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New 4003 Maple Glo. I have some of questions.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassic Urges, Dec 30, 2011.


  1. Bassic Urges

    Bassic Urges

    Oct 21, 2011
    I just received my new 4003 Maple Glo. First off, I must say this is the first Ric I have ever owned. I have wanted one for a couple of years, and I finally got this one new from MF for a good price.

    Now for the questions:

    Do 4003's typically leave the factory with the neck set straight? It is my understanding that Ric's should have almost no relief. This one has really high action for what I imagined a a factory fresh Ric would have.

    Is the bridge normally set as low as it will go when shipped from the factory? My bridge seems like it is at as close to the body as it can be.

    I am concerned about having really high action with the bridge set so low. I don't have a thin enough 1/4" truss rod tool to make any adjustments to the neck. I'm hoping that when I get the proper wrench (xcelite L8 or equivalent), I will have a better idea of where I stand as far as action adjustment goes.

    Other observations:

    When using the stock strings, the A string has a really bad vibration rattle when plucked openly. The vibration only happens plucked openly, not when fretted. I thought this might be the saddle, but after further investigation, I believe the problem to be the nut. If I put just a little bit of pressure on the string just behind the nut, the sound doesn't happen.

    I changed the strings to some spare light gauge (.045-.100) D'addario Chromes I had taken off my Stingray a while back. Now, the open A doesn't vibrate, but the open E does and it's definitely coming from the saddle. I am thinking that the break angle of the bridge saddles is too low.

    There is a little bit of tail lift (though this could be due to the contour of the body, not necessarily a bent tail piece).

    The G string bridge saddle groove is not cut in the center the other saddles. In turn, the G string is not perfectly centered over the pole piece on the pickups.

    There is a small amount of pitting on the tailpiece.

    The E string isn't equivalent in volume or presence compared to the other strings.

    I will get around to doing a full setup once I have the right truss rod wrench, but overall I am wondering if I should call Musician's Friend and see about getting an exchange. Having ordered this bass a couple of days before Christmas, I only have a day or two left to send in my warranty card because Rickenbacker only gives you 10 days from the date of purchase to do so. Though many of these problems are minor and could probably be corrected, the tail piece pitting and off center saddle groove are here to stay.

    I am asking those of you who have extensive experience with Ric's if these issues are within the realm of normality for new 4003. I have read through many forum pages here and at Ricksoure and it seems like many people have setup issues with Ric's, but once the issues are resolved the basses are often some of their best players. For those of you who know Rickenbackers really well, would you opt for an exchange if you were in my shoes, or would you fill out the warranty card and deal with Rickenbacker directly? I have had great customer service with MF in the past, but I have read mixed reviews on Rickenbacker customer service.

    I know this was a long winded post, so thanks for those of you who stuck with me.

    (Sorry about the title, it was supposed to say "New 4003 Maple Glo. I have some questions.")
     
  2. Rebmo

    Rebmo

    Aug 19, 2006
    Wisconsin
    I've had 2 Rics, a 79 4001 and a 2009 4003 and neither had any of those issues. Solid setup with plenty of adjustment room to go either way, but neither bass needed any setup work. Neither had the dead E or bridge/nut issues you mention either. However, I worked on a early 2000 4003 and you cannot get the relief flat and the bridge is also bottomed out on the E/A. IMHO I wouild take the 4003 back and ask for a different one. Rickenbacker might tinker with those issues, but I would want a good one to start with. There is variability with all instrument manufacturers and I would look for one without issue to start with especially if you can take it back. I wouild not want to deal with Rickenbacker, let MF do that with your return.
     
  3. A-step-towards will probably comment here and tell you to send it back. From his ads I have seen on the classifieds, he has bought quite a few rics and also sent many of them back...ones that had issues like the tail lift. Sadly ric is not perfect.
     
  4. Panther

    Panther

    Dec 9, 2004
    Nova Scotia
    You're paying good dollar for something that shouldn't be that way...I played a Midnight Blue one last week and it was just an amazing player....so amazing, in fact, I put it on layaway :)
     
  5. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    I had a 4003 from the mid 80s.

