Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby Walknbluez » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:03 pm

I'm currently using D'Addario Chrome flatwounds on my Fender P-bass for my GD band that plays acoustic (ala Reckoning) and electric sets as well as for my JGB band. I then adjust EQ and tone to get the Phil or John Khan sound I'm looking for. I really like the 70's Phil tone, both the '71 - '74 as well as '77 - '79 and that era works for me since I play a four string. My E string is coming unraveled a bit a the nut and so it's time to change them so I figured this may be a good time to try a different string. I know Rusty has recommended flats with a P for early Phil tone. But I am curious about halfrounds, especially since that is what Phil currently uses. The chromes also are nice and warm but the low end doesn't seem as deep as it could be (although maybe that is due to the tube amp I'm using?). So I'm wondering if anyone uses halfrounds, and if so, have you used them on a P-bass and also if anyone can give a comparison on chrome flatwounds vs. TI flats?
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby zambiland » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:52 pm

Chromes are very far from the kind of strings that Phil used back in the day. Before you go to half rounds, I'd suggest checking out either Thomastik Jazz Flats or Pyramid Gold flats first. Very different feel and tone. Phil used the Pyramids through the early 70s and they get that tone. Chromes do not. But they are idiosyncratic as hell. Thomastiks are in the same ballpark but less eccentric.

Both sound much better to me than halfrounds, but that's just me.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:46 am

I love thomastiks but they only make the long scale in .40 to .100 last I checked and I just can't play strings that light on a 34".

I love Pyramids but they tend to have a completely dead low E right out of the package. It's perfect for that Hoffner-era Beatles sound but I found it frustrating since the other 3 strings are just exactly perfect. First strings I've changed out before they were dead in years. Worth a try though, would really help nail that sound.

Ironically I'm struggling mightily with my current P whenever I find myself playing Phil on it. It's an American Special neck on a Warmoth alder body with EMG PA pickup in the P spot and a custom EMG35 soapbar in the bridge, and a 4-band EQ on board. You'd think with all that I could be happy but I just can't find it. My older P did a nicer job with almost the exact same neck and body, EMG PAX and BTB-01 2-band EQ. Main differences are, the older P had a rosewood fretboard and Fender stainless-steel flats, my new one has a maple fretboard and LaBella Deep Talkin' flats, which I prefer overall. I think the problem might just be setup-related as the AM Special neck could really use a fret dressing right from the factory.

Anyway, all that tangent aside, I would also most definitely use flats rather than half-rounds or Chromes for early Phil. The question is which flats, and LaBellas are my go-to on Fenders - but I just primarily want a Jamerson/Kahn sound. Still, I'd give them a shot, great string, available in a lot of gauges, and a bit more budget-friendly.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby Walknbluez » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:01 pm

Are these the Thomastiks everyone refers to? http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessor ... ss-strings

Also, the chromes are bright for flatwounds which is what I'm looking for. How do these others compare? I'm having a hard time imagining a '71 or '72 Phil sound on flatwounds that are geared more toward sounding like Jamerson/Khan.

I don't necessarily have to nail that '70's Phil tone either. Just something that will be Phil like, any era, and versatile so that I can also get a Khan sound.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby ugly rumor » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:46 pm

I have used D'Addario half-rounds for the last 10-12 years, and I like them; that being said, when I find what I like, I cease to search, so there may be better out there. The biggest drawback to me is that on a 34 1/2 inch scale, the "E" string cannot be strung through the body. For an approximation of sound, go to the song forums and listen to the "Eyes Of The World" I played at open mike, although that will give you a better idea of how I play than what I sound like with my own rig.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby seanc » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:52 am

I have Thomastiks on my Ren bass.. And Pyramids on my beatles bass and cheap whatevers on my 51p. they are all very very different.
The Thomastiks have a really unique tone. they are bright, very low tension and sound really like nothing else. They really cut through the mix and are much more modern sounding.

The pyramids, have a very thumpy type tone that (to me) capture that early phil and 60s bass type tone. they are much darker but cut through well. They sit in the mix differently than anything else. they are deep sounding but present.

The cheapies on the P.. sound good, sit ok in the mix, but tend (to my ears) to get a be muddy and seem to put the bass into the drum (bass drum and toms) field.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby seanc » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:04 am

seanc wrote:I have Thomastiks on my Ren bass.DR sunbeams on a Campellone . And Pyramids on my beatles bass and cheap whatevers on my 51p. they are all very very different.
The Thomastiks have a really unique tone. they are bright, very low tension and sound really like nothing else. They really cut through the mix and are much more modern sounding.

