Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

620 string alignment
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Author:  dr_john [ Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:34 am ]
Post subject:  620 string alignment

I recently bought a brand new 620/6 in maple glow. Amazing, beautifully built, plays great, sounds great.

Just recently I noticed that the strings are not aligned perfectly between the bridge and the 'R' tailpiece. By that I mean that they are at a slight angle to the neck axis and not parallel with each other. The strings sit perfectly on the neck, uniform spacing and the top and bottom E strings have the same spacing from the edges of the neck. The 'problem' begins at the bridge, and I also notice that the slots for the strings in the bridge saddles vary in position, some being central and others off centre.

I don't think that this in any way affects playability or sound, it's just my obsessive nature as an engineer in wanting perfection :D .

I've trawled the internet for photos of 620's and am fairly sure that this a common issue, they all seem to exhibit this feature to a greater or lesser extent.

My question is, has anyone else noticed this and if so what do they feel about it?

Author:  Uffingdon [ Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 620 string alignment

I think you're worrying to much, don't forget that the RIC six saddle bridge is used on most 12 strings as well, so on a six string the slots appear off center (which they are) but correctly spaced as you've pointed out.
Also the "R" tailpiece is very close to the bridge on a 620 which I think exaggerates the string angle, on 330/360's it's less noticeable.

One more thing to note, (I think I read it here) it has been known for the odd 6 string to leave the factory with a 12 string tailpiece fitted so if the wrong string slot is used it may explain the alignment.

Author:  dr_john [ Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 620 string alignment

Thanks for that. Yes I do tend to worry about stuff, it's my nature. I once convinced myself that the neck on a new Les Paul was twisted (it wasn't) :D.

I hadn't realised that the 6 and 12 strings use the same bridge, that explains the saddles I guess. I had thought about the relatively short distance from bridge to tailpiece on the 620, that would make the angle larger.

It's definitely a 6 string tailpiece!

Author:  Frank 620 [ Tue May 08, 2018 5:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 620 string alignment

I have a 2001 620 with the same issues and I am in the process of setting everything straight. I have a buzz in the bridge that I am sure is caused by bad design. When I took it apart I noticed that the bridge mounting plate was not mounted in the center of the guitar. I filled the mounting holes using a wooden tooth pick and re aligned the plate to the center line of the guitar. The bridge has 4 screws to adjust the height of the bridge and they locate on 4 small depressions in the mounting plate. This is very flimsy and unstable and in my opinion, along with strings shooting off at different angles to the tail piece, the cause of my buzzing bridge. Try and adjust the intonation and you will see how unstable the bridge is. My solution was to drill and tap the mounting plate so that i could fit an ABR type bridge with the correct sting spacing. Next area of concern if the "R" tail piece, Looks great from the top side but is a bit rubbish where the strings attach. The casting is way below what I would expect from a company that has been making guitars for so long and boasting about the quality that is built into them. Don't take my word for it though, check for yourself.
There are 2 problems with it. Firstly the string spacing gaps are all cast different causing the strings to shoot off at different angles when they leave the bridge. The second problem I see is that the ball ends of the string don't sit neatly in position. I am going to modify an aluminium tail piece to fit into the "R" tail piece so as to retain the original look. Just working on the tail piece now. Will let you know the results when it is finished.

Author:  dr_john [ Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 620 string alignment

Thanks Frank.

My main problem with this issue is that for ' boasting about the quality that is built into them' there is such an obvious design flaw which doesn't look right aesthetically and can also give rise to the problems you have found.

To be honest, I haven't suffered any playability problems and as I tend subscribe to the philosophy of 'if it aint broke don't fix it' then I'll live with it for now.

I would be interested to hear how you get on with the new tailpiece.

Author:  Rickenmusic [ Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 620 string alignment

I have always wondered at Rickenbacker's eccentricities. When I hear people complain about them I always think, "there must be a reason for these peculiarities". Certainly these guitars have been gone over and over through the years. If there are flaws then there must be a tonal or aesthetic reason for their being in the design.
I know that tradition and buyer expectations play a role, but it has always had me wondering why. Of course, everyone perceives these things a bit differently, so the reasons might not be so obvious. I too, have noticed small flaws in my guitars and I wonder why they are there (side fret marker dots not in alignment, finish flaws), but, by and large, very high quality.
I would be hard pressed to come to the conclusion that Rickenbackers are of less than expected quality in design or manufacture but nothing is perfect.

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