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McCartney Rickenbacker sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by corinpills, Dec 29, 2010.


  1. corinpills

    corinpills

    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Paging IAmTheBassman...

    Borrowed a lovely 4001 with toasters from a friend and I'm having a wonderful time playing along with Yes songs! I am ready to change over to flats and get my Wings on. I am a long time devotee of Macca's playing but suddenly realize that I don't actually know much about his gear with Wings. From photos, I realize that he used a few basses in the 70s- quite a bit of jazz bass on Band On The Run, I think- but I'm sure it was mostly his Ric live.

    It sounds like mostly neck pickup to me, but I'm finding photos of him with it in all 3 positions. That's what she said.

    Also, what on earth did he use for an amp in those days? SVTs?

    And will I need a curly cord and a mullet to really nail the tone?
     
    mikewalker and BamaBird like this.
  2. If you gotta ask that, you prolly should start playing the triangle.........of course you need the cord and mullet....
     
  3. corinpills

    corinpills

    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    And a satin jacket with a Wings logo?
     
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I believe he used an acoustic 360 amp. And the wings era Rickenbacker has an overwound Ric high gain bridge pickup that replaced the dead horseshoe pickup. I am not sure if the .0047 capacitor got removed or not.
     
  5. And, I think McCartney used the neck PU only, or mostly. I think. Oh, and FLATS all the way!
     
  6. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Don't forget to use a pick !
     
  7. corinpills

    corinpills

    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    There's no danger of me forgetting to use a pick. I just packed a suitcase with a huge bag of weed on top and booked a flight to Japan. Will that help?
     
    mikewalker, Tommyc and bearfoot like this.
  8. Yes, then you will be just like Paul. Except he was playing a Yamaha bass at that point!
     
    mikewalker likes this.
  9. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Early photos of Wings show him with a Fender Bassman, a Beatles hold-over perhaps? And yes, later an Acoustic.

    Curly cords DO affect your sound more than straight ones!
     
  10. ChrisWright

    ChrisWright Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    Southern FL
    I have read many recipes for Paul’s Ric tone while he was with The Beatles. Almost all of them start with “neck pickup only” (up position on the toggle switch) - as indicated in Rob’s post. However, almost every picture I have seen of him playing the Ric (“candid” photographs in the studio) indicate he’s got the toggle switch in the “down” position (as to solo the bridge pickup). I’m disregarding anything that might appear in a video, as we might assume that they were lip-synching their instruments, so to speak. I do see it in the down position in a number of videos, but trying to discount those as potentially irrelevant.
    Conversely, most of the Wings live shots show the toggle in the middle position - accessing both neck and bridge pickups. I understand that there is a difference in his tone between his Beatles and Wings playing days.
    Does anyone have a a successful tone recipe that uses the toggle in the down position to start? I assume it’s not likely that Ric changed the position of the toggle switch along the way and that the down position has always been the bridge? Thanks for your input.

    C
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
    Rob Martinez likes this.
  11. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    I've read numerous assertions that the left-handed 4001 basses used exactly the same wiring harness as the right-handed basses, it was just rotated (just as they did with the neck). So "down" on the left-handed bass is "up" on the right-handed bass, and Paul was using the neck-position toaster early on.

    Perhaps @PaulBoyer can provide some more authoritative information? I don't have my copy of his book handy to see whether the topic was covered there.
     
    MG Wolf, nixdad, Rezdog and 1 other person like this.
  12. ChrisWright

    ChrisWright Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    Southern FL
    Wow - that’s hugely helpful... thank you. C’mon Paul Boyer - weigh in!!

    C
     
    Caca de Kick and nixdad like this.
  13. Good points.
    Because it was a lefty, it may have been wired "upside down." Having said that, who knows? Paul himself has said he is no techy and just plays his bass and let's the sound people do their thing.
     
    Axstar and nixdad like this.
  14. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    The majority of known photos show the toggle in the down position, so "we" are pretty certain a righty wired harness is in the bass.
     
    Rob Martinez likes this.
  15. ChrisWright

    ChrisWright Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    Southern FL
    Thanks very much… That does seem to be the conclusion – appreciate it.
     
  16. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    '73 Ric 4001-2.JPG I just happen to be a lefty, and I just happen to own a '73 4001. Played in the lefty position -
    Switch "up" = neck pup only
    Switch "down" = bridge pup only
    And, of course, "middle" = both. It's bone stock, and all original - except for a brass nut and the push/pull treble tone switch... :cool:
     
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  17. ChrisWright

    ChrisWright Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    Southern FL
    Thanks for your help. So you are saying that they used a wiring harness that was “true” to the model,.. and that the switch position on a lefty is the same as a righty. Down for bridge, up for neck… Correct?
    Also, that is a sweet Ric!
    Thx.
     
  18. the real mojo is in the mullet.
     
  19. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Yes, that's correct. For what it's worth; my '01 4003 is wired the same way. Although, you could probably just loosen the nut on the switch, and orient it however you want. Which I've actually done on one or two of my basses - forward; middle; back. The switch just seems to work better that way on those basses. But not the Ricks; they work fine for me just as they are... And thanks; my 4001 says she appreciates the compliment.;)
     
    ChrisWright likes this.
  20. ChrisWright

    ChrisWright Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    Southern FL
    Terrific. Thanks very much. I’m going to get on the Rickenbacker club/forum and see if someone there can give me a definitive answer for his year. I think it was a 65 or 66, and from what I’ve read it was one of the first ever produced. So it seems reasonable that they may have used the same wiring harness for lefty and righty models. But certainly, your point about rotating the switch is an excellent one too. Thanks again.
     

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