Bass Guitar Maintenance & Setup
Strings - Setup procedure 1
Rod Adjustment - Setup procedure 2
Height Adjustment - Setup procedure 3
Height - Setup procedure 4
- Setup procedure 5
the Rick-O-Sound Jack
The Treble (Bridge) Pickup Cover
and 4003 Pickup Leads
.0047 Capacitor Bypass Modification
Bass Wiring Diagrams
And Avoiding Rickenbacker Copies
before you attempt to do any of the following procedures, please
carefully and thoroughly read the entire page, then read each section
as you do that procedure of your set up. For best results, do your
set up procedures in the same order that they are found on this
page. If you have little or no experience setting up guitars or
working with hand tools, I suggest that with the exception of changing
strings, you first learn do set ups or any other maintenance and
modifications on an inexpensive instrument. Use all safety precautions
when working with tools.
and setting up a Rickenbacker bass can be somewhat different than
other bass guitars, especially the 4000, 4001 and 4002 models. All
Rickenbacker 4000 series basses have a dual truss rod system, which
helps get a more accurate neck adjustment. "What's the
difference between a 4001 and a 4003?" A 4003 is actually
a modernized 4001. The neck laminations of wood are different and
stronger in a 4003 neck than they are in a 4001 neck. The dual truss
rod system is also stronger in the 4003 and each rod of the 4003
is adjusted like any other guitar truss rod. The truss rod system
of a 4000 and 4001 bass is adjusted differently than other basses
and that procedure is covered on this page. Many necks of 4001 basses
were ruined by players and even guitar repairmen that did not know
the proper procedure of adjusting the truss rods. 4001 basses were
designed and factory set up to handle the Rickenbacker set of low
tension flatwound bass strings. Back in the '70's, many Rickenbacker
bassists installed the Rotosound Swing Bass round wound strings
to get that Chris Squire or Geddy Lee sound. The higher tension
of Rotosound strings produced a forward bow in most of the necks.
Quite a few 4001 basses handled the tension with no problem. Some
of then were fine after they properly adjusted. Some might have
handled the extra tension if they were adjusted properly, some just
couldn't handle it at all, as every piece of wood is different even
though it might be of the same type. Most of the 4001 basses that
are still around have necks that are in good shape. 4001 basses
from '72, until RIC ended production about '84 have a strip of shedua
that runs through the middle of the entire length of the neck through
body construction. Many people mistake this dark wood for walnut.
The pre '72 4001, 4001V63, 4001C64, 4001C64S 4003 and 4004 basses
do not have the shedua strip. All 4001 basses have a 0.0047 mfd
capacitor wired to the bridge pickup. The 4003 basses from '79 to
about '85 also have that capacitor. This capacitor removes most
of the low frequencies, which also reduces some volume from the
bridge pickup. This was an innovative attempt by RIC to compensate
for the limited frequency range of early bass amplifiers. This is
most effective when the 4001 is used with a Rick-O-Sound box and
two amplifiers. The Rick-O-Sound box or similar assembly allows
the 4001 and 4003 basses to be played in "stereo" which
really means the neck pickup will play through one amp and the bridge
pickup plays through another amp. The 4003 bass from 79'to '85 had
the truss rod adjustments at the body end of the neck with a 2 piece
pickguard for easier access to the adjustments. From 79'to '85 the
4003 has 2 extra tailpiece mounting screws in the heel. Most of
the 4003S/5 and 4003S/8 basses had the 2 extra screws in the heel
of the tailpiece from when they were introduced until they were
discontinued. The latest 4003 basses (from very late 2005 to present)
again have the 0.0047 mfd capacitor in a special vintage tone circuit
which gives you have the option of using the 0.0047mfd capacitor
or not, by the push-pull feature of the treble (bridge) pickup tone
potentiometer. This is a great component added to these basses,
making them even more versatile than ever. It's sort of like having
a 4001 and a 4003 in the same bass guitar.
