Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

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Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (Very Occasionally) » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:09 pm

I have a simple question: Why would you use "dull" strings on your 12-string? What is the case for using flat- or roller-wound strings?
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (jdogric12) » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:52 pm

First of all what are rollerwound strings? Never heard that term.

Many argue flats make compressed 12 strings brighter since the darker wound strings decay faster than their plain neighbors, leaving you with the trademark "ringing" of McGuinn's classic Byrds tone. I usually prefer the "mess o' treble" you get with half rounds though :)
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (Very Occasionally) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:51 am

jdogric12 wrote:First of all what are rollerwound strings? Never heard that term.

Many argue flats make compressed 12 strings brighter since the darker wound strings decay faster than their plain neighbors, leaving you with the trademark "ringing" of McGuinn's classic Byrds tone. I usually prefer the "mess o' treble" you get with half rounds though :)


From the GHS strings FAQ http://www.ghsstrings.com/pages/faq

How does Winding Technique affect Tone?

There are four types of winding techniques used for strings. The type providing the brightest tone (all else being equal) is the roundwound string. It is made with round cover wire wrapped around the core. Burnished strings are considered roundwound.

Next brightest is the rollerwound string. The round cover wire is crushed to a semi-flat configuration as it is wound around the core. Our Pressurewounds are an example of a rollerwound string.

Next, and “mid-bright,” is the groundwound type of string. This string starts as a roundwound; then it is ground by a centerless grinder which removes almost half of the round cover wire, leaving a smooth-feeling surface. Our Brite Flats are a groundwound string.

Finally, the flatwound string produces the darkest, or mellowest, tone. This string is made by winding a flat, or “ribbon,” wire around the core. The string is then ground. It is the smoothest feeling type of string.
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (Very Occasionally) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:55 am

jdogric12 wrote:First of all what are rollerwound strings? Never heard that term.

Many argue flats make compressed 12 strings brighter since the darker wound strings decay faster than their plain neighbors, leaving you with the trademark "ringing" of McGuinn's classic Byrds tone. I usually prefer the "mess o' treble" you get with half rounds though :)


IMHO, to get the RM sound one needs a good compressor and a treble booster. Yes, he used/uses flatwounds, but that's not the secret of the sauce. Which is why he had Ric build in a treble boost on his instruments and a compressor and treble boost on the 370/12RM. The treble boost on my '89 RM LE is insane, as is the compression.

That said, I do see that flatwounds would decay faster. And they also are "dull" which would mean even on the attack the plain strings would sound louder. But a typical set of Flatwound Pyramids 10's uses a wound upper octave E, A, and D, leaving plain strings on only G, B and E. And of course there are tone controls on your amp and a bright switch (typically).

So really, what's the point of paying the extra for a flatwound set, unless you really want the non-squeaky-ness (which is an entirely different category)?
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (teb) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:56 am

There is a substantial difference in the sound that the flat sets put out. Many of us use Thomastic Infeld Jazz Flats, which do have a wound G octave string and lower tension and strain on the neck than Pyramids (they also last a very long time without the sound changing much). They don't necessarily have a better sound, or a worse sound than other types or brands, it's just different and to most of us it sounds more like the vintage twelves of the 1960s.

Rather than trying to overthink the question, I'd say try them some time and see what you like best for your music. That's what most of us did.
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (Very Occasionally) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:22 am

teb wrote:There is a substantial difference in the sound that the flat sets put out. Many of us use Thomastic Infeld Jazz Flats, which do have a wound G octave string and lower tension and strain on the neck than Pyramids (they also last a very long time without the sound changing much). They don't necessarily have a better sound, or a worse sound than other types or brands, it's just different and to most of us it sounds more like the vintage twelves of the 1960s.

Rather than trying to overthink the question, I'd say try them some time and see what you like best for your music. That's what most of us did.



Thanks for your reply. I don't see a flatwound set for 12 strings on the TI site. Do you create a set from 2 sets of the Jazz Flats?
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (teb) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:54 pm

The sets I bought for my 370/12 and 340/12 were both bought as individual strings from juststrings.com, but it has been quite a while and some of the big RIC dealers may be selling pre-assembled custom sets these days.

TI Jazz Flats twelve-string sets

Name Code Qty
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thomastik-Infeld Nickel TOI_JS41 - 1- Low E primary
Flat Wound .041

Thomastik-Infeld Nickel TOI_JS33 - 1- A primary
Flat Wound .033

Thomastik-Infeld Nickel TOI_JS25 - 2- Low E octave & D primary
Flat Wound .025

Thomastik-Infeld Nickel TOI_JS20 - 2- A octave and G primary
Flat Wound .020

Thomastik-Infeld Plain TOI_P13 - 3- B's and D octave
Steel .013

Thomastik-Infeld Plain TOI_P10 - 3- High E's and G octave
Steel .010
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (Tommy) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:25 pm

Very Occasionally wrote:Thanks for your reply. I don't see a flatwound set for 12 strings on the TI site. Do you create a set from 2 sets of the Jazz Flats?

Pick of the Ricks put together a custom set of TI flats for use on 12 string Rics.
http://www.pickofthericks.com/thomastik-infeld-custom-flatwound-12-string-set-010-044/
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (collin) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:01 pm

Personally, I hated TI flats (and any other flatwound strings), huge waste of money and a quick way to make your guitar sound lifeless.

It's all a matter of taste, but I find there is a lot more 'zing' to the sound of round-wound or half-wound strings on a 12-string guitar, and it's a huge difference to my ears.

Bonus that regular roundwound D'Daddarios or whatnot are about 1/3 the price of TI flats, and available at any guitar retailer.
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Re: Flatwound or Rollerwound Strings On Your Ric 12?

Postby (teb) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:46 pm

When you consider how long the TI flats will last, they're not so expensive. It's all a matter of what sounds you like and are after for your stuff. Sample clips of my 370/12 with the TI flats - run through a Janglebox compressor and not much else. Some will like the sound, some probably won't.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ive87qxep90ip ... g.mp3?dl=0
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