Ric 4003S first time adjustment

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mo Boogs, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. Mo Boogs

    Mo Boogs

    Mar 26, 2014
    I’ve brought a brand new 4003S this past May. This is my first Ric. New England winter has started to take its toll and I’ve noticed the action increasing a little bit. What’s the best way to adjust action on a Ric? Truss rod first? What’s the specs for string height?

    A coworker and I were talking about action and how season’s affect it. He believes truss rod adjustments are usually the key to fixing it rather than messing with the bridge. I usually had to do both on fenders.
  2. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    I would adjust the bridge height first.

    From personal experience, the trussrods in a Rick have a profound effect on action; more so than that in a Fender neck. I sense that the Rick rods influence the whole neck, rather than the middle portion. I've found that if I change out strings on my 4003 I have to adjust the rods. the neck seems sensitive, but very adjustable. Once you dial it in tot he strings it has been set-and-forget, so far.
  3. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    IF the bass was setup to your satisfaction and was so up until this winter, all you need to adjust are the truss rods to compensate for the environmental changes, no other components should be changed. You will, most likely, need to do so again this coming Spring/Summer as it will begin to move in the opposite direction. All this is pretty standard seasonal adjustments as required for most wood instruments. You probably notice the same sort of thing occurs to windows, doors, casings, etc,, throughout your home with nary a way to compensate those.

    You will be tightening the rods in the Fall/Winter and loosening them in Spring/Summer.
    BrentSimons, bobyoung53 and Waltsdog like this.
  4. Mo Boogs

    Mo Boogs

    Mar 26, 2014
    Yes the action was amazing most of last year. Ok that’s what I’m going to do. Thanks
    CEBill, bobyoung53 and Jeff Scott like this.
  5. farace

    farace Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    What Jeff said. My 2015 4003 neck seems to be stabilizing somewhat, but still demands seasonal adjustment. (My '83 is solid as a rock and never changes, but that's the old-style truss rods.) This year it seemed okay further into the winter and I thought I'd get away without having to tweak it, but no dice.
  6. Relsom


    Nov 23, 2013
    The Old Dominion
    Leave the trc off for a few days until you're sure the rod adjustments are right. No need taking the thing off and on a bunch of times while you dial it in.
    BrentSimons and bobyoung53 like this.
  7. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    I have a 2016 4003S that is just now starting to settle down. For the last couple of years, it seems that I was constantly tweaking the rods thanks to the "pain in the a*@", Ohio temperature swings.

    So far, this winter its been pretty stable.
  8. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    First check the neck relief , that will indicate if the truss rods need to be tweaked . Then bridge height , then intonate . You can check the neck relief by pressing down on the first and last frets at the same time . Check to see if there is a backbow , if so you will need to slightly tighten the truss rods . If the strings are on the frets you need to slightly loosen the rods .
    Mo Boogs likes this.
  9. Mo Boogs

    Mo Boogs

    Mar 26, 2014
    Is the truss have an allen socket on it or does it use a socket wrench like a Gibson?
  10. They way I adjust truss rods in Rics although it doesn't matter as much with 4003's is this:

    Take off the TRC, stand it up on a rug, turn it backwards, put your knee behind the body, put your truss rod nut driver on the truss rod nut, pull back on the neck to relieve string pressure on the neck as you tighten each nut maybe 1/8" turn, wait a day and check it, if it plays good put the cover back on, if not adjust the nuts another 1/8" turn (tighter) etc until the neck is almost flat and it pays well. You may have to do the opposite in the spring. If one side starts to buzz, loosen that nut just a tad bit until it stops.
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  11. This is a 4001.

  12. farace

    farace Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    1/4" nutdriver is the best bet. No need to get anything special, there's nothing magic about the "official" Ric tool, or some overpriced space junk from Stew-Mac. A simple Xcelite or similar nutdriver is all you need
    gelinas666 and bobyoung53 like this.
  13. smtp4me


