Flatwound vs roundwound bass strings: What’s the difference?

Roundwound and flatwound-strung guitars side-by-side
(Image credit: Getty Images/Alex Walker)

When it comes to restringing your bass guitar, you’re faced with lots of options. There are all sorts of brands, materials and gauges that all offer the player something slightly different. One of those choices is whether you opt for roundwound or flatwound bass strings.

Roundwound and flatwound bass strings feel and sound quite different from one another, so if you’re looking to make a big change to your sound without having to rip out and replace pickups or electronics, then switching up the kind of strings you use can make quite an impact. Most basses come strung with roundwound strings, and they do tend to be more popular, but lots of players do opt for roundwound instead.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Richard Blenkinsop

After spending a decade in music retail, I’m now a freelance writer for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player and Reverb, specialising in electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and almost anything else you can make a tune with. When my head’s not buried in the best of modern and vintage gear, I run a small company helping musicians with songwriting, production and performance, and I play bass in an alt-rock band.