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How to string a Rickenbacker 12 string - grow a third hand.

metropolis74

Member
Messages
824
The great Marty Willson-Piper gives a lesson on restringing a Rickenbacker 12 string. As a fellow Rick12 string owner I can relate to him saying "Don't lose confidence. Cuz if you lose confidence and you stop this (string) being tight....you are screwed!" And "You need to use all arms, legs, teeth".

So true. Lol!!!

But the sound they make is worth the effort!

 

Gizmot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
265
For me, changing the strings on my Ric 370/12 is a lot of frustration. Life’s too short — so I typically get my local store to do it.
 

Capstan Philips

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,201
From Dewey Harrelson's "Guitar Maintenance for the Aspiring Luthier and Internet Forum Plagiarist":

Many players believe that the classic Ric 12-string sound can be achieved only by using flatwound strings. In fact the "classic flatwound Ric 12-string sound" is normally a result of players persevering with long-dead roundwounds, simply because they could not face the changing strings o_O

Nevertheless...

Done it a couple of times, a few years ago now (without any video assistance), and it wasn't so bad. IIRC the key pieces of advice were to tape the strings into the R tailpiece and to fit the 'inset' tuning post strings first.

This page has some great tips, recommended:
 
Last edited:

Phila67

Member
Messages
2,036
Interesting that M W-P had the nut on his rick-12 recut to go with the standard 12 string order of the octave string first and not the "thick" string first--which I always thought was a major part of the Rick 12 sound. Seems like locking tuners would be a big help here if they could fit.
 

Timbre Wolf

>thermionic<
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,437
It has been decades since I last strung my 330-12 (before selling it), and I confess that I'd forgotten what a PIA it was. But I took it in stride back in those days. It's all come back with Marty's video. Honestly, what really stuck with me is how the intonation differed between the octave G strings, and how I hated to hear that on recordings. That, and how my big hands didn't comfortably fit on that tiny neck.

I think the key to us older gents who are still struggling with this is to correct for ailing vision. Back in the day, what made that all easier is that I could see up close. Now I'd need to position the tilt of my head just-so in order to look through that part of my progressive bifocals, making the yoga of Rickenbacker 12-string all the more challenging.
 

stahlhart

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,615
I'm sorry, but this is one of the most overblown myths in circulation out there.

Start with the horizontal keywinds. Lace the six strings for these in the tailpiece, all at once, one at a time, whichever. Take one string at a time out to its keywind and pull it taut. Then add about 1-1/4" to 2" or so of slack, depending on string gauge, less for the heavier ones, more for the lighter ones. Make a 90 degree bend at the end of the string with the slack added, then cut the string about 1/4"-3/8" from the bend (if you are installing round core strings, you need to do this anyway). Drop the bent end in the keywind hole, maybe have the hole aligned at an angle out towards the top of the headstock. Lightly pull on the string with one hand somewhere over the fretboard, to add tension and to keep it seated securely in the tailpiece and the keywind, and start turning the key with the other. Layer the windings on the peg so that they're wrapping outwards towards the keys; this will minimize contact with the headstock slot walls and truss rod cover. Most of the strings will still make some contact anyway, just a Rickenbacker feature, I guess. Do all six of those first, then move on the remaining six like any other 3x3 guitar; just take care to avoid getting strings wrapped around each other above the nut. Ahead of time, you can put a slight bend in the ball end to help keep it seated in the tailpiece, if it's one of the flat ones like on the 360/12 C63. A pair of needlenose pliers for the bending, side cutters, and a string winder is all that's used here.

If a putz like me can figure this out, anyone can. I just don't understand all of the drama.

 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
29,253
The R tailpiece is the part that hangs me up. Good idea about taping the strings into the channels - I never thought of doing that!
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,289
Yup, restringing a Ric 12 it an interesting experience but is doable with a little patience. Just do the 6 sideways slotted strings first, then the remaining 6 strings are just like a typical 6 string. However, keeping the strings in the tailpeice slots while you wind the strings is the real tricky part!

However, as we Ric lovers know, their quirks are worth the sound they make o_O :)! Rics are my fun guitars
 

romiso

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
900
I have no experience with a Ric 12-string, but the last thread I read before this one was about someone having Floyd Rose trouble, making think the easiest way to make a guitarist's head explode may be a Floyd Rose on a Ric 12-string (because I'm sure that would be a really popular combination)
 

Gig Young

- The McLean Stevenson of guitar -
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,403
The great Marty Willson-Piper gives a lesson on restringing a Rickenbacker 12 string. As a fellow Rick12 string owner I can relate to him saying "Don't lose confidence. Cuz if you lose confidence and you stop this (string) being tight....you are screwed!" And "You need to use all arms, legs, teeth".

So true. Lol!!!

But the sound they make is worth the effort!


1 hour 12 minutes long?!!
HELP!!!
 

TDJMB

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,635
I had one for about 5 minutes. I didn't have the patience to tune it much less change the strings.
 

Bossanova

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,416
The great Marty Willson-Piper gives a lesson on restringing a Rickenbacker 12 string. As a fellow Rick12 string owner I can relate to him saying "Don't lose confidence. Cuz if you lose confidence and you stop this (string) being tight....you are screwed!" And "You need to use all arms, legs, teeth".

So true. Lol!!!

But the sound they make is worth the effort!

I replaced 6 of the tuners on mine for locking ones, and use elixir coated strings so I only change strings on that beast like once a year now
 

Bossanova

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,416
I have no experience with a Ric 12-string, but the last thread I read before this one was about someone having Floyd Rose trouble, making think the easiest way to make a guitarist's head explode may be a Floyd Rose on a Ric 12-string (because I'm sure that would be a really popular combination)
Because what “ticket to ride” really needs are a few dive bombs of doom to impress the kids
 






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