Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

What should I be looking for in a low tension string?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by HeavyDuty, Aug 18, 2001.


  1. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I have a new (old) Rickenbacker 4001, and need some string advice, or guidance on where to find it.

    Common wisdom is that older Ric basses were designed for low-tension flatwounds, and that higher tension strings can cause neck problems. The problem is, I can't find any reference to what would qualify as low tension or high tension!

    As an example, the D'Addario catalog lists four string, long scale sets as running between 133 pounds (XL Extra Super Soft .035/.095) and 264 pounds (1/2 Rounds Heavy .055/.110) tension.

    How should I classify tension? And where should I stay with a Ric 4001?
     
  2. steinbergerxp2

    steinbergerxp2 Guest

    Jul 11, 2001
    If you want low tension flats, Thomastic Infeld Jazz Flats are the softest I have ever seen.

    The lowest tension you will find are the "lightest" set (smallest diameter). I don't think there has ever been a comparison of strings by tension. The GHS site has a prettyy complete list of their strinsg by tension at least. I think I would ask Rick to confirm their recommendations.
     
  3. MJB

    MJB

    Mar 17, 2000
    TI are definitely low tension. And if you want roundwound, their Jazz Rounds are actually lower tension than their flats.
     
  4. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Hmmm.

    Something else - I just read that flats generally need less adjustment for intonation than rounds; i.e., your saddles with flats will be in a line more perpendicular to the strings than it would be with roundwounds. (This is hard to describe - does that statement read right?)

    Not really an issue with most basses, but a Ric 4001 has limited fore-and-aft travel in the saddles, supposedly because it was designed for flats.

    Does this sound like fact, or an internet fable?
     
  5. Jeb

    Jeb

    Jul 22, 2001
    USA
    HeavyDuty, I've researched this string tension issue with Rickenbackers very thoroughly and have learned alot, from those in the know and those, well... not in the know. I've got gobs of info that would take too long to type here, but the bottom line is this:

    Older Rickenbacker basses CAN AND DO tolerate modern string tension. The only concern is to make sure whoever attempts an adjustment (if one is even needed) on the pre-1985 rods knows how they work. In other words, its not the guitar that is the problem, its the guitar tech.
     
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Hi, Jeb -

    I've been reading up on the subject all over the web, and I agree with your conclusion - if you expect to crank your trussrod on a Ric 4001, you're asking for trouble. If you adjust the neck properly by bending it by hand, no problems.

    I've decided that as long as I stick to lights or even medium-lights, I can put just about any damn string I please on the Ric without fear. I don't know if I'd trust Rotosounds, though - even John Hall said they're very high tension.

    Thanks, everyone!