The 4004 basses
have the same basic body style as the 4001/4003, but with super
contoured edges and a modern look. They have dual truss rods that
work like those in the 4003 basses. 4004 basses have humbucking
pickups, which have a very high output and are dead quite as far
as noise is concerned. There are two different 4004 models, the
Laredo and The Cheyenne. Like the 4001, 4002 and 4003 models, the
4004 models have neck through body construction, The 4004L (Laredo),
which has a hard wood body (usually made of maple) and a maple neck
through body stock. The fingerboard is bubinga. The 4004L has chrome
hardware. There is also the 4004Cii, which is the second version
of the Cheyenne. The body wings of the Cii are constructed in sort
of a maple/walnut/maple sandwich. The neck through body stock is
maple and the fingerboard is bubinga. The hardware on the 4004Cii
is gold. As well as al the standard RIC
finishes, the 4004Cii also comes in green, red and blue translucent
finishes which are not offered on any other Rickenbacker model.
Some people feel the Laredo has a somewhat brighter sound than the
Cheyenne due the body of the Cheyenne having walnut in the body
wings. That's subjective and debatable. The first version of the
Cheyenne (Ci) had body wings that were constructed with walnut on
the front and maple in the back. The 4004L has a conversion varnish
finished fingerboard, whereas the 4004Cii fingerboard is left unfinished.
Few 4004Cii basses were made with a conversion varnish finished
2008, the finish on Rickenbacker instruments is their own proprietary
conversion varnish formula, which is more durable and looks better
than finishes applied by other guitar companies. Sometime around
2008, RIC switched to a UV cured finish, which is even more durable
and will not readily amber with age.
If you have a model 3000 or 3001, follow the truss rod/neck adjustment
procedure on this page for the model 4001, adjust the bridge height/
intonation procedures on this page, but refer to the Standard Maintenance
page for the other steps of the setup.
If you have a 2000 series model, follow the truss rod/neck adjustment
procedure on this page for the current 4003 model, then refer to
the Standard Maintenance page for the rest of the setup.
my own humble opinion...
Until a few
years ago the 4001 was a great bass to invest in. No one loves the
4001 more than me, they are great basses, but suddenly within the
past few years, the resale value of a 4001 bass has reached "collectible
vintage" status. I suggest that it would be much better for
the bassist who wants a workhorse gigging Rickenbacker, to buy a
new 4003 or 4004 bass. Now, the new 4003 and 4004 basses are great
to invest in. The latest models are built much tougher and have
much more output from the pickups. You may pay the same price or
less for a new 4003 than would for an old 4001 and get a top quality,
new instrument that no one has modified, worn out or abused, with
a warranty. If you gig regularly or are a fairly new bassist that
wants a Rickenbacker, it might be wiser to leave the 4001 basses
to the collectors and the seasoned Rickenbacker bassists. No other
brand of newly purchased instruments hold their value as well as
those manufactured by the Rickenbacker International Corporation
dual truss rod adjustment nuts of a 4001.
screwdriver points to the .0047 mfd capacitor.
is best to change strings one at a time to avoid a major change of
tension all at once on the neck. You will need a pair of diagonal
cutters or a string winder that has a string cutter on the end. After
unwindiing. You might want to save it as a back up in case you break
the new string. Put your finger under the balng the old string from
the tuning peg, straighten it as best you can and then carefully remove
the strl end of the string you are removing, as you start to push
the string out, so the ball end don't scratch the end of the bass.
Carefully pushing the old string through the tailpiece holes as you
pull from the rear side can help get it out easier. When the strings
are out of the way, it's a good time to clean the areas of the neck,
body and bridge that are hard to get to when the strings are in place.
the string through the hole in the rear of the tailpiece. Pull the
string through the front hole of the heel of the tailpiece and over
the bridge. If the bridge pickup cover is in place, carefully guide
the string under the cover. Hold the string, especially the ball end
away from the body of the bass as you pass the string through the
tailpiece, so not to tear up the finish.
the string is completely through, cut the leading end approximately
3 inches past the intended tuner post. For best results, the string
should neatly wind around the post 2 to 3 times. With a needle nose
pliers, make a 90° bend in the string approximately 1/2 inch from
the leading end. I made it longer than 1/2 inch in the picture to
see it easier.
the bent end of the string in the hole in the center of the slot in
the tuning post. The string should be wound from the side of the tuning
post that is opposite it's tuner key. Now hold the leading end down
with your thumb and the rest of the string up with your index finger
as you wind the tuner key to bring the string to pitch. as the string
begins to tighten, be sure the string is seated properly it's bridge
saddle groove and nut slot. Don't tighten the string too quickly.
