360/12 String Experimentation

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360/12 String Experimentation

Postby (akpasta) » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:31 pm

Hi Folks,

I'm experimenting with different kinds of strings on my 360/12. Compressed Roundwounds from Pick of the Ricks sound great on my Fender Electric XII but the Ricky they just don't work. The roundwound low strings are overpowering their octave counterparts too much and single notes on the bass side of the fretboard sound almost like a 6-string guitar (no good!).

So I need to go flatter on the low end. I've decided that until I find exactly the kind of string I want, it makes most sense to just replace all strings except the 10s and 13s, because those are already "flat." There's 6 strings that would be wound on a traditional roundwound set, that I would need to go flatter on, all E A D pairs and the low G, which is usually a .20wound.

So I've ordered some singles of GHS Pure Nickel Rockers (rollerwound) string, which is like half way between a compressed round and a flat. See this diagram for explanation https://sep.yimg.com/ay/stringsandbeyond/d-addario-enr71-6-half-rounds-bass-regular-light-30-130-long-scale-18.gif. I tried the whole set that they sell for 12 strings but their low strings are too damn thick for a Rick (46 instead of 42!).

I also want to try some straight up flat wound strings, but I don't want to commit to Thomastick Flats due to price. Can I try any old flat wound string and get the same idea? What makes the Thomastiks so special?? I can get some D'Addario Chromes for half the price if I want to try flats. Whats the difference?

Also, I don't get the wild variation in string gauges across various string sets. A new set of Rick 95404 rounds has a .46 low! The Pick of the Ricks Compressed Rounds have a 42 low. But the Thomastik flats have a .44 low. So weird.

So far, I have found on a Rickenbacker it's best to have the E A and D pairs as close together in gauge as possible. With a 46/26 E you barely even attack the octave E because the low E is so much fatter. Anyways...

Curious to hear what others have found.

Thanks!!
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Re: 360/12 String Experimentation

Postby (Tommy) » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:02 pm

akpasta wrote:1.
The roundwound low strings are overpowering their octave counterparts too much and single notes on the bass side of the fretboard sound almost like a 6-string guitar (no good!).

2.
What makes the Thomastiks so special?? I can get some D'Addario Chromes for half the price if I want to try flats. Whats the difference?

3.
Also, I don't get the wild variation in string gauges across various string sets. A new set of Rick 95404 rounds has a .46 low! The Pick of the Ricks Compressed Rounds have a 42 low. But the Thomastik flats have a .44 low. So weird.


1.
I see what you are saying how the thicker string can overpower its octave partner. But I don't think that's due to the strings you are using. It's the design of the Ric 12. The heavier string is struck first and harder than the thin octave. Yes, it will overpower the lighter string. What I do is use upstrokes on the E A and D strings. Always go for upstokes on those strings. I really do play that way. Upstrokes get the best chime out of the low string pairs.

2.
The low end strings on D'Addario Chromes are dull. Thud. Almost lifeless. Pyramid flats are taut and tight and stiff as hell. Wire cables. Thomastik Infelds are a joy to play. Smooth and supple. They really are so easy on the fingers and they are anything but dull like the Chromes or stiff like the Pyramids. TI flats are a dream. And those are not subjective generalizations. If you play flatwound sets from those three manufacturers you will see that it really is the way as described.

3.
The difference in string set gauges for Rics is due to the fact that Ric guitars used to be .42 on the low E, but around 2006 or so Ric made a change to .46 for the low E on all guitars. Thus we have a variety of sets to choose from. I am glad Pick Of The Ricks still make a set with the low .42 because my 12 string Ric is from the '90s and requires the .42 set.
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Re: 360/12 String Experimentation

Postby (akpasta) » Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:52 pm

Tommy wrote:
akpasta wrote:1.
The roundwound low strings are overpowering their octave counterparts too much and single notes on the bass side of the fretboard sound almost like a 6-string guitar (no good!).

