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Rickenbacker 4003 pickup mod

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by myauntdidLSD, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. myauntdidLSD


    Aug 8, 2011
    I have a 4003 rickenbacker that i wanted to add a strat pickup to. I plan on putting it in the bridge mute cavity, and want to control it using a spsf push pull pot. I basicaly want to control the bridge pickup with it mainly, and just want to be able to push in or pull out the switch to turn off or on the strat pickup. This pot has a top row with 3 connects and a bottom with the left and right connects. Could someone point me in the right direction to figure out how to set this up, also could i just resolder the bridge mute ground directly to the bridge? Thanks.
  2. Hi.

    Perhaps it's the language barrier, but with several passes through Your text, I stil can't figure out what you're asking.

    Care to elaborate a bit?

  3. myauntdidLSD


    Aug 8, 2011
    Should I replace the treble tone or treble volume pot? Also, how could i hook it up so when pulled out, both pickups are on, and when it's pushed in just the bridge pickup is on?
  4. For the life of whoever, I just cannot understand why a quality instrument like a Rickenbacker attracts those who wish to tinker with it. These are top quality instruments, designed and built to be played complete. Add a couple of effects pedals and experiment with amplification. Leave the tinkering jobs to cheaper copies and the likes. It is almost sacrilege to tinker with Class instruments.
  5. Well, some people don't see instruments as though they held the secrets of the universe handed down by God herself... but see them as tools.
    Why are you upset somebody else does anything to their bass to make it more useful to them? That is the question!
  6. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area
    I think he's basically trying to talk him out of it. I would also try to talk him out of it. The most likely outcome is that you don't get what you're looking for - and you've completely destroyed both the resale and the enjoyment of the instrument.

    In most situations, I also advise people to sell the bass that isn't giving them what they need - and go out, look and find the bass that does.

    There are exceptions if someone really knows what they're doing. But that doesn't seem to be the case here.
  7. myauntdidLSD


    Aug 8, 2011
    I'm keeping the bass regardless, and if i end up not liking the sound i'll just leave it off. I don't even use the bridge mute. Thanks for the input though.
  8. myauntdidLSD


    Aug 8, 2011
    But from my understanding, it should replace the tone pot, and have a lead coming from where the bridge pickup's hot meets the pot on the first row going to the matching tab on the second row. Hook up the strats hot to the same tab, then ground the remaining tab?
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    As a former Ric player and tinkerer, I think I can shed light on this. The type of players that are attracted to Rics are looking for a different tone. Back in the 70s these basses were the trademark of progressive rock. The reason being is that when strung up with Rotosounds, they had that bright tone that you didn't get with a Fender P bass with flats, which was the most commonly used bass and strings at the time.

    So Ric players were always on the cutting edge so to speak, and along with that went the whole bass modding thing. It was cool to do at the time, and a way to sound different from everyone else. It was a very artistic statement.

    The other thing is they are quirky basses, and are not perfect by any means. This is why you often see the pickups and bridges changed. The newer pickups are wound hotter for more low end, but the old toaster, while it had a cool tone, was a little on the thin side. The bridge pickup with the cap installed was useless on its own. I still have my two '73 Rics, and they have been modded to death. I'm planning on restoring one of them back to stock condition now that they aren't my main basses.

    Regarding this modification, it's been done for the past 40 years, and Bartolini even sells a pickup that goes in the mute compartment.

    I'd use a Strat pickup with a rail, like a Lawrence L250, or even an EMG Select. Some people stick Jazz bass pickups in there. I had an old single coil from a Teisco or something that worked pretty good. I had it wired using the treble pickup tone control as a volume for the mute pickup. I never used the treble pickup's tone control so it didn't matter. There also wasn't any push/pull pots at the time.
  10. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    Oh Arthur, come on, it's just a bass. Whatever quality you want to accord it with, at the end of the day it's just a lump of wood and wires. Whatever level of craftsmanship has been put into it, it's not a holy icon that demands prayerful people show due reverance to it.

    Seems to me in any case that the OP's mods are entirely do-able, and also reversible if he doesn't like it. The Strat pup should fit into the bridge mute space once the bridge mute has been unsoldered, the push pull pot should easily be configurable to switch pups, the internet is littered with diagrams about how to wire up switching options.

    This is all realistic with a bit of soldering, no chopping or modifying anything. If it doesn't suit, solder the original pot back. Unless you're one of those truly anal people who believes that resale value is trashed by a couple of blobs of fresh solder where is the harm?
  11. myauntdidLSD


    Aug 8, 2011
    Yeah, I'd like to add some high gain during solos mainly. And whenever else i would feel like it. And it's pretty reverseable if it doesn't work out.
  12. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area
    Fair. I misunderstood that there's no routing involved. That's always the "s#%t's getting real!" moment for me.
  13. myauntdidLSD


    Aug 8, 2011
    Also I haven't been able to find a diagram to explain this.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I have put a pickup in the mute cavity on a few Rickenbackers.

    First of all the Bartolini mute pickup does not really sound good to my ears and it requires the removal of some wood. I also put a jazz pickup in there. It will fit if you remove the cover and trim the bobbin.

    You can get a little more treble this way but it is not really an improvement to a Rickenbacker. If you want more treble turn the treble up on your amp.

  15. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    From what I recall, Bartolinis were usually wired so the mute compartment pickup ran in series with the neck pickup, giving it an extra it of edge.
  16. myauntdidLSD


    Aug 8, 2011
    Did you hook this up to a push pull? And if so would you fill me in on how to wire It up?
  17. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    have you tried an eq pedal to get the effect you're looking for? might be easier in the long run.
  18. myauntdidLSD


    Aug 8, 2011
    I want to be able to get more signal before i process it.

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