If you tighten the string past it's correct pitch you might break
or damage it.
Neither is one of my basses, but these pictures show basses with strings
that were installed wrong and sloppy. The picture below left shows
an A string that was wound from the wrong side of the post. When a
string is wound like this, it is not straight enough, which can result
in difficulty getting it perfectly tuned and puts a great amount of
stress on the nut, which can possibly make it crack, especially if
it is the E or G string. The picture below right shows that the E
and G strings were strung on the wrong sides of the posts. Notice
that all the strings have an excessive amount of windings, which are
not wrapped flush and tight around the tuner posts. Strings installed
like this can keep a bassist retuning often.
Rod Adjustment (for neck relief)
instruments intonate and play best when the neck is as straight
as possible. I have gotten quite a few emails from Rickenbacker
bass owners who are not comfortable to yet do their own set up,
telling me that a certain guitar repairman insists that a Rick bass
neck should have relief just like any other bass guitar. If a guitar
repairman tells you this, then it should immediately tell you that
this guitar repairman has little or no knowledge and experience
setting up or repairing Rickenbacker basses. Take your Rick elsewhere.
To tell if the neck of your Rickenbacker bass needs an adjustment,
hold your bass in your lap, just like you are going to play it.
Laying the bass down whether the neck is supported or not changes
the relief somewhat, so you what to check the neck relief just like
to are going to play your bass. Then using the tuned strings as
a straight edge, fret the first with the index of the your fretting
hand or get a guitar capo and capo the strings at the first fret.
Holding the string down at the last fret with your other hand, you
should be able to slide a piece of loose-leaf paper between the
string and the 9th fret, with the string moving just a little. Or
you can hold the string down with your first finger on your left
hand and hold the string down at the last fret with your other hand.
With your pinky on your left hand go to the furthest fret you can
reach with it and tap down on the string. It shouldn't move much,
just enough to hardly hear a tiny plink noise. The plink sound should
be softer and less audible than you would hear from other bass guitars,
since other bass guitars should have a little relief in the neck.
If there was no sound at all, your neck might have a back bow. Do
this with the E and G strings. If it's a five string Rickenbacker
bass, use the B and G strings.
If a truss rod
nut is stuck and won't turn due to corrosion, it must first be treated
with a penetrating oil, like WD-40 or better yet, if you can find
a product called Corrosion-Cracker. Apply one of these products
sparingly (a drop or two at most) on the threads at the opening
of the nut, using a needle bottle or the tip of a toothpick. You
do not want to get any these products on the finish of you bass,
so put a towel around the areas that you might accidentally get
some on. After you've applied about a drop or so to the threads
on the truss rod(s), wait a while for the product to penetrate.
Then gently try to loosen the affected nut (turn counterclockwise).
Do not try to tighten! There is still always the chance that you
may break the truss rod. If you break a truss rod, new truss rods
for 4003 and 4004 basses can be purchased from Rickenbacker. Broken
4001 rods would have to be repaired or depending on the break, new
ones would have to be made by a luthier who knows how to make a
4001 truss rod.
Truss rod adjustments
of all Rickenbacker basses should be done with the strings in tune.
The truss rods
of 3000, 3001, 4000, 4001, 4003 (pre Sept '84), 4001S, 4002 and
4005 models adjust differently than the truss rods of 4003 (starting
Sept '84), 4003S, 4003S/5, 4003S/8, 4004C, 4004Cii, 4004L, 4001V63,
4001C64 and 2000 series basses.
4000, 4001, 4001S, 4002, pre Sept '84 4003 and 4005 basses:
The difference between adjusting a truss rod on one of these basses
and other basses, is that the necks of these basses must be manually
moved to the desired position and then the adjustment nuts are tightened
(turned clockwise). If you have detuned any strings to remove the
truss rod cover, retune the strings before adjusting the truss rods.
