Need advice on a Rickenbacker 4001v63 neck setup

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by OnTheDownLow, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. OnTheDownLow

    OnTheDownLow Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2020
    Hey guys,

    I very recently was lucky enough to get my hands on a 1999 Rickenbacker 4001v63 and it is an awesome bass and I love the feel and the tone.

    Here is the issue,
    One of the first things I noticed was that the neck had a slight convex bow which I attributed to not having been setup in awhile, not a big deal since I wanted to get my TI jazz flats put on it and get it set up with those anyways. From about the 3rd to 6th or 7th fret I have some above average fret buzz depending on the way I strike the string then also some when I play high up on the neck past the 12th fret coming from the lower frets. I recently took it in to a local shop to get set up and the tech told me that he loosened the truss rods back as much as he could to reduce the fretbuzz and unfortunately I was rushed due to work and wasn't able to sit down and really dig in at the shop and notice the issue still persisting until I got home yesterday night and honestly, it almost seems like the buzzing got worse than when I first took it to him, especially on the 5th fret. He told me that he would suggest putting at least a .105 gauge set or higher on it to be able to work with the neck to reduce the fretbuzz.

    Here is my question,
    I would really rather not try to hunt for another set of strings that I like with a .105+ gauge because TI flats are my favorite string. I don't mind the action a little on the higher side and apparently he must not have heard me because the action is super low on the neck. (I'd rather have my action a little higher than have fretbuzz)
    Is there anything I can do to correct this problem myself without having to waste another 50-70 dollars on a setup?
    Also, doing some research into truss rods yesterday I seem to get mixed results as to what exactly needs to be done with a convex bowed neck. Do the rods need to be tightened or loosened to help this issue? I'm not saying I don't trust the guy but I believe more modern ricks with the dual truss rods are pretty reliable instruments for any gauge strings and I feel like this should have been a relatively easy fix IMO. I am no tech but something just seems a little off to me personally and I'd like to get a definitive answer. Did he go about "attempting" to set up this bass in the right manner?

    I really like this bass a lot and besides for this issue with the fretbuzz, it's exactly what I'm looking for. I'd like to get this issue resolved so that I can get back to focusing on playing rather than the performance of my instrument. Especially one that I just dropped a decent amount of money on as well. Can anyone give me any advice? Thanks
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    I assume you are referring to back bow when you say convex bow. Have you looked at the truss rod nuts to verify they are fully loosened and there is no tension on the rods? If they are, you might want to remove the nuts from the rods to prevent potential mechanical buzzing from them. It is okay for the rods to not have nuts on them if they are, indeed, fully loosened. How long has it been since the tech did this "setup" for you? (You know, you can save a lot of money by learning to do basic setups, yourself; it's not hard to do and the cost for one setup by your guy will pay for all the tools, and then some, that you would need) Depending on how long the neck has been in this back bow condition it could take some time for the strings (at proper string pitch) to pull the neck back to straight or slightly forward bowed.

    How low do you have the string height at the 20th fret?
  3. If you're finding the action too low why not start by raising it a bit?
  4. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    A classic example of why a double action trussrod is superior to a single action, and why I hope.Ric eventually goes over to the Dark Side of DA rods, like most of the newer brands. If its backbowed with rods loose and under full string tension, heavier string guage may be the only solution, but maybe not permanent. Put some heavier guage on it for a month and see if it improves. Are you sure its backbowed, proved with a straightedge or direct measurement? need is a cheap yardstick or Harbor Freight 24" level and some feeler guages. If you have a fret rocker or even a good straight credit card, check each fret, you might just have a high one. You can even use a utility knife blade for most of it, it just has to span 3 frets. Ric doesnt do a full crown on the frets because they laquer the fingerboard, so you have a lot more flat area on Ric fret tops than most basses, if you have a high or low fret, its going to buzz.
  5. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Have you consulted the forum, with much deeper and wider expertise from those who specialize in Rickenbacker basses?