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Best strings for Rickenbacker 4003?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by sugerbass, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. sugerbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    New York
    Hey everyone,

    I have a Rickenbacker 4003 and need to get some new strings for it. I know very little about electric bass, so I was wondering what would be the best strings to put on it. I'm a jazz upright player but will be in some situations where I'll need electric. Price is not an issue. Thanks so much.
  2. u84six

    u84six Nobody panic, the bass player is here! Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    If money is no object, I'd highly recommend Thomastik Infeld Jazz Flats for flat wound and Thomastik Infeld Superalloy for round wound. After using TI strings, almost everything else will seem lower quality.

    I use the Jazz Flats on my 4003 and get compliments on my sound all the time.
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Pretty much any strings will work.

    I like D'Addario
  4. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    For flats, I'll second the TI flats. But D'Addario XL's are a unique sounding string for a roundwound. They have a nice percussive attack and very little harmonic overtones, so coming from an upright background, they could be cool as well.
    armybass and jmlee like this.
  5. sugerbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    New York
    As a jazz upright player, do I want round or flat wound strings on my electric?
  6. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    If you want to go the Squire Ric tone route, then I recommend DR HiBeams. They sound like Rotosounds but last much longer.
  7. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Flats will get you closest to where you want to go. You can also experiment with the mute in the bridge!

    Three leading flats to consider:

    TI Flats are nice expressive strings, think of Paul McCartney.
    LaBella DTB or Duck Dunn's are more Motown, blues.
    GHS Precision Flats are very vintage sounding, think of early '60's Brit groups, early The Who, with a bass that has a very percussive plucky tone.

    You're going to have to try a few, as every different string has its own character on every different bass.
    Roadblock357 likes this.
  8. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    Nothing sounds like Rotosounds, that's why Squire, Lee, etc use 'em!!!!
    Mystic Michael likes this.
  9. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Do you want the Ric to sound and feel like your upright? La Bella 760FS flats

    Do you want the Ric to sound and feel different from your upright? Hi Beams 45-105
  10. BrentSimons

    BrentSimons Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Vergennes,VT USA
    I loved Rotosound Swing Bass 66's on my Ric but I'm from the Geddy Lee /Chris Squire/ Spock's Beard camp. You could try the Rotosound Jazz Flats 77's they might feel more like your upright strings.
    Mystic Michael likes this.
  11. bassman700


    Nov 6, 2011
    I put some Ernie Ball Cobalts on mine and it sounds amazing! Not too expensive either.
  12. Davbassdude


    Mar 16, 2012
    Strings are chosen according to individual preference, depending on the feel and sound you seek. The first thing you want to determine is if you prefer the feel of round core strings or hex core strings. I prefer the feel of round core. Also, the type of string (Flat or Round wound ) will greatly affect the sound. I have owned a 4003 (Mapleglo) since 1981 and have tried many strings. The ones I prefer are the Dean Markley NPS (Nickle-plated steel) Half Round Wound strings lite (40-100), or their Light gauge SR 2000 Round Wound. IMHO the NPS strings would be a better fit for a Jazz or fusion sound. Hope this helps.
  13. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Rotosound swing66 and ricks are a great match thats been the pick of top players for decades now.
    Sharknose79 likes this.
  14. artdrtr


    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Thanks for all the string suggestions -- I'm replacing the strings on my 4003 and play classic rock covers. Currently it has rounds which I like the feel. I play finger style, no pick.

    Q: What strings would be best?

    Q: What's the best weight for the neck? The current strings are at least Mediums, and may be Heavy? They feel stiffer then some Mediums I have on another bass...

  15. Even though the modern Ric 4003 necks are much more forgiving than the older ones; I'd still stick with something close to spec guages....45-105 or something that's fairly close to that. Ric is pretty adament about string guages. They don't require you to stay "spot on" with the factory strings, but it would be safe to stay somewhere in the vacinity just to avoid any issues.
    Rickman1 likes this.
  16. artdrtr


    Jan 24, 2008
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Thanks for the info.

  17. I use stock Ric roundwound strings, I think they sound good. You can get them from Pick of the Rics. http://www.pickofthericks.com/categories/Strings/Bass-Strings/Rickenbacker-Bass-Strings/

    I've played my Ric (finger style)at jazz jams and I find that even with the tone turned down on the instrument and the amp EQ'd for lows it still has an electric growl to it. I'm not sure how flats would sound through that setup. If you're okay with that Ric roundwound growl and you like the feel of rounds then there you go.
  18. gadgetgirl

    gadgetgirl Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    East Coast
    I like the Rickenbacker "standard" nickel round wound 45-55-75-105 set (#9551) for both jazz and rock. I just bought a set of TI flats to try. I have the TI flats on my Fender Jazz fretless and love them.
  19. JackTheRipper

    JackTheRipper Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2008
    San Diego, CA
  20. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Mile High Bassist Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    I've owned over a dozen Rics over the years, and I was never able to really nail the Geddy & Squire tones until I discovered my two "secret weapons" - D'Addario Prosteel strings and the Tech 21 VT bass pedal.

    For your style/sound, I would recommend a set of TI flats for that smooth jazzy warmth.
    eriky4003 likes this.

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