I have a 1979 Rickenbacker Bass model 4001 in my shop at the moment for a setup. Among other things the trussrod needs adjustment, and that's where the problems start: Rickys are rare in Germany, and although I knew from heresay and books that they have a double trussrod, I've never actually had a real one in my greasy fingers up until now :-) , and I'm not sure how to procede.
The first problem is: how do you adjust the two trussrods? how do they actually work in relation to one another? The second problem is the space (or lack thereof) to get some kind of socket onto the adjusting nuts: they sit directly on the wood in the trussrod cavity with no room at all underneath them. Can I risk using an openend wrench, and risk rounding the nuts off, or should I take some wood away to make more room, so I can use a socket? I'd be more comfortable leaving the wood in the neck cavity whole, there must be a better way. But which? Anybody out there with Ricky experience that could help out?
Just goes to show you can never know everything.....Still learning after 56 years :-)


Views: 1204

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Good info here including the requirement of a deep well, thin walled 1/4" socket.

Also, for your convenience, the factory manual (hope it loads):

Best of luck with this.
Many thanks to all you guys for the excellent advice, especially Paul and Russell for the docs. Especially the bit in the manual where they state:
"On instruments produced before September 1, 1984, first loosen the truss rod nuts, then move the neck manually to the desired position and snug the rod up to hold that position. Do not rely on the rod itself to provide the bowing force." (My italics)
Alone this knowledge has almost certainly helped me to avoid a lot of trouble. The "crack" of a shearing trussrod is one of the sounds I have nightmares about :-)
The next problem has already reared it's ugly head: It turns out that it really needs new tuners, and I've been trying to source Rickenbacker parts in Germany, without any success up to now. After surfing around all over the place, I rather have the impression that Rickenbacker resent having to supply spare parts at all, judging by how difficult it seems to to obtain anything.
I'm hoping that vintage-style Schallers will fit, the owner is adamant that it has to be kept original, so no cheating with filling the old screw holes and fitting tuners with a different screw pattern. I've already prepared him for the worst-case scenario: Order them in the US+shipping+3.2% customs duty+19% sales tax. The owner is of course delighted, a month ago he paid €2300 for his "dream guitar" :-) Oh, how I love this job :-)

From the Ric manual:

"On instruments produced before September 1, 1984, first loosen the truss rod nuts, then move the neck manually to the desired position and snug the rod up to hold that position. Do not rely on the rod itself to provide the bowing force. This advice actually applies to all guitar truss rod systems. Adjustments other than these can seriously damage your instrument."

There is some pertinent info in Stewmac's "Trade Secrets, V 2", pp-26-27.

These are a pain sometimes. Check to make sure that the fingerboard is not separating from the neck under the nut from an earlier poor adjustment attempt. I put a clamp on the neck during adjustment to hold that seam for insurance. The threaded ends of the rods are also easily bent downward.
I cut this from the web - hope it comes across the link OK - mate, "Rickenbacker" and "good engineering" are not words I'd expect to find in the same sentence!
Thanks for the first good laugh of the day!

"Rickenbacker", and, "drive me to drink"...

When I was a kid in St. Louis, we all thought Rickenbackers were British! Imagine our surprise...they were,and are, just the coolest damn lookin' guitars!
Does LMII or Stew Mac have "thick socks"? Maybe with their logo. Professional technical socks. jk
Yes it can be quite annoying to tighten these babies. I usually apply the same rotation to each trussrod nut. The first thing to do is to make a wrench that will fit. I ground a gibson like trussrod wrench so that the wall is thin enough to fit. The link advices seem fine to me.
You should take a look at this page, from the 'SF Guitarworks' website (; it has a good explanation of the typical failure mode for Rick truss-rods, as well as a nice solution for re-working the assembly, so the adjusting nuts are well-supported after being repaired.

Stephen White
Thanks for the link Stephen. It's a clever fix!
check the rickenbacker forum at everything you ever wanted to know about rics
I tried to reach them and got the message "This Web site is coming soon" Hmm..Shame...Although after the hassle that I had with this Ric, the only thing I want to know about them is how to avoid having to repair them :-) They're number two on my sh*t list, right behind Ovation, :-) But thanks anyway for taking the trouble to reply.



© 2024   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service