You will need a straight thin walled 1/4" nut driver that will
fit in the area of the truss rod adjustment nuts. You can get the
tool from Rickenbacker if you desire or you can get one at a hardware
store. Do not use a nut driver with a "T" handle nor should
you attach a ratchet type handle, as these will allow you to use
too much strength when you turn the nuts and possibly break the
truss rods. You might need the assistance of someone else to hold
the bass down on a workbench to do this procedure or you can clamp
the body of the bass to a workbench. In my opinion, the best method
is to pad a workbench or table with a towel and use a clamp with
rubber jaws and other soft material that you can put between the
bass and the jaws of the clamp. With the strings in tune and the
body clamped to the workbench, loosen the truss rod adjustment nuts
enough so are just a small distance from the bearing plate, which
looks like a metal plate behind the nuts. Then tighten the nuts
so that they are just touching the bearing plate. Now you hold the
neck straight by the top of the neck with one hand, and then tighten
the nuts. After you tighten down the nuts, you then let go of the
neck. Tighten the nuts snug, using only the strength of your hand,
not your whole arm. Another method is to have the neck clamped with
a 2"x 4" with adding smaller blocks of wood in between
the fingerboard and the 2" x 4" and a cushiony material
like cork in between the blocks and the fingerboard, or you might
just find suitable blocks of cork to put in between the 2"
x 4". Then loosen/tighten the truss rod nuts as I explain in
the previous method. I will provide pictures of this technique soon.
Some guys are comfortable with supporting the body between their
legs while they do this procedure. I find that cumbersome. Some
have been known to just support the neck just below the headstock
on their leg, as they hold it by the headstock with one hand, letting
the body hang free as they tighten down the truss rod adjustment
nuts with the other hand (known as the "Quick and Dirty"
method). Never try to tighten the nuts with more than the strength
in your hand. If you use the strength of your arm to tighten them,
you might break the truss rods. Never adjust the truss rod nuts
of a 4000, 4001 or 4002 without following one of these procedures
or the fingerboard might pop off the neck, sending you with your
bass to a luthier to set the fingerboard on again. Never force an
adjustment nut to turn. It might be stuck due to corrosion, or it
may already be at the end of it's traveling distance of the threads
on the truss rod. Forcing the nut to turn can break a truss rod
and or pop the fingerboard off the neck. If you have never done
any of these procedures, take your time and be very careful. It
may take you more than one time to get the neck adjusted the way
you want it.
& 4003S (from Sept '84 to present), 4003S/5, S/8, 4001V63, 4001C64,
4004 & 2000 series: The truss rods these models adjust like
any other bass guitar except just like the 4001, there are 2 truss
rods for more accurate adjustments. It is not necessary to manually
hold the necks of the 4003, 4004 or 2000 series models while adjusting
their truss rods. You might only have to adjust one truss rod or
one needs to be adjusted less than the other. The 4003 basses in
the first production years (approximately '79 to '85) had the truss
rod adjustment at the body end of the neck. You can tell these from
the newer 4003 basses, since the ones that have the truss rod adjustments
at the body end have a two piece pickguard. To access the truss
rod adjustments on the early 4003 basses, you must remove the part
of the pickguard that is closer to the neck. 4003 basses from about
'85 to present have the truss rod adjustments under the truss rod
cover. If you have loosened any strings to remove the cover, retune
the strings before making any truss rod adjustments. Turning the
truss rod adjustment to the right (clockwise) reduces forward bow,
no matter which end of the neck the adjustment is located. Turning
the truss rod adjustment to the left (counter clockwise) reduces
back bow, no matter which end of the neck the adjustment is located.
The truss rod adjustments should never exceed more than 1/8 turn
at once. After making the first 1/8 turn adjustment, wait about
a day to see if the truss rods need to be further adjusted. Give
the rod(s) a chance to set the neck relief. If you feel that the
truss rod(s) need to be further adjusted, make a second 1/8 turn
adjustment on the following day. It might take two or three days
to get your neck to the proper adjustment. Never force the adjustment
nuts to turn. Use only the strength of your fingers, not your arm.
If you can't turn the nut, it might be stuck due to corrosion or
it may already be at the end of it's traveling distance on the threads
of the truss rod. Forcing it can break the truss rod and /or pop
the fingerboard off the neck.
