View Poll Results: What FLATWOUND strings do you use/prefer?

469. You may not vote on this poll
  • D'Addario

    173 36.89%
  • D'Angelico

    2 0.43%
  • DR Strings

    7 1.49%
  • Galli

    3 0.64%
  • GHS

    14 2.99%
  • Pyramid

    17 3.62%
  • Rotosound

    5 1.07%
  • Thomastic

    248 52.88%
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  1. #51

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    I using my stock of Gibson Flat Wires SEG - 1040ML(discontinued) , very nice sounds

    What flatwound string do you use/prefer?-gibson-flat-wires-jpg


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  3. #52
    TommyD Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett
    Among the variety of flat-wound strings, I would choose the same as I would from among the variety of solid state amps: none.
    I can't get over people using flat-wound strings because round-wounds hurt their fingers, an excuse I have had to stomach from faint hearted beginners.
    If you want strings that sound dull right out of the box choose flat wounds.
    The majority of players don't reject round-wounds because they "hurt their fingers". They choose flat wounds because round wounds whistle when you slide. Can you imagine Joe Pass playing round wounds with his glissando technique? If he were forced to play on round-wounds we would not have had "Joe Pass".

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett
    I can't get over people using flat-wound strings because round-wounds hurt their fingers, an excuse I have had to stomach from faint hearted beginners.

    If you want strings that sound dull right out of the box choose flat wounds.
    I guess benson and rodney jones are just faint hearted then.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    I guess benson and rodney jones are just faint hearted then.
    Wes too.

    For me D'Addario Chrome 11-50 work fine and are always easy to find. Sometimes I like to exchange a 12 and 16 for the top strings, but I really don't care for anything over a 50 on the bottom.

  6. #55
    TommyD Guest
    Reading through this thread is interesting! One thinks D'addarios are too bright, another thinks they are "dead". Some like TI's because they last long, someone else thinks they need to be replaced too soon. "TI's have the best sustain." "TI's have a flat sound."
    "Pyramids are wonderful." "I don't care for Pyramids."
    Here's my $0.02. I don't think that Pyramid strings are that much better (if they're better at all!) to be worth $26 bucks a set plus shipping. Same for TI's. I bought a set of famous, "best-in-the-world" Hannabachs for my nylon guitar. As my sainted mother used to say, "mBeh!"
    I think I'm a bread and butter man. For jazz, I like D'addarios, LaBellas, and Gibsons (too bad about them!)
    But you know what? Who gives a damn what kind of strings I like! And your right!

  7. #56

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    Well, if you look at the poll results you get a pretty clear picture: the overwhelming winners are D'addarrio and Thomastik-Infeld.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyD
    I bought a set of famous, "best-in-the-world" Hannabachs for my nylon guitar. As my sainted mother used to say, "mBeh!"
    . . .speaking of Hannabachs--it is well-known that they are one of the highest-tension strings on the market. Thicker trebles--even in their low-tension set, and, yes, I agree with your sainted mother--"mBeh!"

    Of course (as a disclaimer), someone else will love them, YMMV, etc. That's fine.

  9. #58

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    Played D'Addario for years and I mean years! Tried all similar types but always back to D'Adds.They retain their brightness and playability and are good value.Bought some last week @£8 deld.Thought a good price for a quality product.

  10. #59

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    I changed the round wounds on my Godin Kingpin for D'A 12-52 Chromes when I bought it and it improved the amplified tone a lot. Put on a set of 13-56 yesterday and it's even better.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyPac
    I'm using round-wound these days. I like GHS... I'm going to try GHS bright flats 11's. Might be Goldilocks.
    I just posted a mini-review of the GHS Brite Flats. I tried them this weekend and ended up ordering a case this morning.

    What flatwound string do you use/prefer?-ghs-brite-flat-strings-jpg

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster
    I answered D'Addarios, 'cause that's what I'm currently using; but I want to try some of the TI's, since y'all rave about them so much!
    I've used both D'Addarios and TIs most of the time, but a friend whose opinion I value highly has just raved to me about Pyramids. So even though they're 25 buck at just strings, I'm gonna give them a try.

