Rick 4003 pickup bezel is VERY microphonic

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by morgan138, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. morgan138


    Dec 10, 2007
    I have a Rickenbacker 4003 (1997 I believe) that I love but that's very microphonic on both pickups. I can't tell if it's gotten worse since I bought the bass a year or so ago, or it's just that I'm past the honeymoon phase, or what. I've done a little troubleshooting and so far...
    • Both pickups are microphonic when I tap on them, and squeal if I get too close to a loud/dirty amp
    • The bridge pickup bezel (the standard chrome-looking plastic one everyone uses) was very microphonic, louder and higher pitched than even tapping the bridge pickup itself
    • The pickguard, knobs, bridge, bridge pickup housing, and control cavity aren't particularly microphonic
    So I think I've eliminated wiring and caps as possible problems, but I'm stumped about the bezel. Stuffing foam under it didn't help, taking out the springs didn't help, putting rubber washers between it and the pickup housing didn't help. Finally I just took it out altogether, and I guess I can get used to avoiding the sharp corners around the pickup.

    But I'm stumped as to how a plastic part that isn't even touching the pickup could be causing so much trouble. Are the plain black bezels made of a different material that doesn't do this?

    Aside from that, I guess I'll have to decide if I can live with the bezel-less level of noise or if I need to look into potting or even replacing the pickups. Anyone have tips for potting Rick pickups (I have potted guitar humbuckers before, but they're more self-enclosed)?
  2. morgan138


    Dec 10, 2007
    P.S. I'm already using flats, I like the stock pickguard too much to get a tort one, I already have a Precision as well, and I'm not going to turn down. All bases covered!
    byoung93888 likes this.
  3. Qlanq


    Jul 9, 2007
    You can get retro-fit bezels to replace the Rick ones.
    Retrovibe Bass Parts Department
    This guy usually has some bits.
    Contact him to ask when he is getting the bass pup Bezel back in stock.
  4. morgan138


    Dec 10, 2007
    I've seen those replacements, but I don't think I'm ready to make that drastic a change. If I start making this 4003 more practical, next thing you know I'll be replacing the bridge and tailpiece and who knows what else!
  5. JimmyN2


    Dec 14, 2011
    I didn’t know I had a microphonic pickup until I heard slight feedback when playing a jazz gig in a Quartet. I had a chat with the guitar tech I always go to and he explained it all to me. It definitely needed wax potting as the windings are loose. It has got worse so I’ve now booked it in. It was useful yesterday at a rehearsal though, I was able to give my mates the sound from an old YouTube video by holding the iPhone speakers close to the bridge pickup !! I use flats.
  6. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    I think you're referring to the bridge pickup cover. Rick pickup bezels - if you mean the metal chrome surround plate - aren't microphonic in and of themselves. Yes, Rick pickups can be that way - with or without the bridge pickup cover - both because they're single coils (and single coils like to do that), and because Rick refuses to install them +..-, -..+. Which would eliminate a lot of that, and, in fact, is a very common modification. Rick also refuses to put any shielding in them, either - which would also be a big help. And is also a pretty common mod... You could take the cover off - lots of people do - but, that won't help your problem, I'm afraid. Might make it easier to play, though...:cool:
  7. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Is the grounding wire from the bridge pickup connected to the pickup mounting ring?

    What may have happened, is that when the bezel was installed, the grounding wire was installed below the cover/bezel, and therefore not making contact with the metalwork. It's worthwhile checking anyway.
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