NBD: Rickenbacker 4003

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by StratoCraig, Dec 17, 2017.


  1. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

    Messages:
    3,038
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Location:
    The Fortress of Solitude
    Back when I was a teenaged fan of early '70s Yes in the early '80s (this was before "Owner of a Lonely Heart"), my dream bass was a Rickenbacker 4001. I finally was able to buy a used one in 1987, a blonde '76, for $450. (Rics were kind of out of fashion at the time except among the college-rock crowd -- Smithereens, R.E.M., etc.) I owned the '76 for several years but had to sell it in the mid-'90s. I haven't owned a Ric since; I had a Yamaha bass for several years in the early 2000s, and more recently I've been enjoying a Gibson SG Standard bass, which appealed to me because of Andy Fraser (Free), Glenn Cornick (Jethro Tull), and other, mostly English, players of the old EB-3 model. But I decided recently that I wanted to get another Ric bass, preferably in blonde like my old '76, so I started looking around.

    At my local GC, the only Rics I've ever seen were used guitars (the last one I recall seeing was a 360-12), and the local independent stores aren't Ric dealers. But the GC in Santa Clara had a couple of new 4003's, so I went down to check them out, taking my wife with me to be sure I had proper approval before spending the money. They had a blonde one and another in Fireglo. I am not really fond of Fireglo on 4000-series basses, but I tried both out anyway. Neither had any flaws I could see, and with my eyes closed I couldn't really tell the difference between them, so I came home with the blonde. (The blonde bass, I mean. My wife, who has dark hair, would not have approved any other kind of blonde, and besides, she's the only woman I want.)

    Here's the new 4003 in its case:

    [​IMG]

    The 4003 is great; I like having the push-pull pot to enable the 4001-style high-pass filter on the bridge pickup, though I don't really use it. The one annoyance I found was that the stock single-coil pickups were noisy as hell in my music room -- even worse than Fender single-coils. So after reading up on noiseless pickups for Ric basses, I ordered a pair of JBE humbuckers and installed them myself. I also replaced the factory strings with Rotosound 66's, but those have since been replaced by Rotosound SM77's, which are what you see here. The flatwound 77's are nice; I can get a bit of the Ric grind on the bridge pickup with a pick, but I can get a mellow, near-McCartney tone on the neck pickup with fingers.

    I've been using the Ric at band rehearsals lately, and the other guys like it. The drummer loves the way it looks, and our guitarist/singer, who is picky about having a good, solid bass sound, is happy with it even when I'm on the bridge pickup.

    Lastly, just for the heck of it, here's an old photo of me with my old '76 Ric, taken by my then-girlfriend in 1988. You can see the name of my old Sunn Beta Bass amp under my left arm, and my old synths (a Sequential Circuits Prophet-600 -- the world's first production MIDI instrument -- over an Oberheim Matrix-6) near the right edge. I have no idea why I'm wearing a white button-down shirt in this picture. Maybe we'd been to a wedding that day.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  2. joshinthecity

    joshinthecity Member

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2017
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    That, right there is a lovely bass..
     
    StratoCraig likes this.
  3. somedude

    somedude Member

    Messages:
    6,560
    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Location:
    Shredmonton
    Not all of us are using the default (bright) TGP colour layout, so when you modify the text colour to dark grey, and it's up against a dark grey background....
     
    StratoCraig and Burwabit like this.
  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Member

    Messages:
    1,089
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Glad to see you back in the fold, and with a great fingerboard on that 4003 Mapleglo (not blond! ;)), too. :)
     
    StratoCraig likes this.
  5. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

    Messages:
    3,038
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Location:
    The Fortress of Solitude
    Sorry about that; I've fixed it. It wasn't intentional. I pasted the text from another editor and somehow TGP interpreted it as dark gray. I'll have to remember to check the BB code for extra tags when I do that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
    somedude likes this.
  6. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

    Messages:
    3,038
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Location:
    The Fortress of Solitude
    Ha, yes. I think back when I had my old Ric, I didn't know about Ric's color names, so I just called it blonde. Now I know the names of the more common Ric colors, but I still think of Mapleglo as blonde and Jetglo as black. Fireglo I can remember because it doesn't look like other companies' bursts.
     
  7. murph7489

    murph7489 Member

    Messages:
    387
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach SC
    That's a beauty..Always loved Geddy growing up and Chris S. from Yes too. I, like you also dreamt of playing a ric and eventually I did end up playing one, surprisingly when I played it for a couple weeks it just never felt right for me. With the editorial nonsense of mine aside I do think that is a great looking bass and I think I like the headstock of the new one better...enjoy your bass...
     
  8. rsm

    rsm Member

    Messages:
    13,326
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    On an island in the Atlantic Ocean
    Sweet, enjoy.

    My main bass is a 4003 Fireglo.

    I'd like a 4003 fretless in midnight blue, but doing most of my bass with synths now.
     
  9. zekmoe

    zekmoe Member

    Messages:
    9,236
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Location:
    Troy NY
    Great purchase. After many years, my only bass is a 4001CS.
    I also had the same 2 synths back in the day!! I still wish I didn’t sell them to upgrade to whatever I ended up selling. Both had great sounds and were quick to tweak.
     
  10. Kurt L

    Kurt L Member

    Messages:
    1,516
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    Outer Austin, TX
    Now all you need to do is get rid of that giant cover over the bridge pickup and cover the gaping wound it leaves behind!

    Love Ric 4001s and 4003s, finally took the plunge a few years ago. So much fun to play... and sounds great!
     
  11. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

    Messages:
    3,038
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Location:
    The Fortress of Solitude
    Nah, I like the cover. I rest my hand on it when I play with a pick.
     
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  12. jdogric12

    jdogric12 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,890
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Location:
    DC Metro area
    Neat!
    Congrats.
    Although, if you just shield the cavity, the stock pickups should be fine. I had a '73 4001 that someone shielded with copper and it was fantastic.
     
  13. 70' s Tone

    70' s Tone Member

    Messages:
    746
    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Congratulations on your purchase.
    We're related! :D
    Say, the skunk stripe on the old Ric brings back memories...
    [​IMG]
     
    tripp2k likes this.
  14. thatguyoverthere

    thatguyoverthere Member

    Messages:
    124
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2016
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    How did you find the difference between your old 4001 and new 4003? I’ve been borrowing a friend’s 4001 from the 70s (with a bypass on the bridge pickup capacitor), and recently played a newer 4003, found the neck gigantic and the tone somewhat brighter overall. Has your experience been similar?
     
  15. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

    Messages:
    10,884
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.
    I never bonded with any 4003. My ‘74 4001 has a great neck on it though. QC is spotty in the modern (JH) era.

    My pickup cover is in a drawer. Too hard to palm mute with it in and it gets in the way. Especially playing finger style. No bezel in the route either.
     
  16. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

    Messages:
    3,038
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Location:
    The Fortress of Solitude
    Well, it's been 20 years since I sold my old 4001, and I had a different amp back then (Sunn Beta Bass 1x15" combo then vs. Fender Rumble 500 2x12" now), so it's hard to say. The neck on the 4003 is definitely different; I believe the old one was thinner. But I find the 4003 neck really comfortable and easy to play.
     
    thatguyoverthere likes this.

Share This Page