Rickenbacker : Installing a Hipshot bridge

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Panda Licker, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. After a few weeks of having intonation problems, I finally broke down and ordered a new Hipshot bridge

    I'm trying to get as much info as I can on the installation process before I get it in, so I can just open the box and have my bass playable as quickly as possible.


    The bridge is a direct drop in replacement, right? Unscrew the old bridge and put in the new ones with the same screws

    but then I've also read that there is a ground wire soldered onto the original bridge. Am I going to need to solder this back on to the Hipshot? Or can I just cut it off the ric bridge as close to the bridge as possible, and then just pinch it between the body and the bridge?

    I know for a fact that Chronicle has one of these on his Ric, and I'm sure a few other users do. I should be getting this on Monday, so any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. willsellout

    willsellout I apologize in advance. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Best case scenario is that you solder it onto the bridge..but I've had plenty of basses where the ground was pinched between the bridge and the body with no problems. It is a direct replacement; once you unscrew it it will slide off from what I hear..it isn't offset into the body. I could be wrong on that, but the bridge is a direct replacement.

  3. Fontaine


    Apr 27, 2006
    id go for the pinch...see if that works, if it doesnt you can always just go back and try sodering it?
  4. Bump!
  5. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I didn't solder the bridge, just pinched it in there. Works great, no problems. I recall replacing a Fender Jazz bridge years ago and found that Fender had just pinched the wire, no solder there.
  6. DanJ


    Mar 3, 2008
    Here's another question about the Hipshot bridge:

    Does the Hipshot allow for lower string action than a stock Ric bridge? I have a Ric copy bass that I can't get the action low enough on. I've set the neck dead straight and took the stock bridge as low as it will go and the action is still a bit high - I've even slotted the saddles slightly deeper but it's not enough. I need about an extra 1/16th of an inch to get the action right.

    JEDI BASS Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    I bought a '76 Rick "project" off ebay once. It had a pencil for the saddles and screws thru the fretboard.... all evidence of what some luthiers call "banana-ing". It's when a Rick's (or copy) neck curls from nut to bridge. You can't get the saddles low enough (thus the pencil), intonation is impossible (warpage), and sometimes the fretboard starts to separate. You can straighten the neck (via truss rods) all you want and lower the saddles all the way. But, if the neck has curled up (headstock toward the bridge) there's nothing you can do for it. A luthier with a long enough neck heater can try to straighten it. I did all I could for the Rick: had the fretboard reglued and holes filled, replaced the missing bridge parts. I was still able to sell it for a good profit, even with full disclosure. Someone in CA felt they could fix it, I assume.

    As for the bridge, do what I did. I wrapped foil around the solder joint on the string mute plate, stuffed the mutes/plate down into the body recess, left some foil hanging out between where the Hipshot bridge would sit and the body, screwed the new bridge in place. It's grounded perfectly, and can be returned to stock in 5 minutes w/ all solder joints intact, and the mutes are tucked away nicely so I can't ever misplace them HEHE. :)

    JEDI BASS Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    Oh, also.... lay your Rick copy on it's back on a good flat surface. You'll be able to judge if their is neck lift-off. I have to lay my Rick with the headstock hanging over the table-top to keep the tuners from banging, and the very tip looks like it is fairly even with the table-top.

    Hope you don't have a "banana" on your hands.
  9. I have done this recently.
    I found the earth wire was soldered to a washer, so was easy to sandwich between the bridge and the body.
    I also placed some extra washers under the bridge via the screws closest to the neck as there is a gap between the bridge and timber.
    Just makes it more solid and I think, more sustain.
    Now that I have installed this hipshot, I will never go back.
    It is solid and plenty adjustable.
    My Bass had great sustain but now, WOW.;)
  10. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    (Reviving this older thread...)

    Today I installed a Hipshot (an aluminum one) on my own Rick. I'm never ever going back to the stock one! Having been very accustomed to the sound of the bass with the stock bridge (I've had this bass since 1992), I immediately noticed that there was more punch, articulation, and highs present in the tone... almost as if the stock bridge was choking the sound a bit. The classic Rick tone is still there, just more responsive. Plus it's much easier to adjust, and to palm mute. In short, it does everything I was hoping it would do from a playing and tonal standpoint.

    When I ordered it from Hipshot a few weeks ago, they were on backorder, but it was well worth the wait.
  11. Hemitom


    Oct 12, 2005
    Long shot here but on a few "Copies" I've owned the neck blank had started to seperate fron the body wings.The cracks were almost impossible to see.As you tune it up the neck was curling up towards the bridge causing hi action no matter what you did with the bridge!.:eyebrow:
  12. rokkitt


    Jun 7, 2007
    bronx, nyc
    I didnt know the hipshot was an aluminum bridge......

    are they all like that< or is that a special option.

    I gotta do this to my ric as well......

    good to hear it is an improvement!


    JEDI BASS Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    I believe you can get a chromed BRASS bridge, which would be much heavier and likely have an effect (opinions will vary) on the overall sound.
  14. antonspon


    Mar 27, 2013
    I just got the brass one for mine (the original bridge's tail-lift is getting worse month-by-month) - haven't fitted it yet, so can't comment on the sound, but it sure is heavy!
    Gizmot likes this.