    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    ^^^ This.
    Once a bass is setup to your preferences, you should not need to adjust the bridge saddle height (action) again unless you specifically want to change it. Truss rod adjustments however are sometimes needed when seasons or weather changes.
    bobyoung53 and Jeff Scott like this.
  14. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    Be careful. Rics can be a little tricky. I have a friend who tried to adjust his 78 and screwed it up so badly that the neck ended up badly warped and the pickups were not working properly. I took it to a local Ric expert for him. The shop spent 3 months heat pressing the neck so they could get the truss rods to work and then rewired the bass. It plays and sounds much better now.
  15. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    He adjusted the rods incorrectly (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he did not know how to properly adjust the old style rods).
    bobyoung53 and Kmonk like this.
  16. smtp4me


    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    Ric 4001s had a different truss rod system. They were not meant to adjust the neck relief, but rather to hold it in place. The body would (typically) be clamped to a flat surface, the neck would be manually straightened by hand, and then the rod nuts would be tightened to hold the relief in place. If one was not careful and applied too much pressure while bending the neck, the fingerboard would sometimes pop off.

    The trick with the modern Ric dual-truss-rod system is to adjust so that relief is the same at both sides of the neck (E and G string). You may have to loosen/tighten the two rods differently to get there, but remember that when you adjust correctly using the string as a straight edge, you should get the same straight edge on both the E and G strings, therefore the same height (even if the rods are not set exactly the same). This should prevent any twisting.
    Kmonk likes this.
  17. Actually no truss rods are supposed to do the work of straightening out the neck by themselves, no matter what kind of bass I adjust I always take the string tension off the neck in some way before I tighten the truss rods (in other words, straighten out the neck), Fenders, Rics, Gibsons etc. You don't need to clamp a Ric 4001 body, I don't know where you got that idea, (it would be a good idea but way overkill), all you have to do (and it is much more important with a 4001) is take the string pressure off the neck as you tighten the truss rod nuts like with any other bass. The fingerboards would pop because the end of the folded over truss rod is right under the nut against the block and it can tip the aluminum block which pushes up on the nut and fingerboard and separates them from the neck proper. It was a strange system but it worked very well if you used proper procedure to tighten the nuts.

    The aluminum block is at the end of the fret board where the truss rod nuts are and the truss rods begin at the block and go down and do a 180 and press up against the other side of the block from the nuts when you tighten the nuts pressure is on both sides of that block. The ends are higher on the block than where the rods go through it so if you put too much pressure the ends of the truss rods tip the block over somewhat.

    Left picture: Block is the painted piece right
    behind the nuts

    Right picture: both ends of the truss rods, threaded part is
    the beginning and goes through the block, the pointed
    ends press against the other side of the block,
    all the pressure is at the block which is right under the nut.

    Ric2-300x225.jpg images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTLqGJfCMA9-K8OVIPIbsFY3A5BAA2kFU6dwKbnL8yOkpW3EbTv.jpg images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTwrdkBdr9V7fZMyOeUbEF70MdvwUiETvloJEhL9vXcB2QerAflkQ.png rickenbacker-20truss-20rod-20operation-png.png
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  18. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    If your Ric is new, you can just adjust the truss rods the same as a Fender. No need to straighten the neck first by hand. I confirmed this with the Rickenbacker Club here when my 2016 Mapleglo came in.
  19. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    Jeff pretty much always knows what he's talking about, so... yeah. I never have to touch either of mine, but that's because here in the Mojave Desert, about the only thing that ever changes climate-wise, is the outside temperature; as for humidity? Hardly ever varies much from either side of "not nearly enough"...
    Set up specs? Ricks don't really have any. Rick literature just says that most Rick players like their necks with little/no relief (and an awful lot of us do) - and leaves it at that. But, you can set yours up however you like..
    Truss rods? Ricks have bog stock single action truss rods; the only difference is that they have 2 of them, and they can be harder to get a wrench on the nuts than most. Once you find a 1/4" nut driver that fits, they're easy to adjust. All the horror stories about destroying the neck are leftovers from the old 4001s. They actually are mostly true - but they don't apply to your bass, 'cause the truss rods are very different on 4003s. Get a nut driver that fits; give them each an equal tweek; and you'll be good - till the next time they need it...:thumbsup:
    fourstringdrums likes this.
  20. smtp4me


    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    Clamping the 4001 body down is just an easy way to make sure both hands are free - not a requirement. It might, for example, allow you to check the relief before/as you tighten the nuts, which requires a free hand; as opposed to guessing on the relief, tightening everything and tuning to pitch, THEN checking relief only to find out it needs additional adjustment.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 19, 2021

Share This Page