Rock and metal bass players are not really known for their extensive use of flatwound strings. It’s typically been the domain for jazz and R&B. In fact, I can’t think of a single heavy musician that I’m aware of using flatwounds. That doesn’t mean they’re not out there, just that they don’t generally make it known.
The new Ernie Ball Flatwound Slinky strings, however, claim to have the same snap and zing as a roundwound string, but with the smooth feel of flats. They achieve this by using Cobalt ribbon around a round Cobalt wrapping.
Here’s MxPx bassist Mike Herrera testing demonstrating their sound.
As part of the development of the Slinky Flatwound electric bass stings, Ernie Ball’s R&D department road-tested the strings with some of today’s most respected bass guitarists, including Pino Pallandino, Matt Mangano, Juan Alderete, Tony Levin, Mike Herrera, Ed Friedland and more. See what they had to say below:
“Having been involved in the development of Ernie Ball’s Slinky Flatwound strings, I can honestly say that they offer an innovative combination of feel, tone and durability unlike any other string I’ve played. A game changer for bass players” – Pino Pallandino, The Who, Paul Simon, John Mayer Trio
“The perfect balance of deep bottom, punchy mids, a smooth top-end…the quest for the perfect flatwound string is finally over.” – Matt Mangano, Zac Brown Band
“A successful hybrid of old and new-school characteristics that sounds great on vintage-style passive axes or modern machines with active electronics.” – Ed Friedland, Bass Player Magazine
“My fingers say flat, my ears say round, my frets say thank you.” – Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel)
You’ll have to decide for yourself if the sound is up to roundwound par, but so far they are at the very least quite a bit zingier that any flats I’ve ever heard, so that’s a start.
Get more info from Ernie Ball on their website.