String Slide Mystery

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String Slide Mystery

Postby (pablomago) » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:28 pm

I had my '97 360-12 with a 12-saddle bridge in storage for a few months. Today I got it out and the strings will not stay on the saddles. They slip as I try to tune it and won't stay put. I've never seen anything like this on any guitar. Any ideas about what went wrong and how to fix it?
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (pablomago) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:03 pm

Mystery Solved!
The R Tailpiece broke. I've heard of the dreaded "Exploding R Tailpiece" but never thought it would happen to me. (I never had a problem with my '66 when I owned it in the '70's...)
Are exploding R tailpieces covered under warrenty, or do I need to buy another one?
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (ric340JG) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:37 pm

pablomago wrote:Mystery Solved!
The R Tailpiece broke. I've heard of the dreaded "Exploding R Tailpiece" but never thought it would happen to me. (I never had a problem with my '66 when I owned it in the '70's...)
Are exploding R tailpieces covered under warrenty, or do I need to buy another one?

What strings did you have on your guitar?
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:09 pm

I can see right now where this line of questioning is headed! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (1965) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:26 pm

ric340JG wrote:What strings did you have on your guitar?

Not likely to have made a huge difference. R tailpieces are made with cheap pot metal and are inherently weaker than, say, a trapeze tailpiece.
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (ric340JG) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:15 pm

>Not likely to have made a huge difference. R tailpieces are made with cheap pot metal and are inherently weaker than, say, >a trapeze tailpiece.

>I can see right now where this line of questioning is headed!

No Paul, my line of questoning is definitely not headed in the direction of strings. That issue has been resolved. Obviously strings are not the problem.
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (deaconblues) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:20 pm

1965 wrote: R tailpieces are made with cheap pot metal...


Not true.

johnhall wrote:1. The parts are precision die cast from a zinc alloy that has never changed over the years. They're expensive and made by an entirely different process than the "pot metal" as they've been referred to.

2. The failure rate is infintessimal. There's tens of thousands of these out there in perfect condition. Some do break but it's a very small number overall. Keys, pickguards, and pickups fail a thousand times more often.

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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (jwilli) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:39 pm

Looks like a fine time to bring back these old classics! :lol: :lol:
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (tennis_nick) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:41 pm

1. The parts are precision die cast from a zinc alloy that has never changed over the years. They're expensive and made by an entirely different process than the "pot metal" as they've been referred to.


Color me skeptical, but I believe die cast from zinc alloy IS pot metal.

However, if someone would like to test it, it'd be really easy to do so. "Pot metal" usually has a much lower melting point than you'd expect from a higher quality alloy, so if someone has a broken R-tailpiece, it's simple enough to find at what temperature the remains melt, and compare it to the value of a high quality alloy (Handbook of Physics and Chemistry should have the value)


The failure rate is infintessimal. There's tens of thousands of these out there in perfect condition. Some do break but it's a very small number overall. Keys, pickguards, and pickups fail a thousand times more often.


I agree with this 100%, the number of R-tailpiece breaking is a drop in a huge bucket. I think the reason people make a big fuss about it is due to the fact the piece in question is under pressure (12 strings in this case) so there's a danger aspect, not to mention it being one of the flagship design elements of said guitars.

I take it "R's" are made of Zamak?
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (deaconblues) » Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:48 pm

If the 'R' tails were really made of 'pot metal' (really just slang for cheap, low-temperature casts), they'd deteriorate and break on way more guitars than we've seen.

If I were CEO of RIC, I'd replace them for free after shipment of the broken one, but that's just me.
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (pablomago) » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:59 pm

I've been using a custom SOB (Snake Oil Brand) 12 string set in gauges close to stock Rickenbacker strings. FWIW.
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (tennis_nick) » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:03 pm

dpowell wrote:If the 'R' tails were really made of 'pot metal' (really just slang for cheap, low-temperature casts), they'd deteriorate and break on way more guitars than we've seen.

If I were CEO of RIC, I'd replace them for free after shipment of the broken one, but that's just me.


Temperature and quality aren't always at odds.

Zamak is a high quality alloy used for casting, with a low melting point, which allows it to be used on small intricate designs (like the R, which is why I suspect it as the material in question)
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (kiramdear) » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:17 pm

All I wanna do is rock!
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Re: String Slide Mystery

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:34 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zamak

As you can see, there is more to Zamak than meets the eye...and "cheap" is not one of the words I'd use, judging from the above Wiki article.
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Re: String Slide Mystery (Exploding R Tailpiece)

Postby (rubrsol97) » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:58 pm

pablomago wrote:Mystery Solved!
The R Tailpiece broke. I've heard of the dreaded "Exploding R Tailpiece" but never thought it would happen to me. (I never had a problem with my '66 when I owned it in the '70's...)
Are exploding R tailpieces covered under warrenty, or do I need to buy another one?


The exploding R tailpiece just happened to my Carl Wilson 360/12.

I hadn't played it in awhile, and I took it out of the case and all the strings were WAY out of tune. I didn't recall detuning purposely so I was puzzled.. I started tuning it up and nothing would stay in tune.. I looked the guitar all over and wondered if the neck was screwed up etc.. I kept at it and all of a sudden BAM! the entire tailpiece flew off the face of the guitar and the strings with it. I was a shocking episode. I thought the neck snapped off. As soon as I realized what happened, I looked over the entire guitar and luckily no scratches or cracks. It couldn't be good for the neck for that to happen though.

Anyway, I contacted RIC and their response was basically send us the broken tailpiece along with $110 money order or certified check and we'll send you another one. The guitar out of warranty. And no comment about whether they've improved reliability of the part. I personally think it is really shoddy not to stand behind their product, and it's shocking, none the less, to not expect critical metal parts of the guitar to last indefinitely. It's outrageous. But there's no choice but to take their terms to get my 360/12 CW working again. The guitar was new in 2000...so the tailpiece lasted 18 years..
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