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Flatwounds available in the 70s

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, casapete said:

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. 

 

Sounds like you were going in there about the same time I worked at Carlsbro.

Edited by KahunaNui
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45 minutes ago, KahunaNui said:

 

Sounds like you were going in there about the same time I worked at Carlsbro.

Quite probably! Used to go to Carlsbro in Mansfield when they made the amps in the buildings at the back I think. Bought a few guitars there as well as amps. Great shops and the staff were always good too. Sheffield branch was at the top of a long hill if I remember correctly? Coming from Hull, we got used to doing the music shops in Sheffield, Doncaster, Leeds etc.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, casapete said:

Quite probably! Used to go to Carlsbro in Mansfield when they made the amps in the buildings at the back I think. Bought a few guitars there as well as amps. Great shops and the staff were always good too. Sheffield branch was at the top of a long hill if I remember correctly? Coming from Hull, we got used to doing the music shops in Sheffield, Doncaster, Leeds etc.

Yeah, 720 City Road.  I was the annoying chocolate starfish with long curly hair.

Ok, I love the profanity filter 😁

Sorry, I've got to see what it changes this to...

nasty pasty

 

Edited by KahunaNui
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Posted (edited)

I feel goaded into a voyage of profanity filter discovery: .... chocolate starfish pink torpedo nasty pasty silly billy Pie*s M*rg*n flipper Scunthorpe .... Quite pleased to have unearthed Pie*s M*rg*n

Edited by Ricky Rioli
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14 hours ago, EssentialTension said:

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.

I bought a Ricky in about 1978 (on HP) that had those on, I thought they were horrible! They seemed like someone had wrapped bakofoil  around them, I changed them straight away n binned them!!!!

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Posted (edited)

I did read that the first flatwound strings were actually Polished and smoothed rounds, the Flat winding didn’t come until later , not sure how true that is 🙂

Edited by Reggaebass
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On 06/03/2021 at 23:09, 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

Yes, but according to the Bank of England's Inflation calculator, that Jazz bass cost the equivalent of £2,319.15  today! P bass a snip at £1,931.57

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IME the easiest way to get flat-wound strings in the 70s (at least from the mid 70s onwards) was to buy a bass with them already fitted. I seem to recall that my local musical instrument shop had a couple of sets from either Picato or Rotosound lurking at the bottom of the miscellaneous string drawer, and that was it. If you wanted a set that wasn't at least 5 years old you'd have to order them specially.

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21 hours ago, EssentialTension said:

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.

I just came across this.  You're right about the strings fitted to Ric basses back then

http://www.rickenbacker.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=15631

 

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22 hours ago, BigRedX said:

IME the easiest way to get flat-wound strings in the 70s (at least from the mid 70s onwards) was to buy a bass with them already fitted. I seem to recall that my local musical instrument shop had a couple of sets from either Picato or Rotosound lurking at the bottom of the miscellaneous string drawer, and that was it. If you wanted a set that wasn't at least 5 years old you'd have to order them specially.

Spot on. All Fenders, Rics, Gibsons etc came with flatwounds on. Your first task getting a bass home was to change the strings! First new bass I bought which came with roundwounds already on was an Aria SB1000 in 1979.

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3 minutes ago, EMG456 said:

Spot on. All Fenders, Rics, Gibsons etc came with flatwounds on. Your first task getting a bass home was to change the strings! First new bass I bought which came with roundwounds already on was an Aria SB1000 in 1979.

Same here but mine was an SB700 probably 81ish . Wish I had held on to it!!! Much better for what I was doing than the Ricky

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11 minutes ago, EMG456 said:

Your first task getting a bass home was to change the strings!

Why’s that, is it because they were flats or because the strings wasn’t very good then 

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1 hour ago, EMG456 said:

First new bass I bought which came with roundwounds already on was an Aria SB1000 in 1979.

Hayman 4040 for me ... 1974/5

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5 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

Why’s that, is it because they were flats or because the strings wasn’t very good then 

For Me it they weren't the sound I wanted we saw flats as old guys strings. Plus with the "amps" we had (50w was big) you needed everything you had to cut through! And Rotosound had good adverts LOL

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8 minutes ago, BoomTing said:

For Me it they weren't the sound I wanted we saw flats as old guys strings. Plus with the "amps" we had (50w was big) you needed everything you had to cut through! And Rotosound had good adverts LOL

Cheers, that makes sense about cutting through 

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On 10/03/2021 at 10:27, Reggaebass said:

Why’s that, is it because they were flats or because the strings wasn’t very good then 

At the time rounds were taken to be new fresh and cool which in a certain sense they were - particularly the marketing of Rotosound Swing bass - such that there was quite strong peer group pressure to use rounds. The limitations of much bass amplification to compete with guitars and drums meant most of us couldn’t hear ourselves and the overtones of rounds  may have helped with that.

On the other hand I suspect many if not most professionals were still using flatwounds.

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Round about '79 or '80 I started using Superwounds (the ones with the bare core wire over the bridge, like piano strings) on the Stingray, and really liked them.

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4 hours ago, EssentialTension said:

At the time rounds were taken to be new fresh and cool which in a certain sense they were - particularly the marketing of Rotosound Swing bass - such that there was quite strong peer group pressure to use rounds. The limitations of much bass amplification to compete with guitars and drums meant most of us couldn’t hear ourselves and the overtones of rounds  may have helped with that.

