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 Post subject: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:40 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:41 pm
Posts: 48
I've been playing bass/guitar for about 20 years and have always done my setups on all my equipment myself. Normally just bridge and truss rod adjustments and I'm good to go.

I've never really messed with the nuts on my other instruments as they always measured within factory specs.

When I received the 4003 Ric I experienced many of the same problems that I see people write about on this forum. I had low e-string output, uneven string volume, and buzzing. I tweaked and tweaked and tweaked to no avail. Not only was I having the problems mentioned above, the bass just didn't "feel" right. I finally e-mailed Ric directly and although they responed quickly they basically told me to make the sort of adjustments I had already been making.

It got to the point that when I went out to play (or sit down at home to play) I would leave my new Ric hanging on the wall and grab my trusty Jazz bass. It just felt better and had much better even response across the strings.

Finally, one day a couple of weeks ago, I picked up the Ric and just for the heck of it measured the strings at the first fret (this was the first time I had done this since I got the bass). I was surprised to find that the nut slots were not cut deep enough. Not way off, but I wondered if it was enough to make a difference.

So, because I don't have any nut files I took the Ric to my local music store and talked to the tech. I was a little leary about letting someone else work on my stuff but this guy had a pretty good reputation in my area.

Anyway, a couple of days later I went and picked it up. Wow!!! I had never had nut work done before but what a difference it made. It felt like a different guitar. Much better. And he told me he didn't adjust anything else. Just the nut. Everything else was "good". I couldn't believe a little adjustment on the nut could make that much difference in the way the bass felt and played.

When I got home I plugged it up and was shocked again. I know this may sound strange but all the strings sounded even and the e-string had life in it. It felt different AND sounded much, much, better. Now my Jazz has been hanging on the wall more.

Sorry this is so long guys I just really wanted to get my experience across.

The bottom line is make sure EVERYTHING is set up properly. If you just THINK you know what you are doing you may be better off taking it to someone you know who TRUELY knows what they are doing. Something simple like just having the nut adjusted properly may make a world of difference to the sound and playability. It did for me!!

Oh, the cost to adjust the nut----$10.

Good luck. Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:00 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Excellent advice. I've been playing bass since I was in college ten years ago and its only in the last three years that I have come to realise what a difference set-up can make. I also think that a 'good' set-up is very subjective and different for each player and their playing style.

I would go so far as to say that every serious player should learn to do their own set-ups and find out what suits them.

With Rickenbacker basses this is even more true as the nut seems too high for some, for others like me its fine from the factory. For all its idiosyncracies my Rick is still my favourite for recording. I won't say 'better', but it does capture the sound I have in my head.


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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 1685
Location: Colorado
Ric is a little conservative when they send out a brand new 4003 ... they leave the nut cut a little high ... they probably want to avoid an open string buzz ... the optimal height for me it to have the nut the same height as a zero fret ... but to do that you run a good risk of having an open string buzzing ... so probably the best target height for the nut would be 125% to 150% the height of a zero fret ... your bass will sound better and play better ...

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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 2592
Location: The Rickenroom
Quote:
Sorry this is so long guys I just really wanted to get my experience across.


Nah, great post. It shows that there is a solution to a 4003 that might have a weak sounding E string, whether it be a pickup adjustment, truss rod adjustment or cutting the nut slot a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 5:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:09 am
Posts: 40
Location: Wantage, NJ
I had the exact same problem with my 4003's nut. I did the adjustment myself with needle files and it made a hugh difference. When I got mine 4003 about six weeks ago, I just played it for about 3 weeks to evaluate it. Then did a full truss set up, filed the nut string grooves to suit me and just last night did an adjustment of the pick up poles to fine tune string volume. This baby is just perfect now.

I think everyone who gets one of these fine basses should do or have done a complete set up by a pro. Rickenbacker makes a terrific product but there is no way they can set up a bass at the factory that will satisfy all players. Fine tuning this baby will turn a smile into a s**t eating grin!!

Good luck with your new bass!!


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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:57 pm
Posts: 4
Came across this old thread- I agree completely. One of the first things I did when I got my new 4003MG home, was slot the nut deeper. You should use a special set of nut files, which you can buy from Stewmac. In my opinion, the stock nut is very high, and uncomfortable for the first fret. If you are playing with the factory nut, and have no experience with how a low slotted nut feels, the difference it makes- you will be in for a very pleasant surprise if you do. It makes a world of difference. Look at the distance you press down at the first fret, if you see a significant bending of the string near the nut, the nut is too high. This makes you work harder than you have to finger that note. BTW, I practiced this procedure on other basses first, of course. You can look up videos on Youtube to walk you through it. If you are not likely to tackle this yourself, take it to a luthier in your area for a nut slotting and set up.


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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:05 am
Posts: 3
Here's a true story that happened to me. Years ago I purchased a jetglo 4003. I was never really happy with the sound of it. One day I contacted Seymour Duncan through email, and asked about their Rickenbacker replacement pick ups. The answer I got was pretty surprising...their tech answered back saying the SD pick ups weren't really worth the time. He told me, take your Ricky to an expert tech and tell him to do a set up for you. Wow! What a different when I got it back, it smoked! I have a big collection of basses, Fenders, Musicman, Fbass etc. My Ric's are the only basses I will take to a tech for set up. Their nuts are cut specifically for their own strings, so if you want a beefer string, let an expert do it for you. A Rickenbacker bass with a proper set up makes a world of difference! Even the tension of the neck plays a big role...I used to tighten the truss rods really tight to get really low action...however I realized it made the bass sound thinner and "Clacky". I thought I was pretty good at setting up my basses but I guess you can always learn from a professional.


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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:44 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:04 pm
Posts: 70
Rickenbacker nuts out of the fabric are made for those who like to play detuned, some three semitones or more. For Concert tuning they are way too high. And since it´s usually not an issue on other makes, it shouldn´t be on Ricks either.


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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:57 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:07 am
Posts: 3760
No manufacturer can anticipate all of the various ways different players set up their instruments for their particular playing style and repertoire. For example, I tend to "dig in" a little more than many other players, so my nut slots are a little higher, even with standard tuning and 45's strings.

It is too much of a leap in logic to assume that high nuts are only for players who down tune.

It is also a maxim that it is easy to take material away, but it is so much more difficult to add it back. So it is understandable to err on the side of caution and not cut the nut slots too deep out of the block.

Every instrument, from every manufacturer, needs to be set up to the player and repertoire. This is not a manufacturing defect or lack of quality control. It is life.

Instead of complaining about the way an instrument plays, we should all follow the example of the OP and have the bass set up properly, whether by ourselves if we are experienced in such, or by a competent luthier who not only knows the mechanics, but will take time to talk to the player about what he/she wants out of an instrument.

And all RIC instruments, out of the factory, are made to be played at standard pitch. So I disagree completely in every way with Micky's post immediately above.


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 Post subject: Re: Proper setup-key to everything
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:04 pm
Posts: 70
Well, some people belong to what we can call "The fanatic fans".
Some people disagree to other peoples thoughts and ideas because they don´t know what they themselves are talking about. Nore have they ever heard of a bass called Warwick. Nore have they a clue of what kind of nut another bass not named "Rickenbacker" has.
The simply dispise other people and their point of view due to lack of facts and also in spite of the many posts about the same issue. Blinded by the nameplate as they are. Fanatic fan or employee. Who cares! Period!


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