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 Post subject: 330 w/ "dead" strings
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:31 am
Posts: 3
Location: Syracuse, NY
Hi RIC experts,

I'm a newbie to this forum. I owned a blue RIC 330/6, which I purchased new about a year ago. I haven't exactly bonded with this guitar - main guitar has been a MIA Strat Plus for the last 10 years. I also have a LP, and a Taylor acoustic. I really WANT to like the 330 - it looks great (but smells like car wax :) and it has an unique sound.

My problem is that my unwound strings (particularly the G and B) sound kind of "dead" when played unplugged. They have almost a banjo quality. I am currently using D'Addario XL 110s but I noticed the same thing with the strings that came with the guitar. Is this normal? Something that can be fixed?

I know it is crazy, but I bought this guitar from MF without ever having played a 330. The last time I played a RIC was in the mid '80s when I was a poor college kid. I listened to the Gigalo Aunts and dreamed of Suzzana Hoffs.

Thanks in advance for any insight,

Kurt in Syracuse, NY


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 Post subject: Re: 330 w/ "dead" strings
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:51 am
Posts: 3362
Location: Atlanta, GA
Hi Kurt, and welcome to the forum. It's possible that the truss rods on your guitar aren't properly adjusted. Rickenbackers work best when the neck is adjusted dead straight (no relief). If you do a search in the forum archives, you'll find loads of information about how to set up a Rick neck. You can also consult your manual that came with the guitar.

Make sure your neck is absolutely straight, then see what the strings sound like.


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 Post subject: Re: 330 w/ "dead" strings
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:51 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:31 am
Posts: 3
Location: Syracuse, NY
Thanks for the reply.

I have adjusted the truss rod since receiving the guitar and have attempted to get it as straight as I could. I'll give it another go - I've noticed a bit of fret buzz lately, too. String characteristics have been consistent since purchase, though.


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 Post subject: Re: 330 w/ "dead" strings
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 5:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:19 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Seattle, WA
Hi Kurt-

Welcome. I also bought a 330 after falling in love with the styling (and seeing Thom Yorke of Radiohead with one). I had experience with a Les Paul (solid), Epiphone Casino (completely hollowbody), and a Rickenbacker 620 (solid). I can tell you that my first impression upon playing the 330 unplugged was that it sounded like a banjo (in fact, my wife made the same comment), but this phenomena ends once you plug it in. The shape of the hollow chamber of the body must have something to do with this, but once plugged in, it just adds to the warmth and depth of the tone (i like the rear pickup only most of the time), and the "banjo" tone is gone.

Plug it in and get used to it's unique, classic sound through a nice tube amp and you'll fall in love with the sound, too. One of the nice and unique things I appreciate about the 330 (and 620) is the two tiered pick guard and the big distance between the strings and the body, which allows much easier access for fingerpicking and playing without a pick. When I pick up my wife's Fender Telecaster, the hardest thing to get used to is that the stings are so close to the body.

As Beatlefreak has stated, the other anomaly to Rics is the double truss rod and the ideal of a perfectly straight neck (rather than the slight relief we need on most guitars) prior to setting action and intonation. I have mine as low as possible without buzz. Everyone who is new to Rics thinks my 330 and 620 have the nicest action of any guitar they've used.

Sounds like your 330 needs a professional setup and probably new strings. I replaced my strings immediately from the floor model, and between that and a proper setup/action/intonation, it made a world of difference from a nice guitar and an amazing one. I use the Ric 0.10 strings I buy online from this site, but as others have noted, personal tone preference may lead you to another brand, etc.

Enjoy,
Brad


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 Post subject: Re: 330 w/ "dead" strings
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 5:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 2:00 pm
Posts: 202
Location: California
Welcome, Kurt...

I agree with you and know exactly the sound that you are referring to. I have a 350V63 and I get that same sound, particularly on the G string. As someone else noted, however, you don't hear that same sound once it gets amplified. For me, the acoustic sound of an electric guitar is far less important than the amplified sound, although I understand that it can be a good indicator of some of the characteristics of the guitar. For me, the greater issue with my 350V63 is its playability. Unlike most on this forum, I tend to have difficulty in using my 350V63 for playing lead parts. Yes, I can do it, but it is far more difficult than on most of my other guitars. I have concluded that it is probably a function of the lacquered neck, which I otherwise find aesthetically very pleasing. So, I just use the guitar principally for rhythm parts where I want to get the distinctive Rickenbacker sound.


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 Post subject: Re: 330 w/ "dead" strings
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 12:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:31 am
Posts: 3
Location: Syracuse, NY
I appreciate all of the input. In a way, I was really hoping that I had a setup problem. I often play my electrics unplugged. The strat, in particular, has a "snap" to it that gives a really great feel - it is hard to put it to words but it kind of reminds me of putting on a new pair of running shoes that feel so comfy and responsive that they feel like they are helping you run. With the help of FastFret, I can keep strings on that fiddle for a long time without losing that "feel".

The 330 plays/sounds better when I put new strings on - and you are all correct that it sounds fine when amplified (currently I am just using amp modelling - line 6 toneport through a M-audio BX8 2.1 system, and a Roland Microcube). The new string sound doesn't seem to last long on the RIC, maybe a week.

I'll try to find a pro to do a setup. May have trouble finding one with RIC experience here - I don't know.

I wasn't really expecting the 330 to be versatile. I just wanted a Peter Buck, the Edge, Romantics vibe and I got it. I've also revisited the G7sus4. This guitar makes me play it over and over. The other guitars could care less.

Thanks again,
Kurt


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 Post subject: Re: 330 w/ "dead" strings
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 997
Location: The Independent Republic Of Florida
Quote:
Hi RIC experts,

I'm a newbie to this forum. I owned a blue RIC 330/6, which I purchased new about a year ago. I haven't exactly bonded with this guitar - main guitar has been a MIA Strat Plus for the last 10 years. I also have a LP, and a Taylor acoustic. I really WANT to like the 330 - it looks great (but smells like car wax :) and it has an unique sound.

My problem is that my unwound strings (particularly the G and B) sound kind of "dead" when played unplugged. They have almost a banjo quality. I am currently using D'Addario XL 110s but I noticed the same thing with the strings that came with the guitar. Is this normal? Something that can be fixed?

I know it is crazy, but I bought this guitar from MF without ever having played a 330. The last time I played a RIC was in the mid '80s when I was a poor college kid. I listened to the Gigalo Aunts and dreamed of Suzzana Hoffs.

Thanks in advance for any insight,

Kurt in Syracuse, NY


Hi Kurt and welcome to the forum,

On a Ric, the neck should be perfectly straight. Also, if the unwound strings are "dead" in the open position, the nut slot may have to be slightly re-cut. Sounds bad but it is not. If you are not familiar with this procedure, you should bring it to a qualified repair shop. This type of adjustment is usually very inexpensive and can be done rather quickly. You may also want to change the strings first, which may also solve the problem.
Last but not least, I still dream of Suzanna Hoffs!!

Steve

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