Rickenbacker 4003 - pickups buzzing

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ultra60, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Hope somebody can help me with this one. My 4003 is an '06 and I've not played it that much. It has always seemed to have a bit more hum than my other single coil basses. Today I took it over to practice, the hum/buz coming from the bass was insanely loud. Even with both volumes down all the way, the bass was still buzzing.

    My assumption was a ground wire. Got it home and just checked it out. everything seems to be wired fine. Tested with my amp and the usual hum was there. But turned both volumes off, and there is a constant buzz. The loudness of the buzz changes when the bass is turned in certain directions.

    I've certainly seen that when the volumes are full up... but completely off? Let me mention this occurred today at 2 different houses, different amps, and even different cords.

    Any ideas on what it could be and how to eliminate? Thanks.
  2. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    Bad Jack?

    Bad pickup?

    My ricks had a slight hum but nothing that I couldn't live with. Yours sounds a little worse then what mine used to sound like.

    Is your amp grounded?

    Sorry just grasping.
  3. I don't think its a jack or a pickup. hum does not bother me. But, between songs, I have to kill both volume knobs, and the bass continues to buzz, until I make contact with bridge, strings, etc. Does not seem right to me.

    This has happened at 2 different houses, with different amps, and cords used, so I believe power/amps/cords can be ruled out.
  4. Interesting day... played with the wiring, a lot, then ended up removing the ROS jack arrangement, and pulled the shielded cables to a mono 1/4" jack. The Buzz is gone. I put a dummy jack in place of where the ROS jack had been. So now my 4003 is wired mono... I am not sure why Rick continues ROS as a feature.
    D ric likes this.
  5. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    Probably because when it works right (which it clearly sounds like yours wasn't), the sound is completely KILLER! Such a huge sound, and a ton of tonal options. If it didn't mean having to bring two amps to every gig, I would certainly use it all the time.

    Also, glad the buzz on yours is gone. Go and enjoy that bass!
  6. Rickenbass


    Oct 14, 2013
    The buzzing stops when you touch the bridge or the strings? i think you answered you own question. It's a ground issue.

    Your Rickenbacker grounds to the mute pad bar. The tailpiece is then grounded by the mute screws and the mute screw springs. if you have crud built up or weak springs, then your ground may be compromised. I once had a mute screw come loose but it did not fall out, I had a intermittent hum depending how I moved. I found the loose screw by accident. I re-engaged it, snugged it up slightly and the hum went away.

    Check the ground wire where it attaches to the mute pad bar to see if you have corrosion. The wire could be broken inside the insulator as well. Check that with a continuity tested. If that's OK, work backwards.

  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Actually touching the bridge/strings/metal and the buzz going away indicates a shielding issue. If it was a grounding issue the buzx would get louder. Checking the ground wire dtill a good idea though.
  8. Based on the wiring I did, see post above, I would say shielding issue. The issue seems to be the wires between the 2 jacks, since they are not shielded.

    Keep in mind... 2 houses, 2 amps, 2 cords... same results. I figured it had to be the bass.

    Been playing it quite a bit today, and its quiet.... except the normal single coil hum.

    I can live without the ROS option in favor of no buzzing.
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Give it a proper shielding job and your noise will become so quiet you will not notice it. Or leave it as is, it is your bass after all.
  10. Rickenbass


    Oct 14, 2013
    Oh damn, you are 100% correct!! i had it back a$$ ward. I hate it when that happens.