Rickenbacker and string tension
According to just about everyone on these threads,flatwounds place a higher tension on the neck than roundwounds. Yet according to just about every bit of Rickenbacker bass history, 4001 basses had trouble with roundwound strings because of their higher tension than the flatwound strings they were designed for. In fact, the 4003 was designed to handle the higher tension of roundwounds.
Now flatwound strings sure feel like they have a higher tension to me, and I've had to adjust the truss rod on my jazz bass when I switched to flatwounds. So who am I to believe here and why?
That is because the original set of Maxima flatwounds that were OEM on '60's 4001's were 40-55-75-100.
The rounds referred to were 1st generation Rotosound Swingbass, which had the thicker gauges, and therefore more tension because of more mass in the string.
I used Boomers 45-65-85-105 on my 1976 4001 from 1981 when I got it until 1993 when I sold it to get a 4002 (yes, "2," not "1" or "3") and never had an issue. My 4002 has the old style truss rods, and it has worn GHS Progressives in 45-60-80-105 ever since I got it, and still does. No issues.
Yes, in the early 1980's, Rickenbacker redesigned their truss rod system so now it handles every string within reason.
Remember that the comments are referring to chrome steel wound or stainless steel wound flats compared to stainless steel or nickel-plated steel round wounds of the same gauge. A ribbon-flat wrap will not have the gaps between the windings that a roundwound does. Therefore a flat wound string with the same core diameter and overall diameter will have more mass, and therefore more tension at the same pitch, as a roundwound of the same core and gauge.
But none of it really matters on 4003's, as they are designed to take the added tension.
And Maximas were very similar to Thomastiks now, VERY flexible and soft.
Correct, apparently the neck/truss rods were strengthened with the 4003.
Saying that, I ran roundwounds on my own 4001 for 20 years with no issues whatsoever.
I have only recently swapped to Thomastik JF344 flats.
Low tension and a match made in heaven on a 4001 IMO.
I owned and played a 68 4001 for 35 years. The neck was wonderfully thin but it was almost stressed beyond its design limits by simply stringing it up with a set of 4 strings.
The new Rick necks can handle all kinds of string tensions. That said they are best suited to the 105-75-65-45 sets. To minimize adjustments settle on what feels good to you and then adjust the neck accordingly.
I've had rounds (99% Rotosound) on my 4001 since 1981. When it was new, it had a neck problem where it had to go back to Rickenbacker and put into a heat press, but that was before I even started using the rounds. The neck has been in adjustment for years and years and I haven't turned the rods in eons.
The newer Ricks 1986 and later are strong enough to hold 5 strings easily ... I should know I have converted a ton of Rics from 4 to 5 strings.
Gotta love TI's on a Ric:bassist::ninja::)
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