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Ric 4003 NBD Letdown

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Pbass4003, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Pbass4003


    Dec 1, 2012
    Queens, NY
    I was afraid of creating a new thread as I'm worried about inviting the non-owner, anti-Ric trolls in (although the lemon I just received could admittedly fuel a Ric-flame thread for a dozen pages). But... what a letdown. An hour ago I skipped for joy as the Fedex man brought the glorious brown double-box to my office. Giving her a close inspection, it took me all of ten seconds to discover the sloppiest nut work I have ever seen (seriously, my school's CV P bass blows this away). The nut slot is cut WAY too narrow making the nut literally rest on top of the slot and there is a chip in the binding by the nut... please don't tell me this is normal. On top of that, the factory setup was AWEFUL. We're talking neck bow and stupid-high action. I wish this rant was over, but the pickups were wonky too. The bridge p'up was super quiet, while the neck p'up was distorting. At least 75% of this could be resolved by a proper setup, but c'mon, RIC!!! Getting an exchange next week (free shipping both ways). I'll stay optimistic and report back before changing my handle back to ryanfenderbass

    To be clear, I played new and vintage Rics in all colors at 4 different boutique shops on both sides of coast before saving almost a year to finally get this (potentially) awesome bass. They CAN be fine instruments and I'm hoping Zzounds will send me a good one soon. In the meantime, I seeking advice from REAL Ric owners as what to expect out of the box on my NBD do-over next week. Obviously, the nut issue is unacceptable, but what should I REALLY expect regarding fit and finish? I want to get my cost/value/expectations checked correctly while I patiently wait for my exchange.

    Thanks, all!

    Attached Files:

  2. A-Step-Towards

    A-Step-Towards Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Los Angeles California
    There was a big ric blow out in August 2011, i got a ric with a nut like that and it look like a factory repiar on the binding, MF took it back and I got a nicer one in return, it still wasnt perfect but I kept it and eventually made a profit off it.

    My current 2011 mapleglo I got for $1080 from musicianfriend, its nearly flawless in every regard and I have had it a year and never set it up and it plays great, there are more good then bad ones, send it back and try your luck again.

    BTW wildwoodguitars.com sets up each ric and inspects them before they leave, there also $1510 delivered.
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I recently worked on a 2012 4003, and the nut and the setup were not good.

    But dude ... a simple setup and fixing the $5 nut and you have an excellent bass.

    Those are 2 things that are really easy to correct.
  4. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I guess I'd be the "non-Ric owning troll" you speak of... but I bought a Ric once. These types of issues are the reason I sent it back a day later and wrote them off my gas list. Like you said, you'd just expect better quality. If you ask me it brings shame to the "Made in USA" tag that generally means its a notch better than the Asian/Mexican counterparts.

    My condolences though, hope the replacement works out!
  5. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    sorry your not having a good experience with your Ric. if zzounds will take it back, get one from pick-of-the ricks. they check 'em out throughly and will set it up before shipping.
  6. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Agree. Yeah, the chips in the binding make it a "used" instrument, but you'll always have to do a setup on a new one. The nut slots are normally a mile high as is the action, the relief will never be setup where you want it unless by sheer accident.

    I think you were right to send it back because of the binding, but be prepared for its replacement to also need the nut slots cut, the action a mile high and the relief probably like a ski jump.

    Those are normal and can be corrected in setup.

    The appearance of the nut looks fine to me, looks just like my 4003 which I bought new in 2000....

  7. Pbass4003


    Dec 1, 2012
    Queens, NY
    Ric5 - thanks again for showing up in both my recent threads. I plan on getting a setup no matter what, but it's a combo of the chipped binding and having my hopes squashed that convinced me to try an exchange. Just expected more out of the box—more along the lines of A-S-T's second bass.

    Thanks again.
  8. greggster59


    Oct 31, 2006
    New Jersey

    Same thing happened to me last year. I thought it just had a bad setup but my local tech pointed out that it was a warped neck and would always be problematic even if he could adjust it so it went back the same day.

    This year, after a long talk with Chris at Pick of the Ricks, I ordered it and the bass arrived in even better shape than I anticipated. Get your money back and give Chris a call. He will do the right thing and the bass you get will be a good one.

