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inthedoghouse

Flatwounds available in the 70s

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5 minutes ago, inthedoghouse said:

Thanks everybody so far - this has turned out to be much more interesting than I had anticipated.

It’s a great thread, I only use flats and have done for years , it’s interesting to find out about their history 🙂

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Posted (edited)

Prior to 1968 my £1 a week paper round money didn't go very far, it did buy me a 10 speed racing bike though, bought off my Mum's Marshall Ward mail order catalogue over 38 weeks.  17 shilling and 6 pence a week it was.  That didn't leave a lot left for strings and the only string I knew of were tape wound and Bl**dy awful they were too!  My £9 a week wage in 1968 didn't go that far either and it wasn't until I saw an advert in Beat Instrumental, probably John Entwhistle using swing bass, that I even knew that round wounds existed but I managed to buy a set from the local music shop and what a revelation they were.  I never used a tape wound again!

 

I bought my first and last P bass in 1972 and it cost £220, 10% extra for left handed and in sunburst, an extra 10% if you wanted a solid colour.  It was rubbish!!!

Edited by bertbass
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Back in the 70s, if you bought International Musician magazine there was a card attached to the pages near the back which you could tear out and fill in for more details on any of the instruments advertised in the mag. About a month or so after sending it off (by which time you had forgotten all about it), the brochures of the instruments would appear over the course of the next few weeks. The ones I definitely remember getting were the Bell's catalogue, John Birch and Yamaha. There certainly wasn't a Fender catalogue amongst them, and TBH I don't even recall there being a Fender ad in the magazine in the first place.

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Posted (edited)

And to answer the OP's question, if you read any of the interviews with bass players in IM in the 70s, nearly all of them would detail how they would swap out whatever strings their new basses came with for Rotosounds as well as removing the pickup and bridge covers, as soon as the bass was in their hands.

There were two people who owned a bass in my year at school in the mid 70s. One was a home-made job which looked as though the constructor had seen a photo of a P-Bass once and then created this bass from memory. That was strung with Rotosounds because they were the only strings you could buy from the local musical instrument store. The other was Mosrite-influenced Kay(?) which was strung with flats - presumably these were what the bass came with and having shelled out almost £30 for the instrument they certainly couldn't afford to buy new strings for it!

Edited by BigRedX
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14 hours 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

I was after a new Precision in 1980 and remember the price at £350.

I eventually got a new '79 Musicman Stingray for  £375.00 in Buzz Music, Hereford.

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My first bass had flatwounds on it. It was a short scale Shaftesbury Tele bass (pictured below) bought s/h for £65 in 1990. I’m not really sure but I think they were ancient Rotosounds, but I’m certain someone on here would be able to identify them from the yellow silks. I took them off once to put fresh strings on before going in the studio but the new strings were awful, it didn’t sound like a duff 60s bass anymore, so I fished the old flatwounds out of the bin and put them back on. Normal duff  60s bass sound restored! 👍

B1C41138-ACED-445A-BA71-0853E4C45168.thumb.jpeg.b959e7b29dd2cd5363cad3ddf017a8c2.jpeg

 

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32 minutes ago, meterman said:

My first bass had flatwounds on it. It was a short scale Shaftesbury Tele bass

Great bass, I’ve never had any strings with yellow silk, might be  DR legend flats , not sure how long they’ve been around though 🙂

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, meterman said:

My first bass had flatwounds on it.

 My first bass, when I was about 13 or 14, was a Jazz copy,  I can't remember the make, possibly Columbus, but it was very shiny and I did my first gigs with it.  It came with black flats or tapewound strings that I don't think I ever changed.  The neck ended up so bowed that Robin Hood could have happily added it to his armoury, and (honestly) the fingerboard fell off in the end.  I didn't know anything about fancy exotic things like truss rods in those early days 🙂

Edited by inthedoghouse
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3 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

Great bass, I’ve never had any strings with yellow silk, might be  DR legend flats , not sure how long they’ve been around though 🙂

Yeah, the strings were ancient when I got the bass so I’m not really sure if they were original to the bass or just worn out? There never was much sustain to it anyway, I used to have to compress it like mad whenever I recorded with it.

The bass and it’s ancient strings made it onto a few records but this one is pretty funky. Sort of like Beastie Boys instrumental vibe but done on a 4-track cassette recorder instead of a Hollywood studio. It all kicks off around 1:15...

 

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2 hours ago, inthedoghouse said:

   I didn't know anything about fancy exotic things like truss rods in those early days 🙂

I still don’t know much, if anything, about them now 😂

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18 minutes ago, meterman said:

Yeah, the strings were ancient when I got the bass so I’m not really sure if they were original to the bass or just worn out? There never was much sustain to it anyway, I used to have to compress it like mad whenever I recorded with it.

The bass and it’s ancient strings made it onto a few records but this one is pretty funky. Sort of like Beastie Boys instrumental vibe but done on a 4-track cassette recorder instead of a Hollywood studio. It all kicks off around 1:15...

 

I really dig that. It reminds me of a ‘dirtier’ version of The Filthy Six (which is a good thing!)...

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7 minutes ago, Old Man Riva said:

I really dig that. It reminds me of a ‘dirtier’ version of The Filthy Six (which is a good thing!)...

Thank you 🙏🏻 The Filthy Six are like a proper grown up version of what we were trying to do, except they’re a proper band and we were just a couple of herberts with a Tascam portastudio and a crate of Skol.  😂

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12 hours 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?

 

12 hours ago, casapete said:

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.

 

In 1976, Dave Murray, who came from a poor family, paid $1400 for the late Paul Kossoff's Strat. The pound fell against the dollar a lot in 1976, but for a while in the middle of the year it was bobbing around $1.75, which would make the Strat £800.

