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alt.guitar.rickenbacker Frequently Asked Questions
Section - 5.5 What are some suggestions on how to re-string my Rickenbacker 6-string or 12-string guitar?

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   "The problem is the "R" tailpiece which relies on the tension
    of the strings to hold it in place. It has to be doen carefully, no
    more than 2 strings at a time or the tailpiece starts sliding around."

   [RV,, 3/20/1998]

   A popular approach is to change only one string at a time, with the
   following benefits:

        a. It maintains tension on the neck.  
                          [Bob Belloff,, 3/20/1998]

        b. So you don't forget which string goes to which peg.
                          [Gerard Lanois,, 9/3/1998]

   If you need to replace your strings after having removed them all
   (perhaps for repair or cleaning purposes) you can use this 
   technique (which also applies to 6 string models as well):

   "When I string a 12, I do the 12th string and the 1st string first,
    to keep the tailpiece in place."
    [Bob Belloff,]

   "Before and while you restring, take that empty string envelope and 
    slide it under the strings behind the bridge and under the tailpiece--this
    helps prevent the ball ends from scratching the surface of the guitar.
    Try it !!!"

   [RICK12DR,, 3/20/1998]

    "Stick a little piece of scotch tape to the ball end. Pull the ball into
     the R tailpiece with the sticky side up, so it holds the ball in the
     groove in the R tailpiece long enough to get tension on it. It pulls
     loose easily once the tension is on the string."

   [John Sessoms,, 3/20/1998]

   If you are fortunate enough to own a 360/12v64, you may find it easier
   to use a 12-hole tailpiece.  "RICK12DR" sells a custom 12-hole trapeze 
   tailpiece to replace the stock 6-hole tailpiece.  Contact 
   for more info.

   [Gerard Lanois,, 9/5/1998]

   "I like using a Zap-It, which essentially is a string winder that fits on 
    a cordless screwdriver.  That way it's very easy to wind the strings with
    your left hand while holding the string at tension with your right hand.  
    Besides the cordless screwdriver gives a very even rotation of the tuner."

   [Dave Deckman,, 10/14/1998]

   "Here's how I do it (for a 12-string):
      1. take all strings off
      2. put strings in all the recessed pegs first
        a. put 3rd and 4th strings on first (d and g) 
           They are highest on the head stock.  This keeps things 
           clear for the lower sets on the head stock.
        b. cut string about 2 - 2 1/2" longer than the post
        c. position post hole so that you are pushings string thru 
           downward towards the body.
        d. w/needle nosed pliers, pull about 1/2" or less of string thru.
        e. wind so the coil goes to the outside of the headstock (the low 
           and high e's may try to bind on the head stock name plate 
        f. do the next two lower strings on head stock, i.e. a and b.
        g. do the high and low e's next.
      3. put remaining strings on the upright posts.

    This keeps things pretty clutter free.  Changing strings on my 620-12 
    is a study in Houdini-like contortion.  I keep the body braced against 
    my left thigh and foot and wrap my right leg around it to keep the body 
    still.  I use my left hand to keep the sting ball in place until I can 
    make tension w/my right hand, using my index finger to hold the string 
    away from the head stock. Then I use a manual winder w/my left hand. 
    Simple, ain't it?"

    [Bruce Terrell,, 1/16/1999]

    "I use a Kyser (quick release) capo to maintain tension, while changing
     one string at a time on my 360/6.  Works well."

    [, 1/20/1999]

    I realize this isn't practical for most of you, but I'll relate
    how we string these in the factory. It might stimulate some
    creative thinking!

    On a padded table, we lay down the tailpiece face down and insert
    the ends of the strings into the fingers of the tailpiece,
    spreading out the strings lengthwise. We then put a piece of
    masking tape over the back of the tailpiece, holding all the ball
    ends in place. Now the tailpiece is placed on the guitar's
    bracket, while the highest and lowest E strings are tightened up a
    bit. Using a Zap-It tool inserted in a common electric
    screwdriver, all the strings are brought up to rough pitch. The
    tape is removed before the guitar gets a fine tuning.

    Takes five minutes, tops.

    As I said, it's not practical outside the shop. We've always
    recommended that you only change one or two strings at a
    time. While it does have the side effect of keeping the tailpiece
    and bridge in position, this advice really was related to keeping
    the neck under tension, to avoid truss rod slippage and/or "rubber
    neck" syndrome. However, my opinion is that models made since 1984
    with the new truss rod system are probably not going to be
    adversely affected much by changing strings this way and it
    certainly does make it much easier to clean the fingerboard as

   [John Hall,, 09/17/2001]

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