Rickenbacker 4003 and TI flats: impossible to intonate?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by KoalaBass, Nov 14, 2020.


  1. KoalaBass

    KoalaBass

    Aug 12, 2011
    Hi, I decided to try TIs on my rick since I like those and it seems to be a very popular combo but they won't intonate properly, mostly the A string. The intonation saddle is as close as it can get to the mutes but the note at the 12th fret is still flat. Same issue with the E string but not as pronounced. (Had it set up by a luthier btw).
    Did anyone have the same problem?
    Might be a bad set of strings... or more of a structural problem?
    I put back a set of D'addario nylon tapewounds which intonate fine without having to adjust anything (except slightly lowering the action). Might try the 40-95 chromes set at some point but I'm staying with the nylons for now because I can't afford another ri$ky pricy set up these days.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. redstrand

    redstrand Supporting Member

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    TI flats on my 4003W intonate just fine
     
    jbhaugh, Loring and Jeff Scott like this.
  3. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Never a problem here. The saddles usually barely need to move as compared to OEM RIC strings.
     
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  4. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    So this Luthier gave it back to you with bad intonation?
     
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  5. KoalaBass

    KoalaBass

    Aug 12, 2011
    yes, he told me he did what he could with it and that there wasnt any room left for the saddle. I also tried myself afterwards and couldn’t do better. Maybe I have a defective bridge?
     
  6. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    There are a couple different ways to get more travel in the saddle, if necessary.
     
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  7. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    You can flip the Saddles around 180 degrees and get more adjustment(At least on Older RIC Bridges).
    Edit: sorry for delayed reply, I'm hanging a storm door.
     
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  8. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    Failing that, some minor surgery on the shafts of the saddles can allow for a greater range of travel, done easily with a small file.
     
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  9. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    Intriguing issue. The usual problem is having insufficient travel to correct sharp intonation on the e string. @FunkHead and @Jeff Scott have given excellent advice. If that fails, perhaps a Hipshot tailpiece is required.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
    nixdad, woodyng2 and FunkHead like this.
  10. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    TI flats should intonate perfectly on a Rick 4003 without any problems. Unless someone has moved the entire bridge there must be a problem with the strings.

    Are you aware that these are round core strings and need to be bent/crimped before cutting? Failing to do so can cause the windings to come loose, sometimes just very slighty and not really noticable except for all the problems it can cause such as problems with intonation or weird metallic sounding overtones. I've also experienced this when removing TI flats from the bass and re-installing them. TI flats are amazing sounding strings (my personal favourites) but they need to be handled carefully or they can most definitely go bad.

    The bridges on Ricks are very poorly designed but I don't think the bridge can be blamed this time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
  11. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    TI 4001.jpg Exhibit A - a '74 4001 with TI flats - note how staggered the saddles are for the "e" and "a" strings to achieve correct intonation. BTW apologies - having weird issues with attaching pics....
     

    Attached Files:

    woodyng2 likes this.
  12. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    Now, I have to go look at my 4004L and fretless Martin Keith Elfin 5 that have TI JFs on them!
     
  13. Loring

    Loring Supporting Member

    May 4, 2017
    Ontario
    maybe your action is whacked - if different strings have largely different string heights, it may add more tension when you fret - I have found the TI flats way more even for intonation than a number of other strings I've used (boomers round and hex core, dr pure blues, dean Markley's, La Bella black nylon and daddario flats) not on rick's mind you but end of the day - its just tension, mass and distance.
     
  14. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
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  15. Loring

    Loring Supporting Member

    May 4, 2017
    Ontario
    They sound nothing alike...
     
    mcnach likes this.
  16. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    The strings shouldn't cause this.
     
    Loring likes this.
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    ya the lame bridge / saddle / tailpiece design has limitations ... lots of limitations ... but the fix is simple ... take the assembly apart and grind off some metal with a dremel tool to allow a greater travel distance. I have done this mod for dozens of Ric basses ... mostly 5 string basses to get the B saddle back far enough to not be sharp.

    or better yet try flattening out the neck a little more and that might fix it.

    Also make sure the bridge is not tilted when it sits in the tailpiece.

    The best solution is replace the bridge with a better design
     
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  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    your luthier is probably just a bass tech and may not know how to setup Ricks
     
    Loring likes this.
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    I had to do this with my 1968 4001 to get it to intonate

    I flipped the D and G saddles




    Rimg1302.jpg
     
    Skillet likes this.
  20. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I disclose nothing
    Here's one where I modified the B saddle to travel farther
    Picture 035.jpg
     
  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.

     
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