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NBD: 1st bass in forever (Rick Content)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kingbreaker, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Kingbreaker


    Feb 12, 2013
    Obligatory crappy phone pic^

    I play a lot more accoustic-folk music than rock as my main musical activity, and electric instruments are more of a luxury than a necessity. Several years I gave away a much-loved J-bass to Good Will during my last cross-country move. Since then, my life has been meaningless and incomplete, so I took the plunge into the world of bassdom in grand style: a Rickenbacker 4004cii in "Mapleglo."

    The bass that I ordered from Pick of the Ricks finally arrived around 5:30 this afternoon. I just took my first break from messing around with it.

    Overall, I am gobsmacked at how great it looks in person. I was prepared to be very impressed, but my expectations were, in fact, exceeded. I'll post better pics the next time we get some natural sunlight through the sky lights where I live. (Which might be a matter of months, unfortunately.)

    Moving onto the important stuff - playability and sound. Ordering a $2K instrument sight unseen is always a bit of a gamble, and my biggest concern was the neck. And. . . it's fantastic. Yes, wider than a Jazz by the nut, but not uncomfortably so. I really, really dig the very restrained taper up on the neck - it's MUCH cozier to play than my old J bass. The location of the treble pup works wonderfully as a thumb anchor. It also loves to be played with a pick. . . it feels very natural.

    Obviously it will take some time to settle in to its new home. The setup is good, but I did need to raise all of the strings a bit to get rid of some fret buzz. It's probably a "medium low" action right now, which I like.

    Re: sound. As I am just getting back into bassdom, I don;t have an amp yet. I have a GK 200 watt combo on order; these comments should obviously be taken as initial impressions rather than a thorough review. Through a Vox amplug the Rick sounds.. . . really pretty bad, using both cheapo headphones and audio-technica noise-cancellers. But directly into my PC via a Scarlett interface, it is MUCH better. Probably still not an accurate reflection of running through a decent amp, but very tasty. Unmistakably Rick-like. Even with the humbuckers. Also dead-quiet, as one would expect.

    Chris at POTR was helpful enough to install an aftermarket electronics harness with coil taps and jazz-like controls. (A stock 4004 comes with master volume, master tone, and a pickup selector switch). This is my biggest criticism of the bass so far - the stock harness seems unnecessarily limited. Anyways, The jazz-type controls are fantastic, and worth the price of the harness alone. Switching to tapped coils on either pickup reduced the fullness, but (again, without a real amp) I could not hear a great change in the character of the bass. I'll update this part of my impressions once the amp arrives (hopefully next week).

    Yeah, I'm absolutely setting off on a honeymoon, but this one feels like a keeper :)
  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Those 4004s are cool basses ...

    Also it has been rewired volume, volume, tone which is an improvement over th stock wiring.
  3. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    4004's are cool basses. The VVT mod is a good idea for this bass.
  4. Kingbreaker


    Feb 12, 2013
    Yeah. . . it's a total no-brainer mod. Really not sure why it isn't stock. Especially for those of us with Ric guitars. Those are equipped with a total of three volume knobs for two pickups. One of these days they will figure out the happy medium :)
  5. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    I believe the factory just offers the 4004 as a alternative to the 4003,and i really appreciate the streamlined modernised design myself,as well as the powerful sound of the hb pickups. I have Dane's VVT/coil tap mod on both my 4004's,and it gives a lot of really useable tonal options. The tapped mode approximates the sound of older higains,without the noise inherent in Ric single coil pickups. I also find it tames the neck pickup's tendency to be boomy,which would be even moreso on your bass than either of mine.(my pickups are further back than what is now standard positions) Congratulations,that is a beautiful bass!
  6. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    oh my what a beauty ! HNBD !
  7. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Way cool. Nice grab
  8. That bass has a torso that's moreso and I'm warm for it's form! What an incredibly nice looking instrument...
  9. Aceonbass

    Aceonbass Commercial User

    Apr 10, 2004
    I built the harness in this bass as well as both of Woody's 4004's. While I think RIC is building the best instruments ever, the wiring in them leaves much to be desired. All of their guitars and basses use the same 330K pots and .047uF tone caps. While this may be okay for single coil pickups, it's far from optimal on Rickenbacker's HB1 (humbucker) equipped guitars and basses. Although the lead wire on the HB1 pickups is nice in that it makes coil tapping and other wiring possibilities easy, RIC makes no use of it in their production instruments.

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