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I played my 1st Rickenbacker today!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wintremute, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    I went to Sam Ash on my lunch break to check out what they had. They had FIVE Rickenbackers on the wall. I asked to try out the Midnight Blue 4003s.

    First off, it was gorgeous. They have an iconic look, and this held up to the preconceived notions. Elsewhere on TB I've read about how sometimes there's shoddy workmanship, so I looked it over for any issues, and couldn't find any. It looked and felt high quality. Everything was smooth, and it seemed ready to play. It wasn't very heavy, either. I didn't have a strap, so I don't know how that would feel, put just sitting and playing it was pretty comfortable. I played through a Fender Rumble 40. I was pretty happy with the sounds I was getting. I can't decide if I like the regular or vintage sound more - they both were good.

    The neck was a little thicker than I like, but it didn't take long to get comfortable. I liked the suuuuper easy access to the top frets. Sure there's no money there, but it's fun to play up there sometimes.

    I only had two knocks on it. One, the G string sounded twangy and thin compared to the other strings. That could possibly be fixed by adjusting the pickups, so I'm not going to really hold that against it. Two, the bass tone knob didn't really seem to do anything. No matter how I adjusted the other knobs, I never noticed a difference when I turned the bass tone. The treble tone I could definitely hear differences, though. So, I'm not sure what to make of that.

    In the end, I see why they have such a ravenous following. Sexy design, great sounds, and a very good feel.

    TL;DR: I finally saw a Rickenbacker in the wild, got to play it, and now I'm a believer.
    gebass6, nixdad, Jeff Scott and 3 others like this.
  2. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Turning the tone knob should have made pretty a obvious difference unless the pickup was too low/bridge pup was too high.

    The bridge pup can easily overpower the neck pup due to physical adjustment limits, this is why you see a lot of older basses with cracked pickguards: people try to adjust the neck pup higher rather than lowering the bridge pup to balance output.
    The neck pup has a very limited travel due to the shallow pickup design and short distance between the pickup casing and the underside of the 'guard.
    Remember that the body is quite thin, and they didn't want to remove a lot of wood to accomodate deep pickup routs.

    The solution is to adjust the neck pup as high as you like it and lower the bridge pup to balance according to your taste and playing style.

    The modern necks are a little on the chunky side and a tad wider than older basses, but still feel good (to those that like them) due to lack of taper, both in width and depth, from nut to body.

    Also, modern pups have adjustable poles and it probably needs a little tweaking to get the strings perfectly balanced.

    In other words, she probably just needs a good setup (like most new basses).
    Jeff Scott and wintremute like this.
  3. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    I tried that tone knob in different situations:

    Both pups on full blast.
    One on, one off (then vice-versa).
    One at 50%, the other at 50%.
    One at 50%, the other off (then vice-versa).
    Also all of that repeated with the Vintage knob pulled to activate.

    So, I can see how it would be an issue of off-setting pups if they were both active, but in the situations where they were not, it was still an issue. Though, I agree, a good set-up fixes MANY ills.
  4. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    I played my first Rickenbacker today and TalkBass goes down. Coincidence? I think not!
  5. Could have been a bad pot. On mine when you roll either tone knob off its very distinct. Glad you liked it otherwise. May I suggest that if you are thinking of purchasing one toss on a strap and try it standing for awhile. They feel a bit different than other basses the way they hang, but I personally like it.
    wintremute likes this.

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