Paul McCartney Wings Over America Rickenbacker 4003s/4001s Tone

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by AdarasCentaris, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. AdarasCentaris


    Jun 19, 2019
    Hey! Does anyone know what strings to get this tone?
    Audio Only:
    Audio Only:
    It's very watery and out there, I've heard people say LaBella and other brands and I'm ordering a rick this summer but I need to know what strings I can put on to match that tone. So many other forums people ask for the Hofner but I never see anything about the rick. Do I need to get a C64 for this tone or can I get a 4003s and be set? What strings? You know, my first time using one of these forums so I'm a bit nervous. Thanks!
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I know exactly zero about Paul's strings. But Welcome to TalkBass!!!!
  3. AdarasCentaris


    Jun 19, 2019
    Thanks man!
  4. DrSteve

    DrSteve Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2008
    North Delaware
    In interviews, Paul said he used the shiny ones.

    Sorry couldn’t resist.
    I had my ric strung with TI Flats, but I think there’s more to it then that. Though they sounded good.

    Don’t know what he used. I’m sure touch and amp come into play as well.

    Good luck in your search.
    And welcome
    herndonbassist likes this.
  5. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Near as I can tell, in the videos, he's playing a 4003, with Hi Gain pickups and the bridge p/u cover removed. A C64 Rick is a repro of his old 4001, with completely different pickups. So, no, you don't need one of those; although, it would be a very nice Rick to have...
    As for the strings? Sir Paul has always been... vague.. about his stuff; especially strings. And, it's just impossible to get a clue from the videos, too. But, since I happen to have a 4003 and a 4001, if I had to guess? From the sound clips, I'd say:
    - Flats of some kind, but probably not La Bellas; they're a touch too Old School thumpy. TIs? Maybe.. to be honest, the clips remind me of medium gauge Fender 9050 flats. Definitely something in the "polite" range of flats.. not too thumpy; not too bright and round wound-y; just right...
    - I'd also say that he's definitely got the capacitor cut out of the bridge pickup, too; and
    - Pretty sure he's playing with a pick, as well. I play my Ricks that way, too...
    So, ignoring what kind of rig he's playing through, and the fact that - let's face it - neither of us is Sir Paul, I'd say that, IMO, a 4003 with Fender 9050M's and no capacitor on the bridge p/u would get you pretty close; question is, can you play with a pick...? :whistle:
  6. AdarasCentaris


    Jun 19, 2019
    Yeah man, I normally play with a pick and can play the live version of silly love songs :D So how do I turn off the capacitor on the bridge when I get my rick. I know how to remove the cover from a vid but how would I install a high gain pickup? (didn't he just do the bridge for the high gain?) I've read other places that paul just uses stock rick strings.
  7. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    In the concert videos Paul is playing his '64 (IIRC) 4001S with toaster in the neck and hi-gain in the bridge location. Sometime since that era, the original horseshoe pickup was reinstalled on the bass.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  8. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    The treble (bridge p/u) tone control is a push/pull pot. Push in = no capacitor ("modern" 4003 tone). Pull out = capacitor engaged ("classic" 4001-ish tone). Easy-peasy...;)
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    It really really helps to get that tone if you're Paul McCartney. And you're using flats.

    Seriously, though, it wouldn't surprise me if Paul kept the strings it came with.
  10. Thibby

    Thibby Supporting Member

    May 2, 2015
    New Orleans
    Rick, flats, and a pick will get you there. IIRC, Maxima flatwounds came on Rics back in the day and it’s likely McCartney never changed them. Maxima isn’t around anymore but apparently Optima RB flats are the closest thing to the old Maximas (so I’ve heard).
    Hammerfield likes this.
  11. barrybass33

    barrybass33 Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2008
    westchester new york.
    Possibly pyramid flats or labella....
  12. Tone is in the fingers... or in this case, the pick. You should be trying to find out what pick he used.
    RissKippery likes this.
  13. I have zero knowledge about McCartney's gear but I believe he used pyramid flats (the same ones used on his Hofner*).

    * According with an old Bass Player magazine I have.
    Guiseppe likes this.
  14. fabubass


    Jan 13, 2006

    Gotta agree, Jimmy, Paul has said, numerous tomes in interviews, he's nt a techie, doesn't know anything about strings, amps, probably whatever strings the Ric came with, he used
    JimmyM likes this.
  15. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    You beat me to it, Jimmy. That's exactly what I was going to say.
    He's a right-brained (left-handed, of course) instinctive artist who has always distanced himself from technical details.
    JimmyM likes this.
  16. Skillet


    Nov 25, 2011
    I'd think you'd want a set of "not too thumpy" flats to get close. Some that are a tad brighter than LaBella Deep Talkins or Chromes. I'd recommend Dunlops.

    It's great to hear the bass so prominently in the mix. I guess when you're Royalty, and it's your show, you get heard. Great playing from a master.
  17. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    Right. You will never get McCartney's tone, even if Paul gave you his Ric, strings and all. Focus on getting YOUR tone.
    JimmyM likes this.
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    Paul used flats and usually played with a pick
  19. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Just putting this out there: WOA tour was May/June 1976 — were TIs (mentioned a couple times in this thread) in production then?

    OP, good luck finding that Macca tone but as @RichardW said, focus on finding YOUR tone.