Bass guitar is a great instrument to play, especially electric bass. If you are in the bass world, you may have heard about different types of bass guitar strings – roundwound or flatwound, and may be wondering what exactly that means. In this article we’ll discuss roundwound vs flatwound strings and recommend the best flatwound bass strings.
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|D’Addario ECB81S Chromes Bass Guitar Strings, Light, 45-100, Short Scale||Check Price On Amazon|
|La Bella 760FS Stainless Steel Bass Guitar Strings, Perfectly Balanced Sets, Standard Tension – Perfect for Professional Bass Players||Check Price On Amazon|
|GHS Strings 4 Precision Flats, Stainless Steel Flatwound Bass Strings, 38″ Winding, Light (.045.095) (3025)||Check Price On Amazon|
|Ernie Ball Super Slinky Flatwound Bass Set, .045 – .100||Check Price On Amazon|
|Rotosound RS77LD Monel Flatwound 45 65 85 105 Bass Guitar Strings||Check Price On Amazon|
|Thomastik-Infeld JF364 Bass Guitar Strings: Jazz Flat Wounds 4-String Super Long Scale Set; P. Nickel Flats G, D, A, E Set||Check Price On Amazon|
|Jim Dunlop Flatwound Short Scale 45/105 Medium 4/SET Bass Guitar Strings (DBFS45105S)||Check Price On Amazon|
Roundwound vs Flatwound
Roundwound and flatwound strings look, feel, and sound different. This is because of the differences in their construction. Roundwound strings consist of a string that is wrapped tightly with round wire. This makes for a bumpier looking and feeling string. Flatwound strings, on the other hand, consist of a string wrapped around with a flattened wire, and leaves behind a smooth looking and feeling string.
Differences in Sound
How do roundwound and flatwound strings sound different? How do they each affect the sound your instrument produces?
Roundwound strings have a more balanced sound. They will sound brighter than flatwound strings, since flatwounds have a reduced high end. Flatwound strings emphasize the low and mid end. Some might say that flatwounds sound dull, since they don’t have that emphasis on the highs. Flatwounds sound softer and warmer, with more of a bassy boost.
Differences in Feel
Flatwound strings feel smoother to your fingers, since you don’t feel the wire that is wound around the core string. This might make it easier for your fingers to slide too far on the string if you are used to the feel of roundwound strings.
Roundwound strings are harder on your fingers and feel grittier. This is because you feel the bumps of the wire wrapping around the core string.
Flatwound strings will typically last longer than roundwound strings, because dirt and grit won’t be able to get stuck under the coils of the wire, as they would in a roundwound string.
Best Flatwound Bass Strings
Renowned string and accessory maker D’Addario knocked it out of the park with these flatwound strings. They are ribbon wound and polished for a warm, mellow tone and an ultra-smooth feel. These strings have a deep, rich low bottom end and a distinctive damped but tone-rich sound. This version fits a short scale bass with a scale length of up to 32 inches; there are also longer scale length versions.
La Bella 760FS Stainless Steel Bass Guitar Strings, Perfectly Balanced Sets, Standard Tension – Perfect for Professional Bass Players
These are some of the best selling flatwounds on the market. They are packaged with Modified Atmosphere Packaging technology to prevent tarnishing and ensure freshness. One reviewer calls these the best feeling and best sounding strings they ever tried. These also last a long time, and sound better and better as they age.
GHS Strings 4 Precision Flats, Stainless Steel Flatwound Bass Strings, 38″ Winding, Light (.045.095) (3025)
These flat wrapped stainless steel strings have a high volume and are polished to a satin smooth finish. They deliver a deep, percussive tone that you are sure to love. Each string is sealed in a nitrogen environment that eliminates all oxygen and guarantees straight-from-the-factory freshness.
These strings are wrapped with a cobalt ribbon for a superior sheen and feel. They have a comfortable tension and playability. These innovative strings feature the tonal quality of roundwounds with the silky smooth feel and fundamentals of flatwound strings. If you are looking specifically for the flat sound of flatwounds, these may not be for you, but otherwise they are great strings.
These strings are praised by Bass Player Magazine as their favorite flatwound string. Reviewers say these are the smoothest strings they have ever tried.These strings hold their tuning very well and have a lot of sustain. These are also a bit bright sounding for flatwound strings, sounding a bit more like roundwounds with a flatwound feel.
Thomastik-Infeld JF364 Bass Guitar Strings: Jazz Flat Wounds 4-String Super Long Scale Set; P. Nickel Flats G, D, A, E Set
These strings are handmade in Austria. They are a super-long 36 inch scale length. You can also buy them in shorter scale lengths, as well. The sound is warm and full, and most users feel that they are worth the expense (they cost a bit more than the other strings on this list.)
These stainless steel flatwound bass strings are made in the USA. They are a very comfortable low tension set of flatwounds, are easy to play, and have a nice, even brightness. The flatwound style makes them smooth and easy on the fingers. These are a set for a short scale bass; you can buy longer sets, as well.
Flatwound bass strings lend your instrument a totally different sound and feel. They are a flatter, deeper, more bassy sound, and are much smoother and easier on your fingers. Many players prefer flatwound strings, and even though the strings themselves are a bit more expensive than roundwound strings, they last a very long time so are worth the investment. You definitely can’t go wrong with a set of D’Addario or La Bella flatwounds, or Thomastik-Infeld strings if you are interested in splurging.
Enjoy your new strings, and happy playing!
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