  13. #62

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    I play DR, and have used the same selection of DRs for years on my 2 solid-bodies that I play mainly for rock.

    They stay in tune take alot of abuse and last a while, not to mention gave me a sound i like. So when i was looking for a set of flats to put on my semi, i stayed with DR and just have not been disappointed enough to want to try something else.

    Some would say i didn't know better cause I didn't shop around, but DR has always done me good over the years as a brand and they are not overly expensive.

    What flatwound string do you use/prefer?-dr-flatwound-strings-png

  14. #63

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    I didn't even know DR made flats!

    I used DR's exclusively back in the day when I used round wound strings and played rock-ish music...had really good luck with them..I might have to check out their flatter offerings...

  15. #64

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    But then, I like the dark sounds of the late-40's/50's club-style ... sort of similar to Oscar Moore, and also played by the man I worked for in his music store, who'd been a jazzer afore getting married back about the early 50's. Incredible player.

    When I first put the 'chromes on, I was disappointed, it was such a DARK sound, and they felt almost sticky. Played them for a bit, put it down ... came back the next day, the uber-darkness wasn't as bad, and after playing a while, they lost the 'sticky' feel and became very smooth to slide up and down ... and moved into a great blend of dark/bright for my taste, guitar, and little amp/speaker.


  16. #65

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    I like Pyramids when I can find them. I think they're slightly brighter than T.I. "Swings," which are cheaper anyways.

    Not every guitar I've had can withstand flatwounds and not get muddy in the bass when I'm trying to get the trebles fluffy.

    My Gretsch with single coils does well with flatwounds.

  17. #66
    I use chromes, since they have a long lifetime and i like how they feel and finaly I like the sound of this strings. I switching between 13. and 12. , but lately I realize that 12. are sounding better with effects.

    on my 2 solidbodies I have TI bebop 12. and other nickelwound rounds 11.

    But the TI flats don't work at all for me.

  18. #67

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    TI Swing 13 are great for arch-top jazz boxes.
    ...but if I like to sound more moderne I use TI Be-bop 13's.
    All TI 13's are perfect for my style of playing on arch-top jazz guitar.

  19. #68

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    After a few weeks of using TI Swings on my 5th Ave, I really like how they sound and feel. The initial brightness settled down after a few days and they sound quite mellow. I have ordered a set of TI Bensons to try on the Imperial.

  20. #69

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    I'm now using TI Swing .011s and I prefer them to D'Addario Chromes (-which is the only flatwound string I've used repeatedly). Spent a while playing slinky .009s, and while they have their place, it's no longer on my guitar!

    What flatwound string do you use/prefer?-thomastik-infeld-jazz-swing-11-jpg

  21. #70

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    I replaced the D'Addario Chrome flats on my Peerless Imperial with TI George Benson flats and they sound and feel great. They don't seem a lot different from the TI Swings on the 5th Ave. As my playing is almost all acoustic, I can't comment on how they sound amplified yet, but I'm not anticipating anything too drastic. I will continue to use the TI strings.
    Last edited by ah.clem; 10-06-2012 at 12:43 PM.

  22. #71

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    There great... just a little thin and don't last. I just went back to TI's, was mixing sets, but now just settled with swings. Did have to order a bunch of 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings, I change those at least every 5 to 7 days sometime quicker... the wrap on the 3rd splits and trashes fingers, the 1st and 2nd just break or lose intonation. But lately I've been using my AER 60 and they sound better, with the polytone I liked the Chromes. But the AER is much better amp... back to TIs.

  23. #72

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    Well, although I have preferred TI Swings for a long time now, I'm not afraid to experiment - so first of all I tried the GHS Brite-flats. They weren't flats (half-rounds)...but they were definitely bright. However, the string balance was very inconsistent, notes jumping out all over the place. I was not keen.

