Now that it is completed, I’ve finally got to set up my Rickenbacker exactly how I want it. The action is low and even, with just the right amount of tension on the strings. I love that slight bit of string floppiness (sorry about the technical jargon) that Rickenbackers have. A good set-up can make or break an instrument, so please spend some time doing this. The main thing on a Rick set-up that you will find different to other basses is that it has two truss rods, so if you find this a bit daunting then get a professional to do it for you. A professional set-up doesn’t cost the earth, but it can make a world of difference.
I haven’t mentioned the sensitive subject of the bridge pickup cover: this is because every Rickenbacker player has their own opinion on them, so here is mine. I have played these instruments with the cover on and off, and I don’t hear any major difference either way, but I like to leave mine on as they are essential to the overall aesthetic of the instrument. That is, of course, if you’re lucky enough to have one on your instrument to start with, as so many second-hand instru- ments have had them removed by the original owners. They are relatively cheap and readily available to replace, so put them back on.
The one thing that you will need plenty of if you are going to undertake a project like this is time, as it will take you longer than you think to complete. If you’re going to start taking apart your favourite bass, then be resigned to the fact that it will be out of action for a while. You’ll need another bass so that you can continue to earn a living in the interim period: don’t think if you start taking your bass apart on Monday that you will be showing off the finished product to your bandmates at the gig that Friday.
Next time I will be doing the final tally of the total cost of my bass.
Costs this month: Bass set-up done by me: £0. Second-hand Rickenbacker case: £50. Total costs so far: £1450.