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Rickenbacker Pickup Issue

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Craig82, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Craig82


    Mar 9, 2009
    Hey, I've recently acquired my first Rick. '98 4003. Blue with black hardware and binding!
    I love the tone of each pick individually. But I am very disappointed with the tone of both pickups together. It's a VERY scooped sound, with a significant drop in output. :atoz:

    Is this normal for a Ric ?

    If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated!

  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I've never played a Ric, so I don't know if that's normal or not, but I do know that with two independent volume controls, often you'll get this when both are full on. But if you roll one or the other back just a hair, sometimes the sound suddenly gets much fuller. How much have you fiddled with different volume control settings?
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That doesn't sound normal. I used to play 4001s. I wonder if someone reversed the polarity of one of the pickups? Do you lose low end when they are both on?
  4. Craig82


    Mar 9, 2009
    I don't lose any low end.... It just sounds as if the mid has been scooped and the output is significantly lower. The bass gets completely lost in the mix of a band with both pickups on.
    How can I check to see if the pickup polarity of has been revered?
  5. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Black hardware is less common. 1998 was the last or close to the last year they did that.

    As per the pickups open all dials to 10 and then roll the neck volume off to 7 or 8 ... that will be the best tone for that bass.

    Here's a few Rics with black trim ...

    http://www.3dentourage.com/425/2002 4003 bt.htm
    http://www.3dentourage.com/425/1990 4003s5 mg.htm
    http://www.3dentourage.com/425/1996 4003-5 bt.htm
  6. Craig82


    Mar 9, 2009
    Thanks for the tips! Rolling off the neck pup a little seems to bring the midrange right back to life! Thanks for the pics as well!
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The 2 Rickenbacker 11k ohm pickups when run both full on become like a 5.5 k ohm pickup. But when you roll off the neck volume the impedence goes up and the tone changes.
  8. makaspar

    makaspar Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Austin, TX
    Zombie thread! Sorry, I'm having this issue too.

    I have a 4003S, and when both pickups are past 8 or so, volume drops significantly, and it sounds really nasally - but only in "modern" mode. When I pull the switch to go to "vintage" mode, I have full volume, full sound.

    When 1 pickup is at 10, and the other at 8, full sound. The volume drop can't be normal, it's too much, and leaving 1 at 8 isn't a solution, as that indicates that something is wrong.

    Any ideas on how to fix it? I don't know if it's phasing, as the drop is pretty abrupt, and I've seen something about adding resistors, because of an impedance mismatch.

    Willing to completely re-wire if necessary ;-)
  9. John Swartz

    John Swartz

    Apr 9, 2008
    Engage the "vintage" tone control (pull up on the bridge pickup tone) - at least on mine this works wonders with both pickups engaged.

  10. makaspar

    makaspar Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Austin, TX
    That's what I've been doing :)

    I'd like the modern tone to work as well, though. This can't be normal, can it?
  11. It's pretty common for two single coil pickups to scoop the mids when both pickups are full on. This is a complaint Jazz bass users have.
  12. makaspar

    makaspar Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Austin, TX
    True, and I know about that - but this is different, it loses at least half of the volume as well. I don't have this issue when I have the bass in "vintage" mode...
  13. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    Try reversing the lead of one of the pickups at the harness end. Perhaps, one of the pickups is out of polarity.
  14. makaspar

    makaspar Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Austin, TX
    I'll try that! They appear to be wired correctly, but I don't know about polarity.
  15. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I know my volume drops when both knobs are on full. I find it very useful, especially when you can slightly back off the neck P'up and be way louder in the mix. It's pretty normal to have a large change in volume in such a stiuation. How large is too large? That is the question. I know your ears "Hear" the Mids much more than the Lows.
  16. That's true, mids are more audible to the human ear, which is why us bass players need more watts to get the same amount of perceived volume as the guitar player.
  17. makaspar

    makaspar Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Austin, TX
    All of that being said - when I switch to vintage mode, I get very little drop out at full volume...
  18. Isn't the "vintage" position where it drops in a HPF in the form of a capacitor in series with the output?


    Yes, it is, but only for the bridge pickup.
    I'd like to try and explain why that is stopping the mid-drop, but it's just a hypothesis:
    The timbre changes with that HPF/cap in place & it no longer cancels out what the neck p/u is doing.

    Here is the drawing/schematic for 4003 w/ "vintage" switch:

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  19. makaspar

    makaspar Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Austin, TX
    Yes - that's right...
  20. makaspar

    makaspar Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Austin, TX
    I wonder if something is shorting out on the "modern" mode side of the treble tone pot.

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