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: 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 I also replaced the factory strings with Rotosound 66's, but those have since been replaced by Rotosound SM77's, which are what you see here.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.