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 Post subject: Hi Gain pickup poles - non hex version
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:15 am
Posts: 71
Location: USA
Maybe a dumb question, sorry if it is. I have a 4003, and was experiencing the so-called "weak E string" effect. I determined that it was only happening with the treble pickup, so I lowered it. That helped tremendously, but now I have a "zinger A" string. It's just enough louder than the other strings to take it out of the "bass personality" category and in to the "bass annoyance" category. Outboard compression helps, but even then it has a slightly different tone.

I've tried lowering the bass side further, but the E string starts suffering again.

So... I've looked closely at the bridge pickup poles, and it certainly appears that the A string pole is slightly higher than the D string pole. This is a non-scientific observation, I haven't actually measured it yet.

I've read on this forum that I may be able to grab the pole with some vice grips and twist it out without destroying the pickup. My bass was made in 2005 and has the "toaster" lines in the plastic.

My question is - are all the poles the same length and just set in at different heights, or are they different lengths and set to the bottom of the pup? IOW, are the A and D string poles longer than the E and G string poles? Could I try pushing the A string pole further in, or is that a recipe for disaster?

If I remove it, I can shave a little off the bottom of the pole with my Dremel.

I'm halfway resigned to buying a new hex screw treble pickup from here. *sigh*.


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 Post subject: Re: Hi Gain pickup poles - non hex version
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 997
Location: The Independent Republic Of Florida
Howdy,

I am by no means an expert here. I'm hoping that some of the more knowledgeable people or the folks at Rickenbacker will advise on this one. Until they do I would not do anything with the pole pieces on your pickup. You may want to adjust the height of the pickup as you have been doing until you get a balance. I would not alter the existing pickup in any way at this time.
BlueAngel, iiipopes and Jingle_Jangle here on the forum can help better than I. Good luck!

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Hi Gain pickup poles - non hex version
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:40 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:15 am
Posts: 71
Location: USA
Quote:
Howdy,

I am by no means an expert here. I'm hoping that some of the more knowledgeable people or the folks at Rickenbacker will advise on this one. Until they do I would not do anything with the pole pieces on your pickup. You may want to adjust the height of the pickup as you have been doing until you get a balance. I would not alter the existing pickup in any way at this time.
BlueAngel, iiipopes and Jingle_Jangle here on the forum can help better than I. Good luck!

Steve


It was actually John Hall, the CEO of Rickenbacker, who posted it was possible. I'm thinking that makes it pretty legit ;)

There was another guy here (sorry I don't remember your name) who said he took them all out and shortened them with good results. I think I may only need to do one, not all. Trying to keep it as minimal as possible.

In any case, you offer sound advice, and that's why I'm trying to get as much info as I can before I break out the vice grips.


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 Post subject: Re: Hi Gain pickup poles - non hex version
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:00 pm
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Location: Scotland
If adjusting the pickup height took it from a point where the E was too quiet and the A was about right, to a point where the E was right and the A was too loud, is there no setting in the middle where it's just right? Just thinking of the simplest solution first, although it's quite possible there isn't that setting.

If not, have you tried changing string gauges? The factory gauges have an unusually light A and D string compared to the E and G, so using more conventional gauges does sometimes cause string balance problems. OK, maybe you like your strings and don't want to change them (or maybe you're even using the factory ones!).

After that it's a question of whether you want to risk damaging the polepiece more than you want to avoid spending money on a new pickup. I've never actually tried it, but I'm sure it's possible if Mr. Hall says so! I would probably do it by taping the face of the bobbin with paper masking tape to protect it, then try gripping the polepiece *under* the head with some wire cutters - I know they're not the 'right' tool, but the risk of visible damage is mostly to the rim of the head, where it will be most obvious and right where the vise grips will grab it. The cutters won't be powerful enough to cut the head off the pole unless you have hands like King Kong :-).


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 Post subject: Re: Hi Gain pickup poles - non hex version
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:54 am
Posts: 405
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Quote:
...The cutters won't be powerful enough to cut the head off the pole unless you have hands like King Kong :-).


...or Chuck Berry... try to google a picture of great old Chuck and watch his hands - they are HUGE!!!

(Don't know how this came to me - except that I instantly got a picture of a quite big hand with that pickup unit and a cutter... :o) )


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 Post subject: Re: Hi Gain pickup poles - non hex version
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:15 am
Posts: 71
Location: USA
Thanks for your reply Blue Angel.

As far as pickup adjustment, I had it sort of balanced, and could compensate with my playing style to some degree. This is obviously not my optimum situation. Last night I decided to have another go at adjusting the pickup, and lost my "sweet spot". Sheesh. I think it's a sign that something more drastic needs to be done - either vise grips or a new pickup. Or more probably a new pickup after the vise grips ;)

I'm using Thomastik Infeld Power Bass Roundwounds, that are a slightly larger gauge than a standard roundwound. From what you describe, this could definitely be the issue. It's my favorite string though, so I'd like to get it, and any other brand of string, to work.

It's also perfectly even output across the neck pickup.

Quote:
After that it's a question of whether you want to risk damaging the polepiece more than you want to avoid spending money on a new pickup.


Yep. I think I'm going to try the vice grip thing, and expect to have to buy a new pickup. In that case, I may have to buy a toaster for the neck while I'm at it.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Hi Gain pickup poles - non hex version
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:48 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:15 am
Posts: 71
Location: USA
So I broke out the vice grips and... Totally fixed the issue. Woo hoo! It wasn't even much of a hard fix, just a little nervous before actually doing it.

The posts come out easily, my trusty Dremel shaved of the end with no problem, and the post went back in easily. The only issue is that the vise grips scuffed up the edges of the buttons a little bit, but you'd have to look closely to see it.

I'm very happy with the fix so far.


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