View Poll Results: Do you use roundwound or flatwound strings?

566. You may not vote on this poll
  • Flatwound

    324 57.24%
  • Roundwound

    223 39.40%
  • I'm a trombonist

    19 3.36%
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  1. #1

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    I'm intrigued to see how many people use flatwounds, because now jazz guitarists tend to use roundwounds if they want a modern tone.
    I'm not saying one is better than the other, and I don't care, just want to make the poll and see what's is more used by the forum users
    Also, if you use 7 string guitar, please say it (I want to know that too!)



    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I do not care about "moderne tone" and use flatwounds on my arch-top.Simply I like these strings.

  4. #3

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    Flatwound on electric, roundwound on acoustic.

  5. #4

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    Depends on the guitar. Flatwounds on all of my electric jazzboxes, but Phosphor Bronze Roundwounds on my acoustic archtop.

  6. #5

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    Mostly flats for jazz, rounds for accoustic and rock.

  7. #6

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    Half-rounds on both arch-tops.

  8. #7

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    polished rounds (similar to half rounds) - fairly bright but less squeak than rounds

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill C
    polished rounds (similar to half rounds) - fairly bright but less squeak than rounds
    Good to know, i'm considering half rounds, i never tried.
    No "half round" option in the poll, uh ...

  10. #9
    Sorry, it doesn't let me add the option now.

  11. #10

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    Roundwound. Although I like the sound of flats, I always found the wound strings to be out of balance with the plain E and B. The plain strings are brighter than the wound ones.

  12. #11

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    I prefer the sound of roundwounds and tend to use them, but do have flatwounds from time to time and the lack of string squeak can be addicting.

  13. #12

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    Haha, I am a Trombonist, but also do use roundwound strings. I used to use flatwounds, but after a while, I thought they sounded a little too dead for my taste. I always prefer acoustic over electric (flattop and archtop), but play electric regularly, probably perform more on electric. I think roundwound strings get me closer to an acoustic tone on my electric guitars, which I like.

  14. #13

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    Roundwound. I have used flats from time to time. Never really liked them and felt guilty because I was supposed to. But I never liked the feel or the sound.

  15. #14

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    I tried my first set of flats a month or so back and really like them. I might even try a set on a 60's gibson heritage dreadnougt I have

  16. #15
    Flatwounds 12s on my jazzbox and simi-hollow; roundwound 11s on solid body. Acoustic has phosphor bronze 11s with a plane 18 for my 3rd string. Don't like my 3rd string wounded on acoustic. Plus I like to bend that 3rd string sometimes.

  17. #16

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    I like pro steel roundwounds, I used to use flats but I was never totally happy with them.

  18. #17

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    hate the dead sound of flats
    rounds 100% of the time for me. I like a little sparkle to my sound that flats don't have.

  19. #18
    I love the feel of flatwounds (except for bending), but prefer the sound of roundwounds. Yes, I use 7 strings :P

    By the way, we have two trombonists, we can already make a big band

  20. #19

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    Solid top floating PU wasn't getting me exactly what I wanted with flats so switched to rounds. Markley Blue Steels with wound G, now a happy camper...

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Roundwound. I have used flats from time to time. Never really liked them and felt guilty because I was supposed to. But I never liked the feel or the sound.
    Guilty, yeah. You should be ashamed of yerself, Henry!
    Last edited by ooglybong; 02-01-2013 at 03:30 PM.

  22. #21

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    Flatwounds on my archtops.
    Rounds on my rock/fusion guitars.
    Half-Rounds on my 335.
    High-tension nylon strings on my classicals.

  23. #22

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    Rounds if I want a brighter sound and want to do some bending. Flats for more mellow stuff and easier on my fingers.

  24. #23

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    I've never really done much bending, and I've always preferred the feeling of flats. I just don't get why people say they
    sound "dead".
    Last edited by =DK=; 02-02-2013 at 05:26 AM.

  25. #24

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    Keep it flat and thick for that smooth, mellow, full chordal melody sound.

    Keep it round and thin for that defiant, loud, crunchy, squealing rock and blues-rock sound.

  26. #25

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    Flatwound 12s for straight ahead stuff

    Flatwound 11 E, A & D plus plain G, B E for 335/ bending- not dead-sounding if the eq is right, IMO, and reasonable ''jazz'' sound.

    Not quite sure what's 'modern' about rounds...they were available in the 60s....anyway, whatever works for you.

  27. #26

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    roundwounds, definitely prefer that sound over flats.
    once in awhile i succumb to the peer pressure of all my friends who use flats and i'll put on a set...and then i'll have to take them off...yucky!

  28. #27

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    I use the LaBella black tape wound... Great strings for plugged in. 14's

  29. #28

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    I use newtone roundwounds on my archtops.

    I love the sound of flatwounds, but the 5th & 6th strings are "too slippery" for my tastes.

  30. #29

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    I use 12's for all my jazz guitars, currently:

    DA Nickel Rounds on my budget archtops (Gretsch, Loar, Washburn)
    Martin Phosphor Bronze on my Eastman 905
    TI Swings on my Classic Tele Deluxe (WHR pups)
    DA Chromes on my Modern Tele Deluxe (P90s).