    My bridge chrome flaked and pitted within the first few years. Between the often sketchy chrome and tail lift issues, I advise to accept a ric bridge just "is what it is".

    Also, the weak E string presence, that is a somewhat common Ric compaint that comes up now and then. I *believe* the pole pieces are height adjustable now (???), but someone else will have to chime in on that one. Haven't touched a Ric in the last 15 years myself since I sold mine.

    However, the mechanical rattle when strings are plucked acoustically, that WOULD be a deal breaker for me, unless I knew for a fact it was merely a set up issue.

    From what you are describing, yeah, it could be a setup issue, but if not that alone would cause me to send it back to MF and get another one, and repeat this process as often as it takes to get one that is at least mechanically sound.

    You should expect a bass that you can be absolutely proud and confident in. Sounds like this one may not be that bass.

    Good luck.
     
  6. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Your bass seems to have all of the stereotypical RIC issues in one. That's a bit of a bummer. If it were me, I would probably contact MF and about the defects and see if they can replace it. It's common for RICs to have issues, but not all on the same bass. If you decide to keep it, I would give you some advice:

    • You will see some say that RIC relief should be "perfectly flat." Please understand that RIC has not done anything to defeat the physics of a vibrating string, which means that they need a little relief to work properly. Relief about the thickness of a thin pick or a business card should be more than sufficient.
    • If you bridge saddles are bottomed out and you still have high action, they you'll probably need to cut the saddle notches deeper. The RIC bridge should allow for prettly low action if it's not defective.
    • Don't expect the strings to line up perfectly with the pickup pole pieces. RIC considers this a "cosmetic issue".
    • The out of the box setups on RICs leave much to be desired. It's not uncommon to have to do this yourself.
    • Good luck with the truss rod wrench. Many have found that even the specified wrench will not fit without a little encouragement.
     
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Heavily considering a Ric. Plugged in for updates.
     
  8. starmann

    starmann Flats and Fingers Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2011
    US
    For what you probably paid you have WAY better choices in basses.... In my opinion.

    The pitting on the tail piece is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE.

    I had a 4003 and could not wait to get rid of it, which I did.

    And I was one of those who always "wanted" a Ric...Very cool, but for me it did not live up to the hype.

    So, if you are going to keep it, definitely send it back for another.

    Good Luck with whatever you do.
     
  9. Bassic Urges

    Bassic Urges

    Oct 21, 2011
    Thanks everyone for the opinions and comments. I will be giving Musician's Friend a call today. In the past I have had great experience with their customer service when I had issues with a guitar.

    Hopefully the next one they send will look as beautiful as this one and be free of problems.

    I say close the thread unless some of you want me to post pics of the new one when I receive it. Thanks again.
     
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    Rickenbacker 4003 basses usually need to be setup twice a year. If the bass is at a store or warehouse more than 6 months then it will need to be setup when you take it home.

    A setup means 1 adjusting the truss rods, 2 adjusting the bridge height. 3 adjusting the nut height. 4 adjusting the intonation. 5 adjusting the pickup heights. 6 adjusting the pickup pole pieces heights.
     
  11. Not my experience....I have owned two Rics and found both stable once set up properly. Likewise true for all my good instruments.

    Intonation yes...should be checked whenever strings are changed. The rest, no.
     
  12. Bassic Urges

    Bassic Urges

    Oct 21, 2011
    Hi everyone, I tried responding earlier but my post hasn't been approved by a mod yet, so I'm trying again.

    Thanks to all of you for your opinions and input. Ultimately, I called MF, and I now have an exchange coming. I hope the next one is a little better. I can do a setup myself (truss rods, bridge, intonation, etc.), but I just had a feeling that the original bass I received wasn't right. I have had played much cheaper basses that didn't have those problems.

    Again, thanks to all who responded.
     
  13. .
    My old 4001 (ok, so its not a 4003) was set up by a local luthier about 15 years ago and hasn't been adjusted since.

    It plays absolutely beautifully, in fact I don't think I've ever played a bass with a lower action that doesn't rattle. (ie. mine's super-low and the strings don't hit the frets.)

