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4001's with round wound/steel strings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CircleOfCrows, Apr 2, 2014.


  1. CircleOfCrows

    CircleOfCrows

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Have read mixed response to this so thought I would bring it up. Will playing with stainless strings destroy a 4001s frets rapidly? Did they at any point change to harder frets like the 4003?
     
  2. OzzyGreg

    OzzyGreg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Illawarra, NSW, Australia
    .
    I've read a lot of comments over the years about Rickenbacker 4001 frets being soft and wearing rapidly if you use roundwounds etc. etc.

    I played my own 4001 for more than 20 years (it was my only bass throughout that period) using various roundwounds, some of them stainless, before switching to flats a couple of years ago.
    My frets are fine! .... and I'm fussy about that sort of thing!
     
  3. JH Statts

    JH Statts

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    I've had roundwounds on my 4001 for 18 years. The frets have a bit of wear, but nothing terrible. The last set has been on it for about 10 years and still sound great.
     
  4. loendmaestro

    loendmaestro Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Falls Church VA
    I've got a 74 that I've had 28 years. Nothing but rounds, both stainless and nickel. No problems ever.
     
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  6. CircleOfCrows

    CircleOfCrows

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    So is this largely marketing/myth? I would love to get an old autumnglo but not at the expense of rapidly putting wear on the instrument.
     
  7. zhollywood

    zhollywood

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, Ca
    I've had my 1979 Autumnglo for a few years and have been using stainless rounds (Prosteels) for some time now and have not noticed an impact!

    As a side note, fantastic color choice!
    Here's a shot of my '79 Autumnglo!
    [​IMG]
     
  8. bobfarabaugh

    bobfarabaugh

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Location:
    nepa
    Per John Hall they always used the hardest fret wire availabe.I was told not to use rounds by the local Ric dealer because of the truss rods which didn't make sense because flats have more tension than rounds. The 4003 had redesigned truss rods though. A lot of people cranked on the 4001 rods without "helping" push the neck in the desired direction. (Broke mine when I was 15 and was devistated until I found out they are replacable)
    Always ran stainless Roto's without a problem.
     
  9. Duckwater

    Duckwater

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Location:
    USA, Washington
    If you wanna use steel strings then use them, I doubt you will have a problem unless you are really grinding the strings into the frets. If you are still worried about your frets, you can try some Alloy 52(nickel/iron) strings which can sound even nastier than a lot of steel rounds.
     
  10. sloppy_phil

    sloppy_phil Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    For a long time I believed the same thing. My 4003 turns 30 in May this year, and I guess the original owner never had the frets filed, because mine were quite shot when I got them. And keep steels on them for the couple subsequent years didn't help, I'm sure.

    As an early birthday present to the bass, I just had the frets crowned by a friend who is a truly gifted guitar tech, and when he worked on them, he said they were the hardest frets he had ever tried to file. And he has literally filed hundreds of guitars in his lifetime! So if he says they were hard frets, I trust him. My bass is something of a mutt, because every discernible part is 70s old stock except for the TRC, and truss rod placement is 80s. I would therefore any 4001 of a reasonably similar vintage would have equally hard frets
     
  11. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    I've owned my ric for almost 30 years, I only play roundwound steels and it's never needed to be refretted. Very durable.
     

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