What strings to use on a Rickenbacker 4001?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by him666, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. I've read some stuff on the Internet, that it is better to use flatwounds on Rickenbacker 4001's because of the neck? Or it has to do with tension.
    Can't i just put roundwounds on them when i have a Ric 4001?
  2. I'm not sure where that 'no round wounds' on a 4001 came from? I used Rotosounds on my 4001 all through the 70's with no problem. Where is this coming from? Every 4001 I've ever played (maybe 15 of them) through the years have round wounds and virtually all of them played great.

    Can a TBer fill me in on this 'myth'?

  3. John Hall himself has said this. However keep in mind it was a RARE occurance that happened.

    Chances are you will be fine to put rounds on your 4001. Most people that i have heard of/seen use them with no problems. As said before...its rare that any problems occur. But there have been a few instances.
  4. According to Ric, the tension increases dramatically when you put roundwound strings on the 4001 and -could inevitably- lead to problems with neck. E-mail or contact them for clarification.
  5. Rezdog

    Rezdog Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    T.Rez, Canada
    Greetings from the North,
    Back in ancient times, before the French were able to con the world into paying for water, I played my 4001's with Roto roundwounds on them....with no shame or guilt! You may grind your frets a little quicker but you will not poke out your eye from a neck going pop. Flats,nylon wrapped, or rounds the 4001 should be robust enough to handle them all. If the necks were too dainty Rush,Deep Purple,etc would have told their bass players to leave em at home.
  6. Roundwounds are fine. If you have an older 4001, it may be a good idea to use lighter gauge strings. I have 2 4001's from the mid 70s strung with D'Addario XLs. Never had a problem.

    The really important thing to remember about an old 4001 is adjusting the truss rod. Never just turn the rods like you would a normal bass. Loosen the strings, bend the neck to where you want it, then tighten the rods and retune. If you try tweaking the rods as you would a normal bass, you run the risk of popping the fingerboard off.

    The 4003 is not an issue. Treat it like you would any other bass.
  7. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    Always used stainless rounds myself. I like the E string around a .90, never any trouble.
  8. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    Always used rounds on my '74. No problems, I did finally wander away from Rotos though. The older I get I want just a little less "zing". I've gone nickel now...D'Addarios mostly. Slowounds are my favorite but they are sadly discontinued.
    DR Nickel low riders are pretty good too...

    Funny thing is, now I've got a wild hair to put flats on my 4003....
  9. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Just be sure to use a slightly lighter gauge string as blueflamerick mentioned above. You won't have any problems providing the truss rods, neck and fretboard are all in good condition.

    Personally, I use Dean Markley Blue Steels on my early 70's 4001. I've never had a problem. I would also recommend DR's.

    The truss rods in the 4001 are made of softer metal rods than those used on the 4003. By over tighnening the rods on a 4001 (to keep the neck straight due to excessive string tension,) it's very possible to pop the fretboard off the neck. The rods when over tightened pushed up against the fretboard inside the rod pocket and could force it to lift up and off.

    When this happened the policy of Rickenbacker was not to cover the repair under warranty, because they recommended that only flat wound strings be used on their basses.

    That's the basic history of the "You can't put roundwound strings on a 4001" statement. To which we all reply, with all due respect, BS.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  10. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    40-100 guage are perfect on a 4001. I use Rotosound SM66's
    and have for years with no problems..