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new 4003 setup
http://www.rickenbacker.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=14998
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Author:  derridiandrift [ Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  new 4003 setup

Three weeks ago, I bought a 2012 fireglo 4003, my first Ric ever. To say that I'm very pleased with the quality of the fit and finish of this bass would be an understatement! But I'm a bit puzzled by the setup and I'll explain why.

The tech at the store where I bought it has tried to set up the bass but he can't get it to play anywhere near as good as my old basses from that other big American brand. I prefer to have my basses set up with low action. The tech told me that, the process of setting it up, he had to get some relief in the neck in order to stop the first few frets from buzzing. In order to get the relief, he had to take all of the tension off the E side truss rod. That seems odd to me.

It has nice low action in first position, and the action rises all the way up the finger board, but it gets noticeably too high after above the 12th fret. If we drop the saddle screws down even 1/8 of a turn I get buzzing frets.

I have never used the tech at the store where I bought the bass, but I've asked around and people have no complaints. The best guys around here don't work at retail stores. I hate to jump to conclusions, but I can't help thinking he's going about this all wrong. I'd love to hear some opinions.

Author:  bassrog [ Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: new 4003 setup

Sounds like my recently acquired 2007 Blueburst. I have 3 other Ricks with phenomenal action, but this one is nowhere near. My tech reckoned it was a 'Friday afternoon' bass, with very limited adjustability.

Playable, but not as slick as a good Rick should be.

Author:  Rickenbrother [ Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: new 4003 setup

derridiandrift wrote:
I have never used the tech at the store where I bought the bass, but I've asked around and people have no complaints. The best guys around here don't work at retail stores. I hate to jump to conclusions, but I can't help thinking he's going about this all wrong. I'd love to hear some opinions.

Have the people who have had no complaints about this tech, had Rickenbacker instruments set up by him?

Author:  cassius987 [ Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: new 4003 setup

This is the wrong way to go about setting up an instrument. First you get the neck sorted out--straight as it needs to be, and if it's a bolt-on check the pitch, not put relief in to mask fret buzz.

The fret buzz could be cause by the nut, fingerboard, or frets; any good tech can assess which it is. (A lot of time "bad frets" = bad fingerboard causing the problem.) The nut can be replaced, and if it's the fret or fingerboard then some minor fret work can (probably) patch things up. If you take it to a tech who is a little more knowledgeable and they give you a similar diagnosis (without using dummy solutions like excessive relief) I think you need to contact RIC customer service to get the issue sorted. If you were unlucky and got a bad fingerboard that would require extensive fret work to mask, you may as well just have RIC take a look at it.

Author:  Barry W [ Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: new 4003 setup

My 2011 4003 had a similar issue. It had some reilef in the neck new. Once I got the neck completely straight, I had the some fret buzz on E all the time and on A when I really dug in. If I raised the action for no fret buzz, it was playable but too high for me.

I solved this by shimming the nut with some tiny pieces of card stock. Took a little trial and error but it's fantastic now. I plan to fill the nut with some bakelite powder/superglue and then refile to an acceptable height (for me). Try the card stock before anything else, you may be pleasantly surprised! You can easily do this yourself in about ten minutes.

Author:  coolingitdown [ Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: new 4003 setup

I'd be interested to know if the tech has had experience with Ricks as well. I sent my 4003 to a tech who worked for another manufacturer. Thankfully, he set it up to the specs I requested, which are typical Rick setup specs. He did a fantastic job.

cassius987 wrote:
This is the wrong way to go about setting up an instrument. First you get the neck sorted out--straight as it needs to be, and if it's a bolt-on check the pitch, not put relief in to mask fret buzz.

The fret buzz could be cause by the nut, fingerboard, or frets; any good tech can assess which it is. (A lot of time "bad frets" = bad fingerboard causing the problem.) The nut can be replaced, and if it's the fret or fingerboard then some minor fret work can (probably) patch things up. If you take it to a tech who is a little more knowledgeable and they give you a similar diagnosis (without using dummy solutions like excessive relief) I think you need to contact RIC customer service to get the issue sorted. If you were unlucky and got a bad fingerboard that would require extensive fret work to mask, you may as well just have RIC take a look at it.


Cassius is right. Ricks in particular need a very straight neck. Both of my Ricks have very little relief and have lower, faster action than 95% of basses I've played. I do get a bit of fret buzz up to the 4th fret or so, but it doesn't come through the amp, so I don't sweat it.

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