What flat wound gets the closest to Mccartneys Rickenbacker tone?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Will_420, May 30, 2021.


  1. Will_420

    Will_420

    May 7, 2021
    New York
    I am trying to narrow down what string gets the closest to Mccartney's actual Rickenbacker tone. I use TI JF334 flats on my Rick 4003s with push pull vintage pot and can get quite close to his tone but I find there is so much confusion on what strings he actual used on his ric. Is there a better string then TI JF344 for McCartney tone and what did he actual use on the Rickenbacker? Thanks for the help!
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Hmmm. Don't know, but you're right, his Rickenbacker tone is unlike anyone else's on the planet. Whatever he's doing / using is pretty unique. Someone here surely knows the gory details.
     
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  3. shoulderpet

    shoulderpet

    Sep 24, 2015
    Not flats but Rotosound Trubass and a pick will get you very close, probably not the answer you were after but that is what my experience and my ears tells me
     
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  4. Abner

    Abner

    Jan 2, 2011
    Mississauga
    No direct experience with them myself, but this thread may be of value to you:

    New Optima RB Flats (old Maxima reproductions)
     
  5. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    McCartney himself wouldn't be much help - his answer when asked what kind of strings he used (from interview circa mid to late '90's): "I don't know, they come in a little bag."
    A better place to start might be finding out what stock strings were on Rick basses when they left the factory in the mid '60's.
    I'd also venture a lot of what we're hearing on the records is not so much due to the strings, but the signal chain between the bass and the tape machine. There's some info on that in the
    Recording the Beatles coffee table book, if you have access to that.
     
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  6. Will_420

    Will_420

    May 7, 2021
    New York
     
  7. Will_420

    Will_420

    May 7, 2021
    New York
  8. Will_420

    Will_420

    May 7, 2021
    New York
    I could never get rounds to have his tone at all haha way to bright, but I never used roto trubass
     
  9. McCartney was known to do a lot of experimenting with recording techniques and using equipment that no one else had.
    I dare say that accounts for his range of sounds. I have to also think about how he had to send his Ric back to the factory because the electrics and his pickup magnets were shot. Who knows what he did to the thing?
     
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  10. Stugilliam

    Stugilliam

    Apr 28, 2016
    Eastern CT
    I believe that he used Pyramid strings on the Ric and he was notorious for running multiple microphones and DI's them mix them at the board. This is just what I remembered from some reading and may be wrong but it gives you a place to start your research.
     
    Will_420 likes this.
  11. Stugilliam:
    Is your avatar a picture of one of McCartney's custom made speakers?
     
  12. I too believe he used Rotosound Tru Bass 88 nylon tapewounds on his Ric. I don’t think he ever used flatwounds with it.
     
  13. Stugilliam

    Stugilliam

    Apr 28, 2016
    Eastern CT
    Not that I have ever seen but I would love to power her up in a good cab!!
     
  14. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    Well, a couple of things....
    - Sir Paul's 4001 Rick would have come from the factory with German Maxima flatwounds on it, which is what made for that signature Rickenbacker sound. So, unless he just absolutely hated them - or the recording engineer did - they probably stayed on that bass for quite awhile, considering how long-lived flatwounds are. These days, the closest you can get to the original strings is a set of Optima RB (Rickenbacker Bass) flats. Optima owns the remains of Maxima, and a few years ago decided to clone the original factory strings. Down to the 45-57-77-100 gauges... I have a set on my '01 Rick 4003; they're... just what I want to hear from that bass. I'm not trying to sound like Sir Paul (as if...:rolleyes:); I just want that original Rick tone...
    - As others have said, there is a whole bunch of other things that contributed to all the Beatles' sound. There are several mind-numbingly detailed videos that will give you a taste of just how complicated their sound was by the time Sir Paul picked up that Rick. Equipment that you couldn't even begin to buy...
    So, bottom line? Realistically, there's simply no way to duplicate his sound - today. The best you can hope for? Put a set of Optima RB's on your Rick; cut the capacitor into the bridge pickup; and be happy with "sort of in the ballpark"....:cool:
     
  15. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Sir Macca is why I started to play bass in 1976. I studied and played his bass lines all the way from Love Me Do forward to the most recent. I have a set on one of my basses. I concur.
     
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  16. shoulderpet

    shoulderpet

    Sep 24, 2015
    He used both flats and tapewounds at different periods in his career. as per the attached picture he used tapewounds on his ric sometimes as well as flatwounds
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Rotosound Tru-Bass on, I believe, both Hofners in turn, used during some of the Abbey Road sessions, the roof top, a few of what became to be known as the Let It Be sessions, among others. He didn't stay with them too long. I don't know of any occasion of him using them after the Beatles.
     
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  18. Will_420

    Will_420

    May 7, 2021
    New York
    true that!
     
  19. Will_420

    Will_420

    May 7, 2021
    New York
    Thanks for the help!
     
  20. Will_420

    Will_420

    May 7, 2021
    New York
    I think I will try the optima strings! thanks for the help!
     
    iiipopes likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Aug 4, 2021

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