2.
What makes the Thomastiks so special?? I can get some D'Addario Chromes for half the price if I want to try flats. Whats the difference?

3.
Also, I don't get the wild variation in string gauges across various string sets. A new set of Rick 95404 rounds has a .46 low! The Pick of the Ricks Compressed Rounds have a 42 low. But the Thomastik flats have a .44 low. So weird.


1.
I see what you are saying how the thicker string can overpower its octave partner. But I don't think that's due to the strings you are using. It's the design of the Ric 12. The heavier string is struck first and harder than the thin octave. Yes, it will overpower the lighter string. What I do is use upstrokes on the E A and D strings. Always go for upstokes on those strings. I really do play that way. Upstrokes get the best chime out of the low string pairs.

2.
The low end strings on D'Addario Chromes are dull. Thud. Almost lifeless. Pyramid flats are taut and tight and stiff as hell. Wire cables. Thomastik Infelds are a joy to play. Smooth and supple. They really are so easy on the fingers and they are anything but dull like the Chromes or stiff like the Pyramids. TI flats are a dream. And those are not subjective generalizations. If you play flatwound sets from those three manufacturers you will see that it really is the way as described.

3.
The difference in string set gauges for Rics is due to the fact that Ric guitars used to be .42 on the low E, but around 2006 or so Ric made a change to .46 for the low E on all guitars. Thus we have a variety of sets to choose from. I am glad Pick Of The Ricks still make a set with the low .42 because my 12 string Ric is from the '90s and requires the .42 set.


Thank you for the thoughtful response!! Please see my follow-ups

1. I realize what you are saying and I too upstroke on a Rickenbacker for that chime. What I am referring to is the exact reason people prefer flats: the lower octave strings are quieter with flatter strings which allows the high octave to shine more; addition by subtraction.

2. I ordered individuals of rollerwound and individuals of chromes to see which I like best. I'm going to try both and see what works best. I really liked the rollerwounds I had before, it's just that the low gauges were way too big for my Rick. Maybe I'll like them at the correct gauge. I certainly hope so because rollerwounds are like $15 a pack for 12s. Much cheaper!! As for your description of the TI flats, thank you for the vote of confidence, please see point number 4 below.

3. Thanks for that explanation of Rick variations. My new-to-me Rick is a 1985, and is not happy with the .46 lows at all; unplayable.

4. If I do decide to go with TI flats, there is a trick to stringing them, no? I read a lot about people breaking them easily. I have the vintage-style tuners on mine and the low octave tuners (top of headstock, not inner headstock) don't have a lot of real estate to wrap strings around, maybe 2 wraps tops esp on the thicker strings. I anticipate based on what I've read that you have to wrap the TI flats around a lot because of the "ribbon" that you can't put a bend in, or something??

Thank you!!
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Re: 360/12 String Experimentation

Postby (Tommy) » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:26 am

1. Yes, I have heard people putting flats on their 12s because the less lively flats next to the plain octaves allow for the plain strings to ring out more. That works for some. I simply go with upstrokes because I like the bright roundwound low strings. But try the flats on your 12 -- they just might make the guitar brighter by subtraction.

3. If your Ric is from 1985 then keep the stock gauge on that guitar. .42 on the low E. The factory gauge is best for the guitar neck and nut and bridge. It does make buying sets for that guitar rather difficult if you are going for a particular brand of flats. I don't think Thomastik Infelds make a .42 set. You probably have to buy two different sets and grab some strings from pack A, some from pack B.

4. Can't help you on the ribbon length of TIs when putting them on a Ric 12. I have never put flats on my 12. I have used TIs on my Gretsch and my Casino. No problem on those guitars and they are different scale lengths.

You know there is another option other than roundwounds and flats:

GHS Brite Flats
Image

They are roundwounds that play like flats. They are bright yet they do not give off any finger squeak like roundwounds do. Really great strings that not many people know about. I have used them on various guitars (not on my Ric 12) and they really are darn good. Play like flats, sound like rounds. Best of both worlds.
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