4003s/5 pups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Yesnikh4003, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Yesnikh4003


    Jul 28, 2020
    So like the title would suggest, I am now in possession of one of the new Rickenbacker 4003s/5(in mapleglo) basses. I own a standard 4003 mapleglo as well, amongst other basses...

    The s/5 sounds better than it has the right to, given the scale length with a low B thrown in the mix. Clanky, growly, that sweet midhollow bloom that makes a Ric a Ric.


    It took some E.Q. work to get it where I feel it needs to be, undoubtedly due to the redesigned pickups. They are so much more beefier/modern sounding and definietly it sounds better and more like my original 4003 when the vintage circuit is engaged. But the lower register really shines when it is NOT engaged...

    Does anyone know if anyone makes a replacement(yet?) It would be nice to drop something in that is more consistent across the board. I cannot find anything online, no matter how I search or rephrase the search. I haven't taken the pups apart to see what's underneath the triangular hockey puck covers to see if I can maybe fit something under them, but that may take some work into territories I'm not willing(maybe literally) dig into yet.

    My original 4003 is always setup with a dead straight neck, D'Addario standard guage prosteels, and a brass nut. The new bass still has the stock black synthetic horn nut and factory strings, but I have it setup like the former action-wise(super tight, with that tiniest amount of buzz without it being unplayable/dead notes).

    Sorry for all the information, I want to be as transparent as possible to give you an idea of where I'm at!
  2. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Denver, CO
    The different pickup locations and pickup design mean you’ll never get exactly a 4003 tone out of them. You might consider trying different values of pots in the bass first- I assume these use the same 330K pots used in their other instruments, and using 500K pots for Volume/Tone or both would open up the tone somewhat.

    I don’t expect to see pickup replacement options for the new 5-string Ricks for some time, if ever. Being so new and so quirky, there would be a very small market for them. Rickenbacker tends to be quite protective of their designs, and consider there are only a small handful of replacement options for the standard 4001/4003 (and those basses have been around for over 50 years!)

    I think your best bet on the pickup change front would either be to modify the stock pickups (likely by unwinding them to a lower resistance to bring out more clarity) or to build another pickup into a casing to fit. I have yet to see anyone post the guts of one of the stock pickups (and again seems unlikely given the cost and unavailability of replacements). I’d definitely try adjusting the electronics first though, unless you are convinced those funky pickups are unsalvageable!
  3. Yesnikh4003


    Jul 28, 2020
    I really like the idea of modifying the pups themselves somehow to maybe be hotter output, like two 4003 standard bridges... not exactly like the Al Cisneros signature model, but not unlike that either. I am doing a full string swap before some recording for an album that is booked for labor day weekend(this coming weekend) im hoping a fresh set of strings and some mkre EQ/preamp magic may help a little. There's also a quality that the lpw B has that I can only describe as a sort of natural chorus noise? I can really explain it. I thought that maybe the pups were out of sequence, as they sound nasaly and are a little quieter when the selector is set to both engaged. This simply isn't the case when I have either the bridge/neck pup isolated.
    It doesn't sound terrible, it jjst doesn't sound nearly as resonant and clear as, say, my Warwick Thumb 6 B.O.
    I included a pic of the s/5 for funsies.

    Attached Files:

  4. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Denver, CO
    That chorus-y B thing is a quality I’ve found on most passive 34” scale 5-strings basses. So much of that big 5th string is windings, and so much of the output are these harmonics. You can kind of hide it by using a bit of scoop (or boosting bass/treble), which I think is why 5-string basses like Stingrays can sound decent. I’m by no means an expert on 5’ers though, I never end up keeping one for very long.
  5. Yesnikh4003


    Jul 28, 2020
    Ahhhh makes perfect sense.
    The only other passive 5'r I've ever played was a Warwick Corvette $$, and that thing was exponentially louder than any other other bass I've ever ran through my rig. I'm sure I can get it, I'll try adjusting like you recommended... I was already doing something similar, but maybe just a little MORE of it will help. Maybe a little more dirt than what I'm using now will help this too.
  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    There is at least one set of photos of the pickup with the top cover removed.
  7. Yesnikh4003


    Jul 28, 2020
    Do you have a link to said photos? Today I attempted to look inside during the following setup I just did, but the pups are sealed(glued?) shut!

    Also, I fixed the chorus-y B. As to which tweak fixed it, I can't say as I did a few things...

    I had a set of standard Prosteels plus a Flexsteel B on it before

    Full setup with standard nickel slinky's.

    Intonating the D and B was a real sunnofabitch, but it's perfect now. Almost arrow-straight neck. Witness points in check.

    The chorusy B is gone now, and the nickel slinky's certainly don't sound bad on the s/5. These being strings with less tension is just better feeling too.

    I've been playing the coated slinky's on my Warwick Thumb 6, so I may switch to them because they last forever and sound great.

    Thanks again to @sunbeast for the couple of pointers, appreciate it.
  8. Stephen Pretti

    Stephen Pretti

    Nov 12, 2018
    Hiding Rickenbacker 4003s5 Dorito Pickups