A dumb story that a real bass player might enjoy - ric 4003

Winjeel

TDPRI Member
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Apr 11, 2012
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Canberra, Australia
Back in my "broke college-student" days, I would boil guitar strings to extend their lives......it worked great. Nowadays, guitar strings are so cheap (relatively) it's just not worth the effort and time.
Both of my basses have flat wounds, so they sound "dead" from the start.....and that's the "thumpy" bass sound I want anyway.
I've played with a couple of bassists that used Ricks......worst rattly, noisy sound ever. Is that what you call "clang"? Sorry, you can have it. The last guy I played with had an awful Rick.....the wiring went bad, and he had to change to a cheap, Asian made EB-3 copy that he used for a backup. Improved his sound 1000%. ;)
At the risk of hijacking the thread... I had the same issue with a Stingray bass - all clank and rattle despite my best efforts. I sold it and bought a cheap Cort bass which improved my sound immeasurably.
I'd love to try a Rick bass though.
I did boil my bass strings once, but I don't recommend it, I found the strings felt "dry" and unresponsive.
 

toomuchfun

Tele-Afflicted
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Feb 9, 2014
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Location
PA, US
I'm pretty sure this is my first and last time boiling strings. I got the dry feeling with the strings I boiled. They are round wound, I thought about putting some fast frets on them but that would sort of defeat the purpose of cleaning them.

I've since found another old set in a junk box, they are what we used to call ground wound. I guess the term is polished these days. They feel new and sound real good. I'm going to order a new set polished but hope to find a real bass player to give it a workout with what's on now.

For me strings are much more simple with the light gauges of a 6 string. When one no longer stays in tune, change them all. I'm still learning with bass strings.
 

FortyEight

Friend of Leo's
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Jul 1, 2020
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Southeastern Wisconsin
I think they call em half rounds too.

I have a mexi fender P that I bought nearing 10 years ago. It has been played pretty regularly since then. But even more so in the last year. I also started playing with my fingers more. It is my observation that playing with my fingers wore my strings down more in the last 6 months then it did all the other years. I am playing more. But my guess is I like to use a lot of force.

My frets also suffered. All I know is it had lost a lot of low end, felt pretty tired, and sounded tired. I sanded and recrowned the frets, tried flat wounds but didn't really love em on there, put those on my CV Jazz and put the new strings I had on my Jazz on my P and wallah, felt back to what I was used to. PLUS, it has more low end and highs. I can dial back the tone knob and still sound right to me.

For me and my P, I like round wounds (as usual for me D'Addario, I've always preferred them for guitar) 45-100.

I do like the flats on the jazz (D'Addario Chromes). I think it sounds better with them on there. But I liked it with rounds too.

I'll be honest, I'm getting tired of the big bodies. I'm feeling like I would like to trade em all in for mustangs. Or something short scale. Maybe.... The Jazz body is just.... big. And heavy 70s CV Jazz. The p is better. Problem is I'm not sure I like the feel of a short scale neck..... But probably if I played one a lot, I'd get used to it.

Don't have a picture of my P on this computer, so you get something else. (2 unrelated but cool pics) LOL.
 

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marshman

Poster Extraordinaire
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SE PA
My Rick is an early 80s unit, and was pretty highly modded when I got it. Bound, 2-piece pickguard (no real idea if that was original) mapleglo with no center walnut stripe. That's about all I can tell you about it's heritage.

Full set of Seymour Duncan Rick pups in it when I got it. I LOVE the neck p'up (and am sad that SD won't make me a black or gold one for other basses I own) but the bridge unit was toooo 'clang-y'. Well, I think that's a factor of the guitar 'cause every p'up I've tried there since has sounded about the same. SO I just left whatever it was in there and turn it on when I need that sound...

...which is very rare, as I like the Jameson-type tone. But, I've discovered I really don't like flatwounds much, so it's mostly rounds of some sort and the tone turned waaay down. It's also been rewired somewhere along the line, because the knobs are NOT the same function as the new Rick my wife got me for Christmas a few years back. The controls are currently wired like my LP.

Old picture with my fretless J, roughly what it looks like now.
 

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toomuchfun

Tele-Afflicted
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My Rick is an early 80s unit, and was pretty highly modded when I got it. Bound, 2-piece pickguard (no real idea if that was original) mapleglo with no center walnut stripe. That's about all I can tell you about it's heritage.

Full set of Seymour Duncan Rick pups in it when I got it. I LOVE the neck p'up (and am sad that SD won't make me a black or gold one for other basses I own) but the bridge unit was toooo 'clang-y'. Well, I think that's a factor of the guitar 'cause every p'up I've tried there since has sounded about the same. SO I just left whatever it was in there and turn it on when I need that sound...

...which is very rare, as I like the Jameson-type tone. But, I've discovered I really don't like flatwounds much, so it's mostly rounds of some sort and the tone turned waaay down. It's also been rewired somewhere along the line, because the knobs are NOT the same function as the new Rick my wife got me for Christmas a few years back. The controls are currently wired like my LP.

Old picture with my fretless J, roughly what it looks like now.

I'm proud to say I've heard you play and enjoyed jamming at a TDPRI jam at otterhounds. And I sort of remember a Rickenbacker, it was a long time ago. I remember some great beer you brewed, hope that's still a hobby for you.

I tried flatwounds once but never gave them a real chance. I'm going to have a weekend jam and want to hear what the used ones I put on sound like. Going to try to buy only one new set, if 'm lucky.
 

marshman

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I thought you might be close. To be honest, I probably haven’t gone anywhere musical without that Rick in 20 years, so you definitely saw it.

I can check my stash downstairs, I might have a set of strings you can have if you’re close to southern Chester County.
 

johnny k

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Posts
10,570
Location
France
I played with a few double bass players, and they had a tear in their eyes when they had to change strings. One of them put weedwacker 'strings' on it. His excuse ? it slaps great. the sound not so much.
 

toomuchfun

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Joined
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Posts
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Location
PA, US
I thought you might be close. To be honest, I probably haven’t gone anywhere musical without that Rick in 20 years, so you definitely saw it.

I can check my stash downstairs, I might have a set of strings you can have if you’re close to southern Chester County.
Sorry to take so long to reply, I'm old.

Thanks for the generous offer, but I found a set of used strings in my junk box that seem to work well. They are smoother than the roundwounds it had on it.

I had a jam Sunday and a good bass player gave them a workout. She plays well and sings even better, a real treat to jam with. She prefers the mellow bass sound so I showed her what it sounds like with only the front pick up. She liked it and used it that way the whole jam. Five of us get together enough to remember most of the songs. Except for the drummer we go around and each pick a song to play, the picker singing lead. We get a wide variety from "Walkin' After Midnight" to ""Black Magic Woman". My friend adds killer guitar and tenor sax so we do a lot of blues. Just old friends having fun, feeling young for a few hours.

Selfishly, I'm getting things like my Rickenbacker in good playing shape so when I do decide to part with it there are no surprises. I don't play it other than fooling around by myself, but I now know it's ready to rumble, with a clang.
 




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