Flat Wound Strings vs Round Wound Strings

My main bass is my new Fender Mustang PJ Bass, short scale. I love it. It has roundwound strings from the factory and sounds great. I took my son’s old Ibanez Soundgear bass and took it to my guitar man and had him adjust the neck and put some Ernie Ball Flatwound strings on it.

I love it. I love the tone and the feel is amazing. My guitar guy told me that with some effects and other things, you can get the punchy sound out of the flatwounds that you get with roundwounds.

I love that feel. I think my Mustang may be headed that way soon.


That’s awesome @jmckenzie8521

Like everything else, some like flats some like rounds. While I have a few of my basses with flats I prefer the crisps tone of the rounds. Right occasion the flats can really shine. The short scale Mustang can also benefit the extra low end that comes with short scale bass.

Double check the diameter of the silk wrap as flat wound strings are usually thicker than rounds. Which model of the mustang you have? Is it the one with string through body? If so also need to check the length you may need to get the medium length and not the short scale length.

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Mine is the Player model, so the strings are NOT through the body. My guitar guy at Eat My Beats is an old pro I have known for 30 years. I trust him with anything guitar.

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If you want to have that punchy sound with flat wounds, get a flat with a round core. They perform better in the mids and highs than a flat with a hex core, which have that old Motown vibe. A good example would be LaBella Deep Talking Flats

Ernie Ball Cobalt flats have round cores, and they are a very balanced string. I have them on my Mustang PJ


Another round core is the TI Jazz Flats which I have on my Ibanez EHB.


FWIW, my Fender Player P and my Squier J both wear Fender 9050 flat wounds, and both sound amazing. I will never play either one with anything else. My LTD wears RotoSound SS round wound strings, and so far seem to be a great choice on it.

String selection is a personal decision, based on your instrument, ability, preferences, and what genre you enjoy. At least it is for me.

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That’s is another class of flats altogether. It’s such an incredible set of strings.

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Thanks to everyone for the ideas and thoughts here. I am going to leave my two basses set up as is, for now. But the options on strings is very helpful. I just depended on my guitar tech, who is sharp as they come and a great guitar and bass player in his own right, on string selection for my Ibanez. I have stuff to bounce off him now.

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Strings are a deep, twisty rabbit hole


Sometimes it’s easier to choose a bass than to choose a set of string.


How about about flats with a sponge under the strings at the bridge? I’ve read the gives a nice old school sound. When I quit being chicken I’m gonna change them real soon and see if flat and a sponge will give me that sound that I know I don’t even love yet. Will take the old strings and boil them and back in the string bag and save them for later. Gotta put some new rounds wounds on the older J bass that has the same strings on it since I got it in 1996. Like GHS Boomers for my guitfiddle, so thought I’d try em on the J bass.

Short scale basses themselves seem to love flatwound strings. They tend to bring out some of the best tonal features of that type of bass. Which to choose depends on your personal taste but you’ve been given some excellent suggestions.

As has been posted round core strings tend to be less stiff than hex core strings and some like TI Jazz Flats are very low in tension. That said they may not be as great on a short scale bass where the tension will already be less than a longer scale bass anyway.

If you want to try something in between ask your tech for his opinion about GHS Pressurewounds. They’re a smoother feeling version of a round wound that have a very broad dynamic range but tend to be less bright than most round wounds. GHS does make a set for short scale basses.


I am going to ask him about the GHS strings. Sounds like a good plan. Thanks

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Certainly something to explore. I’ve used sponge, foam, different types of foam, folded the foam, all gives a variation on tone. Palm muting works wonders too.


But do you use it under the springs of the bridge???
I though it is used under the strings, near the bridge (between bridge and pickup)?

No, I use it under the strings next to the bridge saddles, this is different than a bridge mute. Take the foam, place it between the strings and the body, and you got it

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Dang auto-correct changing things it’s not supposed to! (LOL), yes STRINGS!

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It depends if you want to be top of the pop chart then you can use baby diaper like Tony Levin. :joy:

My fretless jazz bass has flat wounds and I love them. Such a smooth feeling going n up and down the neck.

Just to revisit this, I have 2 sets of these and I think they are very good strings.

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