    I don't currently have a straight humbucker guitar, but when I have, I find that DA Chromes tend to give more mid support and they still can have some brightness, kinda like a cranked presence control. To my ears, TI's come out of the package dead which is why they seem to "last" so long, kinda like a zombie

  31. #30

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    I'm a flatwound kind of guy. My fingers drag too much on the round wounds and I get to much squeaking. My wife hates that sound. I use TI .013s and they're a bit brighter than some of the other brands. The deadest sounding strings I ever used were .013 GHS flatwound stainless steel strings set 1000. On some of my guitars, the low E string sounded like a big thud with poor sustain when I plucked it. I also used TI .012 Bebop roundwounds on one of my NYL-2s and they don't sound good to me at all. The windings are smaller so you get less noise but it's way too right for my taste. To each his own. There's no right or wrong string. There are only those that don't sound right when you play them.

  32. #31

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    Flats on jazzbox (plain 3rd), rounds on Tele.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan
    Flats on jazzbox (plain 3rd), rounds on Tele.
    I've gone the opposite route. I think rounwounds bring out the hollowness of an archtop and use them on my 175. I prefer the feel of flats and use them on my Tele, where the hollowness is not such an issue.

  34. #33

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    like most above I use both depending on the guitar or what sound I am after - but it doesnt have that option to vote

    I tried the halfrounds too, but didnt like those at all.

  35. #34

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    Elixir 12s roundwound on my Eastman 905.Tried flats,didn't like them.Rotosound 10s round on my 52 reissue tele and Epi Sheraton and 11s phosphor bronze on my Tanglewood electro acoustic

  36. #35

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    Nickel round-wound on acoustic carved archtops like my old Epi Triumph. I like the traditional sound and they didn't have PB strings in the 40s. Works great with the DeArmond on it too. I like Phosphor Bronze for flat-tops and Thomastik Benson flat 12s for (almost) all things electric. I bought a Tele clone recently that came with round-wound lights and they sound OK but are too light for me. I'll put heavier strings on it in the near future and I think I'll try D'Addario Chromes and see if I like them.
    Last edited by AlohaJoe; 07-08-2013 at 03:59 AM.

  37. #36

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    roundwounds, simply because i don't have a dedicated jazz guitar and a do a lot of strange things with all of my guitars, regardless of the manufacturer's original intent. and because i never change strings, if i wait long enough, they'll sound like flats anyway.

    but i'd like to try flats again. but only on the brighter guitars. i remember putting some on a hog necked es333 and it was godawful. my big thing was to mix and match rounds and flats on some guitars, but that gets really expensive, and you're left with six extra strings you don't want.

    the newtone half round or whatever they're called are pretty nice. like those a lot, but they fall in the neither/nor category, no matter what they tell you. they're like warmer rounds. not cheap, either.

  38. #37

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    It really doesn't make much difference. You're going to sound like you no matter what strings you put on your guitar.

    Now that I make my own guitars, I have the luxury of having several around at the same time (like some of you rich-ass cats). I have flat wounds on my fretless bass and on one of my electric guitars. And I have round wounds on my fretted Fender Jazz bass and on another one of my electric guitars. At present I play 5 guitars regularly: a fretless 5-string bass, a fretted 4-string bass, an electric guitar with flat wounds, an electric guitar with round wounds, and a flat-top acoustic guitar with the obvious round wounds, sometimes Phosphor-bronze, sometimes 80-20 bronze.

    My philosophy is that if you have two guitars set up alike, one of them isn't necessary (except maybe as a backup), but then that doubles the amount of guitars that you need to do your job. And when I say 'need', I mean guitars that you need to do your job as a professional guitar player. If you're just playing in your house, then it doesn't make any difference what strings you put on your guitar. Nobody is going to hear it anyway. In that case put on whatever you like.

    For me flat wound strings on an electric guitar limit the tonal possibilities, so if I only had one guitar, it would be a difficult decision to put flat wound strings on it (unless I was playing jazz all the time, and then it would have to be jazz of a certain type, no fusion or Scofield or Frissel). A one-guitar man has to preserve flexibility. You can get close to the great tone of flat wound strings using round wound strings, but you can't get the great tone of round wound strings out of flat wound strings. So, if I only had one guitar, I would put rounds on it (for versatility). But when you have several guitars, you can set them up differently and use them for different specific purposes.

    The caveat is that not all guitar players need flexibility. Many are happy with (and well paid for) that one sound.

    There is no correct answer to your question. Screw correct, there is no good answer to the question. Which begs the question: why do you ask? Don't you know by now which strings you prefer?

  39. #38

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    I agree with the vast majority of your post, including this last part which hits the nail on the head (though the tone of your last questions is somewhat abrasive and to my mind unnecessarily so)

    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett
    There is no correct answer to your question. Screw correct, there is no good answer to the question. Which begs the question: why do you ask? Don't you know by now which strings you prefer?
    The original post contained the following:

    "...just want to make the poll and see what's is more used by the forum users".