    The only issue I've ever had with it was that the previous owner, for some reason, fitted a Schaller bridge to it. In this form the A string was dead whenever I played with a pick. As a result I finger-plucked exclusively.
    It took me many years to finally get around to sourcing a RIC bridge to try that in desperation. The RIC bridge fixed the dead string issue!

    Maybe I'm lucky, but this old Rick is simply amazing. Its done a hell of a lot of work and stays in tune forever!

    From my experience Rickenbacker get two thumbs up!

    Greg
     
  14. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    Good. These are not cheap basses and no need to put up with that when you can exchange it.
     
  15. @Bassic Urges - Glad you have resolution. I got a 4003 today and I find it faultless. I'm sure you will be very happy with an exchange if it is sans the flaws you had on the first one. Good luck Man.
     
  16. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    This isn't abnormal for a new Rick. It's not a problem; you'll just need to get the nut wrenches out and do a setup.
    I've seen them all over the map, but usually they're set excessively high on the two screws. If it's fully seated, you got lucky ;)
    Perfectly normal with the way they come new. You'll also need a set of nut files since the nut slots are virtually always way too high out of the factory too. My new Rick was the same way.
    Just one of those normal things you have to deal with in a setup. Once you get the nut filed down and take out some of the relief, you should be in the ballpark of being able to get a normal action by adjusting the tailpiece.

    A typical problem. The break angle of the strings at the head is pretty straight. Winding the string downwards on the tuning peg usually takes this out.
    The stock Rick bridge is terrible and now you can see why. Even so, the break angle shouldn't be so shallow that the tail piece is rattling. It ought to be enough to hold it at least semi-firmly against the bridge itself.
    Seems typical. On my Ricks, the grooves have been all over the map. I'm looking at my '00 4003 right now and the _only_ groove that's centered in the saddle is the G ;). The other 3 are off by a good bit.

    Wouldn't worry about it and I'd just play it as-is. That's what I always did - it's just part and parcel of the crappy bridge. It won't make a tremendous amount of difference unless you actually want to change the spacing. Then you're screwed.

    That's bad and not typical. Shouldn't be any pitting.
    Typical and one of the 4003's most famous problems. Good luck trying to fix it (perhaps with the new adjustable pole pieces). It's easier to just use compression to even it out than fiddle with that. You'll go to the rubber room trying to get more volume out of that E string.
    I'd call the pitting on the bridge enough to take it in by itself. The chrome should be pretty much perfect on all the parts including the bridge.

    The rest doesn't sound too atypical to me and I don't see any problems there. Those just look like normal setup issues or things you just have to live with anyway; I've run into those in every Rick I've owned, including my current one-owner....

    LS
     
  17. Yeah, I've been hearing about this pitting issue too many times. That's a damn shame, as people expect better and there's really no reason why Ric can't correct that. The complaints that call for a total re-configuration of the entire design kinda rub me the wrong way, but pitting chrome is a no-no at this price point.

    However, I'd love to get my hands on that bass. I'll bet those other issues could be completely eliminated with a good set-up by someone who understands Rickenbacker basses.
     
  18. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    I love my vintage Ric, but if I paid whatever it is, $1300 for a new one (or is it more like $1700?) I would be super-pissed if it showed up without any apparent QC having been done as it left the factory.

    I just keep seeing these stories and I keep thinking, well I want a new high-quality bass. But I will probably buy that Spector Coda I've been salivating over. Spector's QC and customer service are legendary.

    Rickenbacker -- they seem to be resting on their laurels.
     
  19. Having never bought a bass from MF; I take it they don't have a tech go over a new instrument before shipping it to the customer? As many have mentioned most of these are setup issues which in my opinion should be resolved by the dealer before the bass is shipped. If there are factory type issues those should be worked out a head of time as well. Customer's shouldn't have to deal with these problems at all.
     
  20. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Agreed. Everything stays put except the relief, which varies with temp (and somewhat humidity) on all basses made out of wood including the 4003. The bridge saddle can rock under the strings if it's set too high, but nothing needs to be fiddled with there - just grab it with your fingertips and give it a good yank to mash it back up against the vertical face in front of the mute. Done till it slips again ;)

    LS
     

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