Have you ever wondered how different types of strings will affect your performance as a bass guitar player?
Your guitar strings are one of the most important parts of your instrument. The quality of your strings will largely impact the type of sound that your instrument is producing.
Learning about the different types of bass guitar strings will help you to get a better understanding of how you can completely customize your sound as a bass guitar player. If you’re looking to try out a new set of strings on your instrument, you may have recently stumbled across Flat-wound bass guitar strings.
Besides the option to choose the gauge of your instruments, experimenting with flat-wound bass guitar strings will help you to develop a sound that’s unique to your personal playing preferences. That’s why I’ve scoured music stores and forms alike to discover the best flat-wound bass guitar strings that the industry has to offer.
Keep reading to learn more!
What are flat-wound bass guitar strings?
Many people are often put off by flat wound bass guitar strings because they’re much more expensive than round wound bass guitar strings. The best way to understand why you should invest in flat-wound bass guitar strings over round wound bass guitar strings is to understand how the construction of flat round bass guitar strings differs from round wound strings.
Both flat-wound bass guitar strings and round wound bass guitar strings use a wrapped wire around a core wire. The differences between a flat-wound bass guitar string and a round wound bass guitar string are how these wires are wrapped.
In round wound bass guitar strings, the wrap wire is a type of round wire. This makes it easier for you to feel the ridges of each individual wrap on your fingers as you’re playing. On the other hand, flat or round strings have that wrap wire flattened out, which makes it a little bit more difficult for you to feel the ridges in between the wraps.
Is there any difference in feel?
Before you even touch your first of thought wound bass guitar string, you’re going to notice a difference in the physical appearance between these two strings. You’ve likely already have touched round wound strings before, as this is a type of bass guitar string where you can feel the wraps of the wrapping wire. This is especially prevalent when you’re sliding your hands up and down to adjust note.
Flat-wound strings have a slick and fast feel to them. It’s common for people who switch over from a round wound string to a flat wound string too frequently overshoot notes whenever sliding their hands up and down at the neck of the guitar. Most musicians find that they have to recalibrate their playing style when using flat round strings until they’re able to readjust to the faster feel of the Tempest ring.
In this situation, the fuel of flat-wound strings vs round wound strings will greatly depend on your personal preferences. Roundwound strings offer extra friction, which is important if you were somebody that has problems with your hand sweating while you’re playing.
However, other musicians will choose flat-wound strings because they’re not as hard on their hands when you’re playing bass guitar for an extended period of time.
Is there a sound difference?
Whether you enjoy playing with your bass guitar with a pick or with your fingers, there is a sound difference between round wound bass guitar strings and flat-wound bass guitar strings.
Roundwound strings have a balanced sound, with a combination of a mid-range character, attention to high-end, with the complimentary low-end thump at the end of a note. On the other hand, flat wound guitar strings produce an emphasis on lows and mids.
What about distortion or overdrive?
If you’re in a position that plays your bass guitar with overdrive or distortion, you should consider the type of string that you’re playing with even more. This is because round wound guitar strings tend to have harmonic overtones, especially when compared to flat-wound guitar strings that are of the same string gauge and at the same length.
When you’re playing with overdrive or distortion isn’t your guitar, the sound that you’re creating is a combination of the harmonic content that your strings are delivering it to the pedal or amplifier, as well as the harmonic content that you were pedal or other game that stages are creating. When you’re playing with round wound strings, you will have more harmonic content that’s delivered to the amp or pedal.
As a result, this will mean that more harmonics will be delivered to the amp or pedal. On the other hand, with flat-wound strings, your pedals and amp are responsible for delivering harmonica content.
What are tape wound bass guitar strings?
If you’ve been searching for bass guitar strings for a while, you may have run into a type of string referred to as a tape wound bass guitar string. A tape wound bass guitar string is referred to as a tape wound strength because of the construction of the guitar string.
Instead of using a flattened metal wrap wire, the tape wound bass guitar string uses a non-metal material, like nylon. Using nylon then produces a mellow sound that is drastically different than the average flat-wound string. Also, many people who use a tape wound bass guitar string note that the feel of this type of string is a lot faster than a metal flat-wound bass guitar strings.
However, it’s important that you know that the sounds that a tape on bass guitar string produces aren’t universal. The sound that the type of guitar strings produces is best used for styles of music that are looking for a based on that produces a lot of work.
Many people who enjoy using tape wound bass guitar strings enjoy using them because they don’t corrode in the same way that strings that are wrapped in metal do, which means that the investment in these strings will last a lot longer than metal-based guitar strings.
How do you buy the right flat wound bass strings?
When you’re choosing a set of flat-wound bass guitar strings, it’s important for you to consider your ultimate tone goal. Are you interested in purchasing strings that’ll help you to develop a growl to your sound or more of a sump? You also need to consider other important factors such as scale length and string tension.
String tension will affect the way that your bass guitar feels when you’re playing it and the sound that it produces. The heavier gauge of string that you go with, the more tension will be necessary to produce certain pictures on your guitar.
When you’re shopping around for flat-wound bass guitar strings, it’s also important for you to consider the body of your instrument. This is because certain types of fret length won’t respond well to higher string tensions.
Making sure that your neck is stabilized with a truss rod is essential to ensure the stability of your neck before you begin experimenting with heavy-gauge flat-wound bass guitar strings.
