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Rickenbacker 360 - "Sitar-ing" - Advice Sought

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Telecaster88, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Holic

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    Hi folks, I've played Fenders and other indestructible guitars all my life -- in March my beautiful wife surprised me with a [2014]* Rickenbacker 360/6 in Fireglo, and it's a truly wonderful instrument!

    Well, I pulled it out of the case yesterday for the first time in awhile -- and the G at the 3rd fret of the high E string is sitar-ing. (I've had the guitar six months, never did this before.) Open high E is fine at the nut, and all the other frets on the high E sound fine. I figured, given a Ric's reputation for fussiness, this is due to some environmental shift with the recent cold weather. I've never had to adjust my Fenders with the seasons, so this is new to me.

    Sighting lengthwise from the bottom of the guitar, the bridge is slanted maybe 1/16" lower on the treble side, so there's not much room for fret clearance on the High E string.

    My friend who's a longtime Ric player said his 360 gets fussy every spring and fall, and he just lets it sit for a bit to adjust, and it sorts itself out. So -- should I just give it some time and see what happens, or should I start tinkering with the bridge? I'm happy with the way the guitar is set up right now, but I could probably lift the bridge's treble side a bit and still have plenty low action over there.

    I'm not one to tinker with my guitars, so messing around with things makes me a little nervous. If I raise the bridge, say 1/32" on the treble side would I need to re-intonate the whole guitar?

    Thanks!

    *Edited to add model year

    90017860_10213482868265282_9203954975040864256_o.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Beautiful guitar!!!


    Do not mess with the bridge; the reason is if the guitar's setup was good before, the bridge has not moved.

    Chances are the neck has straightened itself a little (reduction in relief).

    The fix is to first check to ensure the 4th fret isn't lifting out of the slot. Test across three frets, one fret at a time, with a fret rocker. If you don't have one, a credit card will work. Press very very lightly and see if the card rocks on any specific fret.

    If the frets in that area all check out OK, place a capo very lightly on between the nut and 1st fret. Gently press the low E string to the 17th fret, and while holding it there, check the gap between the low E string and the 8th fret. It should be right around .010" to .012"

    If it's less than that, the neck is too straight and the truss rods (most RICs have two, side by side) need to be loosened by about 1/8 turn.

    IMPORTANT: Rics are fairly esoteric guitars and their truss rods can be difficult to adjust. If you have any reservations about adjusting the truss rods, take it to a reputable guitar shop.

    If you do discover a high fret, and that guitar is only six months old, contact Rickenbacker for warranty service. They will recommend a Ric service tech that can evaluate and address the issue.
     
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  3. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    The truss rods require a 1/4" thin wall socket. The must be adjusted together or your neck will twist. They must be adjusted in very small increments, and thoughtfully and carefully.

    If you're not confident, take it to a tech.
     
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  4. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I wouldn't mess with the truss rods.

    The bridge is not fixed, it's on 4 screws and just sits there on top guided by a plate. The back or front screws can lift a bit out of the guiding plate (for example because of string bending or heavy playing), make sure it's sitting in the guide holes.

    It's not that big of a deal to adjust the bridge screws if you must.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  5. JDB2

    JDB2 Tele-Holic

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    Consistent with the comments above, I usually find that a touch of fret buzz on low frets on the high strings is remedied by loosening the truss rod slightly (or rods, in the case of a Ric). This is true on all my guitars including my Rics. Like Paul G said, it is a 1/4" thin wall socket. Ric sells this wrench for that purpose: http://boutique.rickenbacker.com/WRENCH-NECK-14_p_691.html

    Take of the truss rod cover that says "Rickenbacker" by removing the three screws, loosen both rods 1/8 of a turn by twisting to the left, let it sit for awhile and then play. If you still have the issue try loosening another 1/8 turn. It shouldn't take any more than that if the buzz is minor as you describe.

    You will find that this process may cause the action to raise a little bit. If you don't like that result, you can try lowering the bridge a little, but the result might be fret buzz elsewhere on the neck. If so, you can always raise it again.

    Adjust the truss rods only after ruling out high frets as Peegoo describes. But it is probably pretty unusual for frets to lift out on a Ric given how meticulously those necks are put together.
     
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  6. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    Edit:

    Brain fart. Do go on without me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  7. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Edit: Stick around!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  8. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    This is a new Rickenbacker, yes? If it is a used RIC and it is pre-1986 then it has the hairpin style rods. It you try to adjust them like a normal truss rod you'll snap the fingerboard off. They don't apply tension to the neck like a normal rod, but rather hold it in tension.
     
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  9. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Holic

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    Haha, yikes. You guys are making me nervous! Tinkering sends shivers up my spine...

    To be clearer, this is a 2014 model bought used, so no warranty.

    I'll check the fret level first with a credit card... Thanks for all the replies!
     
  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    88, I build guitars and work on a lot of them. I have one rule of thumb - I never touch anything until I have measured everything and come up with a systematic and logical plan. If you want to see how I approach something like this wade thru the evaluation part of this

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/
     
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  11. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Holic

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    I talked to my local tech guy, and he suggested just raising the treble side of the bridge a quarter turn or so and seeing if that doesn't solve the issue. He assured me I wouldn't break my guitar doing so! And if that doesn't work he'll take a look at it.

    One quick, dumb question... Before I raise the bridge I should loosen the strings, right? Sorry! I've been playing guitar since 1984, but am neurotic when it comes to screwdrivers. :confused:
     
  12. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, I have learned the hard way to measure things beforehand and keep notes! I'll check out your link, thanks!
     
  13. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    yeah, it's generally a good idea to loosen the strings before moving them upwards, that way the strings are not bearing against the threads at full tension.
     
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  14. drmmrr55

    drmmrr55 Tele-Holic

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    My Gibson Midtown Standard always did this depending on the time of year. But the "fret buzz" didn't come through when amplified so I left it alone. In the warm months, the "fret buzz" magically went away. I was told a slight truss rod adjustment would fix it, but since the buzz didn't come through the amplifier, I just either suffered through it, or played a different guitar in the wintertime. I have never owned a Ric, so I have no knowledge on how to adjust the truss rod. And raising the bridge, you should always loosen the strings, it just is much easier to do, than with the strings at pitch.
     
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  15. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    The break angle is pretty low on these guitars, so this is less critical than others. Still, it is good practice to take the force off the screws first. Instead of loosening the strings, I like to use the handle of a capo to just lift up the end I'm adjusting. Try it!
     
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  16. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    Better brain than the alternative!:eek::rolleyes:
     
  17. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Holic

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    Wait, you do what with a capo? I can't picture what you're describing...!
     
  18. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    I wondered if words would fail me. :D Here's a mockup pic, with a business card helping to provide contrast and protection for the finish:

    capo_jack.jpg

    I just pull down gently to lift the bridge a little bit. Got the idea from Dan Erlewine's "bridge jack": https://www.lespaulforum.com/dan2/danstuff.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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