Short-scale bass -- flatwounds or tapewounds?

srblue5

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I ordered an Ibanez TMB30 (short-scale Talman-shaped bass) on a whim about a month ago and was told it would arrive sometime next year. With my previous luck, I expected to find out next year that they discontinued it or something. Instead, I got a phone call earlier today saying that it just arrived. :eek:

The shop I ordered it at offers a free setup so I'm deciding on what strings to put on it. I mostly play blues, country, and rock 'n' roll from the '40s to '70s (roughly speaking), so I generally like the sound of the flatwound bass strings they used on those classic sides (when they were using an electric bass as opposed to an upright).

However, I've been reading about tapewound strings and wondering if I should give those a go.

Any ideas/suggestions as to which of the two (flatwounds or tapewounds) might be better on a short-scale bass for a retro music-loving guitar player and sometimes bassist?
 

srblue5

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Go with flat wounds. Unless you need something bright (and I am not getting that from your description), flats are just so fun to play.

A short scale bass is thuddier than a 34" bass; not necessarily a bad thing.

Yeah, I’m not into bright bass sounds.

Do tapewounds sound brighter than flats? Or were you referring to flats vs. roundwounds?
 

Killing Floor

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Thingy about tapes is if you have any grounding noise at all the touching the strings won’t help if they’re tapes. But what do you like? My favorite flats that are on my short scale now are TI Jazz Flats. They cost a bunch so if you’re not sure I’d never recommend them to someone on the fence about flats. Plus they are really low tension so you have to adjust your playing a little. But they sound fantastic.

If you like the old school thump sound try Roto 77s or LaBella deep talking bass or even Dad Xl Chromes. I’d also say if you’re not used to flats, a lot of them start out feeling sticky and some sound really bright forms few days. Whatever you get make sure you sick it up and give them a week or so. Good luck. There’s no single right string.
 

Dave W

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I have D'addario Tapewounds on both my short scales. They work better than flatwounds for me. YMMV.
 

BobbyMac

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When I bought my Rogue Violin Bass the original round wounds were just way too bright. I bought a set of LaBella Beatle Bass Flatwounds and the transformation was incredible. If you go flatwounds, you can't beat LaBella for my money.
 

Leonardocoate

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Flats are nice to play, I am sure you will not regret. I have no experience with the tapes...they could be awesome as well....I always thought they where for a stand up base or acoustic...
 

Maguchi

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I ordered an Ibanez TMB30 (short-scale Talman-shaped bass) on a whim about a month ago and was told it would arrive sometime next year. With my previous luck, I expected to find out next year that they discontinued it or something. Instead, I got a phone call earlier today saying that it just arrived. :eek:

The shop I ordered it at offers a free setup so I'm deciding on what strings to put on it. I mostly play blues, country, and rock 'n' roll from the '40s to '70s (roughly speaking), so I generally like the sound of the flatwound bass strings they used on those classic sides (when they were using an electric bass as opposed to an upright).

However, I've been reading about tapewound strings and wondering if I should give those a go.

Any ideas/suggestions as to which of the two (flatwounds or tapewounds) might be better on a short-scale bass for a retro music-loving guitar player and sometimes bassist?
I would go with flatwounds for that traditional sound if you're playing '40s to '70s music. That said, I don't have any experience with tapewounds or know how they will sound compared to flatwounds. I play mostly round wounds when I play either long scale or shortscale bass. If you don't like the flats after playing them awhile, you can always change up.
 

EsquireOK

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Tapes are usually very low in tension, especially the E string, and it's even more severe on a short scale. They have their uses, but they really takes some getting used to. Flats would be a more "standard" set to start with.

Also, keep in mind that tapes are very low output strings. Most of them are narrow gauge round wounds underneath the tape (though a set or two uses narrow gauge flats below, e.g. the GHSs, except the G string, which is a round-wound below). In other words, they do not have a lot of mass, leading to lower tension and lower output. Classic style flats are very high output, having round cores and minimal to no gaps between the windings, i.e. very massive strings.

Tapes are great for emulating the attack and decay of upright bass strings, but not as your general purpose mid-century pop/rock bass strings.

FWIW, when I use tapes, I buy a five string set, and throw away the E string. I use the B for the E string instead. Much better clarity on the E that way, and a much more balanced feel from string to string.
 
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JohnnyCrash

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I recently tried flats vs. tapes. For all of the reasons already listed by Killing Floor and EsquireOK, I immediately went back to flatwounds.

Tapewounds are for very specific things. They have low output (pickup is looking at a tiny magnetic disturbance, since the nylon outer-wind isn’t ferrous material), ground noise (the actual metal core of the string is insulated from finding ground through your fingers via electric coupling of string, bridge, and fingers).

Now that I’ve realized I dislike roundwounds and tapewounds, it’s easy for me to shop for strings… especially since flats can last years, even decades.
 

drmmrr55

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I ordered an Ibanez TMB30 (short-scale Talman-shaped bass) on a whim about a month ago and was told it would arrive sometime next year. With my previous luck, I expected to find out next year that they discontinued it or something. Instead, I got a phone call earlier today saying that it just arrived. :eek:

The shop I ordered it at offers a free setup so I'm deciding on what strings to put on it. I mostly play blues, country, and rock 'n' roll from the '40s to '70s (roughly speaking), so I generally like the sound of the flatwound bass strings they used on those classic sides (when they were using an electric bass as opposed to an upright).

However, I've been reading about tapewound strings and wondering if I should give those a go.

Any ideas/suggestions as to which of the two (flatwounds or tapewounds) might be better on a short-scale bass for a retro music-loving guitar player and sometimes bassist?

I like the LaBella's, that's what I have on my Hofner Ignition. Although I have no experience with tape wounds, I just finished bingeing on The Beatles "Get back" film, and in it, McCartney used tape wounds on his Hofner, and it sounded terrific!
 

screefer

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LaBella short scale Low-Tension flats sound and play great on my shorty Jag.
You've made your decision?
 

Devanatha

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You can't go wrong with Thomastik-Infeld flatwounds. They last forever, are very easy to play, and sound stellar. They might seem bright just after putting them on, but in a few days, they'll sound just right.
 

Bassman8

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I've tried an almost embarrassing amount of stings for my short scales. I eliminated rounds pretty quickly though. I just couldn't get with tapewounds. It's easy to get good low end on a decent short scale, the object to me is less boom and more definition on the E and A strings. I ended up using higher tension flats (Chromes) which have a nice bit of snap. To me the sonic gains were well worth the adjustment to stiffer strings. That's just my experience of course.
 

PARCO

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I have Labella Low Tension flats on my Hofner Club bass. The Thomastik flats are great strings but very $$. The Labella's give a great fundamental bass tone and are reasonably priced. Overall I feel like the bass chooses what strings it wants. It will tell you what string will sound best but it's a matter of testing until you find the right one.
 
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