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Rickenbacker 4003: "Flattening Out" the Bridge Pickup Plate

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by brianv, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. brianv


    Dec 31, 2013
    First time posting here, and kind of a unique question I think:

    I just got a used Rickenbacker 4003, and I'd like to be able to rest my thumb on the top edge of the bridge pickup (I'm used to playing a bass that has J-style pickups). The chrome plate that surrounds the pickup is basically a big rectangle that sticks out - it's not flush with the body of the bass:

    I installed a trebel bezel (http://www.pickofthericks.com/products/Treble-Bezel-for-Rickenbacker-4003.html), but I still feel like my right hand is too high above the strings.

    Anyone know of somewhere where you could get a pickup plate that is just flat, flush with the body of the bass, and would leave the edge of the bridge pickup exposed so I could use it as a thumb rest? I'm open to any ideas at this point. I'm to the point of looking into getting a piece of metal custom-machined for this purpose, but want to get some feedback before I go that route!

    P.S. - just to be clear, I'm not talking about the pickup cover that comes with the bass. I removed that already, as most Ric players seem to do!
  2. 254 stringer

    254 stringer

    Apr 15, 2010
    Waco Texas
    What you're describing would probably have to be custom made since the pickup attaches to the chrome surround. This is the only other surround I know of besides the bezel and I don't think it would be much different than the chrome surround. Its from pickguardian.
  3. Since you already have that treble bezel, would you consider adding a shortened thumb rest to that? The idea would be to shorten the thumb rest to fit nicely on the bezel (without protruding over the edge of the bezel), just next to the edge of the pickup opening. It would be only slightly higher up for your thumb than the pickup coil, and more comfortable.
  4. brianv


    Dec 31, 2013
    Actually the bezel has a small ridge built in that acts as a thumb rest - see the "Deluxe" model on the link I posted above. When I use that, my thumb is right about at the same level as the pickup pole pieces. What I want to do is be able to rest my thumb on the *edge* of the pickup that faces up when you're playing the bass. I should have clarified earlier, this is pretty much just for when I'm playing on the low E string.

    It sounds really nitpicky, but I guess that's just the position that feels most comfortable to me. Probably because I've been playing a bass that allows me to do that for the last 10 years!
  5. Yes, I see what you mean about the deluxe bezel. If I had that problem with my bass, I would now see two options.

    First option would be to remove the bezel and anchor my thumb of the edge of the coil as has been standard for most finger players I've seen using Ricks.

    Second option would be to remove (either by sawing or lots of filing) enough material from the plastic bezel to have an opening large enough to comfortably fit my thumb on the edge of the pickup coil.

    The only real problem I have is that for almost 37 years I've been playing my various Rickenbackers with the rear pickup cover on and don't quite know what to do with my hand when playing basses without such a cover.
  6. Rickenbass


    Oct 14, 2013

    You are going to have a slightly raised bezel since the body is not thick enough to house the pup, mounting plate and springs. The rout is pretty deep but not deep enough to do the job you are looking for it to do.

  7. neeko


    Mar 24, 2013
    Rouen, France
    Hi, I used to do put this on my 4001 :
    But I mounted the original PU cover again with a self made kind of trebel-bezel, with the sale piece of perloid pickguard (no pics at the moment)
  8. Calico


    Jul 28, 2011
    What about the cove model of the bezel? It has a recessed/sunken pocket for your thumb as opposed to a raised ridge. I have one on mine and find it extremely comfortable.