Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

4003 Adjustable Mute Issues
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Author:  Wumples [ Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  4003 Adjustable Mute Issues

Hi guys! I was excited to try out the adjustable mute on my 2006 4003 bass; I've never used it before, and only recently I figured out that muting is integral to that McCartney percussive sound I aspire to. Anyway... there is surprising little information available about the adjustable mute on the internet. I thought that loosening the thumb screws on the bridge would allow the mute to "rise up" and contact the strings. However, loosening them had no effect on the height of the mute. In fact, one of the bridge screws came out entirely and now I can't get it to screw back in (alas, that is another story). For the moment, I'm curious to ask if I understand the adjustable mute mechanic correctly, and I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions for me. I read elsewhere that the mute is often too big for the slot and that 4003 owners often have to trim it down to make it fit. Hopefully, it's feasible for me to handle this myself; otherwise, I guess I'll be visiting a luthier. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide! - Daniel

Author:  PaulBoyer [ Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4003 Adjustable Mute Issues

First off, you would need to "tighten" the thumbscrews to raise the mute. But now that you've got one all the way down, you'll need to remove the tailpiece and reassemble. It's not difficult, but it's going to take some time. Obviously, loosen and remove the strings. Yeah, I know, a hassle. Once the strings are out of the way, use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the two visible screws from the tailpiece and the three screws that are under the bridge. Be careful as there is a grounding wire that is soldered to the bottom of the mute pad plate. Use a sharp knife or even scissors to trim the edges of the mute pad. They are a bit big and usually jam against the edges of the mute cavity in the tailpiece, preventing it from raising evenly or properly. Trimming maybe 1/8" from each side won't hurt the performance of the mute. Now reassemble. When you replace the tailpiece on the body, don't overtighten the mounting screws, especially the three under the bridge - you might bend/distort the tailpiece casting and encourage the dreaded "tail lift" that you've probably heard complaints about. Let us know how it goes.

Author:  jps [ Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4003 Adjustable Mute Issues

Regarding trimming the mute pad, I feel that you could cut almost the front half off (slice the foam down the length of it) and this will help with intonation as the front edge of the mute pad becomes the witness point for that end of the strings causing intonation to go more sharp as you play further up the neck since it is quite a bit away from the saddles which is where the real intonation is set for the strings.

Another thing is that sometimes the arc of the mute pad causes differing amounts of muting on each string, such as the A and D strings mute before the E and G strings, for example. This is corrected by bending the mute pad plate a little, and will have to be tested and maybe readjusted some, especially since yours is not able to be adjusted to check for this, at the moment.

Author:  PaulBoyer [ Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 4003 Adjustable Mute Issues

The mute plate is arched so that it follows the radius of the fingerboard, but most people find that the A and D strings are touched first by the mute pad. That's why cutting ALL the sides of the mute is important; the ends bind in the cavity even more than the middle, so trimming them should help.

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