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Rickenbacker 4003 pickup cover

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dustinfennessey, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. dustinfennessey


    Sep 29, 2011
    Hey guys,
    Just got a Rickenbacer 4003 and its gorgeous, sounds great, and I love the sound. Being brand new to Rics I just have a question regarding he pickup cover. I play finger style and it hasn't gotten in the way yet, but you never know if I'll want to remove it someday.

    My question is does the pickup cover actually serve a purpose other than look it looks cool?

  2. GinoBass


    May 2, 2006
    that's it.
  3. dustinfennessey


    Sep 29, 2011
    thanks man!
  4. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    +1 Looks Cool......congrats on your new Ric...........:cool:
  5. dustinfennessey


    Sep 29, 2011
    dude this bass is amazing in looks and sound...first wood neck in the last 10 years (used modulus exclusively)...this might convert me!
  6. miholc


    Aug 17, 2009
    As stated already, it's there for looks only. But, I have found that sweet spot just right underneath of it :)
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The origin of the Rickenbacker pickup cover goes back to the horseshoe pickup.



    The horseshoe pickup was the first electric pickup for an electric guitar or electric bass. This pickup was invented in the 1930s. Late 1968 Rickenbacker upgraded the 4001 basses with a high gain pickup. The old horseshoe pickups were weak and prone to degaussing because it had magnetized steel shoes. Steel does not make a good magnet. The carbon content is too high. So the high gain pickup got a cover that resembled the shoes of the horseshoe pickup.

    Most players remove the cover. A few players use it as a hand rest.
  8. Greg Jones

    Greg Jones

    Dec 1, 2005
    Thornton, CO
    How can I remove the treble pickup cover from my 4003?
    It is possible to remove the treble pickup cover without too much trouble.

    You will first need to remove the strings from your instrument. Next you can unscrew the four mounting screws that hold the pickup in place. You will then be able to pull the entire assembly out of its cavity.

    You may wish to note at this time how the parts are arranged so that you will be able to put them back together with a minimal amount of trouble. Unscrew and remove the two height adjustment screws (the springs may spring loose, so make sure you don't lose track of them), take out the cover, and reassemble the pickup.

    After removing the cover, you may notice some additional hum, as the cover does provide extra shielding.

    Taken from: http://www.rickenbacker.com/faq_item.asp?faq_id=11

    So per the factory, it would appear it is not in fact 'just for looks'. Everyone talks about the fact that it is plastic. It is, but it is also copper/chrome plated so it is conductive and thus can in fact function as a shield.

    Just sayin'.


  9. Huh? ALL the pickup covers on my Rics have been nothing more than plastic - I have removed them all and had no hum whatsoever.

    Removing the pickup cover is no big deal, but it is a little involved. For the life of me I can't remember the guy's name, but he has a series of YouTube videos that will walk you step by step in taking it off.

    Then - I would highly recommend the pick guardian cover :


    or any of the other "treble bezel" covers:


    Congratulations on your Ric!!!
  10. Greg Jones

    Greg Jones

    Dec 1, 2005
    Thornton, CO

    Yeah, I'm not arguing the ease of removing the cover. It's silly easy.

    The first part of my last post was taken directly from the Rickenbacker website, so if they say you may experience more hum, than I would say you may. :)

    I know most that remove do not experience noise. I've read of one owner that did, but was able to fix it.

    My main point is this bogus point that it is for looks only. The factory deems it a shield.

    My 2011 4003 that I just got last week is plastic coated with chrome. Per the factory there is a layer of copper under the chrome. <shrug> Ohm it out. Put an ohm meter between the cover and the pup surround. I bet it shows ZERO ohms.

    Actually don't, yours is removed so you can't do that. :)
  11. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    John Hall claims they shield the pickups from hum because they are coated with something. Of course that's complete BS.

    To remove them is easy. These covers can be gently squeezed together and taken out of the hole. Putting them back on is a bit harder, but why would you put them back on?
  12. Greg Jones

    Greg Jones

    Dec 1, 2005
    Thornton, CO
    Gently squeezed? I must be thinking about a different cover.

  13. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    You must be thinking of the fake Horseshoe covers. The one on the Hi-Gain bridge pup will come off by squeezing it together.

    Neither of these covers affects hum at all. Vintage Horseshoe covers are a different story.
  14. Yep! I had left the cover on my 4003 back in the 80s for years and years. I got rid of my Rics for about 5 years and then started buying again and this time began removing the cover.

    Hell, I can't say with any certainty that it actually makes playing that much easier (for me), but it helps a little.

  15. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Mile High Bassist Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    While you are removing the pup cover, it would be a good time to install a pup bezel to hide the ugly hole. It also helps protect the pup & keeps your thumb out of there as well.

  16. arsie


    Jan 19, 2011
    Definitely try removing the covers and playing over the pickup. I was really unsatisfied with my Ric tone until I did that. Maybe you'll find a tone you like too. I've been lazy and haven't gotten a bezel though. I wish they made them in chrome.
  17. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    How do you get these off without removing the pickup height adjustment screws that go through holes on either side of the cover? :eyebrow: Did you forget part of your instructions? :D
  18. That looks so much better than the pickguardian one, which I think looks hideous.

    My cover lasted a total of 15 minutes on my bass.
  19. Kopfjaeger

    Kopfjaeger Guest

    Jun 3, 2011
    Yeah, I'm a huge fan of the Tube Ampology bezels sold on PotR. I have one one all but one of my Rickenbackers. The last one has an original horseshoe pup so no need for the bezel there!

    Dustin, your new 4003, does it have the hex socket pole pieces in both pups? if so. BONUS!!! All the pole pieces are adjustable to dial in each string separately as needed!!

    I love my Rickenbackers!! :hyper:

  20. Greg Jones

    Greg Jones

    Dec 1, 2005
    Thornton, CO
    I just got my 2011 (July) 4003 last Wednesday. It has the hex socket pole pieces on both pups!

    BTW, I saw your youtube vid where you compared the 4003/4004. Good stuff! :cool:

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