Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

E String Volume
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Author:  BlindJustice [ Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  E String Volume

I just got a brand new Montezuma Brown 4003 that was back-ordered. I'm enjoying the heck out of it already. But I do have a question for all of you veteran Ric-meisters. (I've been mainly playing Fenders for about 12 years, though I've "dabbled" with quite a few others during that time).

Anyway, I've noticed that my A, D, & G strings are extremely punchy, but the E seems to lack the punch of the other 3. I know that with a 5 string, the B is often more muddled that the rest; but with all the 4-strings I've owned, I've never noticed a pronounced difference with the E. Has anybody else experienced this?

As for solutions, the only thing I can think of is to elevate the E-string side of the pickups a little bit, but that would make them slightly uneven. Thoughts?

Author:  MPN [ Thu Sep 15, 2005 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

I know this may seem kinda strange; but have you tried other cables? With so many mediocre quality cables on the market these days, this could be related to your specific instrument's electrical characteristics in conjunction to your cable. Also old, beat-up and kinked cables will cause attenuation of certain frequencies. And as in recording and audiophile gear; cable selection to achieve the flattest frequency response with no signal loss or coloration is the ultimate target. It could be as simple as that . . .

Author:  BlindJustice [ Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

No, I'm using a high-quality Monster cable. I did try a second Monster cable, but no difference. Even though it's a new bass, I went ahead and slapped on a new set of strings yesterday. That seemed to help a bit, but I can still detect a difference. I just wasn't sure if this is a common occurrence in Rics, or if it's just this one. I'm relatively new to the Ric scene, so I'm just trying to see if anybody else has experienced this; and if so, how did they rectify it. Thanks for the input. You're right - the simple solutions are often the most elusive. (Remember the scene in "Sling Blade" where everybody was trying to figure out why the lawnmower wouldn't run? Karl walked over and said, "There ain't no gas in it".)

Author:  Bob_the_Bass [ Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

Is the problem noticable with either pick-up selected in isolation ?
I'd be tempted to either lower the saddle on the E string side or raise the PUPs a tad. I have a 4003 made in 2003 & had a similar problem after I'd had a set-up done by a tech who had no experience of Rics ... took it back to the store & the tech there re-did the set-up & the results were perfect

Author:  jldmcc [ Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

In my days i've owned three Ric basses. To some extent, all of them had a slightly less pronounced e string. The one I had with a toaster style pickup had the best responce (yes I know its really a six string pickup) The only time they were ever even, was with 'Rickenbacker Flat wound strings, which are no longer made. I have a set of Thomastics on order to see if it helps.

Author:  BlindJustice [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

Thanks to both of you for the input. It's good to know that this isn't something unique to my bass. Yes, it does occur even when the individual pickups are soloed. When the treble pickup is soloed, it's less noticeable, but I tend to prefer the sound I get with the selector switch in the center position. I think I'll take your advice and either lower the bridge or raise the pickups a bit on the E side. I must say, though, it is not quite as noticeable since I put a new set of Ken Smith's on it.

Also, one of you mentioned using flats on yours. How does that sound? I love flats when I'm sitting at home practicing, but when I play with my band, the roundwounds cut through the guitars better. Still, there's nothing like that vintage, rubbery thud you get from flats. I've never tried them on a Ric, though. They'd probably sound great, but I'm afraid I'd lose that famous punch...

Author:  MPN [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

If you want to aim for near perfection, try processing your signal through a parametric equalizer where you can emphasize or de-emphasize any frequency at any chosen bandwidth between the 20-20Khz range. Talk about PUNCH ! ! ! you'll have control of where and how much you want, and you get a compressor included at no extra charge . . . just a thought if a few simple adjustments to the bass don't give you what you want . . .

Author:  Noisy_Geezer [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

Just raise the E side of the pups. There's no reason to reinvent the wheel here. Rickenbacker has thoughtfully built handy-dandy pickup raiser and lowerers into the bass for just such occasions.

Author:  Rick-O-Matic [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

I recently picked-up a 4001C64 and was very disappointed with the sound of the E string. It sounded dull and muddy and not as loud as the others, although the meters on the mixing console said otherwise. Now, I’m very particular about the strings I use. I prefer bright flat wounds so I replaced the factory strings with medium gauge GHS Bright Flats and still hated the way the E string sounded. (So much so that during the two weeks they were on I actually avoided playing that string!) Finally I put on a set of D'Addario Electric Bass Half Round Pure Nickel Soft (.045 - .100) and WOW! What a difference. That made a major change in the sound of the E string. As a last tweak, I also raised the low side of the treble PUP and now I am totally satisfied with the sound.

Author:  MPN [ Fri Sep 16, 2005 6:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: E String Volume

I wouldn't quite call it re-inventing the wheel, it's a way to get just about EXACTLY what you want + a whole lot more for not a whole lotta money, strings, adjustments and time. There are so many possible things to factor into the equation of addressing his complaint other than raising the pickup which is probably going to accentuate the level of the string next to it as well possibly magnifying or offseting the problem. A couple a years ago I corrected a similar issue on a pre-CBS Jazzmaster where I added a piece of alnico magnet to one pick-up magnet segment which increased it's flux field to compensate for the imbalance. Being the instrument was 9.5 out of 10, he didn't want anything altered permanently . . . That was re-inventing the wheel ! ! !

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