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How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:39 pm

Why is a cello better than a violin?







'Cos it burns longer.......
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby paul tha other » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:15 pm

i bought a 12 string one years ago..it was the shortest time ive owned a guitar..bought it in the morning took it back in the afternoon..one of the worse guitars ive ever owned..horrid to play and i didnt think it sounded nice either
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:47 pm

I love em. Mine is an Aria Aquanote – sort of a 12 string Superstrat. Never seen another one!
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby BigRedX » Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:59 pm

I've never had any trouble tuning my 12-string and getting it to stay in tune. The only vaguely problematic string was the octave G and that was only because it was such a light gauge. Once I'd discovered that looping it twice through the machine head post hole resulted in a better grip, it's been fine.
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Andyh 56 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:00 pm

Its nearly always the octave G that's out of tune. The first string to break, and always the sweaty furrowed forehead, gritted teeth, wincing, looking away, nightmare to bring up to pitch. That said, I do love a 12string jangle.
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby The Bunk » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:57 pm

Someone once told me the best thing to do with a 12-string is use an open tuning? Sounds like real trouble to me...
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:39 pm

Well, you then don't need to fret so many notes to make a chord, or a tune on top of a drone, so it's worth trying if you've got one, especially with a narrow neck.
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:32 pm

When I last had a 12 string I just used to run it with 9 strings - just the top three doubled. Gave most of the jangliness but without the intonation issues.
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Music Wolf » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:45 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Were people's hands just 50 percent smaller back in the Sixties or something?

3% smaller by height, 8% by weight (according to an article on the Daily Mail's website - so it must be correct).

I checked the spec of a Rickenbacker 330 6-string and the neck width and scale length are almost identical to my Patrick Eggle Berlin pro. I don't play that guitar very much these days so it usually takes me 10 minutes to re-adjust when moving from a Fender type scale length / wider string spacing, but that's all. Actually it's the scale length, combined with the 24 frets, that gives me more more of a problem than the spacing. I tend to miss the note by 2 or 3 frets on the Eggle, rather my more usual 1 or 2 :headbang:
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Nick McNeck » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:30 am

Here's another tall man, huge hands victim of the Rickenbacker 330/12.

Inarguably one of the most fantastic sounding guitars of all times.
Just as inarguably one of the hardest guitars of all times to play
properly soundwise.
Primarily because of the ridicilously narrow neck.
At least that's what I thought for first 12 years I had mine (it's 17
years now).

Of course, playing a full chord (using all 12 strings) sounds fantastic
when you do it alone, i.e. without a band context or just percussion.
It also manageabe because you probably won't choose an Ab7/9sus4 to do
that (assuming that this is a complicated 4-finger chord).


But if you do that in a band context, in 90 of 100 cases the sound is
still great, but simply ... TOO MUCH*.

Imagine this: playing or strumming a chord using all 12 strings results
in 12 distinct notes.
Two more than an skilled piano or organ player (hahahahahahaha ...) can
fire at one time without using "special effects" (fore-head, toes, penis
etc.).
In other words and any case: It's A LOT of notes.

And secondary, other than on an acoustic 12string, there is no (more or
less vibrating) top - string tension! and no body to physically compress
this acoustic event.
There is a maple construction, a lacquered fingerboard, RIC pickups
(ouch!) and your amp blasting out this (super)natural phenomenon**.

So - if 12 strings "d'accord" are too much, what about playing less strings?

Remedies:
1. Break up chords.
Play chords as single, or rather double note arpeggios - play a
continuous rhythm solo.
And there you are.

It's s easy to play properly because what you do is actually grab and
hit one or two pair(s) of strings (= 4 notes) at one time.

It also fits musically in because it's less guitar in the sound context.

For example, take the intro of the Byrds' "Mr Tambourine Man" recording
with the far-famed D major chord.

Play the empty d string and let it riiiiiiiiiiing.
Then play the jingle-jangle single notes of the chord.
Just as if you would play a solo ...