3001, 4000, 4001 4003, 4003 and 4005 basses have a bridge that "floats"
in the well of a tailpiece that is supported by two height adjustment
screws, one on each side of the bridge. There is no individual height
adjustment for each saddle. The individual saddle height is fixed
on the bridge to match the radius of the fingerboard. To raise or
lower the first and second strings, the height adjustment screw
on the first string side of the bridge is adjusted. To lower the
strings, use an Allen wrench to turn the screw counter clockwise.
To raise them, turn the screw clockwise. To adjust the height of
the third and fourth strings, do the same for the bridge height
screw near the fourth string. After you have changed the bridge
height, you will have to retune the strings since lowering the bridge
height will loosen them and raising the bridge height will tighten
The 4004 basses
have ABM bridges which have individual saddle height adjustment
screws. Adjusting the bridge saddles is done by turning screws,
one on each side of the bridge saddle. The screws are adjusted with
an allen wrench. Turning the screw clockwise raises the bridge saddle,
therefore raising the string height. Turning the screw counter clockwise
lowers the saddle, therefore lowers the string height. The height
of the strings are usually 3/32" from the bottom of the E string
to the top of the 12th fret. The first string can be slightly closer
to the fret. The overall string height as well as the string to
string height on your bass should depend on your style of playing,
and the type of strings that are installed on your bass. The ABM
bridges also have a string to string spacing adjustment roller on
each saddle. Loosen the string and turn the roller to change the
string to string spacing to best suit your style. Do that to each
saddle so that the string spacing is the same between all of the
strings. Pick style players usually prefer the strings closer together.
Finger and slap style players usually prefer wider string spacing.
best to adjust your pickups with your bass plugged into your amplifier
so you can get the output you desire, quicker and easier. You should
also hold your bass in the playing position since the strings may
slightly change height if you lay your bass down, Don't set the
volume level on your amp too loud since you most likely will make
some popping noises during the procedure.
The screws on the sides of the pickups adjust the pickup height.
Rickenbacker bass pickups have one pickup height adjustment screw
on each side. Unlike most basses, on 3000, 3001. 4001, 4002 and
4003 basses, turning the screws to the right (clockwise) raises
the pickups. Turning the screws to the left (counterclockwise) lowers
the pickups. This is because the height adjustment screws go into
mounting hardware instead of the body wood.
Since the 2000 series, 4004 and 4005 basses have height adjustment
screws that go into the body wood, they adjust pickup height like
most other basses. Turning the screws to the right (clockwise) lowers
the pickup. Turning the screws to the left (counterclockwise) raises
the pickup. The 2000 series and first run of the 4004Cii/5 basses
have HB2 pickups which have the height adjustments screws in the
rear of the body.
In 2006, RIC began to install higain pickups with individually adjustable
polepieces in 4003 basses. The polepieces on the pickups of the
new 4003 basses are adjusted by using a hex key. It makes it easier
to balance out the string to string volume with the individual polepieces.
The height adjustment screws of the 4001/4003 neck (bass) pickup
are found at the sides of the pickups on the surface of the pickguard.
There is a rubber washer (grommet) on the shafts on the neck pickup
height adjustment screws to cushion and take up some space between
the neck pickup mounting tabs and the pickguard. If you have an
old 4001 that seems to have a wobbly neck pickup, these rubber grommets
might be missing. The height adjustment screws of the 4001/4003
bridge (treble) pickup are the two large screws found on the top
of the metal pickup surround plate. There is a spring on the shaft
of each of the bridge pickup height adjustment screws between the
pickup mounting plate and the pickup surround plate to hold the
pickup to the height that is set by the screw. If you want a reference
point, set your bridge pickup height to 5/32" between the top
of the pole pieces and the bottoms of the strings, though this is
hard to do if you have the bridge pickup cover on your bass. Depending
on your playing style and music you play and the type of pickup,
you might want to lower or raise the pickup slightly to get the
sound you want. If you want the most output from your bass, raise
the pickups to just below the point of getting unwanted clicking
and popping noises and unwanted distortion. The closer the pickups
are to the strings, the louder the output from your bass will be,
but if the pickups are too close, your notes will have less sustain
and you can have unwanted distortion and the notes might sound odd,
especially on the upper frets.
several emails with complaints about a poor or weak sounding E string
on a new 4003. I’ve also read about this issue on Rickenbacker
forums. Don’t panic or get frustrated or get the feeling you've
gotten a flawed 4003. There is a solution. Listen to each pickup
soloed as well as both on to tell if it is just one pickup or both
pickups that need to be adjusted.
