HipShot Drop Tuner on a Ric 4003

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mr. Wu, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Mr. Wu

    Mr. Wu

    Feb 25, 2008
    Canton, GA
    Hey Guys,

    I have a 2009 Rickenbacker 4003 and wanted to know if anyone has had any luck installing a HipShot Drop Tuner on one ... The bands I play with use some drop tunings here and there and having the HipShot has always worked out well with transitions, etc.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Mr. Wu

    Mr. Wu

    Feb 25, 2008
    Canton, GA
    Anyone? :)
  3. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    I've been looking into the same thing. From the hipshot website:

    "Which extender key will I need for my Rickenbacker bass ?
    We recommend using the HB6C-3/8. You will most likely look at the HB6C-3/8 and realize that it is does not match up with the original tuning machines. The Rickenbacker headstock is a 2+2 configuration, if you were to install the correct looking tuner (BT1), there would not be enough room for your extender to swing(it will run into the G string tuning machine). The HB6C-3/8 will fit the headstock hole and mounts with one mounting screw. In the future, if you would like to sell your instrument, the existing tuner will cover up the new mounting hole that you have drilled."

    AFAIK Hipshot used to make a BT5 which was an X-Tender Key that was a direct replacement for Rickenbackers but it has been discontinued.
  4. cassius987

    cassius987 Inactive

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Actually they'll still take direct orders for the BT5. The funny thing is my BT5 works better than any review of the Hipshot drop tuner I've ever read... don't need to compensate when tuning up or down, it "just works".


    I measured at one point and on some Rics the E and G tuners are 52-54 mm apart (center ream to center ream) and others are 56+ mm apart. These work if you are in the latter camp. Most recent examples ought to be.
  5. Mr. Wu

    Mr. Wu

    Feb 25, 2008
    Canton, GA
    Thanks so much ... I'm making the call today ...

    Thanks again.
  6. gunkle

    gunkle Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2002
    Dash Lashes likes this.
  7. Mr. Wu

    Mr. Wu

    Feb 25, 2008
    Canton, GA
    Just got my BT5 ... Awesome ... Thanks for the info :)
  8. Mr. Wu

    Mr. Wu

    Feb 25, 2008
    Canton, GA
    Here's a pic ...

    Attached Files:

  9. Did you have to special order this?
    I hope to get my first rickenbacker 4003 in August, and am seriously considering one of these :D
  10. bassmachine2112


    Mar 23, 2008
    I,ve got one on a musicman and a t-bird.
    Great piece of kit and can,t wait to get one for my Rick
  11. RobbieNuke


    Jan 22, 2008
    Wish I knew about the BT5 when I put a Hipshot D-Tuner on my 4001! I installed a HB7 back in the mid 90's, but to get my bass looking uniform I ordered and installed three Gotoh GB7 mini-tuners. I had to enlarge the tuning holes from 3/8" to 1/2" for the ferrules, but the keywind shafts were the same size. The Gotoh's performed better then the original keywinds, so I was very satisfied with the modification. One OEM keywind (anyone knows who made them?) was slightly bent and the nickel plating was coming off of the others, so they were boxed and shelved for awhile.

    Recently, I decided to remove the Hipshot D-Tuner from my 4001 for re-installation on my new Epiphone T-Bird IV. Unfortunately, I traded the original tuners for a 35mm SLR, so I had to find a set of suitable replacements. I didn't think I could go back to stock keywinds since I enlarged the holes, so I opted for the Schaller BM units (found a NOS chrome set for $30 on eBay). However, again I had to enlarge the tuner holes to accommodate the 9/16" shafts (didn't notice this detail)! Then to top it off, the ferrules require another enlargement to install them, but if I do two ferrules will overlap the truss rod cover! What a mess! If I could just find some chrome flat washers to dress-up the headstock face where the shafts through I would be happy!
  12. RJHall


    Dec 25, 2012
    New York City
    Zombie thread, I know... but I need help! I was about to buy a bt5 from a TBer thinking that my bass was surely a shoe-in for the upgrade. I was under the impression newer Rics (mine is 2012) will take the upgrade, but the numbers tell me otherwise. Check out this pic... maybe I'm reading it wrong or measuring from the wrong point?! BTW, the vertical line is actually a biz card I used as a straight-edge.

  13. RJHall


    Dec 25, 2012
    New York City
    Bump... anyone?
  14. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I have a 2010 ric and the BT5 fit perfectly. no new holes for the screws or anything, basically a drop in.

    Good Luck!
  15. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Here are pics as requested. Let me know if you need something else

  16. RJHall


    Dec 25, 2012
    New York City
    Almost forgot to post pics. My new BT5 fits and works like a charm on my 2012 FG... ImageUploadedByTalkBass1364009508.629375.jpg ImageUploadedByTalkBass1364009521.353598.jpg
    Thanks, all!
  17. GG7

    GG7 Guest

    Mar 14, 2013
    Very good! :)
  18. tomersg


    Aug 6, 2007
    can anyone upload pic of the front of the head wit the BT5? is there any differences ?
  19. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I also have a 2009 4003 and I installed one on mine with no trouble. It JUST fit, but it works great for me.
  20. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    This is on my 2010 4003:




    You can't even see the lever from the front, and the post and bushing both look the same.
    Totally stealthy.

    It's the standard build of the BT-5, but you have to contact Hipshot directly and ask them to build you one, since it will only fit the newer enlarged headstock.

    When I got mine, Bill sent me some extra ferrules in case the standard ones didn't work, but it fit no problem first time.

    Great customer service, and it works flawlessly.
    I highly recommend getting one.
    I'd never do drop tuning any other way again.

    I believe you could modify the stock RIC G tuner to retrofit the BT-5 on to older basses, you'd have to shave off a bit of the side facing the E tuner, but not much would be needed.
    That was why they stopped selling the BT-5 originally, it didn't fit older headstocks.
    As you can see, there is about 1/16" space between the BT-5 and the G tuner base plates on the larger headstock.

    I must get a spare and give it a try.