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Detuning on Rickenbacker 4003/4001

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by babecker, May 6, 2002.


  1. babecker

    babecker

    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    I'm considering getting a Ric 4003/4001, however the my band generally plays tuned down a half step (E flat, A flat, etc...) and occasionally drops the low string further to D flat. I'm concerned that the slightly shorter scale of the Rick (33.25") might turn my tone mushy. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this. Thanks!
     
  2. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I've got a 4003 and i've tuned down to e flat to play Every breath you take and it sounds great.
    Once I wasn't really concentrating on what I was doing when tuning down and went down to c sharp and once again sounded great of course I didn't know I was playing c sharp so my songs were abit off.
    Ricks are great instruments if you do any slap stuff I recomend 4001 over the 4003 because the front pick up doesn't have these bumps on it that the strings tend to hit.
     
  3. incubus2432

    incubus2432

    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    I've tuned mine to D with no problems...still spunds and plays excellent but for anything lower I thought it sounded a little sloppy. I took my second Ric and strung it low B,E,A,D and find that to be a better solution for "dropped tuning". It also makes me a little more creative in the way I play things.
    Just a thought......and you can still play most regular tuned songs on it.
     
  4. Here is an MP3 of my 2001 Rick 4003. First I dropped each string a half step, played some Weezer, then I dropped the low string to D flat and did some Tool. It rattles like crazy since my action is set up low and any change to tension screws things up badly, but you get the idea. Then I went back to EADG to give you a comparison to what it sounds like in standard tuning. This is with both pickups wide open, picked with a Dunlop Tortex .50 (yes, I am insane) a half inch towards the bridge from the treble pickup.

    Unfortunately my Rotosound RS 66LA (.30, .50, .65, .85, insane again... the goal was to at least come remotely close to approximating Geddy Lee's Power Windows sound... it worked!) strings are nicely fried, at the ripe old age of 3 months.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that my Rick is sort of a freak, I've picked up and played at least 30 of these things, and mine is by a noticable marign the heaviest... the neck is pretty phat, but that's the way I like it.

    Anyway, use more, er, regular, sane guage strings and live with slightly higher than optimal action and you should have no troubles with a Rick. I'd suggest trying one yourself, preferably without fried strings like mine :)

    As for TaySte_2000's comment... the regular 4001 does have the button top pickups, as the 4003 does. I believe what he's thinking about is the 4001v63, or any other Rick with the vintage toaster pickup.

    I wouldn't worry about the strings hitting the button tops on a regular 4003/4001, at least on mine, and any other Rick I've examined, the button tops are too low to be an issue unless you truely are insane with your slapping. A Rick isn't a super slapping bass either, the string spacing at the bridge is considerably tighter than your average four stringer, and I find it just doesn't sound right slapped. That said, we had someone in some other forum saying he heard some guy slapping a Rick and he thought it was great. YMMV.

    If you're wondering about the marks on the button top pickups that almost every used Rick seems to have... well, I got mine from repeatedly hitting them with a pick.

    Anyway, bottom line is you really must play one before you buy one. They're certainly a different flavour than your average bass, I find playing a Rick akin to driving an old Saab 900 Turbo. It's an acquired taste. But I like it :)

    --jeff