Take advantage of the adjustable polepieces on the new Rickenbacker
higain pickups. Adjust the A, D and G string polepieces down (lower)
in relation to the E string and then raise up the whole pickup using
the pickup height adjustment screws. Just the same, in case it's
a G string that sounds weak, lower the E, A and D string polepieces,
then raise up the whole pickup.
Sometimes bringing the pickups too high defeats the purpose and
makes matters worse as the magnetic attraction can shorten the sustain
and or produce poor tone. Just as well, a pickup that is too low
can't grab all it can from the strings resulting in weak output
and possibly poor tone.
If the adjustments I've just described in the paragraph above do
not help the E string tone, give each truss rod nut a clockwise
quarter turn tweak. That shouldn't be enough to change the relief
of the neck, but might be enough to tune out a resonance issue.
If that still doesn't help the E string, if you have a skinny rat-tail
file (long and round) or much better yet, a .105" nut file,
make the E string nut slot just very slightly deeper. Be careful
not to widen the nut slot or the string might rattle in the slot
when you play it open and that would sound terrible.
Since the design of the treble (bridge) pickup assembly allows for
more upward travel room than the bass (neck) pickup which is mounted
on the pickguard, the bridge pickup has potential for more volume
output than the neck pickup. I set my pickups to the height were
I find the best potential for output without unwanted distortion
or popping noises. If I want to balance out the volume between the
two pickup, I roll off a little volume on the bridge pickup, but
I rarely find the reason to do so. For the hard rock music I play,
I want to get all the grind and growl I can from the bridge pickup
and the neck pickup will still give me enough of the thick low end
that I want. If I was playing music such as R&B, country, soft
rock or jazz, I would lower the neck pickup very slightly and lower
the bridge pickup to an output that balances in output with the
neck pickup. These are my preferences. You have to find what works
best for you. the music you play, the amp and other gear you use
and the group that you play in.
bridges of 3000, 3001, 4000, 4001 4002, 4003 and 4005 basses have
intonation screws that can be a little hard to turn when with the
bridge installed in the tailpiece. This step is done last in a set
up procedure since all of the previous steps can affect intonation.
After changing strings, and your bass seems to not need a set up you
should still check the intonation of the strings, especially if you've
changed gauges, brand or construction type. You'll need a dependable
tuner, small screwdriver and an instrument cable. Plug your bass into
the tuner using an instrument cable. Turn all volume and tone controls
to maximum. Hold your bass in playing position and play the first
string open. Make sure it is in tune, and then play the first string
at the twelfth fret. If the tuner shows that the 12th fret note is
sharp when the open note is in tune, you must increase the length
on the string by moving the bridge saddle in the direction away from
the headstock. First loosen the string, the turn the saddle intonation
adjustment screw to the right (clockwise). If the tuner shows that
the 12th fret note is flat when the open note is in tune, you must
decrease the length of the string by moving the bridge saddle in the
direction towards the headstock. First loosen the string, the turn
the saddle intonation adjustment screw to the right to correct a sharp
12th fret note or to the left to correct a flat 12th fret note. How
much you will have to turn the screw depends on how much adjustment
it needs. Approximating will come with experience. Bring the string
back up to pitch and check the note at the 12th fret again. It might
take several tries to get it perfectly intonated. Repeat the same
procedure with the rest of the strings. Sometimes it may be necessary
to remove the bridge from the tailpiece to turn one, two or all of
the intonation adjustment screws. To remove the bridge from the tailpiece,
you will have to loosen all of the strings. Then you remove the bridge
by pulling it straight up out of the well of the tailpiece. Depending
on the gauge and type of string used, a saddle might run out of travel
room and it might be necessary to remove the intonation screw and
turn a saddle around to face the opposite way on the bridge, and then
reinstall the intonation screw. This is something that usually only
happens when the bass is set up very differently from usual set ups.
