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Strings for Fretless?


Big Daddy from Motown

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Usually I just pick up what's available, but last time I grabbed some RotoSound 77's. Disappointed.

 

If sworn with their roundwounds (for my fretteds) for years and was always pleased.

 

But the 77's weren't as bright as I had hoped, plus they were extremely tight and did a number on my bass' neck upon installation. I had to do spinal cord surgery with the truss rod, which I hate doing (and never had to do with the installation of strings before).

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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I am now using Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats for my fretless. They are great!

 

But if you are looking for the Jaco fretless sound, you might want to try something else.

 

Jaco used round-wounds with epoxy on the fretboard.

 

If you want a roundwound sound but are concerned about wear on the fretboard you might want to try GHS Brite Flats or GHS Pressure wounds. One of those is a little brighter than the other but I forget which at the moment.

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TI Jazz flats normally, but right now I'm using TI SuperAlloy's. They are roundwounds, but the windings don't seem to be as pronunced and the tone is less bright than the TI Jazz Rounds I used on my Moses necked fretless.

 

Jim

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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I've been using roto 77's on my Carvin fretless but I'm going to switch to Dadario Chromes soon...got them on my Jazz - very nice.

1974 Fender Jazz

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I have an American Jazz fretless that I've owned for about a year, and I have D'Addario Chromes Ribbon Wound on them now. They're ok, but I'm still looking.

I'd like to have some flats on it and may try the Chromes flats. In a previous thread Jeremy C said they are some of the brightest flats, and that sounds like the way I'd like to go.

It's just that flats seem to take the mwah out of fretless, but I hope the Chromes flats don't. Hey Jeremy, are the TI's bright. Is that what you like for fretless?

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I've been using Ken Smith Pressure Wounds (I think that's what they're called). They give a lot of the brightness of rounds, with a much smoother texture. Easier on fingers & board. They also seem to last forever--I've had mine on for 2 or 3 years now & don't need a change. They are getting funky, though; I look at the strings & see where I play a lot!
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Assuming you want rounds, my 2¢ would be on TI jazz rounds. They're very low tension and light gauge but they're not too thin sounding. They're lovely to play with relatively low action and a light touch on a fretless board. You can mold the tone with your left hand. They're not overly bright/zingy sounding and mellow nicely with age.

 

OTOH, if you've never tried flats, they're pretty cool too and I'd second the TI flats. Many similar qualities to the rounds but deeper, more fundamental, less sustain and well more flatter. But they're not dead thumpy flats though they turn into great dead thumpy flats after a few years.

 

Then again, TI Super Alloys are nice also. Higner, more normal tension and gauge and their sound is sort of in between the first two.

 

Jeez, I should get a job with Thomastik.

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