2. Plecs
A very important point is the plec you are using (if you do which I'd
strongly recommend).

I have tried dozens of plecs for more than 45 minutes in my favourite
guitar shop until it felt and sounded right (and just shortly before I
got killed).
RICs react very sensitive to different plecs and also to how hard you
dig into the strings.


3. Experiment with different strings.

I find .052 a nice and easy-to-play low E.
I prefer .012 high e strings.
I do like plain G strings.
I fancy round core pure nickels, not hexaocore stainless steel or steel
core/nickel wound.
Mix material and gauges to taste.

Find your personal balance between:
- Playability: remember when playing a 12string, you are actually
playing two guitars at once.
- Sound: a RIC by nature has treble, treble, treble which may cause
trouble, trouble, trouble. Plus it has enormous dynamics (or die-namics).
- Stability in tuning: given proper workmanship of saddle and bridge
plus correct setup (guitar and strings!), thicker strings are less prone
to detuning or swinging out (over) of the intended note when struck hard.


4. Be greedy with effects - the RIC plus your fingers IS an effect.
Reverb - Yes.
Vibrato (technically tremolo - well, the pots on the amp, not the bar
on the guitar) - yeah, yeah yeah, but obey speed limits.
Delay - Very short ones for lead parts, anythng else might be too U2.
Compressor - NOT without a cause or clue. Instead use these wonderful
dynamics (and a tube amp, of course).
Wahwha or Talkbox - I can't, but maybe you can.
Phasing - Heaven or hell.
Fuzz/distortion - It's your party, and I'll cry if I have to.

Anything else definitely at your own risk.
Being grown up means to do the right thing.
Even if the right thing is just what mum and dad always recommended.


5. Practise, practise, practise, and remember: Love hurts.

That's how the hell I do actually play my Rickenbacker.


Hope, this helps.

Cheers,

NMcN


* My apologies for being rude, guitarists, but yes: there is something
like too much guitar in a musical context.

** I always wondered why so few funk guitarists use a Ric - it offers
such splendid attack and wonderful tone definition.
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Delta Wave » Mon May 02, 2016 10:32 am

Per Gessle.
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Elfael » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:46 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:I was visiting a studio today and they had a lovely Ricky 12-string. Always wanted one of those... until I tried it. Were people's hands just 50 percent smaller back in the Sixties or something? It sounded gorgeous, but I just couldn't fit my fingers onto the fretboard.

Sigh...

I guess I must have small hands - a 360/12 feels perfect to me :-)
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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby ef37a » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:44 pm

Son has had a 330 (360, can never remember*) for many years and keep threatening to sell it but then remembers only a Ricky produces 'that' sound!

He was otherwise hissed off with it because of the wimpy pickups but found jacking them up closer to the strings beefed it up no end.

He has never mentioned it being hard to play? His other guitars are a Strat, a Tele and a full blown classical acoustic.

*What did Lennon play? Son's looks like it but is the 'other one'!

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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Hewesy » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:53 pm

Always wanted one but never played for this exact reason. I've a horrid feeling I'll hate it...

I've a Revelation 12 string, it's the other end of the scale with a proper baseball bat neck.

Only issue was the electronics were dreadful so I binned the lot and fitted Bare Knuckle P90's.

Cheap to buy and mod, or bung on the wall as part if you hate it that much.

Same problem with Mandolins too, I bought a guitar bodied Mandola tuned as an octave mandolin. Problem solved. Capo 12 if I need that sound but otherwise it's lovely as is.

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Re: How the hell does anyone actually play a Rickenbacker?

Postby Music Wolf » Sun Apr 19, 2020 9:17 pm

ef37a wrote:*What did Lennon play? Son's looks like it but is the 'other one'!
.

Lennon’s most famous Rick was a 1958 325 Capri, originally Mapleglow but refinished in black c1962. Very short scale length.
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