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Flatwound and Rickenbacker 4001

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by skabass1, Jan 3, 2013.


  1. skabass1

    skabass1

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Hi,

    I'm not sure if this is the right place for my post, but I hope I can get some advice.

    I put D'Addario flatwound on my Rick 4001, and after a year or so, I noticed that the sustain became very bad. It almost sounds like muted. I don't think this is a general problem for Rick bases, but has anyone experienced similar thing? Do you know what's causing this problem? I have a feeling that it may be a pickup problem because when I compare the sustain with my other basses without the amp, all of them are about the same.

    My Warwick Corvette Fretless with flatwounds have older strings, and still have good sustain.
     
  2. Stephent28

    Stephent28 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    C470, CO
    Are you sure the bridge mute did not get put in place while making bridge adjustments?

    I have Rics with flats that have been on for years and they sound the same (or close) as the day I put them on.
     
  3. skabass1

    skabass1

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the response. The bridge mute is way down. I'll try switching the strings back to roundwound and see if the problem persists.
     
  4. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    LA California
    Disclosures:
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Flatwounds generally do not have sustain like rounds. Most of the tone is from the initial attack.

    Are you playing the instrument just unplugged or through a rig? If through a rig do you have any effects engaged?
     
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  6. skabass1

    skabass1

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I have Korg Pandora connected, and it's plugged to an amp. However, even if I change the setting on Pandora, sustain is about the same.

    I'm expecting more sustain on a Rick than a Corvette, but Corvette has much better sustain. (In theory, fretless should have less sustain than fretted, shouldn't it?)

    I remember that right after I switched roundwound to flats on my Rick, it sounded better than now. I left my Rick on the rack, and didn't play for about 4 months. When I played it the other day, I noticed the significant difference.
     
  7. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
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    Disclosures:
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    How are open strings?

    Does it drastically change once fretted?

    12th fret harmonic?
     
  8. skabass1

    skabass1

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    It's about the same with open and fretted. After I noticed the decrease in sustain, I tried harmonic on different positions, but the sound diminishes faster than I expect.
     
  9. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    LA California
    Disclosures:
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Have you checked to see if the strings are twisted? Meaning if you remove them from the tuning post and lay the string flat across the fingerboard they just lay flat rather then uncoil?
     
  10. skabass1

    skabass1

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I haven't checked it. In fact, I haven't remove the strings since I changed them. I changed it about 1.5 years ago. I'll check it when I switch back to rounds to see the difference.
     
  11. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Oh wait, I see now that these are over a year old...

    You like the sound of new flats, put them in the classifieds there are people that want this sound!

    :)
     
  12. skabass1

    skabass1

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Do flats deteriorate (in my opinion..) that fast? Flats on Corvette is more than 1.5 yo, but still better sounding. Unfortunately, I don't remember the brand for the flats on Corvette. So maybe I can really compare the how fast they go bad??

    Your response reminded me one thing to compare. I have an old Teisco (60's KL-2 or something. The sharkfin bass) and it has roundwounds. The sustain on my Rick is similar to the Teisco with bridge mute. If I can't find any solutions to improve (or get back) the Rick's flatwound sound, I'll put an ad and see if anyone responds. Thanks for the tip!!
     
  13. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    Disclosures:
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    I see used flats go in minutes in the classifieds and close to new prices (at least form a store I know very well). I find that amazing. I am glad you didn't take my comment the wrong way because I was serious! People buy used flats! (There is a thread here on how to make flats / strings in general dead!).

    Depending on how much you play and your body chemistry / how you treat your strings etc, flats can and will die out like any other string. In general it is slower, but a year and a half is a good amount of time to get out of them. You can get more and people do get more, and I am sure someone will post in here soon how they have 10 year old flats on their instrument. Unfortunately everyone is different and everyone has different playing styles habits and tastes. Look, Steve Harris uses a new set of flats every gig!

    Someone may pickup your bass as is and say its perfect, but to you, it is not exactly what you are looking for / expecting / remember.

    I have three instruments with flats currently. Each one sounds far from how it did when they were first put on. They each also sound different than they did 3 months ago.
     
  14. skabass1

    skabass1

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    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Good point. When I use the Teisco I have, I love the tone with or without the bridge mute. Some people may say it's a cheap, crappy instrument. I still love it. It's just sad that way more expensive Rick has similar (or worse IMO) sound. :(

    But I still wonder if pickups have some problem. Because like I wrote earlier, it sounds normal when unplugged.
     
  15. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    There can be so many factors that can be in play here. :-/ I wish I knew the answer :(
     
  16. OhValhalla

    OhValhalla

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    To me it sounds like pickup placement. Does the warwick corvette have standard jazz style pickup and placement? In my experience, nothing rings out harmonics and sustain more than that placement of pickups. The rickenbacker's pickup placement has more fundamental and thump to my ears, between a P bass and an EB0.

    If I were you, I'd try different strings on the rickenbacker. I've found that different basses react radically different with the same strings, especially with flats. Perhaps rotosound 77s or TI flats, depending on what tension you like.
     
  17. skabass1

    skabass1

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, just from visual comparison, the positions of the pups on the Corvette are very similar to Fender Jazz. Again, by visual comparison, the positions of the pups on the Rick and the Teisco are similar (however, Teisco is short scale, so it's hard to have a good comparison just by visual observation)....so this is the main reason why the Rick's sustain is poor when plugged in?? It kinda make sense now.

    Thanks for the info.
     

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