4003 Neck With Side Bend

Exceptional restoration is in the details

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4003 Neck With Side Bend

Postby (Relsom) » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:54 am

I've done searches but haven't come up with much so here goes......I have a new to me 2015 4003 that I felt the G string was riding too close to the edge of the fretboard. My first inclination is that the saddle is grooved off center, which it is. Though upon further inspection it also appears that all of the strings are shifted a bit to the treble side. I see a lot of photos that show this same orientation, though I have held a new one at a store recently that the centering was correct.
A straight edge along either side of the neck indicated that there was a slight sideways curvature, concave on the "G" side of the neck. I read on this forum about a similar situation and some steps to correct it. One suggested that one of the rods may have flipped sideways. I don't know about that but I don't think I'm ready to go yanking those things out at this stage of the game.
One suggestion was to relieve all of the tension and allow the neck to rest a bit. In doing so I made this observation. ....after loosening the strings and moving on to the rods I noted that while the treble side rod was providing some assistance to the neck, the bass side rod was just finger tight. I loosened both. The action before starting this was very good, with only a slight bit of relief...about what i would adjust a "normal" Bass to.
Now that the Bass has had a couple of days to set, hanging from one of those hanger type stands, I can say that the neck is straight. My straight edge no longer rocks on the what was the convex, or bass side, of the neck.
I've ordered a new set of saddles since I think they were not grooved properly, and a nut....just in case, that I will have my set up guy work with.
So now I am wondering how should I go about re-applying string and truss rod tension that will give the best shot at getting the action back to good without inducing the side bend again? I know the truss rods are not intended to have a side to side effect.....but hey, this is a Ric. The previous owner had it strung with Sunbeams. I'm thinking of getting a set of the stock Rickenbacker strings to have it set up with.
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Re: 4003 Neck With Side Bend

Postby (cassius987) » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:41 am

I have never heard of side-to-side curvature affecting a setup. While most truss rods would not be well designed to address this problem, it sounds like your approach of treating the neck may be a good one. If there is some way to clamp the neck into the proper resting position before you re-tighten the rods (or if you say it is good now that it is hanging, maybe tighten the rods while it hangs), that may be an insurance policy that they take the correct conformation as they tighten up.

One things to watch out for is that sometimes the truss rods just start sinking into the neck because the wood is too soft. In that case you may have to rig some nylon washers or similar up on the body end of the rods to lock them in place.

Re: strings. Sunbeams are just fine for a Ric. I ran them on my 4003FL for about a year and was pretty happy. (Do not, I repeat, do not ignore the advice to crimp the strings above your cut or they may sound terrible due to wrap-core separation.) The Rickenbacker stock strings are fine too, but in the end, the A and D strings are too skinny for a lot of us.

Now that I think of it, though... this is a 2015 bass. So use your warranty. If the neck is defective, RIC will replace the instrument with a better one. Happened to me once -- I had a 2009 4003 with a very fat neck that did not respond to the truss rods. They replaced it in 2010 with a 2-piece neck version that was, in contrast, a fantastic bass all around.
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