    So the OP doesn't want anyone to tell him/er what to use, but was merely interested in what other people choose. No need to hit anyone over the head just for asking.

  40. #39

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    When I voted in this poll, I used flatwound (TI .011s) but now I use roundwounds by GHS, .011-.048. They're much more versatile.

  41. #40

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    Flatwounds on the Archtop and Roundwounds on the strat

  42. #41

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    Flatwounds on tele and archtop, half rounds on h555, and rounds on les paul and acoustics.

  43. #42

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    Flatwound on the Tele, round on archtop.

  44. #43

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    LaBella stainless flats on laminated archtop with in-top HB. Regular steel rounds on laminated archtop with floating p'up for finger style. Have yet to try nickel rounds...wondering if there's any notable difference between nickel plated steel and pure nickel wrapped strings. Any comments would be appreciated.

  45. #44

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    Chuck, I'm interested that you use La Bella stainless flats....I used to use them
    for years and then the quality took a dive around 2 years ago.

    The previously vibrant sounding wound strings just gave a dull thud.

    I was in touch with the company for a long time and they were very obliging,
    sending me replacement sets that turned out to be equally bad.
    ...Subsequently they were going to assign their most experienced craftsmen/women
    to the flatwound line....but they were still awful....for me, compared to how they had been.

    The ones I liked are easily distinguished by a very shiny smooth surface to the wound strings.
    The ones I found not up to par appear dull, and also have a light blue silk ending,where the
    old ones had a royal blue silk.

    They swear that they hadn't changed the alloys used and that the silks were just what they were now using.

    Soooo......what's your experience with these strings....You may like the duller sounding ones.....or they
    have indeed finally sorted out there problems, or you lucked onto some old stock.

    Sorry for the long question....but I was really disappointed when I had to give up on them.


  46. #45

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    Moonray...thanks for the question. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of tonal quality in recent production examples, especially since I liked them for their airy, acoustical complexity and transparency (although to be quite honest, on my guitar the low E was a bit lacking in those qualities). They are the last set I have left, and they are definitely the "old stock" with the royal blue silk. Since I haven't been playing that particular guitar much, I've never reordered any and am unable to comment on, or corroborate, your experience with their more recent strings. I take it that you've not found a comparable replacement then? Chuck

  47. #46

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    Thanks for your reply.

    I would have contacted you by PM but I am curious as to your and others' experience.

    I tried pretty much every flat wound there is and though some of them exhibited some quality,
    that would be offset by some other factor.
    ....Whole lot of thudding going on.....[could be a song lyric idea there...ha ha]

    The La Bella Stainless Flats I dug were 13-53...nice balanced set.

    Now I have settled on DA Chromes....12-52.....throw away the first two and replace them with a 13 and 17
    and I have what suits me as a balanced set. [Tone and tension wise]

    What I'm after [that the La Bellas used to deliver] is a clear ring from the wound strings,with a
    definite front to the note...something like a round wound ..but with the punch, guts and slightly
    shorter decay of flats.

    Ha ha ......I'm sounding like a wine snob....

    The Chromes, I have found do have about the clearest initial attack and have just enough sustain
    to be pleasing to my ear and touch. [Also readily available and pretty inexpensive]
    Obviously all of this is particular to each player.

    My hope now is that DA might look at their gauges on their Chrome series.
    It seems that a lot of players swap out the first two strings for heavier ones in the interest of balance
    of touch, tone and volume.

    The funny thing is that La Bella have on the pack...."balanced set"....and they if they
    could just produce the quality they used to.

    Oh the man said.

  48. #47

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    It would seem that you've analyzed the problem quite succinctly and arrived at the common conclusion that many of us have reached; i.e., it's usually necessary to substitute individual strings in order to come closer to a set that is "balanced." I also share your view that the LaBella stainless flats were a cut above others I've tried in terms of tonal attributes and balance. One brand I haven't tried is GHS brite flats, but I would still have to substitute some heavier trebles.

    Yes, it would be good to hear about other forum members' experiences and suggestions.

  49. #48

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    D'Addario EJ21 set, 12 set with Wound G. I love them!!

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Roundwound. I have used flats from time to time. Never really liked them and felt guilty because I was supposed to. But I never liked the feel or the sound.
    "Supposed to" and "should" have to be two of the ugliest phrases in the English language and we're all so guilty of using them. Guess we "shouldn't" do that so much.
    Last edited by Flyin' Brian; 10-07-2013 at 09:59 AM.

  51. #50

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    Thomastic .014's.. flatwounds on my 1977 Ibanez 2355 (ES-175)....medium action..

    through a Polytone (1985) Mini Brute II.....

    I sound mostly like Kenny Burrell when I play...but also play Wes Octave style and thumb only on some tunes...

    big big sound of the big strings and a thick change to a thinner pick and get a more percussive sound...

    but yea...flatwounds always...except on a 1962 Stratocaster I just sold last year...

    time on the instrument...