Roundwound or Flatwound?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by sh4rkbyt3, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    268
    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    Having just bought my Gretsch very recently I was curious for an opinion from some actual Gretsch players as to the type of strings they favor most?
    An article I'd read recommended flatwounds to keep the tone specifically for Gretsch guitars but just wanted some real world opinion of what you use or prefer and why?
     
    Andrew Griffin likes this.
  2. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I use Jazz Swing on my Penguin and Jazz BeBop as well.
     
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  3. KuKuKu

    KuKuKu Gretschie

    343
    Aug 28, 2016
    Germany
    Flats have a different sound and feel, so it's a matter of taste. You have to try them to see if you like them. They sound a bit darker than rounds, but I like that - I even have the mud switch engaged all the time. Additionally they feel smoother and don't make any noise when you glide along a string. If you wanna try flats, go for Thomastik Jazz Swing. They're not cheap, but worth every penny, as they last a very long time.
     
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  4. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    For styles that do not involve a lot of G string bending, flats are the bomb. Very smooth under the fingers. I also like the more fundamental/less overtones aspect. Great for rhythm.
    I like Jazz Swings. I keep them on my P90 equipped Epi Broadway for the old timey sounding stuff.
    My Gretsches get used for a a wider variety of music, so they get round wounds.
     
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  5. Axis39

    Axis39 Country Gent

    Age:
    51
    Jun 2, 2008
    La Quinta, CA
    I also use Thomastik Infeld Jazz Swings on a lot fo my guitars, not just my Gretsches. But, my 5127 is where the Flatwound thing stated for me.
     
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  6. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    268
    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    Perfect, I'll definitely have to try the Jazz Swings first when I replace the ones it came with and then try some roundwounds for comparison.
     
  7. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I tried Da'darrio flats once and wound up trading the guitar for an amp because it sounded so lifeless and muddy, lesson learned as I never thought the strings made that much difference but the TI are anything but lifeless they are great strings and if they turn out to be a bit to warm for you try the bebops they sound incredible as well.
     
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  8. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    268
    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    Thank you so much Bertotti! Currently I'm playing Mostly The Cult on my 5420 but not afraid to try something new. More selections gives me more variability ;).
     
  9. swivel

    swivel Synchromatic

    606
    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    As I mentioned in another thread, Roundwound for me. The Flat sound on the low E and A is terrible and dead sounding to my ears. As well as super warm. Most Gretsches have that warm low note thing anyway, so I would think for many people it would not be a good thing. But hey, people like what they like! Try the flats and you'll know immediately if you like it.
     
    sh4rkbyt3 and new6659 like this.
  10. sleeperNY

    sleeperNY Gretschie

    Age:
    68
    153
    Jun 18, 2008
    central NY
    I have been playing Gretsch guitars for over 40 years. I tried flats one time and took them off that same day. They sounded dead right from the start. That was many years ago so I guess they may be better these days. I like the deep twangy sound of the roundwound strings.

    Jim
     
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  11. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Exactly my experience until I tried the TI Jazz Swing.
     
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  12. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Same here. TIs are not like Chromes, for instance. They can be fairly bright and last forever. If you want to bend the third string, just use a plain string. I buy my TIs individually, not in sets, so I use D’Addario plains up top. There’s no cost penalty to buying TIs individually.
     
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  13. Every electric guitar that I own has either half rounds or flat wounds, always with a wound G string.
     
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  14. Axis39

    Axis39 Country Gent

    Age:
    51
    Jun 2, 2008
    La Quinta, CA
    I've said it a million times now... All of my guitar playing buddies have zero idea I play flats until they pick up my guitar to play it. I've never heard anyone say my tone is dull or flat sounding. Un-dynamic, would be the very last thing anyone might say. Twang is also plenty present!

    There is a difference on the initial attack, sure. Round wounds area little crunchier on the front end of a picked note, but at the same time, there are tones higher up the fretboard on the wound strings you just can't get with round wounds.

    As for bending strings? This has always confused me. I can't say as I notice much difference between wound and unwound G's. I notice more difference between round core and hex core strings. I prefer the rubberier round core strings (like my Thomastik Infeld Jazz Swings).
     
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  15. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I noticed the change in tone behind the guitar, player vs listener, is different. I tend to have someone pluck some strings for me when I am out front so I can hear what it sounds like as well. With the flats I think the difference as a player is more then it is for a listener, the differences are still there but I perceive them more while playing.
     
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  16. afire

    afire Country Gent

    I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean. There's no particular connection between Gretsch guitars and flatwound strings. Like most companies that sold strings, they did offer flats (their Electromatic strings) in the '50s and '60s. But they also sold roundwounds (Chet Atkins Country Style strings), which were the stock strings on the Chet Atkins models (and maybe others, though the catalogs don't specify which strings were stock on non-Chet models).

    I like flats and have used them a lot over the years. But there's a lot of myths around flats that dictate that they must be used for "vintage tone," as though they were the only strings used before the late '60s. They weren't even invented until the end of the 1940s and had gone by the wayside by the late '60s. The reality is that they enjoyed a 10-15 window of some popularity. But roundwounds have always been the norm.
     
    Andrew Griffin likes this.
  17. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    268
    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    Which is why I chose to ask experenced players for their opinon.
     
    Andrew Griffin likes this.
  18. Andrew Griffin

    Andrew Griffin Synchromatic

    576
    Oct 22, 2015
    Pine Apple Slim put out there quite clearly. I don't bend the strings much, and I prefer the flat. Tomastiks are fantastiks for me, and I have them on my Gretsch guitars- well, all my guitars are Gretsch because I'm fanatik.
     
    sh4rkbyt3 likes this.
  19. Axis39

    Axis39 Country Gent

    Age:
    51
    Jun 2, 2008
    La Quinta, CA
    There is a little bit of a reputation of Gretsch Players using flats a little more often than Fender or Gibson regulars.

    Maybe, it's 'cause we're a touch weirder than the rest? Maybe, it's 'cause we think retro... But, are also kinda following along the waves of the Rockabilly Revival waves and what those guys did?

    I mean, before I got involved in Gretsch stuff, I dunno that I had known, or talked to anyone who actually used flat wound strings... Other than bass players. Maybe a Jazz player or two, and that's what I thought they were for... Old Wes Montgomery type stuff, or Smooth Adult Contemporary Jazz? LOL

    I tried D'Addario Chromes and really didn't like them. THEY sounded dull and muddy form the get-go. But, I kept reading folks saying Thomastik Infelds were different. I was reading it here and the other Gretsch forum. Wasn't reading about it much on TGP, or TDPRI, never on any of the Gibson forums. $22 for a set of strings seemed expensive at the time. Then, I tried them. It's all over now, I've become a string snob. It's almost impossible for me to drop into a guitar store here in the States and find strings I am willing to put on my guitars. I do use GHS Burnished Rockers on a few of my guitars, and then resonator strings and acoustic rounds. But, I am picky about those strings too, now.

    I used to go in and buy whatever light strings the store would have. Stainless steel hex core, didn't know about any of that... One day, I discovered nickel strings, then round core strings and flats. It's been an interesting journey and flats, nickel, round core, not always for everyone. Helps keep my tone unique to me!
     
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  20. wilblee

    wilblee Synchromatic

    930
    May 23, 2013
    TX Hill Country
    Even the most expensive strings are pretty cheap. Buy ‘em. Try ‘em. Then you know for sure.
     
    sh4rkbyt3 likes this.
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