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Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass
http://www.rickenbacker.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=14571
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Author:  Bengal65 [ Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

I have a 4003 bass delivered new and the neck pickup is very low in volume. The neck pickup seems to be significantly less in volume than the bridge pickup. Does this sound normal? I've tried raising and lowering the pickup and the poles to no effect. I have not pulled the pickguard to test the pickup for resistance, since this characteristic maybe standard Ric issue. It's really annoying because when I change the pickup selector switch from neck to middle or just the bridge pickup the volume just jumps way up because the bridge pickup has such a higher volume.

Author:  coolhandjjl [ Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

Is the bridge pup similar height? With all knobs dimed (full), both pups should have fairly similar output.

Author:  goalieman [ Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

Sounds like you may have the same problem I had with my 4003 I bought in 2009, simply a bad pickup. Thought that issue was solved by now? Guess not. Time to call customer service!

Author:  cassius987 [ Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

I've heard tons of 4003s with quieter neck pickups but that did not stop them from being good basses... it's because of the placement (far back so a lot of it is fundamental, hard to hear without good speakers), the magnet size (smaller than the bridge pickup's magnet, which is good because neck pickups pull on a more flexible part of the string length and can cause weird setup issues), and finally because the travel on the neck pickup isn't as great as on the bridge pickup.

If you actually use a ruler and measure the overall and pole-to-string heights you'll likely find the neck pickup is further away than the bridge pickup, as at equal height it should only be slightly quieter, not a lot, and the middle position (both pickups) should be the quietest. Back off the bridge pickup to match--not the other way around.

If none of this works, do check the coil's resistance. Don't take off the pick guard, just insert a 1/4'' mono jack and test the tip and ring while each pickup is on. When both are on don't forget Ohm's Law which means the value will drop to roughly half (assuming the pickups are the same value). This is normal.

Author:  Bengal65 [ Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

Thanks for the replies! I checked the resistance. I'm getting 10.5K ohms on the bridge pickup and 163.5K ohms on the neck pickup. Something is driving the neck load way up? Never seen a pickup this high.

Author:  cassius987 [ Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

163.5K... are you sure? Your ohm meter should really be set to the correct range to measure the pickups, on mine I would set it to 20K.

If it's really giving that reading something is quite wrong but I suspect it's a false reading.

Author:  iiipopes [ Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

A high meter reading like that can be caused by an open coil so that the "read" is across the pot instead. It sounds like the coil is open and is functioning on inductance, which will give a thin low-volume tone.

Open up the control plate, unsolder the hot lead of the pickup from the selector switch, or set the selector switch to the opposite position, and read the pickup directly. If you get a reading @ 8 to 12 kohms, then you probably still have a good pickup, and you need to check to see if there are any rubber grommets isolating the pickup under the control cover that need to be thinned out so the pickup can be raised, or if there are any other wiring problems.

But if you get the higher reading as described, or no reading at all, or the reading flutters and won't settle down, then you probably have an open coil.

If you are the original purchaser new, have you contacted customer service?

Author:  Bengal65 [ Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

Yep, original owner. Just unsoldered the pickup and removed it from the guitar. The measurement is 1.2K ohms. Time to call customer service. I should have checked the pickup removed from the bass anyway in the first place. Thanks for the help guy's!

Author:  Bengal65 [ Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

I called customer service and was told I had to return the bass and not just the pickup. I have the pickup out of the guitar and tested it. It's just bad. It would cost me in shipping what a new pickup would cost delivered. So, I chose that route. Hopefully, I'll get the new one soon. Thanks for the support.

Author:  Bengal65 [ Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Low Output Neck Pickup on 4003 Bass

Got the new pickup and installed it. Wow, that's more like it. I have a neck pickup to add to the sound palate now! Amazing difference.

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