looks like fender also did flatwound strings then, and tapewound,  here’s a 1969 catalogue , so I’m guessing that if you bought a new jazz or P,   it would come with their own strings 

4FC89242-37CE-42C7-BCB5-06DD95DA698D.jpeg

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Strangely nobody mentioned Höfner.

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4 minutes ago, Hellzero said:

Strangely nobody mentioned Höfner.

Yeah that’s true Hz, hofner go back a long way don’t they 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, nilebodgers said:

£1931 for a P, £2325 for a J. (Via the Bank of England inflation calculator)

Considering that these are almost identical spec to the current Player models, you get a lot more for your money now.

It just shows how wrong the calculator is. If you consider actual salary or wage for say a 19 yr old - I had quite a decent job in 1973 at just under £1000 per annum. A new Precision was £252 (without case) in a particular shop (natural finish). So this is more than a quarter of that annual salary. 

A quarter of say £15000 now gives you a new US P bass at £3750 - so they are now relatively cheaper and should be around £3k.

GHS did flatwounds in the mid/late 60s and a new Musicman Stingray came with them fitted. A sign of the times is they changed to GHS rounds in early 78. 

I do not recall anyone in my local scene who played bass even considering using using flatwounds and the normal replacement string (in the UK) was Rotosound.

You have to remember that in the 70s stuff from the early 60s era was very deeply uncool - this extended to pastel coloured instruments, liking the Shadows, and in the later 70s, passive Fender basses even (unless you were a punk band) and even then there were as many people playing Rickenbsckers and the like (The Jam for instance). 

The idea anyone ever saw a Fender catalogue in the UK was also a misnomer - you bought what was in the shop - I'm doubtful anyone would be able to get a retailer to make a special order (I.e something not in stock). 

Times were different - we'd never heard of Jamerson, even less what make of instrument and strings he used - although his bass lines were, of course very influential to some people (rock fans would probably not listen to Motown in the same way that punks would not listen to Genesis and Yes!)

So flatwounds were really not something of the 70s at all - I don't recall them being on sale in the music shops I frequented and of course there was no mail order or Internet. You have to question why would people stock something virtually no one used - and even if they did they didn't change them!!! I don't think I was unique in wanting that first two or three weeks lasting sound of a new Rotosound set of strings but wasn't wealthy enough to change them that often. 

Remember amplification and speakers were not what they are now also. Although things were changing over to solid state (Acoustic for the very wealthy; HH for something more affordable) the standard available now is light years away. The chances are with flatwounds you would have even less chance of hearing yourself than you had. For valve stuff, Marshall and Ampeg stacks were the preserve of the super rich!!! 

Edited by drTStingray
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4 minutes ago, drTStingray said:

The idea anyone ever saw a Fender catalogue in the UK was also a misnomer - you bought what was in the shop

If music shops in the U.K. sold fenders , why wouldn’t they have a catalogue 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

If music shops in the U.K. sold fenders , why wouldn’t they have a catalogue 

I actually meant the general public seeing them as opposed to retailers. 

Life was very different then - they'd generally sell you something from their stock - in fact it wasn't that different 20 yrs ago although centralised distribution has improved things.

A few years back I wanted to buy an MM Sabre in a specific available colour - there were none in the country but every other available colour was - I was unable to get anyone to order one. 

Edited by drTStingray
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12 hours ago, inthedoghouse said:

I'm sure this is going to be a very short topic, but I've been wondering what makes of flats were generally available in the UK in the early/mid 70s.  Rotosound would be one of them.

Whatever they were I'm pretty sure some will still be fitted and in use :S

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Mykesbass said:

Whatever they were I'm pretty sure some will still be fitted and in use :S

Possibly the handful of people playing in recording studios and some jazz dance band players. 

Most rock bands and prog bands were after a far more lively sound. 

The use of flatwounds has really only become popular in the last 20 yrs or so with the 60s vintage throw back popularity - the first use I can think of that may have been influential was Pino with D'Angelo in the late 90s. NB he appears to have been content to rip the board of his fretless Ray to bits with roundwounds in the late 70s/80s!! These days he was using flats (EB Cobalt) on it. 

Things may have bern different in the US but even there the livelier bass sound was a requirement in the late 70s - Jamerson's reluctance to do that is quoted as one part of the reason his work dried up. 

Edited by drTStingray
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, drTStingray said:

It just shows how wrong the calculator is. If you consider actual salary or wage for say a 19 yr old - I had quite a decent job in 1973 at just under £1000 per annum. A new Precision was £252 (without case) in a particular shop (natural finish). So this is more than a quarter of that annual salary. 

A quarter of say £15000 now gives you a new US P bass at £3750 - so they are now relatively cheaper and should be around £3k.

GHS did flatwounds in the mid/late 60s and a new Musicman Stingray came with them fitted. A sign of the times is they changed to GHS rounds in early 78. 

I do not recall anyone in my local scene who played bass even considering using using flatwounds and the normal replacement string (in the UK) was Rotosound.

You have to remember that in the 70s stuff from the early 60s era was very deeply uncool - this extended to pastel coloured instruments, liking the Shadows, and in the later 70s, passive Fender basses even (unless you were a punk band) and even then there were as many people playing Rickenbsckers and the like (The Jam for instance). 

The idea anyone ever saw a Fender catalogue in the UK was also a misnomer - you bought what was in the shop - I'm doubtful anyone would be able to get a retailer to make a special order (I.e something not in stock). 

Times were different - we'd never heard of Jamerson, even less what make of instrument and strings he used - although his bass lines were, of course very influential to some people (rock fans would probably not listen to Motown in the same way that punks would not listen to Genesis and Yes!)

So flatwounds were really not something of the 70s at all - I don't recall them being on sale in the music shops I frequented and of course there was no mail order or Internet. You have to question why would people stock something virtually no one used - and even if they did they didn't change them!!! I don't think I was unique in wanting that first two or three weeks lasting sound of a new Rotosound set of strings but wasn't wealthy enough to change them that often. 

Remember amplification and speakers were not what they are now also. Although things were changing over to solid state (Acoustic for the very wealthy; HH for something more affordable) the standard available now is light years away. The chances are with flatwounds you would have even less chance of hearing yourself than you had. For valve stuff, Marshall and Ampeg stacks were the preserve of the super rich!!! 

That’s my experience too. In Coventry at the time the two shops to go to were Coventry Music Centre and the Sound Centre. Both leaned very much towards guitars, and, as such, only Rotosound were stocked for bass strings. ‘Swing Bass’ were what most people bought but they had the flatwound version stocked, albeit in significantly smaller numbers.

A lad I knew was sold a set by mistake and never quite recovered!! 

For me, buying a new set of strings was a luxury (and a rare event) due to the cost of them vs. what I was earning as an apprentice at the time. I once tried boiling a set and nearly ended up scalding myself as they chased me around my mum’s kitchen.

Nowadays I post on here wanting really worn-in/out flatwounds - the younger me would not have been impressed!

Edited by Old Man Riva
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When I started playing in the late 70s only rotosound rs66s were available anywhere I could get to (North east back end of nowhere).

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