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Calling Rickenbacker Guru's

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Snakeman1066, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    I recently acqired a Mapleglo Rickenbacker 4003 for an insanely cheap price and according to the Serial # decoder on the site it was built in June of 1980

    the idiot that had it before me filed the nut down to accept insanely huge strings (i think he was buying for a 5 string and throwing the G away) anyway....

    the bridge pup works great the neck pup does not work at all....the selector switch seems to be the culprit although the wiring looks to be in great shape....no loose connections no bare spots etc....also the mono plug seems to crackle a bit...again all the wiring seems to be in good shape so it has me scratching my head....

    is it possible for passive pups to go bad? i'm sure its the wiring but i can't seem to track down the cause...

    nobody around here has any experience with Ric's and i'm cautios about leaving it with anyone

    I'm going to try and bypass the selector switch to see if it is the culprit....any other ideas?

    i will post pics when i get the chance possibly later tonight (if i still alive) as the wife doesn't know i have bought it yet :eek:

    EDIT: Quick Pic


    no shots of the inside yet!
  2. First: Congratulations! Great Bass!! I have been playing them for years and have never gotten over the "awe" factor. They're not for everyone, but for those who love 'em...nothing else will do.

    Now...I had a fairly similar experience with a recently acquired 4003. The kid that owned it had insanely HUGE strings on her - the neck was as bowed like a canoe. Fortunately for me, the kid let her go for a steal (The damn thing is no good!). put the correct strings on her - adjusted the rods and have a great bass.

    The nut shouldn't be a big deal. Contact Ric (www.rickenbacker.com) and check with their parts section. Same for the (most likely) bad switch. I don't think that it would be odd for a 1980 model to have a bad switch - easily replaceable, noting that the wiring is still in good shape.

    Next, there is a dedicated site (www.rickresource.com). Those guys can answer ANY question you will EVER have about the Ric. Again, Congratulations!
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Do you have the same problem (neck pickup not working) with both jacks? That sounds like the kind of thing you'd get if you accidentally plugged a mono cable into the Ric-O-Sound jack, so it makes me wonder if they didn't get switched around.

  4. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    the neck pup just does not work period.....when pugged into either jack.....when you switch the selector switch strictly to the neck position it goes totally dead!
  5. CayceG


    Feb 14, 2009
    Cookeville, TN
    My brand new 4003 (2006 model) had the same thing happen with my neck pup... after a lot of use, of course.

    What I found out was that the poles on the selector switch that actually complete the circuits for the pickups were just in need of a cleaning.
    What I did was I took the pickguard off, took a fingernail file (a thin metal one), and ran it between each little contact of the switch for each pickup. Don't file them down--just file it enough to clean the contact up.

    When I finished that and put everything back together, the neck pup worked fine.
  6. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    never thought of that.....I'll give it a try....the switch does seem to have a bit of a (weathered) look or a patina on it or perhaps a bit oxidized thing going on if you will....
  7. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    I agree that it's probably the switch. If cleaning doesn't work, take a close look at how it works - there needs to be a point of metal to metal contact to complete the circuit. While looking at it, flip the switch up and down to see where that contact is made - if the metal prong that makes contact when in the rhythm position is bent, no contact is made. Just rebend it so that it does. This had happened to me a few times.
    This makes a lot more sense when you're looking at it. You'll see what I mean.
  8. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    well i tried cleaning the switch...no luck

    I by-passed the switch still no luck.....I'm at a loss. I did find a guy through my local mom and pop store that has experience with Ric's....(the owner has a Ric and takes it to this guy) so i guess it is off to be repaired as soon as the new Pup cover and pickguard shows up....still don't like the idea of leaving it with anyone...(as i just got it) :bawl:
  9. By-Tor1000RR


    Jul 17, 2008
    Stamford, CT
    The neck pickup on my '87 4003 died on me last year. I metered it and know for a fact that it's dead. I still need to sent it out to be rewound. It's not all that uncommon.
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The reason you got it so cheap is the 1980 to 1985 4003 basses were the first version of the 4003. They don't hold their value as well as the 1986 and later 4003 basses.

    You can get a replacement nut from Rickenbacker. I have a few spares around somewhere. PM me and I will send you a replacement nut for free.

    The ric-o-sound jack and mono jack dual plug ins are prone to malfunctioning. They can be replaced for a few dollars. You can get them from Rickenbacker or a Ric dealer.

    As per the neck pickup not working it could be a dead pickup or a break in the wiring.

    If you live near Denver Colorado then bring the bass by my workshop and we can fix it up.
  11. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    What difference is there between the early models and the later models?
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The first gereration of the 4003 can be easily recognized by the 2 piece pickguard. the truss rods adjust at the body. Starting in 1986 they started making the "modern" 4003 basses. The bass you have is good. but the later ones are better and have better resale value.

    Starting in 1986 they started adding a few improvements to the 4003. Again in 1990, 1997 and 2006. Some prefer the older Rics I like the newer ones.

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