    After reading about certain posters' liking for LaBella Black Nylon strings, I thought that I'd try them. First off, put a set on my Epi JP. Really nice vintage sound with the P90's, nice feel to them, so I thought that I'd try them on the Vestax D'angelico as well. Sounded just OK in the quartet rehearsal, but when I got to the duo with the double bass player, problems showed up big-time. I play mostly fingerstyle there, as opposed to the more percussive plectrum style with the 4tet. When I played any notes on the 5th or 6th strings in the duo setting, the bass notes were so strident that I spent the entire evening changing my technique to stay away from low notes that sounded like depth-charges. EQ'ing the bass down took the warmth out of the rest of the guitar, even with my Henriksen. Put some TI's back on more problems.

    I'll leave the LaBellas on the EPI for now and use that in the other duo with the trumpet, where I have to provide the bass end. For the rest of it, it's back to Thomastik.

    Strings and picks are the cheapest ways to experiment with your sound, I guess....

  24. #73

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    You guys are out of my league, but I do have an opinion on this. I recently bought an Ibanez AFJ91 and put D'Addario Chrome 12s on it. Sounds good. I've got T-I Swing 11s on my ES-335, and I just love the sound. jzucker mentioned the '50s vibe from T-Is, and that is exactly what I hear with my 335. I'm not always looking for that traditional jazzbox sound, and I much prefer the feel of the lower gauge strings on certain guitars (11s and 12s); I can manipulate the strings a little more easily. The Chromes and T-Is are the only two sets of flatwounds I've tried, and I will stick with T-Is. I love the sound and feel of those strings. Nothing against the Chromes, just like the T-Is better.

    So you'll know, the tension on the Chromes generally run a little higher than T-Is in the same gauge.
    Last edited by zigzag; 06-28-2013 at 09:02 PM.

  25. #74

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    I too have used D'A Chromes for many years. Either 12s or 13s (the latter with 13 and 17 replaced by 14 and 18).

    I have also tried TI flatwounds, but I don't know. There's nothing wrong with the balance across the set, they are well made etc. so it's just a matter of my ideosyncratic taste.

    In the last couple of years I have used LaBella 15-56 stainless steel flatwounds which has exellent balance across the set with respect to tone and volume when amplified. Unfortunally, something happened with this particular set a couple of years ago and the new batches are much more dead sounding than the older batches. Really a shame because they may well be the best flatwounds I have ever used. I only have two more sets lying around of the old batch, but they do last for a very long time. I also have twelve sets of the new batch in a drawer and I doubt I'll use them. LaBella answered to an email from me that they were in the process of revamping their flatwound line and they would send me twelve sets free of charge when they were ready. That is quite some time ago, so maybe I should email them again. One can tell the two batches apart by the dark blue silk wrapping on the old batch and the light blue wrapping on the new batch.

    Back in the 1970s, I was able to buy two boxes of Gibson 14-58 nickel flatwounds for next to nothing from a local dealer. That was the days when everyone wanted super slinky strings, so they had collected dust on his shelf for a decade and he was happy to get rid of them. It was the exact strings Wes used and they wee also good strings. They have ben out of production for many years.

  26. #75

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    Wow, this ole' thread has still got legs!

    Funny though, my hollow guitar has still got the same old TI's on it that were a year old when I started this thread! So at least three year old strings, yikes!

    The sound of them is a kind of 'Thunk' with no sustain.


  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzbow
    The sound of them is a kind of 'Thunk' with no sustain.
    Ah, in jazz we have such wonderful freedom. There's no 'authorized' sound or tone like they have over in the classical department. We are free to choose whatever strings we want (provided they are fat and flatwound of course) . That way we will all have our own personal 'thunk'. Or maybe, with my LaBella's, I'll even have a 'thud'.

  28. #77

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    I just ordered two sets of T-I Swing flatwounds, 0.010-0.044, to try on my Carvin SH550, mainly to get rid of the squeak ($24 per set). That SH550 has Sperzel locking tuners, and the 6th string (0.044) in both T-I sets broke off in the tuner keys. I didn't put much pressure at all on the lock on the second 6th string before it broke. None of the other thinner gauges broke, even while I was stretching them. I replaced the sixth string with the previously used 6th string from a set of D'Addario round wounds, then took out all of the flatwounds (Amazon had me ship back both complete sets before they'd give me credit), and replaced them with D'Addario round wound 10s, no problem.

