Rickenbacker 12 string placement

Posted by Glenn on Mon, 06/12/00 - 12:40:20.

On a standard 12-string guitar, the fat low E string is second and the skinnier one is first. Just the opposite on a Rickenbacker. Does anybody know why?

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Re: Rickenbacker 12 string placement

The very first Rickenbacker 12 string made in '63 was strung the conventional way. The second one was made for George Harrison and it was the first with the inverted stringing. For this reason some say that George's one was the first true Ric 12. In any case they had discovered the signature Ric 12 sound by doing this and every 12 string made by Ric since has been made with this unique inverted stringing technique.

Re: Rickenbacker 12 string placement

I bought my Rick 360 in 1967, and it was set up conventional strung. Wanting the reverse, I re-strung, but had to put tiny shims at the nut to correct some buzzing of the octave strings that were now deep in the grooves cut for the lower strings. I used the guitar for about 2 years in a vocal group. I began to play itless and less as the musical styles changed. The guitar became more of a hassle to play with tuning, etc, and I could never get the intonation perfect because of the bridge. About 5 years ago, in the middle of the night, I heard a loud "pop" from another room in the house. After a nervous search for what I thought was an intruder, I found nothing. Several days later, I opened the case of my Rick and gasped. At first, I thought the neck joint had failed, but upon closer inspection, I saw that the tailpiece had failed from metal fatigue. So much for the loud "pop" in the night - 1200 pounds of tension being relieved instantaneously. I ordered a new tailpiece and a 12 saddle bridge and restrung her conventionally. After years of not playing her, I was enjoying my Rick once again, taking her out on gigs for a 'Beatles set' ("Hard Day's Night", "Can't Do That", "Help", etc. Still not happy with the sound, I reversed the octave strings again and everything was fine. She's been my most prized guitar for 33 years and I will probably be buried with her!

Rickenbaker 12 string anomaly on If I Fell

I work as George in a Beatles tribute band out of Vancouver and have had to learn by ear a huge part of the Beatles repertoire. At the moment my colleague who does John and I are putting the final touches on the George If I Fell 12 string part. Someone isolated the part and posted it on youtube and so finally I could hear clearly what the 12 string does, basically a simple circular arpeggiated motif, outlining mostly the root and 5th. However, although I am using a 12 st Rickenbaker I just can't get the right or perfect sound even though I am playing what is logically what George played, same frets and all. I realized that maybe the strings were inverted and that that was the reason I just couldn't get the right sound, mainly that I need more emphasis on the high octave string because it MUST be that that 12 string was, according to this very post's information about the Ricky, be the original Ricky that George used in that the high octave string gets plucked first and therefore is heard much more prominently due to its positioning, such as an acoustic guitar 12 string. But this post states basically the opposite, that George played them with the low octave string being plucked, first if one uses down strokes.
So....could it be he used the ORIGINAL 12 str Ricky for If I Fell?
The Beatles - If I Fell (Instrumental-Ish) is what you must type to find the track within u tube.
Thoughts anyone?

Lower Pitch First

Although it might not make that much of a difference, the strings on George Harrison's original Ricky are setup so that the lower pitched strings are struck first on a down stroke. I'm not sure if it was used on If I Fell because he had a second Rickebacker... but the original Rick was used on Ticket to Ride and A Hard Day’s Night. Hope that helps.

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