For example, I had to do this to the 1st and 2nd string saddles of
my 4001 basses when I tuned them to B-E-A-D or C#-F#-B-E with heavy
.0047 mfd Capacitor Bypass Modification
bassists tried out a 4001 or early 4003 and couldn't understand
why the neck pickup had so much more output than the bridge pickup
and that the bridge pickup sounded very thin. This is because of
the .0047 mfd capacitor that is on the output of the bridge pickup.
It takes out most of the low end of the pickup, which also results
in the reduced output. In a modern rock band, you need all the volume
you can get from your bass. Leave the capacitor alone if you like
the way the bass just the way it is.
4001, 4001S, 4001C64 and 4001C64S models have the .0047mfd cap.
The 4003's from '80 to late '84/early '85 have the cap. The .0047mfd
cap was not installed in the 4003 from early '85 to the time that
RIC added the Vintage Tone Control Circuit as described in the following
paragraph. The 4001V63 does not have the .0047 mfd cap.
As of late '05
/ early '06, Rickenbacker 4003 basses come with a Vintage Tone Circuit
which features a push - pull treble tone control pot. With the knob
on the pot pushed in, the capacitor is out of the circuit. If the
knob is pulled out, the capacitor is engaged in the circuit. You
can do this modification to your 4001 or 4003. You can purchase
a push-pull potentiometer available at authorized RIC dealer or
straight from RIC. The push - pull pot will replace the existing
treble pickup tone pot. This is how the newest Rick basses (from
late '05 to present) are wired. The push - pull pot that you get
from RIC will come with a diagram that shows how to wire in the
new pot. If you get the pot from a source other than RIC or a RIC
authorized dealer, follow the diagram called '4003 with Vintage
Tone Circuit Wiring Diagram PDF' that I have made, located at the
bottom of this page. If you get a push - pull pot that is not the
genuine RIC part, the inside portion of the pot might be too tall
for the space between the body route and the inside of the pickguard
and you may have to route that area a little deeper to make the
An alternative to the push - pull pot, is to wire a single pole
double throw (SPDT) switch in parallel to the .0047 capacitor and
have either sound at the flick of the switch. Of course you will
have to mount the switch on the pickguard by routing a hole. Notice
the mini switch on my '79 4001 fireglo at the bottom of this page.
I did that modification many years ago as suggested by one of my
electronics teachers who played bass. The push - pull pot is the
better way to go since you won't have to make a hole in your pickguard
for the switch and your bass won't look modified.
A simple cap modification can be done by soldering an insulated
wire to the same two solder points as the .0047 mfd capacitor. This
is the smaller capacitor that is connected from the lug on the pickup
selector switch for the treble (bridge) pickup to the middle lug
of the treble volume pot. I'm pointing to it in a picture at the
top of this page. Clicking on the on the "4001 Wiring Diagram
PDF" below, will also help you to find the .0047 capacitor.
You can remove the cap before you solder in the wire, or you can
leave it in. If you leave the cap in, it will make the reversal
of the mod easier if you wish to do so. You won't hear the effect
of the cap if you leave it in, since all of the signal will take
the easier route through the wire instead of the cap.
the Rick-O-Sound Jack
two output jacks of the 4001 or 4003 where not meant nor wired to
be used at the same time. You use one or the other. When you use a
regular instrument cable, you must plug it into the standard jack
(the one closer to the end of the bass). If you plug a regular instrument
cable into the Rick-O-Sound jack, you will only get sound from the
bridge (treble pickup). You must use a Rick-O-Sound unit or similar
stereo splitter, which has a 1/4" stereo plug on one end, which
gets plugged into the Rick-O-Sound output jack of a 4001 or 4003.
The signal from each pickup gets separated and then goes to two separate
mono 1/4" plugs. This gives you the signal from neck pickup to
go to one amp and the signal from the bridge pickup going to a second
amp. When set up with Rick-O-Sound, you can make it sound like there
are 2 bass guitars playing at once. You can set the amps to sound
very different from each other, having effects, different eq and /
or overdrive on one and not the other. Not many bassists use Rick-O-Sound
jack since it involves the use of two bass rigs. The modern 4004 basses
have only the single mono jack since it is usually the only jack most
bassists use on the 4001 and 4003.
The Treble (Bridge) Pickup Cover
remember the feeling of having to remove the pickup cover for the
first time. I was kind of worried that I would mess up something.