  29. #78

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    I had ngd today. I never bought a guitar on internet before, so I was astonished to see it was only shipped in it's case and a carton box with no polystyrene peanuts in. I began to adjust it to my taste. It was strung with d'addario, but after second time tune down and up, the 1. string burst. I was not surprised. It has happened for me before, when I tested many different sets to find my favorite, but I never with Thomastik. I can keep them on for long and change them before they burst. Only some of them can sound a little too bright the first week.

  30. #79

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    I second that......I can't get away from using them (.014 -.067). I use them for a while, then put on a set of round wounds, and shortly there after go back to the tape wounds. They just have a sound that makes you want to pick up the guitar. Plus I can adjust the neck relief to zero and take the action way down without any fretting out or buzzing. I have them on both of my archtops and always get compliments on the tone. I think the best prices on a set of La Bella Tape Wound strings can be found at Elderly Instruments. The take a little getting used to be it's well worth it.... I'll have another Guinness please.

  31. #80

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    I prefer the TI, but I use Chromes because they cast about a third and last almost as long. Tone is good for both. The TIs feel better to me, lower tension.

  32. #81

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    The guitar I have now is a custom handmade Archtop - I had it built to similar specs to another one the guy built a couple of years ago. I borrowed the first model for a couple of gigs and recordings. It's a 17" Engelman spruce top with a floating Benedetto S1. The TI GB 13 set sounded terrific on it. It had a few feedback issues so when I ordered mine I had a Benedetto A1 mounted in the top of the guitar. The GB's sounded heavy and diffuse even with the tone cranked up. So on went the D'add Chromes - havent looked back. Interesting

    NB - I have to change them every month but that's cool - they aren't expensive.

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Thomastik Infeld.
    Agreed. Got thirteens on all of mine. They just seem to last and last.

  34. #83

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    TI Benson 0.14s. Love 'em. Don't know what it is, but they just feel great.

  35. #84

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    And finally, after lots of working through different strings, I'm back where I started on the Epi JP - TI Swings, 12-52. The week that I took it to the Workshop band, I had someone walk up and tell me how good I was sounding. Felt like coming home for that guitar. At £10 for Chromes, or £14 for Swings (£15 or so for Pyramids?), I like the tone of the TI's enough to shell out the few quid extra.

    With the Vestax/D'Angelico, I'm currently on Newtone Archtops and quite pleased. Different guitar, different sound. Long term review to follow sometime.

  36. #85
    Just got some D'ADDARIO Chromes, yet to fit them. :-)

  37. #86

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    I have been using GHS 1800 Nickel Compound for 30 years. They need to be changed every 10 days or so but they really sound great on my Trenier Arch Tops.

    What flatwound string do you use/prefer?-ghs-cp-1800-strings-jpg

  38. #87

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    I use Thomastik primarily. Usually swing 13s, but occasionally I go for the GB14s. The basses have a great earthy tone.

    D'Addario chromed are a steal, and I find the basses a bit brighter.

    For my semi, I go with DA half rounds. I use this for more fusion and modal stuff.

    I'd like to try the pyramids and la Bella's though.

  39. #88

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    Heh, since this poll has first been around, I've switched from D'Addarios to TIs (JS113)

  40. #89

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    I use Chromes on my X-500, but wound strings work best on my Artist Award. I have tried Thomastik flats, and they are nice, but for me they are no better than Chromes yet cost much more. I also currently have Chromes on my Aristocrat, and they sound great! I ordered nickel wounds to try, but love how the flats work, so I may stay flat for a while.

  41. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoskier63
    I use Chromes on my X-500, but wound strings work best on my Artist Award. I have tried Thomastik flats, and they are nice, but for me they are no better than Chromes yet cost much more. I also currently have Chromes on my Aristocrat, and they sound great! I ordered nickel wounds to try, but love how the flats work, so I may stay flat for a while.

    The D'Addario nickel wound 11-52's came in, and I immediately put them on my Aristocrat. Within an hour Chromes were back on as they were infinitely better on that guitar. That was not at all what I had expected, but not only are the Chromes very good on my Aristocrat for jazz, but they are even better for blues and rock.

