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Flats on Rick 4001

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by sanderic, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. sanderic


    Jun 3, 2011
    Pulled my old 78 4001 from the closet the other day, still strung with Rotosound 66. Great bass, but I've gotten so accustomed to my Precision with Chromes, and my Jazz with Fender flats, that I'm considering making the switch on my Rick. In particular I'm thinking about the Fender 4590L set, and possibly even using the Ricks mute, although the bass side thumb screw seems to be frozen and the felt may even be dry rotted. I play in a 17 piece swing band and use a Markbass combo. Any suggestions?
  2. .
    I put TI flats on my '80 Rick a few months ago and have never looked back.
    They just seem to bring out the Rickenbacker "flavour" more than any other string I've ever had on this bass.
    Low tension is a dream to play too.
  3. sanderic


    Jun 3, 2011
    Did you have to make any truss rod adjustments? Or was it an easy switch?
  4. Been using Chromes on both of mine. Made the switch to flats a few years back and haven't looked back. I like the Chromes so much Im afraid to spend money on TIs or Fender flats.
  5. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    -About strings? No; that's too subjective a topic. I have Hybrid Slinkies on my 4001, and Rick Light Rounds on my 4003, 'cause that's what I think sounds best; I don't play in a swing band, though. Experiment and see what you like.

    -About the mute thumb screws? A little penetrating oil (I prefer Kroil) should free them up. The ones on my 4001 were frozen solid when I got it; Kroil loosened them right up.

    -The mute? It shouldn't be felt; it's supposed to be a piece of the same weird, squishy rubber that Rick uses under the pickups. They sell it on the Rick website. It's cheap, but you have to trim it to the right size. I had to replace it on both my Ricks. It seems to harden up pretty fast; felt might be a better option, actually...
  6. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I had Chromes on my 4003 for a bit and really liked the tone, but I did have to adjust the truss rod as the Chromes are alot higher tension than the DR HiBeams I usually have on there.
  7. hsech

    hsech I'm not old, I'm just seasoned. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    I'm using Chromes on my 4003 also and I too had to adjust the truss rod.
  8. Red_Merkin


    Nov 12, 2012
    Rics never really "did it" for me until I played a 70's one with flats -that's when it clicked for me.
  9. .
    Amazingly no.... and I'm quite anal about truss rod adjustment, I'm often tweaking my Fenders in that regard.

    I had run D'Addario rounds for many, many years on the Rick before switching to TI's.

    I stuck 'em on, expecting to have to slacken the rods off to compensate for the lower tension of the strings but didn't have to touch them.
    Action's perfect, and beautifully low.
    I LOVE Rickenbacker 4001 necks!
  10. atracksler


    Oct 30, 2007
    Pyramid flats on mine. I flipping love the tone.
  11. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I love this guys tone with labellas.
  12. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    I've used ghs and pyramid flats as well as rotosound tapewounds on Ric basses,and think they sound wonderful when played with a pick,you get a really nice percussive quality,and a lot of note definition. I have noticed fingerstyle can be a bit blah sounding unless you really dig in. I have a set of vintage maxima flats (what used to be loaded on Ric basses in the old days) on my Ric Cii now,which are the perfect sounding flats for me,i believe either the new Optima flats or thomastic brand flats are supposed to be pretty similar sounding to them.
  13. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    The Maximas were great, the originals lasted 10 years on my 4000 before starting to unravel at the edges.
    Tried TIs: too floppy for me.
    I have Chromes on my '77 4001, much better, but still not what the maximas were, but then the Chromes aren't even broken in yet.
    You can do a little research and pick the tension that you want, they offer several sets to accommodate a lot of different needs.

    The mute is a piece of foam stuck to the mute bar, which also has the bridge ground wire soldered to it, and the foam is likely rotted.
    You can buy new ones from RIC for a few dollars, but a suitable piece of adhesive backed foam weatherstripping will do the same job.

    That's all the RIC mute is, adhesive backed foam conveniently sized for the application.
    You can probably clean up the screws with some penetrating oil and a wire brush.
  14. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    The new Optimas are the closest to the old Maximas used on Ricks in the '60's.

    For a growly string, the new Fender 9050CL set of 45-60-80-105 is more similar in gauges to the old Rick sets, and match very well with a 4001 for tone, feel, consistency, and they have a good price.
  15. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Big + 1.

    These strings are made for a Ric.
    Put a set on my Ric, they will never come off.
  16. adivin


    Jul 9, 2009
    New Orleans, LA
    Put some TI flats on my 4003 today. So far I like them. It still retains the Rick sound but cleans up some the clank.
  17. I used the roto 66s on my 74 4001 for a while too. I loved the 66s but decided to try something different just for the fun of it. I'm not a big fan of flats but I decided to try some black nylon wrapped strings. Now I play that bass more than all my others combined. Great example of how "fixing" something that isn't broke can work out really well.

  18. What nylon tapes do you use?
    I've only tried GHS tapes on my 4004 do far.
  19. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    That's a shame,the Fender set are good sounding strings,very bright compared to tapewounds.(great for fretless) I have used the new Labella white tapewounds on 2 very different basses (not Ricks) , and thoroughly recommend them. They seem to be a good hybrid tone of rw's and tapewounds,very smooth,and low tension,but not TI low,so that's pretty much my idea of perfect.