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Ahhh! My Rickenbacker 4003 neck pickup died!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Warpeg, Sep 29, 2008.


  1. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    After almost two decade of playing and owning 50+ basses, this is the first time I have had a pickup stop working on me! I took a multimeter reading on the pickup and got '0,' while the bride pickup is reading around '11.'

    So now what do I do? These pickups are not easy to come by. If I do find one, then it will probably cost an arm and a leg! Does anyone know a place that does pickup rewinding inexpensively? Does anyone know of a low-cost alternative or copy that I can put in there temporarily?
     
  2. before you panic...it may just be a wire became unsoldered on the pickup, not necessarily a broken wind...

    there are plenty of folks who can repair your pickup...

    do a google search for "pickup repair"
     
  3. GlennW

    GlennW

    Sep 6, 2006
  4. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    I found a place in TN called Smit's Parts. They say that they will rewind the pickup for $30. Sound like a fair price? Does anyone have any experience with this company?
     
  5. By-Tor1000RR

    By-Tor1000RR

    Jul 17, 2008
    Stamford, CT
    My neck pickup on my '87 4003 died about 6 months ago. I'm keeping my eyes open for an original to replace it. I use the bridge pickup 90% of the time so it's not a huge problem but I really want to get mine back in order.

    I was also thinking about having my pickup rewound but I'm affaid that it might sound different in some way. I have never had a pickup rewound so I guess I'm just looking for someone to settle my nerves a bit.
     
  6. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Sales Engineer
    When I called Ric about a similar problem they referred me to Lindy Fralin. They said they do lots of Ric pickup repairs.



    Dan
     
  7. By-Tor1000RR

    By-Tor1000RR

    Jul 17, 2008
    Stamford, CT
    Thanks for the info. I just checked out their site and I'm gonna give them a call tomorrow.
     
  8. I'm on the other side of the world so haven't heard of that place. But $30? I wouldn't do a rewind for $30, maybe double that. But, if you want cheap you got it right there. The thing is, what will you get for that money, will it really be a 4003 or something else entirely?

    In any case, my suggestion is to find a pickup maker who knows the 4003 / 4001 pickups. I agree with Glenn, David at SGD understands the internals of these pickups. I have a couple here, which I'm working on. Lindy also does these.
     
  9. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    There's a fair bet it won't sound as different as it does now ;)
     
  10. Well, a dead pickup won't help you, but there will be some differences with a rewind. What's the chance that another 4003 neck pickup will sound 100% the same as yours anyway? If you spend money on a RIc pickup chances are that there will be a variance of some sort depending on a few factors. A rewind from a maker who knows 4003 pickups will give you a much cheaper pickup, using the same bobbin, and you'll get something very close to a 4003 (wound to the same specs). You may or may not notice the difference. It is possible that it may even improve the sound of the original pickup.
     
  11. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Ohio
  12. By-Tor1000RR

    By-Tor1000RR

    Jul 17, 2008
    Stamford, CT

    The 4003 neck pickup has been "temporarily unavailable" for quite some time now. Makes sence that if the 4003 bass is backordered that the pickups would be too.
     
  13. craig.p

    craig.p

    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    > I took a multimeter reading on the pickup and got '0,'
    > while the [bridge] pickup is reading around '11.'

    Wait a minute... that suggests a dead short, if "0" on your meter means zero ohms. I have never seen a pickup dead-shorted. I can't imagine what hellatious event might cause such a situation. What scale were you using on the meter? And were you measuring the pickup out-of-circuit, i.e. its leads unsoldered from the potentiometer, or still in-circuit?

    Curious.
     
  14. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Ohio
    Drop a toaster in the neck position. They're available.
     
  15. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    The meter was showing no load, e.g. the circuit was broken. The coil had broken somewhere that was unidentifiable.

    Here's a pic that Smit's sent to me before they put the protective tape on the outside of the bobin. He used 44 AWG wire, which was used on older Rics (?). The new reading is 9.7k; I hope it matches well with the 11k bridge pickup.

    Looks good, can't wait to hear it. It's in the mail and should arrive to me tomorrow or Monday. :)
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    The newly-wound pickup arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I had it in the 4003 pretty quickly. It sounds great! Though there is a slight difference in output (9.7k vs 11k), I could not hear any volume differences. It works very well with the stock bridge pickup. The only tonal difference that I could find is that is does sound ever-so-slightly deeper and warmer than it did with the original windings. It still sounds like a Ric!
     
  17. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You want the bridge pickup to be wound hotter than the neck, so that's normal. Rickenbacker has used 44 AWG wire pretty much exclusively since the 50's, and maybe longer.
     
  18. Do you knoiw how many turns they used on those old pickups?
     
  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I don't. But you can try using this tool:

    Coil Estimator

    The one that says "rick neck" is really the bridge pickup (I submitted the measurements of the bobbin from my '73 4001), and there are a few toaster variations. You can enter a resistance and it will give you an approximate turn count. You can also change the wire gauge. You can download the HTML file and add your own bobbin types.
     
  20. Damn! Ain't that slick! I'll have to check it with my notes and see how accurate it is.
     

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