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Rickenbacker 4003 in low-B (setup & strings question)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by permanent_ice, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. permanent_ice


    Nov 22, 2011
    Moscow, RU
    Guys, seems I need some advice :help:
    I play stoner rock/doom tuned to BEAD. And I use a Rick 4003 (pretty old one from 1984). I own that Rick for about a year and low B was always a problem.
    When I install .120 low B it has good attack, but the string is too sloppy - I always have that crappy 'click' sound from my pups.
    When I install .130 low B the string tension becomes better but the tone leaves much to be desired - I can definitely hear some detune + the overall tone is near dead.
    Overall facts - I did not change/adjust the nut, now it's time to. I know it will provide better tuning, but I'm not sure about the tone improvement. I've also read that tapered strings will work better in my situation, but had never tried them.
    Any other advices in setup and strings? Thanks :bag:
  2. gricko


    Mar 29, 2004
    i'm playing BEAD on a '73 4001.

    just put d'addario 130s and that was it. nut needed no adjustment.
  3. Fuzzbassian


    Jan 12, 2012
  4. ampegfuzz


    Feb 13, 2007
    Davenport, IA
    I have a '78 4001 and I tune CGCF and I use circle k strings. Those guys over there were really helpful when I was trying to find the right string for my Ric. I would shoot them a email. You could also maybe try a heavier set of flat wound string. Something in the .110 gage. I would recommend chrome's or roto flats, roto's being stiffer and brighter of the two IMO. Also maybe look to see who makes light gage 5 sets in the .125 range. Seems like in the middle of .120 and .130 would be a safe bet. Or maybe those DR DDT strings, I haven't tried them but might be worth a look. They have a .125 4 string set. Everything but the circle k's can be found on just strings .com and all reasonably priced. Circle k makes their own custom strings. Good luck!
  5. Niff


    Mar 18, 2007
    New Zealand
    i tune C standard on my '77 4001 with chromes, with ridiculously low action. i have never heard a low C with such balls. occasionally drop it down to A#FA#D# also and have no problems and no lack of balls.

    haha, love how all the stoner/doomers come out of the woodwork in a rickenbacker thread. especially when a portal is opened from our dimension of talkbass.
  6. permanent_ice


    Nov 22, 2011
    Moscow, RU
    Thank you guys for different options on strings! I'll try them. Also I'll bring the bass to the tech just to tune everything in the right way
  7. ampegfuzz


    Feb 13, 2007
    Davenport, IA
  8. Lazarus.Bird

    Lazarus.Bird Mr. Personality

    Aug 16, 2010
  9. permanent_ice


    Nov 22, 2011
    Moscow, RU
    The tech fixed the problems few weeks ago, now it sounds much better! Played it during the tour.
    But the tech said, that the frets are near dead and that they are the main problem - the fat low B string just doesn't have enough space to resonate. He supposed to install new frets, maybe even bigger than the stock ones.
    I have no idea which option is better - to modify it and loose some of it's value (however even now it's not 100% all original), or just sell and buy a newer 4003
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Quite often the Low B problems are setup problems. In other words a bad setup = a bad low B and a good setup = a good low B

    New frets won't ruin the value of your Rick unless they are poorly installed. Also the new Ricks are better than the 80s Ricks.
  11. Really? I love those guys!
  12. Great thread. :bassist:
  13. Calico


    Jul 28, 2011
    What did you end up going with?