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Rickenbacker 4003s - New Band - Flats Or Rounds?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by theevilplankton, May 9, 2019.

  1. Had my 4003S set up a few months ago, but recut, etc., and been using D'addario NYXL 45-100 since. I'm pretty much a pick player.

    Recently joined a new band - one set 80s pop (Thompson Twins and so on), one set 80s funk/disco (Narada Michael Walden and so on).

    Found the current strings a bit bright, so considering some flats.....maybe Rotos? They do a 40-100 set, so they'd fit the nut slots okay. Used to use Fender flats, but been there......

    Ricky and flats for this stuff? Or stick with the NYXL's and use the tone knob?

    Incidentally, I do find the D'addario strings a little floppy.....or maybe I've just been listening to too much Roger Glover of late....!
    mikewalker likes this.
  2. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    Hmmm... D'Addario XL too bright... maybe a little hesitant to go all the way to flats...

    I strongly suspect that GHS Balanced Nickels would sound great on a Rickenbacker.

    [EDIT: But then again, if the D'Addario 45-100 is too flexible for you, GHS Balanced Nickels probably wouldn't help there.]
    theevilplankton likes this.
  3. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnndddddddddd... PICS??? :)
    theevilplankton likes this.
  4. JazzCrazy

    JazzCrazy Banned

    Mar 25, 2018
    Joshua Tree
    Back in the 70s I owned a 4001, played with a pick & my amp was a '74 Ampeg SVT. The sound I got was something special. A bit of a growl, at least a purr, using flats. It was extraordinary, at least at home. I guess it was a combination of the lightness of those ceramic pickups (the same windings as the guitars) thd bright sounding soft maple bodies, & the SVT's tubes generating itheir own particular overtones (My Marshall didn't sound nearly as good,)

    However, this was at home. In a rock band the beautiful subtleties got buried in the band. I nought a P bass & soon gave up bass for 40 years.

    Now that the 4003's are more hotly wound, we have a little beef to work with in a rock band. I posted threads about gloves & boiling to preserve my roudwounds. Someone posted a video of a 4003 played with a flat wound that purred & growled like nobody's business. I think they were Cobalts. Try to find a video of Cobalts played on a 4003 & see how you like it.
    theevilplankton likes this.
  5. JazzCrazy

    JazzCrazy Banned

    Mar 25, 2018
    Joshua Tree
    Oh yeah! Rounds on a Ricky played with a pick, not advisable--too brittle. Flats? Hell yeah!

    In your other post I saw you wanted to "cut through" which I found incongruous. Cutting through seems to imply you need to be brighter. Then I saw this thread & it made more sense. Rickenbacker's are light sounding & they get buried, lost in the mix. Activate the 'vintage' toggle switch & see what I used to contend with.

    I once gigged with a drummer who was bashing Rickies because he considered them so "wimpy" & brittle. I reminded him that Paul McCartney used a 4001 throughout the psychedelic period. "Lucy in the sky with diamonds was played on a 4001 with flats, not rounds, & not a Hoffner. He obviously had forgotten that.
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
    theevilplankton likes this.
  6. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    For a Rick, either Pyramid or Optima flats give that old school 60s/70s Rickenbacker sound.
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    80s rock doesn't seem to mix with flats. Perhaps nickel rounds, like Lo Riders.

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