    (Check your PM for additional details)
  9. Of the hundreds of basses I have purchased over the years, the most common imperfection is at the nut area. I'm talking basses from all price points, dozens of brands. I don't quite understand it, and I don't think it's okay, but I have gotten used to it. If it affects the binding, that is a shame, but the most common nut problem I see is the slots are not filed correctly. It seems most manufacturers leave them conservatively shallow and leave it to the buyer to deal with. I guess that's better than cutting them too deep. I bought a set of nut files and learned how to file nuts to my high standards.

    Yes, that set up is not good. Of course, it can probably be set up well and perhaps even be one hell of a player. Again, having seen this on dozens of basses over the years, I've learned to do the set up instead of sending back what might be an incredible player after a good set up.

    Your choice, this is why 30-day return policies exist. Like someone said, some on-line retailers will do an inspection and set up before shipping, but some of the big box warehouse pull-and-ship retailers will do just that, and it's a bit of a crap shoot.
  10. Lazarus.Bird

    Lazarus.Bird Mr. Personality

    Aug 16, 2010
    Depending on where the bass is shipped from, especially in colder months, just about any bass (regardless of cost or quality) is going to need setup adjustments after being shipped.

    But the cosmetic and functional issues I wouldn't tolerate on a brand new retail bass, and would ask for a brand new one until I got a brand new one. I don't buy new guitars, so that stuff doesn't bother me. But if I was paying retail, it probably would.
  11. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I don't think they come setup with low action from the factory my buddy had similar issues with his and a setup took care of it but with Rics it should be someone who knows how to handle them I wouldn't trust anyone who hadn't worked on one before here is a good resource http://www.joeysbassnotes.com/ and sorry about that other stuff that is totally unacceptable for any bass.
  12. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    I've been accused before of being a Ric troll which I am not. From one bassist to another I'm sorry this happened and I hope that the next one you get will be acceptable.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I missed the chipped binding part ... for that send it back ... But most Rics come from the factory with the nut high and the setup high. Both are easy to correct.
  14. Pbass4003


    Dec 1, 2012
    Queens, NY
    Perhaps I got too caught up with the setup issues. Like I said, I will be getting a proper set up regardless (she'll be getting strung with TI flats). However, I still feel like the sloppy nut and binding is a good enough reason to send it back considering the free return shipping. Plus, I live in NY and it's only shipping from Jersey. Thanks for the Wildwood referral, A-S-T... they quoted me $1499 shipped, that beat Zzounds by $100. If Zzounds can't beat that price (I paid $1600), I am getting a refund and taking the Wildwood suggestion.


    edit: I know about Pick of the Rics, but they don't have any MG's in stock, they also charge for shipping.
  15. Just curious... how was your RIC packed when you got it?
    Was it double boxed, with the RIC factory box inside another box?
    I ask because of my experience getting a RIC online, sight unseen. The first one they shipped me was obviously a return as it was single boxed, not even a RIC box.
    After I returned it for various reasons, they sent me a "new" one as it was double boxed, with the RIC box un-opened.

    Perhaps yours was a return and they thought they'd send it to you in hopes you might keep it?

    The nut on my 2011 looks exactly like yours, without the binding issue.
  16. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Key West, FL
    What you expect and what you get are often different things with Ric's. The nut thing was a common problem with all 4 Ric's I've owned.
  17. I hate waiting for something cool and it turns out bad! Darned annoying. I recently bought a new Fender Jazz Bass from a brick and morter store which had a bad setup. I could tell from looking at it I could get it up to speed. It was about 30 minutes of work and it plays amazing now. But I also knew I could bring it back if it didn't work out.

    From what I've read at the Ric forum, John Hall said the nuts are shipped high on purpose. A full setup would include nut height. True or not? I dunno, just what I read.

    The chipped binding is unacceptable for a brand new instrument. You did the right thing in sending it back.

    I hope everything turns out OK :)
  18. Pbass4003


    Dec 1, 2012
    Queens, NY
    Thanks all... this is great help. looks likes Zzounds will also be price-matching Wildwood's quote (part lowest price guarantee, part CS). So, I'll get bridge-n-tunnel turnaround and enough money back to pay for a good setup. Things are looking up...
  19. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Okay, while string slots in the nut are one thing, I think everyone is missing the fact the the nut cavity in the wood is cut to narrow, and the nut is too big to fit said cavity.
    That is unacceptable.
  20. That's good news. I was really sorry to hear about your problem regardless of outcome. A lousy set up is one thing but the rest of the issues are just unacceptable.