rickenbacker 4003 review
I got a september 2011 mapleglo in a trade recently(actually like last month lol). Im not one of those people who thinks that the rick is the holygrail of basses having played afew of them(not too impressed tbh). I just thought I'd just add a rick to my collection since I have stingrays, pbass and jazz on my guitar rack already.
I like my basses to be played so Im fine with some dings and scratches on my axes. The finish was great though, and the bass looks just like a rick should. I couldn't find any particular aesthetic flaws on this particular bass. I have always wanted a fireglo or ruby red rick, and used to think that the mapleglo is the ugliest color a rick can have. But somehow, it has started to grow on me. So much so that Im glad I havent gotten a fireglo or jetglo because it seems like everyone else has one.
The first thing I do with all my new basses is to set them up.
I have to say that this bass is quite a pain to set up. Personally, I like my basses with super low action and even action from the first fret and at first it seemed impossible with this bass. With the saddles bottomed out the strings were still too high. The relief and nut height were fine. Normally, Id shim the neck on my bolt ons. But due to its neck thru construction that is not possible. In the end, I sent it to a pro and have the saddles filed. The action was much better after the filing, however my stingrays' action can go a hair lower without fret buzz.
I removed the pickup cover as well, since its taking up the sweet spot for my plucking hand. I thought of getting one of the treble bezels but hesitated when I find out they can cost up to 40usd( I mean seriously? for the piece of plastic?). Anyways I've been doing fine without it, and I think it looks pretty cool to have that hollow space around the pickup.
The bass has one of the thickest neck I have played. It is about as wide as a typical jazz bass but it is thicker than even my pbass front to back. And it is different in the sense that the thickness of the neck near the nut is greater than in the middle of the neck. Tbh, its not a very comfortable neck to play and I'm a fan of big necks so thats saying alot. And while the lacquered finish looks real neat, it doesnt feel as fast as raw or satin necks. While I have only owned the bass for a short time, it seems to be real sturdy. I can imagine the truss rod staying in its place for a very long time.
I have not noticed the infamous tail lift on the bridge yet. And while I have to say the bridge looks real freakin cool, I find the foam mutes totally useless and not only that, it restricts you from palm muting the strings near the bridge. I have been thinking of getting a hipshot replacement, but my only concern would be the new bridge not being able to go low enough on the saddles.
Next up would be the tone of the bass. The set up is basically vol/vol/tone/tone plus a toggle for bridge/mix/neck. The neck pickup's output was significantly lower than bridge pickup's when set at the same height. You can pull the tone knob up for the bridge PU to replicate the 4001 tone though, and in that setting the volume between the 2 pickups would be somewhat even.
Personally the neck PU is useless for my applications. I play in a rock band and I like to have a punchy sound on my basses, and my favourite setting for this 4003 is basically solo bridge PU and then adjust the tone knob accordingly. I was quite surprised at the amount of low end the bass puts out with the bridge soloed, not anemic in any way. The bridge PU has about the same output as my stingrays and dimarzio'ed jazz. It is definitely louder than your average passive bass. I am pretty impressed with it soundwise.
I havent got the chance to use it in a band mix yet, but I can imagine it cutting through pretty well with enough low end to fill up the low freqs.
One thing about the ricks though, it is definitely an attention getter. I brought it out at 2 different guitar shops, and each time a stranger would tell me 'nice bass man'. And I haven't even plugged in that damned thing yet. I personally feel that my fenders and stingrays look nicer, but all the other folks seem to think otherwise.
I'll prolly keep this bass for awhile. Despite it not being the best player, it definitely has got its own special vibe and it inspires me in a different way everything I pick it up. I hope this review is of some help to all of you folks who have gassing for a rick.
Looks/finish etc. = 10/10
Im not one who's into natural finish but the woodgrain is really beautiful if you're into that sort of thing. Flawless as far as I'm concerned. I gotta say that the fret inlays and the bindings are my favourite part of the rick look. You're gonna get compliments on the looks from strangers.
Playability = 6/10
For a bass at this price, I'd expect it to play flawlessly out of the factory. It is one thing for me not getting used to the neck profile since it is all down to preference but it is unacceptable that the neck angle seemed just alittle off for really low action.
And like I said, while the lacquered fnish looks nice its not optimal for fast playing.
The binding on the body wasnt an issue for me.
I am fine without a pickup to anchor my thumb on, but I can imagine it to be a problem for some people who are so used to doing so. And the fact that the beautiful bridge restricts my palm muting, I have to give it a 6/10 rating
Durability = 7/10
Well I can only give this rating based on my first impressions since I have only owned it for a short time. The neck seems super sturdy and the truss rods turn without any issues. I can't say the same for the bridge and the toggle switch though.
Sound = 8.5/10
Bridge PU is louder the neck PU. If I want a good neck PU tone, Id play my pbass though. The bridge PU is where its at. Killer tone. I wouldn't say its a one trick pony, but a jazz bass is definitely more versatile with a wider range of possibilities when you mix the 2 PUs.
Value = 7/10
Hope this helped:bassist:
Pretty fair review. I find my favorite tone on these basses is the neck pickup rolled off enough to let the bridge PU take the lead. I roll off the tone on the bridge PU a little as well.
