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My Ric 4003 doesn't sound I like a Ric

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rushmaniac15, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. rushmaniac15

    rushmaniac15

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    I bought a Rickenbacker 4003 from guitar center used for 1400 (possibly the reason it was so cheap was because bassist there was something wrong?) a couple months back and my Ric just does not have the tone of a Ric. Its way too muddy and mellow and doesn't have the punchiness that a 4003 is suppose to have. The action is high and I didn't change the strings when I got it but I can't imagine that making too much of a difference. At first I was scared it was fake but I checked the serial code with Rickenbacker and it is real. Any suggestions?
    :bassist: Rushmaniac15
  2. geeza

    geeza

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    Huh?
    Change the strings and get a good set-up.
  3. Jazzstick

    Jazzstick

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    If its a few years old then you don't have the capacitor in the bridge pup. You need to put one in to get that classic clank.

    Brett
  4. Gasman

    Gasman Supporting Member

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    First, change the strings. It will make a difference. Second, what is the sound you think it should have? Rics are pretty versatile. McCartney's Ric tone isn't what I'd call "punchy" and doesn't sound like Squire's or D'Amour's. A lot of the tone from the latter players comes from their amps as well as the bass itself. Finally, Ric's tend to need a bit higher action with standard string gauges because they have a 1/2 inch shorter scale. You can probably get it lower with a proper setup, but if you want it super low you might need thicker strings, which might require filing the nut to get them as low as you want it. I'd be cautious about doing the last bit, thought.
  5. rushmaniac15

    rushmaniac15

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    my ric is from 2007. do you know what year I would have to switch the capacitor out?
  6. Jazzstick

    Jazzstick

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    2006 I think.... do any of your knobs pull up? that is what activates the cap.

    try it

    Brett
  7. electracoyote

    electracoyote

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    Get the action lowered and a good set up, and a fresh set of strings.

    Have you ever heard a Geddy Lee isolated bass track? His bass is noisy as hell, clanks all over the place, but that's how he gets his growl. Also, be mindful that some Ric tracks were recorded using the Ric-O-Sound, and you won't nail that with the mono output, but you can definitely get your Ric closer to that sound, and you can definitely get it to growl.

    The vintage capacitor? If you don't already have it, I'd make that the last thing on my list.
  8. vin*tone

    vin*tone Supporting Member

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    He's talkin pre 1980. IIRC the old 4001's had a high pass filter cap to give a more trebley clank. 4001 players often mod these caps out out to give more bass. The switch they added was to give a vintage/modern circuit option. If you do a search for tone cap bypass mod there will be details.
  9. electracoyote

    electracoyote

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    I bought a vintage cap from Rickenbacker, was going to take it over to have my electronics tech install it in one of my Rics. That was several years ago, and it's still in the original package.
  10. bill reed

    bill reed

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    what Ric player are you trying to get your sound from.
    there are quite a few difrent Ric tones,
    McCartney.
    Squires,
    Geddy.
    Lemmy.
    maybe it just needing set up. pick-ups adjused to right string height!
  11. rushmaniac15

    rushmaniac15

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    yes i have a pushpull pot that thins out the tone.
  12. rushmaniac15

    rushmaniac15

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    trying to get the geddy lee tone but its sounding more a like a cheap mccartney tone
  13. Jim Dandy

    Jim Dandy Supporting Member

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    Just a thought, but what output jack on the bass are you plugging into?
  14. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    Strings make a huge difference. Especially if you want a bright and clanky tone and all you've got is old dead strings.
  15. bill reed

    bill reed

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    having the pot switch then you should have the high gain pickups too. so that should give you that Ric sound.
  16. Jazzstick

    Jazzstick

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    then you have the cap. pull the pot and have it set up with new strings. Keep in mind that Geddy is a great and unique player If you want to get close to his sound try listening to "exit stage left" and try to get close to his live sound. Even Geddy couldn't get the same exact sound live.

    Brett
  17. dvlmusic

    dvlmusic Supporting Member

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    In my experience, RICs tend to be very individual instruments. I've heard some that sound incredible and others that sound awful. RIC tends to have low production runs, so two basses from the same year may play/sound very different from one another.

    The most beautiful bass I ever owned was a Fire-Glo RIC that had this unbelievable flame on the upper horn and the back of the neck. I've never seen one like it before or since. I owned it for 2 weeks before I could play it through my GK head/Ampeg cab and when I did it sounded truly awful. I ended up returning it since I couldn't justify buying a crappy sounding bass.

    On the flip side, a good friend of mine has a RIC that sounds fantastic through every amp it's ever been played through, including the GK/Ampeg. It's the Forrest Gump of basses: you never know what you're gonna get.
  18. Gasman

    Gasman Supporting Member

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    Excellent thought. Don't use the Rick-o-sound unless you're bi-amping and have a stereo cable. IIRC a mono cable in this output will isolate the neck pickup
  19. RaginRog

    RaginRog Last guy you want to see is Employee Relations guy Supporting Member

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    New strings, get it set-up, turn the gain up on your amp, and let 'er rip.
  20. rushmaniac15

    rushmaniac15

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    Im plugging into the standard output not the Rick-o-sound

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