Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue
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Author:  BassKeys [ Tue May 06, 2008 4:29 am ]
Post subject:  4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

Hi all,

I am a bit of a novice bass player, but was fortunate enough to pick up a new 4001C64 recently. Although the bass has amazing tone, and is incredibly fun to play, I noticed that the volume on the low E is considerably lower than the volume on the other strings. (Although I may be imagining it, I believe the volume on the G is a bit low, too.)

I brought the bass into a very well-regarded shop in SF for a setup, and was told that this may be a function of the fact that the radius of the magnets under the horseshoe pick-up is greater than the radius on the fretboard. (I apologize in advance if I am confusing this issue or if I have the terminology wrong; like I said, I am a bit of a novice.) Put differently, the low E is farther from the magnets than the other strings.

I also was told that this seems to be the way the bass was manufactured (and is not necessarily a product-design issue), and that there may be no real way to fix it.

I thought I would raise the issue here, though, in case anyone had some thoughts. For example, are the magnets under the horseshoe pickup adjustable? Are there any other known fixes? (Lowering the action isn't possible, as it already is as low as it can go. I also already changed the strings, which didn't help.)

Thanks in advance.

Author:  Mastermold [ Tue May 06, 2008 4:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

This sounds a lot like the problem I had about a month ago with the last 4003 I had. I took it to a local luthier here in Tustin, Tom Reiser (TR Guitars), to see what could be done about it, but no amount of adjustment to the poles on the neck pickup fixed the volume problem unless we raised the pole under the E string so high it interfered with picking. What was interesting to me was Tom said this was the second 4003 he had seen with this problem, and he thought it was very unusual and perhaps indicative of a larger problem. So I emailed Rickenbacker's customer service and let them know so they could investigate if they wanted on whether they happened to get a bad batch of pickups.

As for me, in my case, I was able to return the bass to Musician's Friend where I ordered it, and they sent me a replacement which (so far as I can tell) is just fine. Tom Reiser told me the other guy who had the problem ultimately decided to swap out the pickups.

I hope you're able to get your situation resolved one way or another.

Author:  mobis.fr [ Tue May 06, 2008 4:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

i had the same issue with my v63.

i changed the strings (unknown brand - no RIC strings) to some labellas 760fl. that helped but i still have a small problem with 10" speakers. the e sounds perfect on 12" (and bigger...)

Author:  BassKeys [ Wed May 07, 2008 6:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

Thanks to you both. I just talked with the guitar shop, and they basically said that if it bothers me, the only long-term solution might be to swap out the pick-up. Less than ideal, but certainly not the end of the world.

Thanks again.

Author:  J.P. [ Wed May 07, 2008 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

Uh. Yea.

I wouldn't be surprised if you get a bunch of replys now that say "I've never had that problem" or "mine's fine". Which really seems to mean "your problem doesn't exist, cause I don't have it".

Sorry I sound so negative, it's just that I see this come up pretty often and still no real definitive answers.

That being said, my 4003 E is better but I did so much tweaking and adjusting (over the course of the last 3 years) I'm not sure which change really made THE difference. There was no "wow, that did it." It seems like the E on mine has gotten better little by little.

My bass came with pole pieces that were not adjustable. I pulled them out and installed some adjustable ones and I think this made the biggest difference. I don't know if I would recommend doing this. You can easily scratch the top of the pickup or the bass if you're not careful.

I think the setup has a lot to do with it too, but sometimes I think that on some basses there is something else going on too. People who have "never had that problem" would probably disagree. Maybe it is the pickups and that's why Ric came out recently with adjustable pole pieces. But, why would some have a problem and some don't? I don't know.

I also e-mailed the company about this a few years ago. They responded with a somewhat generic reply. I then sent them a few more questions but never heard back from them.

I also have to say that my Ric is the only one I've ever played. So maybe the sound of the e-string is inherent to the bass (they all sound like that) and I've been chasing after something that just isn't there.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have brought the bass back to the store (I live three hours from the place I bought it from) and compared it with some other ones and if my E was weak compared to any others I would have said I wanted another bass. The ole hindsight 20/20 thing.