The bridge is definitely the worst part of a Ric. If you were having issues with string height, I would be hesitant to put a Hipshot on there.
The good thing about Ric's is the fact that lots of people want them, so if it turns out it's not your thing it's pretty easy to get rid of.
I,d balance the two pups-makes a big difference
Treble bezels are for the weak. :rolleyes:
Hmm, interesting. I own a May 2011 Jetglo and the neck on this one is of the newer two piece neck profile. While it may be a bit wide at the nut as compared to a Fender Jazz, it has a more gradual widening and is narrower at the 12th fret and beyond than a Jazz. I've never played a new P bass so I can't compare the two. The RIC is most definitely a shallow D profile single radius neck.
I doubt you'll ever have an issue with tail lift. Tail lift was a common occurrence on earlier 4001's with the first style zinc tail piece or any "colored" tail piece that has been powder coated and heated. This tends to weaken the tailpiece and make it a little pliable, especially on 5 & 8 string models. Any "lift" you see now is due to over zealous sanding of the body so that the rear of the bass has a slight bevel. The second style tail pieces are pretty stout. To be on the safe side, never crank the three screws located under your bridge since the well under the tail piece may be a little deeper than the tail piece. Cranking these screws causes the tailpiece to bend, thus starting the process of lifting.
I too prefer the sound of the treble pup over the neck pup. If I'm running the treble pup flat out, I'll roll off the neck pup either an eighth or a quarter turn, depending.
I too never had the burning desire to own a Mapleglo Rickenbacker. That is until I purchased my 77 4002 with checkerboard binding and black neck binding and TRC. There is a bit of birdseye on that bass that really looks outstanding!!
I was able to get the action on mine really low without any problem. My neck was dead flat with no relief and it was easy to dial in a super low action. I've heard others having problems with actions on theirs. It seemed no matter what they did they couldn't dial it in. Its a shame when some leave the factory messed up. It gives a bad rap to the company when most of the ones they produce are fine. What I did like about the Rick was once you adjusted the truss rod the neck stayed right where I set it. I set one up for a friend one time who had his for about 14 years and never adjusted the truss rod or played with the action. I didn't have to touch the neck it was still flat even when I put the new strings on, and I had to do some minor adjusting of the intonation. That was it! Ricks can be a lot tougher than they get credit for sometimes!
Nice, concise review. Well done and thank you.
Is this the same Ric you be hatin on in those other threads you started awhile back?:confused:
I have a Hipshot on my '79 4001 and I can lower the strings all the way down to the fretboard if I wanted. Can't speak to your problem though. Sounds like your truss rod is nearly straight?
Treble bezel keeps your fingers out of that cool hollow space and just plain looks better. I use the one with the thumbrest. But, to each his own.
Not too bad of a review But.......RICs SHINE in the band setting which you didn't even get to do before your review. The tone gets better as the gain is increased. Plus, A good tech can get extremely low action on a RIC. Mine's super low. IMO the Ric may just not be for you. If you don't love it, you probably won't play it. I am sadly neglecting all my other basses because the Ric is so damn sweet to play. At home, With the band, In my dreams, Acoustically when the family is asleep.
One thing I like about this bass is that even though the first frets are uncomfortable for my fretting hand, the last frets of the bass are more accessible than my other basses due to its narrow and thick profile and lack of bolt on mechanism.
And regarding the neck, if you guys have played a Gibson Les Paul guitar, it actually has a similar feel to it
Pretty fair review.
Myself, I actually prefer the lacquered necks. Feels nicer to me.
That's the thing about instruments... what sounds good, feels good, and looks good varies depending on who you ask.
The pickups in my Rickenbacker are actually intentionally set to be very unbalanced. I like the neck pickup to be way quieter than the bridge so that I can instantly have a sound for soft sections of songs.
I'd love to hear your comments in about 5 months? It's an instrument. A proper one. So don't expect to know it when you have laid a hand on it ...
If I had a bass that I rated a 6 out of 10 on playability, it would be up for sale. That's why I sold mine. Some people just don't fit Rics. Like I said in your other thread(s), I still would like one but if I won Powerball, there's a bunch of others I'd buy first.
Sell it and get a bass you can rate higher on playability.
I owned a new MG RIC and I got rid of it after a week as the playability was killing me.
To each their own though!
I have a Rick 4000 from 1974 and that bridge-only pick up is killer! It has punch, bite, growl, and a warm bass tone when needed. I tend to prefer neck PUs, but on my Rick, I do not miss it. Same with the Greco Thunderbird II.
Please take the time to do a good setup. Especially on the nut. Ricks come from the factory with the nut pretty high to allow for personal adjustment. Learn about the truss rod system.
A properly setup Rick is a wonderful thing. But people usually give up on them to soon.
Its misleading to say that the neck is the same width as a jazz just thicker. It is not. Its 1.69" IIRC which would place it between a modern p-bass (1.625") and a vintage p-bass (1.75"). Additionally the neck isnt thicker at the nut. RICs dont taper like Fenders and that is the reason they dont feel the same. One way isnt better than the other, its just different.
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