Bass Bridges and Adjustment Hassles

"I Didn't Know What I Would Find There"
Modified Model 4001 bridge moved 3/32nds
Photo 2001 Mark Arnquist

Bridge Adjustment Issues with the 4000 Series Basses:

The 4000 series basses are a classic in the realm of the world of basses, but one of the quirky features is also one of it's most identifiable ones.

Mark Arnquist - The Rickenbacker Luthier

Modifying Model 4000 Series Bridge - Part 1

While the need to have a Model 4000 Series bass bridge adjusted is instantly recognizable to players, it certainly can be a haunt to the repair bench. Few repairman or road technicians embrace intonating or strobe tuning Rickenbacker basses with this bridge. Most have become accustomed to the "easy to operate" Fullerton brand. As there is no apparent after market product or factory alternative, the following modifications provide a most workable solution. While maintaining the look of the factory original, the following modification has been well received by Rickenbaker bass owners, both amateur and professional.

Here is a step by step description of the procedure. To begin, I take the bridge base off and remove the mute. Next, using a round-end carbide down cutter, I mill the teeth notches deeper on the bridge saddle side of the base. The mill marks are cleaned up with some emory cloth. The saddles are then removed from the bridge chassis. I must remember at this point that I am turning this chassis around when I am done. Next, I mill off 1/3 of the shaft that hangs into the chassis on the E string, plus I use a square jewelers file to square out the corners of the saddle slot to give maximum travel in the housing. This was the old 'G' string saddle slot, and soon becomes the new 'E' saddle slot.

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"Then I Suddenly See You"
Model 4001 bridge with mute notches deepened
Photo 2001 Mark Arnquist

Modifying Model 4000 Series Bridge - Part 2

Many older basses have a travel problem. This modification takes care of the problem more often than not. Then I modify the mute. Bill Meyers did this sometimes in the plant. We would weld/braze on a pair of nuts to the mute plate on the top side and then grind them so the mute could be lowered farther. We found this helpful on basses with low neck angles. These are identified by the notches in the bridge pickup mounting plates. With the base modified and the saddle assembly flipped around and the mute lowered it is then re-assembled and re-installed. It is important to appreciate that from the top it has the appearance of a stock bridge! The benefit it that it is a breeze to get in between the teeth with a long #2 Phillips bit screw driver and adjust the saddles. Finally, the mute can be raised to the standard height. I hope that this suggestion will assist luthiers and experienced players alike who find that adjustments to the standard bridge to be a frustrating task. ~ Mark Arnquist ~

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"Oh You Were Meant To Be Near Me"
Model 4001 bridge with intonation screws facing neck
Photo 2001 Mark Arnquist

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