Instead, I kept thinking "if I just adjust this now, it will sound right".

Anyway, good luck. I hope you get it sounding like you want.

Author:  johnallg [ Wed May 07, 2008 10:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

All 4 strings should have about the same output. I have not had this problem, but there are 4 of you in just this thread, and there have been other threads.

Suggestions that have worked for others is adjusting the truss rods very slightly to change the tension on the neck, change the string, adjust the poles of the pickups, raise/lower the pickups, make sure the string is not too loose in the E slot of the nut, make sure the E saddle is not moving, make sure the mute is down, and make sure the E string is not twisted from where it goes through the tailpiece then over the bridge then through the nut then onto the keywind. A twist can make the string appear dead with little sustain.

Author:  JohnHall [ Wed May 07, 2008 9:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

I took it to a local luthier here in Tustin, Tom Reiser (TR Guitars), to see what could be done about it, but no amount of adjustment to the poles on the neck pickup fixed the volume problem unless we raised the pole under the E string so high it interfered with picking.
It sounds like he, like so many people, are approaching this problem backwards. As it suggests on page 5 of the owners manual, on newer instruments with adjustable polepieces it's much more effective to lower the poles of the strings that are loud to even things out, then raise the entire pickup to the closest point without string contact while playing. Trying adjust the polepieces of instruments that don't have poles with hex sockets will damage the pickup, but the usual solution here is to lower the treble side of the pickup, assuming the bass side is already close to the strings.

FYI, I just counted- I own 26 basses personally and I don't notice this problem on any of them. That leads me to suggest that a) this is amp or string specific b) it really is just a matter of adjustment or c) I simply can't hear the difference.

The adjustable polepieces were added several years back across the full line for manufacturing simplicity, and it was introduced mainly to compensate for the wide range of strings used on guitars, rather than basses.

Author:  BassKeys [ Thu May 08, 2008 3:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

Thanks to everyone for your further comments.

Just a couple of quick notes, which may or may not advance the dialogue:

(1) The 4001C64, even though brand new, does not have adjustable pole pieces. Although this was my understanding, I just confirmed this with the shop that was doing my set-up. In fact, they told me that they have never seen a Rickenbacker bass like mine that did have adjustable pole pieces.

(2) Looking at page 5 wouldn't really help, for the reason noted above. Of course, I can't even look at page 5 because I never received an owner's manual, though suppose I might be able to hunt one down on-line.

I'd be interested in hearing any and all further comments, in case I am missing something.

Thanks again.

Author:  Wim [ Thu May 08, 2008 3:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

Basskeys, are you sure your amp can handle the lowest notes of your bass?
I have a '73 4001 and although it seems as if the lowest notes have less volume, they actually produce the same signal -amplitudewise- as the other notes, probably even more. You can see the speakers in the cabinet vibrate heavily when playing the lowest notes,yet they seem a whole lot quiter than an octave E on the A string.
I think this is what they mean with that 'solid underlying bass' in the ads.
To me this is the whole Rickenbacker charm you know.
If I wanted a bass with perfectly even frequency response I'd get an Alembic or the likes.
Just listen to Beatles, or any older recoding using Rickenbackers' 4001.

Author:  thecoloursound [ Thu May 08, 2008 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 4001C64 -- Low E Volume Issue

just to have mr hall's back a little (and the subsequent post): the 'growl' on the low E was a pain for me when recording ... it took away from the low-end on the E string. i attributed it to the high gain pickups. i lowered that side of the pickup and switched the E string to 95s (oh, the revolt!) ... i have a much cleaner. bassy signal this way. yes, lowering the pickup gave me better, more solid tone. fyi, my 4003 is a 2002.

about all these people that talk about string-twisting, that never makes any sense to me ... who doesn't twist their strings a bit when doing the first few wraps around the machine head with their hand before winding the strings tight? who are you, and what magic science do you employ?

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