On the other hand I suspect many if not most professionals were still using flatwounds.

I think it highly unlikely virtually anyone other than maybe a handful of sessions musicians doing recording all day would be using flats. 

Every genre I can think of (rock, prog, punk, funk, disco etc etc) was using a brighter bass sound in the late 70s and 80s.

You are definitely right about the amplification - I couldn't hear myself until I bought a used HH 100 watt amp and Carlsboro 1 X 15 cabinet. Later I bought a used Acoustic 301/370 - I used the head with the Carlsboro on all but the largest gigs but I could definitely hear myself with those set ups. The use of round wounds was not only because of hearing your self though. 

The thuddy flatwould sound was about as far removed from everything you might hear from Louis Johnson, Stanley Clarke, the guy in Rose Royce etc etc and other bassists influencing people at that time as you can imagine. 

Notice there were no 10 inch bass speakers mentioned above either - those really became popular and widely available a bit later but facilitated that Mark King type sound. 

Flats have only really been popular again in the last 20 yrs or so - I know if I only had one bass, there is no way it would be fitted with flat wounds - as it is I have a couple so fitted and really enjoy them - maybe it's my early influences and the fact the earlier 60s were less of an influence on me owing to my age whereas the 70s and 80s were (and a golden age of bass and its importance in music), but the flat wound sound is more of a fun luxury than a necessity for me. 

PS what colour was your Woodroffes' P bass? My natural one mentioned was in Yardleys. 

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Many of us using roundwounds discovered we had to learn decent muting technique to stop strings from ringing which weren't being played and to control note length - that in turn led to successful extension of muting technique controlling over tones and mimicking that thuddy flats sound - whilst still having available the bright bass sound and searing slap sounds when wanted.

Nothing like a brand new set of Rotosound Swing Bass (although my nickel frets probably didn't share that love)!! 😯

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Agree with both posts drTStingray

The players You mention were influences from the Soul/jazz funk side but add to the like players from other genres and the percentage is higher. The muting was the main thing one learned, and new strings or boil them was the way.

Blimey You had some nice amps when You started out LOL 😁

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Well if anyone has all these flats from the 70s that no one wanted, I’ll have them 😁

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, BoomTing said:

Blimey You had some nice amps when You started out LOL 

I'd been playing a few years before them - struggling to hear myself with 50 watt valve amps!! The Carlsboro/HH sounded great but I went into considerable debt over the Acoustic set up - Carlsboro cab plus Acoustic (near 400 watt) plus new Stingray (another source of debt...) sounded pretty well excellent!! (And they all fitted in my Mini 1275 GT)!!! I was in quite decent soul/funk bands at that time having started in rock/blues/prog, and moved via jazz/rock and then jazz funk. 

5 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

Well if anyone has all these flats from the 70s that no one wanted, I’ll have them 😁

The point is in my experience virtually no one stocked them - and if they did, just a couple of packs. In that golden age of bass (bear in mind any Fender in any of the colours available on the right hand version could be had new left handed then - and even then shops were probably 80% guitar), and at a time when we had Wal, Alembic, Musicman, Yamaha, Ibanez, JD fairly new on the scene why would anyone want to effectively neuter their lively bass sound with flats? They also tended to have appalling tension comparatively (even now I will only use things like TI or EB Group 3 or Cobalt for flats - they are similar in tension to rounds). 

So I suspect in the UK there weren't a lot of packs gathering cob webs at the back of shops. 

As others have mentioned, a pack of bass strings was a big investment - I for one only changed mine if they were very dead or we were doing something more special like a video with recorded sound or similar - mostly I replaced individual strings as they broke (usually D or G) and you could buy individual bass strings everywhere then. I once had an A go mid gig on my Stingray on a dark stage at a uni I think - getting the string off via the strings through was tough - but trying to play disco without an A string really scrambled my brain Hahahaha!! Only surpassed by the drum stool breaking in about the third song in a set in a night club and the drummer disappearing head first, in reverse with legs in the air over the back of drum riser and stage - and no he didn't have a spare either........ used a chair from the club!! 

And if you want another sign of the times, one of my group of mate's father was a bit of a hoarder and amongst one source of great mirth amongst us, was him keeping a box of NOS valves 'just in case'!!' These were actually for radios and teles but you get the drift regarding anachronistic and out of date stuff at that time. 

Edited by drTStingray
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On 10/03/2021 at 10:27, Reggaebass said:

Why’s that, is it because they were flats or because the strings wasn’t very good then 

For me, because they were flats. I started playing bass because of guys like Chris Squire, John Entwhistle and the like. The full range sound and clarity of roundwounds was what I wanted. Moving on, all the funk and slap players also used rounds. The dull, thuddy, indistinct sounds of 1960s bass players were not for me. I have to say that I'm still the same. None of my basses are fitted with flatwound or tapewound strings. It's not that I dislike all flatwound tones but as soon as I play them, they don't feel or sound right to me. If I do follow this current trend, it would only be to use occasionally as an effect, essentially.

@drTStingray - +1 on all the old bass style amplification. First decent rig I found after many, many changes was the Acoustic 370/301 setup. Interesting in that it didn't have the full range highs that I liked but but it delivered in punch and projection way beyond anything else I had found to that point.

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