The pyramids, have a very thumpy type tone that (to me) capture that early phil and 60s bass type tone. they are much darker but cut through well. They sit in the mix differently than anything else. they are deep sounding but present. They also have this odd tendency to produce some phase shifting type sound, odd but cool. and the E string is definitely different sounding than the other 3 strings, no getting around that.

Sunbeams... to me these are like half rounds. They are flati-ish while still maintaining a round-ish sound. they are somewhere in the middle. Have not played this bass in a group setting with these strings, so really can not speak to how they sit in a mix. I like them. But, would not buy them again.

The cheapies on the P.. sound good, sit ok in the mix, but tend (to my ears) to get a be muddy and seem to put the bass into the drum (bass drum and toms) field.
Worcester/ Providence area Bass player, looking to hook up and play some tunes!!
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby Walknbluez » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:03 pm

ugly rumor wrote:I have used D'Addario half-rounds for the last 10-12 years, and I like them; that being said, when I find what I like, I cease to search, so there may be better out there. The biggest drawback to me is that on a 34 1/2 inch scale, the "E" string cannot be strung through the body. For an approximation of sound, go to the song forums and listen to the "Eyes Of The World" I played at open mike, although that will give you a better idea of how I play than what I sound like with my own rig.


I can't find the Eyes that you played. Can you give me a link?
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby zambiland » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:32 pm

DR flats might be a good compromise between Thomastiks and the higher tension flats.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby Walknbluez » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:39 pm

Zambiland, would that be the DR Sunbeams referred to above? Are they on the brighter side? any idea how they compare to Chromes? And finally, do Thomastiks really cost $72??!
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby ugly rumor » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:04 pm

try this, for the link; viewtopic.php?f=73&t=13292

I used DRs for many years before trying Rotos, Fenders, EBs and finally the D'Addarios, which pleased me immensely. That may have had something to do with the strings in between, but I have stuck with them ever since. DRs got to be too bright for my ears, which was why I experimented.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby zambiland » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:16 pm

Walknbluez wrote:Zambiland, would that be the DR Sunbeams referred to above? Are they on the brighter side? any idea how they compare to Chromes? And finally, do Thomastiks really cost $72??!



Nope, DR makes some flats. I'm not sure of the model name, I think they are on the website. Not as bright as the Chromes, lower tension, but more tension than the T-I's.

And while the T-I strings list at $72, there are plenty of places to get them for far less than that.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:51 am

Walknbluez wrote:Also, the chromes are bright for flatwounds which is what I'm looking for. How do these others compare? I'm having a hard time imagining a '71 or '72 Phil sound on flatwounds that are geared more toward sounding like Jamerson/Khan.


Jamerson, Kahn and early Phil all used similar strings. The main tonal differences are scale length, pick vs fingerstyle, and approach to the instrument IMHO.
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby Walknbluez » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:10 pm

Rusty the Scoob wrote:
Walknbluez wrote:Also, the chromes are bright for flatwounds which is what I'm looking for. How do these others compare? I'm having a hard time imagining a '71 or '72 Phil sound on flatwounds that are geared more toward sounding like Jamerson/Khan.


Jamerson, Kahn and early Phil all used similar strings. The main tonal differences are scale length, pick vs fingerstyle, and approach to the instrument IMHO.


With the chromes, I can a tone I like by EQ'ing out some bass and increasing mids and treble. With my Dead band, I play with a pick and with my Jerry band I play fingerstyle. I think the chromes are the extra long and the strings go through the body. But since I may have to change strings anyway, I was looking at alternatives. I just don't know if I want to plop down $60 to give the Thomastiks a try!
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Re: Flatwounds or halfrounds?

Postby zambiland » Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:04 am

Rusty the Scoob wrote:
Walknbluez wrote:Also, the chromes are bright for flatwounds which is what I'm looking for. How do these others compare? I'm having a hard time imagining a '71 or '72 Phil sound on flatwounds that are geared more toward sounding like Jamerson/Khan.


Jamerson, Kahn and early Phil all used similar strings. The main tonal differences are scale length, pick vs fingerstyle, and approach to the instrument IMHO.


With all due respect to my brother in bass, I'm not sure I agree. From what I know, Jamerson used LaBella flats, which are very different from Pyramids. I don't really know what Kahn used.

Anyway, flats are the bomb!
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