Now I've done it so many times, it's no big deal.
There are 2 ways to do it.
The first way is, loosen and remove the strings from the tuners. Pull
the strings out from under the pickup cover. Then loosen and remove
the 4 small screws that hold down the surround plate. Carefully and
slowly pick the assembly up enough to slide a towel or cloth under
it, carefully turn it over and rest it on the towel. Don't pick the
assembly up fast or far, you don't want to break a wire or solder
joint. The towel is just so you don't scratch the finish. Now examine
the way the assembly is put together before you take it apart. The
most important thing to remember is that the ground wire goes between
the top of the spring and the pickup surround plate of which ever
side it reaches easier.
Put the assembly back together the same way without the cover in place.
It's really not that hard. The older ones are harder to reassemble,
because on the older ones, the spacers were loose and not part of
the pickup mount plate.
When you have the assembly together reinstall it on the body.
Should you forget or become confused as to how the assembly goes back
together, refer to this
diagram which is located on the RIC website.
Follow the instructions in the Pickup Height Section
above to set the pickup height.
other way to remove the cover is quicker and was suggested on the
Rickenbacker Forum by John Hall (CEO of RIC). You don't have to
loosen the strings at all. Just loosen the two pickup height adjustment
screws (the large ones at the sides of the assembly, but DON'T pull
them out or up at all. When you are finished loosening the
screws all the way, let the pickup drop to the inside of the
body. Still do not remove the height adjustment screws. Squeeze
the sides of the pickup cover until you can get it out from the
under the surround plate. It won't break. You can even push one
side into the opposite inner wall of the pickup cavity to squeeze
it enough to come out. Be careful since you don't want the springs
and ground wire to come off the screws, which is why you shouldn't
remove them. When you get the cover out, hold the pickup assembly
up a bit so that the screws go in the holes at the sides of the
pickup mounting plate. Adjust the pickup height to the specs I mention
and 4003 Pickup Leads
you can accidentally disconnect or break a wire on a pickup when you
are working on your opened bass, especially with an older instrument
or you've bought one that someone did some modifications on. When
you are mounting a pickup after it's removal or replacement, the neck
pickup should be positioned so that the lead is closer to the control
cavity. The directionality of the treble (bridge) should depend on
which direction the pickup is installed when the polepiees line up
better under the strings. There is no wrong direction as far as pickup
phasing. Phasing of the pickup depend on how the pickups are wired.
Wiring the pickups properly as seen in these pictures, the PDF wiring
diagrams below and the schematics on the RIC website will insure the
proper pickup phasing. If the pickups that are wired out of phase
from each other, you will hear a loss of bass response when both pickups
are on. This is a completely separate issue from the 0.0047mfd capacitor
wired to the 4001 bridge pickup.
black wire is hot and the ground splits to go into the pickup and
is also attached to the bolt on the mounting ring
Bass (Neck) Higain
Bass (Neck) Higain
hot lead is the short wire on these two pickups. On the '79 pickup,
the ground attached to the mounting ring and the the ground lead on
the pickup is also attached to the grounding washer. On the '06 pickup
the ground wire splits going to the grounding washer and going to
the pickup. Inspect your pickup carefully to see how it was wired.
Treble (Bridge) Higain
Treble (Bridge) Higain
hot lead that goes to the pickup selector switch is soldered to the
short black wire hot wire on the pickup, then covered with shrink
wrap. The ground wires are attached to a grounding washer on one of
the two screws that attaches the mounting bar to the pickup/magnet
assembly. One ground wire is from the lead coming from the control
cavity, the second is the ground to the pickup and the third ground
wire goes to the washer that gets placed on one of the pickup height
adjustment screws to ground the pickup mounting ring.
Bass Wiring Diagrams
Due to theft of my wiring diagrams by some websites that do not comply
my wiring diagrams are no longer available. They may appear in a future
publication. At that time, I will let visitors of this website know
where the diagrams can be found. Until then I sincerely apologize
for any inconvience. Blame the infringers who use the work of other
without a bit of work on their own part to make money on their dummy
storage site, not me.
2004 - 2012 JOEY'S BASS NOTES
All rights reserved