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Rickenbacker pick-up cover question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by keylock71, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. OK, I've had a Ric 4003 for about 12 years(bought used). It came with a pickup cover, but that got 86'd on day one as it was right were I usually do all my pluckin'. So I've never played it with the cover. Now that I'm a slightly older, less rash person, I've decided to get another cover and try it out. The nice folks at Rickenbacker should be frantically working on my order as we speak, but before I take her for a test drive, I wanted to get some of the TB folk's opinions.

    What the hell does a pick-up cover do anyway?
    Is a cover going to change my sound drastically?
    Is it a waste of 15 clams?
    Does this question actually belong in the pick-up section?

    Inquiring minds want to know.
  2. I always saw it as a cosmetic thing? I never really saw it have much more function then that?

    I leave mine on all the time...it doesnt get in my way at all as i play pretty close to the neck.
  3. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    It is cosmetic, and nothing more. It's actually plastic, so nothing in the magnetic field is changed. The only way it could change the sound is if it forces you to shift your right hand fingerstyle position (or left if your a lefty.

    I keep the cover on my BG 4001 because it's not in the way for me and it looks sooo good. Whether that's worth $15 to you is your call.

  4. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    It's actually chrome plated plastic and John Hall of RIC claims it adds shielding, but I could never tell any difference. Just cosmetic, and it gets in my way, so it stays off.

    I think RIC is already closed for the holidays, so unless they hired elves as frantic temp workers, you're probably looking at January.
  5. Thanks folks,

    I figured as much. The first day I played it , I thought to myself, "What a stupid place to put a plastic plate (or whatever it's made of), and it promptly was removed and lost. Ah, it's a done deal anyway. Maybe it'll help me reconsider my right hand technique (I use the term loosely) a bit.

    It's seems like a pretty damn stupid thing if it's just cosmetic. You can really get some nice tones plucking right over that bridge pick-up, in my opinion.

    thanks all for clearing that up.:)
  6. Armchair Thief

    Armchair Thief Guest

    Aug 18, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Yeah, it's just a placeholder/holdover from the days the bridge pickup actually had two horseshoe magnets that surrounded the strings. When RIC moved primarily to the under-string "Hi-Gain" pickups, they put that cover on to maintain the look. RIC vintage reissue basses have a reissue horseshoe pickup.

    But if you already know all this... just shoot me or something. :D
  7. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    i have a 1983 4001, bought used, and came withiout the cover... i also always wondered if that was worth or not.. now i know a lil bit more and thank you guys for this.. Another question that comes in my head is: do all the ricks have a notable difference between the neck and bridge pickups output volume? On mine the neck pickup souds almost half than the bridge even if i try to lift it up as much i can. And: also your ricks have the low E (just if you play the low E, i mean not the F and the rest) a little bit weaker than the other notes?
  8. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    sorry, i meant that the bridge pickup sounds half the volume than the neck one...
  9. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    Frigo, back in the old days of the horseshoe bridge and toaster top neck pickups, RIC put an .0047uf cap in line with the bridge pickup volume control, it basically rolled of all the bridge output below about 500hz in an attempt to balance the output of the two. They kept that cap in for years after they switched to the hi-gain (button top) pickups, they didn't drop it until about 1986. Most players removed that cap and replaced it with a bare wire shunt. If yours still has the .0047uf cap in, that's probably the source of your problem.

    Here's the schematic http://www.rickenbacker.com/us/19507.htm , C3 is what I'm talking about, not the regular .047uf tone caps.
  10. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    wow! you're so f***ing right!!!!
    It is probably the solution... Thank you so much, man! can't imagine how great it is to have an answer to this... it was bothering me from like 2 years. You know, when you notice something, you can't stop keeping noticing again and again...
    thank you again!
  11. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    You're welcome. Be sure to let us know if that was the cause.
  12. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    it was the cause, i did it myself last night, and the bass totally changed the sound (in better of course). Now the neck pickup sounds more close to a fender p., the treble pickups sounds like a proper rick, and both together... well, can be similar to a hot road p.bass, but much better, and more ringy.
    thanx again!
  13. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    My current 4003 is my 4th RIC over 26 years. All of my RICs have always had their PU covers removed. The fact is, my right hand generally plays above the treble pickup.

  14. Armchair Thief

    Armchair Thief Guest

    Aug 18, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    I've actually experimented with *adding* one to my '92 4003 to give it more of a retro sound. Which indeed worked (and I do love that vintage Ricky twang), but I've found I prefer the "un-capped" sound. Definitely has more punch in the lower mids and lows, and just seems to sit in the mix a lot nicer, for what I do.
  15. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Has anyone thought of adding a .001 or .002uF cap for a medium between vintage vibe and modern energy?