Quick Comparison: LaBella Deep Talkin' vs. DR Strings Legend flats

I’ve been using LaBella Deep Talkin’ flats on a couple of my basses for a while now. With the arrival of my new P-Bass, I knew I wanted flats on it from the moment I ordered it. This time, however, I decided to give DR Strings’ Legend flat wounds a try. I love the DR Pure Blues rounds that I have on my other guitars so I wanted to see how their flats were.

These are my initial impressions. Full disclosure: the DR strings are still quite fresh and aren’t even remotely broken in. Also, I don’t really have things set up to record so no audio comparison at the moment. Considering one set is on a Jazz and the other on a Precision, it might not come across as well as it would in person anyway.

The DR flats aren’t as smooth as the LaBellas. The LaBellas are polished to the point they feel almost like they have some kind of coating on them even though I’m certain I got their plain “Deep Talkin’” version and not the coated. The Legends, on the other hand, have a very satin-like finish to it. My fingers slide on them much easier. Not as “sticky”, so to speak. Much like a satin or unfinished guitar neck compared to a gloss neck. I find on days where maybe I haven’t hydrated as well as I should or whatever could cause my hands to be dry, the LaBellas can give you a bit of a friction burn when sliding on them. That hasn’t happened on the DRs. Dry or properly moisturized, my hands slide just fine.

Also, the LaBellas feel thicker than the DRs. They’re both 45-105 but the LaBellas feel like a electrical cable compared to the DRs. My wife lost my digital calipers so I can’t double check but still. This also leads to the LaBellas feeling stiffer to pluck.

The difference is sound is huge. The LaBellas have that muted thump that most people look for in flats. You want the old school dead string sound for older music? Flats and LaBella has that in spades. Super short sustain but a solid thump when plucked.

The DRs, on the other hand, are surprisingly bright. You still have all of the qualities that flats are known for but these also have some of the sound benefits of rounds as well. If you really dig in, it almost doesn’t sound like you’re using flats. It’s like some rounds and flats had a drunken one night stand and 9 months later out popped the DR Legends and the rounds that fathered them are nowhere to be found and now the flats have to raise this strange mutant child set of strings on their own.

But I digress…

Even though flats aren’t exactly known for their effectiveness with slapping both the LaBellas and the DRs can still be thumb spanked with no issues. (yes, I know some famous players did slap the flats. That doesn’t mean it’s common). Still, slapping on the DRs because of their odd middle ground sound is much more slappy sounding.

This is going to sound like a cop out answer but I don’t actually prefer one to the other. I love the LaBellas and I love the DRs. If I was forced by some strange and obscure law in my city to be forced to choose one of the other for the rest of my life, I’d probably choose the DRs. I feel like they’re a bit more versatile in the sound department and I like the satin feel of the strings more. I do, however, question the longevity of the DRs because of that satin finish. I think it would be more likely to accumulate grime and finger oil and such. I’ll come back to this thread in 3 or 4 years and let you know in that department.

If you’re wanting to try out flats but not 100% willing to give up your rounds just yet, the DRs would be a good middle ground, I think. If you truly want that muted, old skool flat thump then the LaBellas are the way to go.

It’s hard to capture the differences without a macro lens but if you look at the light reflecting off them, you can see how “rough” the DRs are in comparison. Like I said earlier, though, it’s a good kind of rough.

LaBella Deep Talkin’ Bass

DR Strings Legend


Wow. That went dark pretty quick. :rofl:

Good review, though. :+1:


I’m with you on DR strings: they’re uniformly great in quality, tone and versatility, across their entire line of products.

DR Pure Blues are killer rounds. Their feel and tone are second only to TI Jazz Rounds for me.

As for flats, I love TI Jazz Flats above all, but DRs are again a great second choice.

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LaBellas DTF are hex core, and will sound thumpier. DRs are round core, and will have more pronounced highs and mid-range, like other round core designs such as Thomastik-Infeld, Ernie Ball Cobalt Flats, and LaBella Low Tension flats.

World of difference between round and hex core flats. Nice review

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+1 to the TI’s, slapped them onto my Sire V5R and it just sounds so beautiful. My best bass purchase for a while! I’ve still always wanted to try La Bella, although now I’ve got the TI’s on I don’t know when I’ll get round to them!


Great review. Well done.

I’ve been playing La Bella DTF on my PBasses for years. Your take on them is spot on both tonally and as to their feel. The outer wrap is so tight and polished it feels seamless and for some that may create a feeling for more drag. It’s never bothered me personally but it may bother others. But for anyone looking for the tonal essence of '60s Motown and Memphis Stax sound they are the perfect strings for it. They’re all thump and thud.

The DR Legends may be more like the GHS Brite Flats I have on another bass. The Legends are also a round core string and I would bet they also have smaller core diameter than LaBellas so that would contribute to lower tension and a brighter tone. The nice thing is the selection of flats we have today is much better than it was years ago.

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I went through this dilemma on my own before finding this forum. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I just decided to start playing again after many years off and I wanted to get something as versatile as possible to try to head off GAS wherever I can. So I definitely wanted a Jazz as I’ve never owned a Fender before and then I was certain I wanted flats with it. I did put some Seymour Duncan Heavy Weathers into it right off the bat and the DR Legend flats and, like you said, I think I nailed what I’m after. I can get a wide range of sounds out of this bass to make it sound however I’d like, paired up with my GK, I think I’ve got a ton of versatility I wouldn’t get with rounds. I also think my fingers appreciate the knocking off the dust grind with the flats.

Thanks for the detailed writeup, looks like I stumbled in the right direction!