What are the best flat-wound bass guitar strings on the market?
Whether you’re new to playing bass guitar or you’re simply looking to cut down on the necessary time that it takes to research a high-quality guitar string, it’s important that you know about the best flat-wound bass guitar strings on the market. Let’s take a closer look at our top recommendations:
Rotosound Swing Bass 66
This flat-wound bass guitar string is a great option if you’re playing a fretless bass. Not only are the Rotosound Swing Bass 66 strings versatile and easily playable, for musicians of all levels of experience, but they also have a tough composition comprised of stainless steel.
In addition, Rotosound Swing Bass 66 strings produce bright tones complimented with fat sounds while producing a clear tone.
Many people who have used the Rotosound Swing Bass 66 Stray Strings have articulated that the harmonics that this type of string produces give it a piano-like sound.
Due to their stainless steel construction, you should invest in these strings if you are looking for bass guitar strings that are resistant to corrosion, protecting your investment for a long period of time.
If you don’t have any experience playing bass guitar, you may find that the Rotosound Swing Bass 66 strings feel a bit rough on your hands. However, if you’re looking for strings that will provide you with an aggressive, yet bright sound, these are the strings that you want to look at.
Dunlop Super Bright Nickel
Dunlop Super Bright NickelBass guitar strings are great for bass guitars that are looking for a dark sound that leans a little more on the jazzy side. The lower tension that this Dunlop Super Bright Nickel Rings offer makes them great for people who are just starting out playing bass guitar.
Plus, the composition of the strings makes them highly durable and will last a long time, because they are plated in nickel and steel. The Dunlop Super Bright Nickel strings focus on producing defined and clear highs, while producing a high-quality and punchy mid-range.
Ernie Ball Extra Slinky Flat Wound bass string
If you’re playing on a vintage guitar, you may be looking for ways to reduce how much damage is occurring to your fretboard. The Ernie Ball Extra Slinky flat wound bass guitar strings are brighter than the traditional flat-wound strings, which is important if you’re looking to develop a unique tone.
These Ernie Ball Extra Slinky flat wound bass guitar strings are wrapped and cobalt ribbon wrap, which helps to produce super bright and tones that set them apart from other flat-wound bass guitar strings.
Due to the playability of the Ernie Ball Extra Slinky flat wound bass guitar strings, these strings make a great addition for both professional and beginning players.
La Bella 760FS Deep Talkin’ Bass
If you’re looking to develop an old-school tone with your bass guitar, you may want to consider looking into La Bella 760FS Deep Talkin’ bass guitar strings. the tone of these dreams produces can be described as Punchy and full.
When you first start playing, you may notice that there’s a brightness to the strings, but this will only last during the period that you’re breaking your strings in for.
The more that you play on the La Bella 760FS Deep Talkin’ bass guitar strings, the more that you will develop a warm sump that is commonly associated with old school rock. Keep in mind that these guitar strings do have high tension to them, which is what makes it easier for musicians to dig in when they’re playing this guitar.
Elixir Strings Nickel Plated Steel 5-String Bass Strings with NANOWEB Coating
The Elixir Strings Nickel Plated Steel 5-String Bass Strings with NANOWEB Coating are great strings to invest in if you’re looking to produce a sound with your bass guitar that’s perfect for metal. Not only do these strings repel debris and sweat, but they also offer better dirt ability, as well as Group, which is essential for metal musicians.
Since the Elixir Strings Nickel Plated Steel 5-String Bass Strings with NANOWEB Coating are plated with nickel, it produces a natural and smooth feel, making it easy for metal musicians to slide up and down the fret. Plus, these strings are wonderful if you were looking for a rounded and Rich sound that has a heavy mid-range focus on it.
There is a very thin NANOWEB coating on these strings, which improves the longevity of these strings, which also helps to improve the stability of tuning. The biggest complaint that many musicians have about these strings is that the sound that the strings produce is a lot better when it’s hooked up to an amplifier.
Flatwound bass guitar strings FAQ
Answer: Flatwound bass guitar strings are great to use if you’re looking to develop a sound that’s heavy with bass. If roundwound bass guitar strings are just aren’t cutting it for you anymore, you should look into getting flatwound bass guitar strings.
Flatwound strings are able to produce a heavier bass sound, as well as harmonics, and hihg-end overtones than their roundwound counterparts.
Answer: This type of bass guitar strings will last between five to six months, if you play on a daily basis. You may find that they last even longer if you don’t have sweaty hands, don’t do a lot of bending when you play, or if you have a lighter touch.
If this is the case with you, then you may find that your strings last even longer. The only reason why you may want to consider switching them out in this situation is if you notice that the strings start to produce a duller sound than before.
Answer: Yes, you can slap this type of string! In fact, there are some brands of flatwound bass guitar strings that are built with slapping in mind.
Which strings are best for you?
As with any addition to your sound, it’s important for you to experiment with different flat wound bass guitar strings. This is so that you can understand how the strings feel on your hands, as well as how the different types of strings will produce a different sound on your guitar.
Alizabeth Swain is a freelance content writer and a passionate musician with nine years of musical training. Alizabeth is on a mission to share her passion for music with others, as she believes that the power of music has the ability to change lives and the world. When she’s not writing, you can find her fashion blogging on her YouTube channel or creating new products for her cruelty-free cosmetic company.