  42. #91

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    TI flats, 11s, for me, but I'm also partial to LaBella Tape Wound - on the right guitar they can sound great, and are worth a try.

  43. #92

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    Been playing D'addario Chromes for many years now.

  44. #93

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    TI Swing 13s.

  45. #94

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    It is interesting that the TIs and DAs still dominate this poll almost 50/50 after several years. I personally can't wait to get rid of the DAs on any new guitar I get while an equally committed group love the DAs and could not image paying the price for the TIs. I don't think the DAs aficionados are simply cheap because I know some that can play really well. It just seems that there would be more commonality among people who play similar music on similar guitars.

  46. #95

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    Chromes. I tried TI's...they were great too, but not better, and waaaay more expensive.

  47. #96

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    Thomastik Infeld Jazz Swing. No other flatwounds feel like Thomastik flatwounds. I read somewhere that Thomastik uses a thinner width ribbon wrap. Thinner ribbon means more windings per inch and it's more windings per inch that give Thomastik flatwounds that unique feel - highly polished and smooth yet with a subtle "grip" under your fingers. I love that feel.

    They're hybrid acoustic/electric. They sound good enough for practice on an acoustic archtop, not as loud or bright as phosphor bronze with fewer harmonics and overtones, but they sound fantastic amplified. They're the jazz guitar reference standard string, IMO.

  48. #97

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    Thanks for all the string ideas. Just got my first archtop and they came with light rounds. I'm going to try d'addarios. Mainly because of price and availability. If I don't like them I will try the TI s. My daughter uses them on her violin!!

  49. #98

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    If Thomastik offered more "conventional" gauging, their Jazz Medium Swings would probably be my strings of choice. As it stands, it seems my fingers are so used to the uneven string tension found in practically all other known sets, whether Jazz or acoustic, I'm going to have to give th TIs a miss. Those wounds (except the 6th), however cleverly balanced they may be, just feel too loose.

    So, back to Chromes and swapping out the 1st and 2nd strings and get on with my playing. BTW, D'Addario, when are you going to offer a 13-52/54 set as standard? (13-56 is overkill in many cases).

    Anyone tried the La Bella steel flats recently? I read some quality issues.

  50. #99

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    Agree that it would be a good thing if D'Adarrio would do a 13-52 set of chromes.

    I get a bit irrtated at having to routinely buy spare 13's and 17's every time I stock up
    on strings.
    Still, it's a first world problem...I can cope OK.
    ....Gotta give DA a little credit for fixing up the rough wound 3rds in that set.
    Still not perfect but improved upon the situation a few months back.

    Re La Bella ....I was a huge fan of their steel flats and was among a few guys who complained
    when the alloys or whatever were changed.
    The LB customer help person tried to help....sent free samples....was adamant that they were
    using the same materials which was patently bullshit.

    Just to look at, the new strings were dull where they had been high gloss previously... the 15 years or so
    I'd used them. And the silks were a light blue instead of the royal blue of before.
    I showed 2 sets, the new and the old to my wife ...a civilian...and she saw the difference immediately.

    Ultimately I got tired of trying to get them to admit that the strings had changed appreciably in sound and
    that there were these indicators that you didn't even have to bother putting them on a guitar to confirm.
    The line I got was that their professional artists in New York declared that the strings were still great.
    I was contacted by PM on here so others were finding the same thing.
    OK I'm just a working stiff...not one of "the guys" ...but I can't stand BS.

    Sorry about the rant ....bound to close out the thread my inimitable way ...ha ha

    Strings and picks are a big deal to me signal chain = idea - pick/fingers - strings - lead - amp.

  51. #100

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    Yep....wimp that I am I use Flatwounds (D'Addario) and solid state amps.

    I turn 69 tomorrow and have been playing guitar for 59 years and bass guitar for 5 years.
    Never did have a roady to carry my amps or axes! After a fall on the ice two years ago I ruptured a bicep tendon and have enough of a problem carrying a guitar and an amp anywhere.

    Oh well....there is always the harmonica!

    Wait...that requires healthy lungs...maybe a tambourine.