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Rickenbacker 4003 deadspot

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Medford Bassman, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
    So, I was playing my RIC 4003 the other day. Just playing up and down the neck and I discovered there is a dead spot on the G string 7th fret.

    I'm very surprised a neck thru would have a dead spot and a little disappointed.

    Anyone else have a Ric with deadspots?
  2. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    There's absolutely no reason to be surprised. Neck-through doesn't cure dead spots, it just changes the resonance of the bass--for good OR ill. Mostly I think it adds "character", less than actual sustain. That, and allow upper fret access.

    Most Rics I have played have a very weak but detectable-in-isolation dead spot at the note you are talking about. I usually notice it on the D string, not on the G string. I do have a couple Rics that it is really hard to hear on, but if you really, really try you can get a hint of it. I think it's just intrinsic to the design but it has never gotten in my way as a player.

    If it's really bad and you can actually hear it while playing, you may need a truss rod adjustment to tweak it out. That usually works. It won't go away, just diminish.

    Another more drastic fix is to replace the tuners with ultralights. Did this once on a Ric that had a bad dead spot here just to try it and because I could reverse it, and sure enough it was cured completely.
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I have owned a lot of Rics ... I also worked on a lot of Rics ... I never found a dead spot on any of them.

    Cut the nut lower, flatten out the neck, adjust the bridge, and try a fresh set of strings.
  4. +1

    Strings make a huge difference for dead spots. I had a Fender Jazz bass that had the most dead spots I've ever played... Until I changed to a different brand of strings. They all virtually went away.
  5. kombi


    Jan 3, 2011
    How does changing the tuners cure deadspots?
  6. If the new tuners are different in mass than the old tuners, you are changing the mass of the whole neck. This is one of the supposed culprits of dead spots on bass necks.

    Another way to address dead spots is to add mass to the headstock in some other way: weights, clamps, etc. With tuners you have the option of taking away mass (lighter tuners) or adding mass.
  7. A lot of the time dead spots are because of an imbalance (?) in the headstock. There's a known mod to add a weight, kind of like a fishing weight, to a Fender headstock to cure dead spots. Never heard of one for a Ric, until now.

    The way I heard to find the right location is to tape the weight in different spots until the dead spot goes away. You could also use a Fat Finger or something. Then break out the drill or router and attach it permanently to the back side of the headstock. Put the weight in the wrong spot and you make the problem worse. You obviously want to research the procedure a little more than just this post ;)
  8. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I've never had a dead spot on a Ric bass that couldn't be tweaked out with the truss rods. You may need a complete set up, but so long as you get it right, and stick with the same strings, it should stay put indefinately.
  9. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    My '74 has no dead spots.
  10. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Sales Engineer
    There were times I had a bit of a choked off sound from my Ric(s). That told me the neck was out of alignment. I adjusted the rods and put the neck back where it should have been and it started to sing again.
  11. Me neither. Don't hear a lot of dead spot complaints about Rics. Mostly a Fender (or Fender type) issue. A lot of people don't know how to setup a Ric, some complaints are just setup issues.
  12. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    All basses have dead spots. Just depends on how closely you listen and technique/playing style. Some basses are just worse than others and some basses are *very* subtle. Changing tuners can change where the mass is and hence affect the resonance of the neck. That would move and possibly attenuate (but not eliminate) dead spots.
  13. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
  14. kombi


    Jan 3, 2011
    Wow, this sounds like science, hah! :D Thanks! :)
  15. mam1862

    mam1862 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Northfield, Ohio
    I have had my Ric since 1977 and have never had a dead spot on it. Never have even had a problem with it. Great instrument.

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