Staying Sharp About Flatwounds
Flatwound strings have been around since the invention of the electric bass guitar. Clear back in 1951, the Fender Precision bass came stock with flatwounds. To say they have been a major part of rock ‘n roll would be a monumental understatement! Roundwound strings wouldn’t become the dominant string of choice until the 1980’s. And now we are experiencing a real comeback of this classic sounding string.
The list of artists who use(d) flatwounds strings is a veritable list of whoes-who of rock and roll. Names include Bill Black (Elvis), James Jamerson, Paul McCartney, Chris Squire, Carol Kaye, John Paul Jones, Steve Harris (Iron Maiden), and many more. You name the artist in the 50’s, 60’s and much of the 70’s and you can be dang sure he/she were using flatwound strings.
Flatwounds have a deeper, mellower sound than roundwounds that have been used across the musical spectrum including reggae, country, blues, jazz, roots rock and many indie bands have jumped on board as well. Many producers love the sound of flatwounds which eliminate the “squeak” (finger noise) when recording, plus they are easier on your frets, not to mention your fingers! And if they don’t have enough “growl” for you, there are now more modern sounding flats like the Ernie Ball Slinky Flatwound strings that have a cobalt underwrap and ribbon that return much of the punch of a roundwound string while retaining the feel of flats.
Do yourself a favor and try some on one of your basses today!
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