£800 at £22/week would be just over 8 months of work. A 19 yr old now gets £6.56/hour. 8 months of 40-hour weeks at £6.56 would be almost £9,500.

I like this detail from wikipedia - when Dave Murray auditioned for Iron Maiden, they already had two guitarists, Dave Sullivan and Terry Rance, who disapproved of his being permitted to audition, seeing it as a slight on their ability. Steve Harris: "when the others made it plain that it was either them or Dave Murray, there was no choice."

He might be a gentle soul, but he must have known he was worthy of that guitar. I wonder how long it took him to realise that he was wanting to replace the pickups with Di Marzio humbuckers?

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46 minutes ago, meterman said:

Thank you 🙏🏻 The Filthy Six are like a proper grown up version of what we were trying to do, except they’re a proper band and we were just a couple of herberts with a Tascam portastudio and a crate of Skol.  😂

Way too modest! Sounds great to me - just treated myself to the album from Amazon!

We’ll have to start a petition to relaunch Blow Up...

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2 minutes ago, Old Man Riva said:

Way too modest! Sounds great to me - just treated myself to the album from Amazon!

We’ll have to start a petition to relaunch Blow Up...

Eh?!! I just had to google that, I had no idea the album was on Amazon 😮 If it’s not too late to cancel I can send you the CD for postage? 

I used to love Blow Up. That, and Tongue Kung Fu were two of my favourite London clubs back in the day. Daft escapist fun 👍

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2 hours ago, meterman said:

 

 

Like it a lot, reminds of Leo Green even if it's more the opposite.

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2 hours ago, meterman said:

Yeah, the strings were ancient when I got the bass so I’m not really sure if they were original to the bass or just worn out? There never was much sustain to it anyway, I used to have to compress it like mad whenever I recorded with it.

The bass and it’s ancient strings made it onto a few records but this one is pretty funky. Sort of like Beastie Boys instrumental vibe but done on a 4-track cassette recorder instead of a Hollywood studio. It all kicks off around 1:15...

 

Even though the style of music isn't really my cuppa I very much enjoyed it.  What a cool sound and groove you had going on there with that bass 🙂

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, meterman said:

Yeah, the strings were ancient when I got the bass so I’m not really sure if they were original to the bass or just worn out? There never was much sustain to it anyway, I used to have to compress it like mad whenever I recorded with it.

The bass and it’s ancient strings made it onto a few records but this one is pretty funky. Sort of like Beastie Boys instrumental vibe but done on a 4-track cassette recorder instead of a Hollywood studio. It all kicks off around 1:15...

 

 

8 hours ago, meterman said:

Yeah, the strings were ancient when I got the bass so I’m not really sure if they were original to the bass or just worn out? There never was much sustain to it anyway, I used to have to compress it like mad whenever I recorded with it.

The bass and it’s ancient strings made it onto a few records but this one is pretty funky. Sort of like Beastie Boys instrumental vibe but done on a 4-track cassette recorder instead of a Hollywood studio. It all kicks off around 1:15...

 

way ahead of your time with that title,,,,,,,,,,,,,,could you not re-release it preceded by ( dont ) ?😁

as inthedoghouse said not really my thing but i liked it really good.

Edited by nikon F
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1974 ... I bought a used c1964 Hofner Artist with short scale Rotosound Jazz bass flats with light blue silk - £30

1976 ... I bought from Woodroffe’s in Birmingham a new Fender Precision which was factory fitted with Fender flats with green silk (as I think were all Fender basses up to that time) - £220ish  

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Posted (edited)

The Strings on that Shaftesbury look like Roto Black Nylon.

From my memory most new US basses were fitted with flats in the 70's but most everyone changed them to RS66's

As for amps we thought HH were posh We had Carlsbro or own made!! LOL

Edited by BoomTing
clarity
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Also, I was in a band in the mid 70s with a slide guitarist who used Rotosound Top Tape flatwound guitar strings on both his Dobro and his Shaftesbury Les Paul. 

Rotosound, Picato, Pyramid, GHS, La Bella, Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker, and probably several others were all supplying flatwound bass and guitar strings in the 1970s.

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On 07/03/2021 at 08:48, casapete said:

 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.

 

I bought Steve's Ibanez Les Paul off him, the one he recorded the Rocks Off EP with. IIRC it cost me £125 - it was just after they got their record deal. 

Like a pillock, I traded it in for a brand new Gibson The Paul. 

Wish I still had both. 

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Posted (edited)

The flatwound strings fitted on 60s and 70s Rickenbacker basses, so I've read, were German made Maxima. No longer available but NOS are much sought after. IIRC, @Beedster sourced a set sometime ago. I might be imagining it.

Edited by EssentialTension
INABILITY TO tYPR
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@casapete I think Steve bought his first actual Gibson Les Paul from Sudbury music on Heeley Bottom.  I went in with Rick when he went to pay for a pair of Hi Hats that they'd been hassling him to pay for - he paid with a bag of 5p pieces.  We practically got chased out of the shop.

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15 minutes ago, KahunaNui said:

@casapete I think Steve bought his first actual Gibson Les Paul from Sudbury music on Heeley Bottom.  I went in with Rick when he went to pay for a pair of Hi Hats that they'd been hassling him to pay for - he paid with a bag of 5p pieces.  We practically got chased out of the shop.

That’s right, it was Sudbury Music! Situated somewhere on London Rd IIRC, funny little double fronted shop. I actually bought a Gibson Firebird initially, but when I told the shop I wasn’t getting on with it they said I could swap it for the Les Paul if I could wait a week or two. After a while I rang them to see what was going on, and they said they now had the Les Paul ( maybe a repossession job?) but it was missing a machine head so had to order a spare from Gibson which at the time meant going via their distributors in Holland I think. I eventually got it though, playing it in a few bands. 

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