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Re: String questions and other things

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Posted by Bob 'Skippy' Blechinger on February 05, 2001 at 11:25:20:

In Reply to: String questions and other things posted by Emptyeye on February 04, 2001 at 19:42:03:

: Hey,
: given that I now own a fretless bass, and have for a month and a half or so, I suppose now would be a good time to ask some questions about strings for it.
: Okay, I know I want flatwounds, as opposed to roundwounds, or else I risk destroying the fingerboard. Not good. Is there any way to tell the two apart? Do I need to specifically ask for flats, or is that pretty much the rule when it comes to strings? I know musician's friend lists their Rogue strings as being Rounds, if it doesn't say rounds, should I assume they're flats? Yeah, I know, sort of a newbish question but I've never been particularly picky about my strings.
: Another newbish question, I know that scale length refers to the nut-to-bridge length of the bass. But is that the front, or the back of the bridge? The bridge itself takes up about 1 1/2-2 inches on my Fender Fretless, so I'm just curious I suppose. Thanks in advance!
: -EE

Ok, let's see what we can do for you here...

Flatwound strings are simply strings where the outer wrapping is a flat, ribbon-like wire instead of a round wire. It gives a smooth surface, but the tone will be somewhat dull compared to a roundwound. Most strings these days are roundwound; flatwounds went out of favor about 20-25 years ago, although I understand that they're starting to make somewhat of a comeback.

Along with rounds and flats, there's a *third* category of string that's a hybrid of round and flat. I've seen hybrids where the round windings are ground down to a flat surface, compressed to produce a flat surface, and even half-flat/half-rounds where the portion of the string on the fretboard was flat, and the rest - the part that goes over the pickup - was round! (anyone heard anything about those lately?)

As far as the bridge goes, the scale goes from the nut to the saddle, *not* the back of the bridge; it's the freely vibrating portion of the string that's important.

Hope that helps!


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