NBD. Rickenbacker 4003 Mapleglo

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vlad335, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. vlad335

    vlad335 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Latrobe, PA
    I bought a 2018 4003 Mapleglo despite only playing 5 strings for the past decade.

    20200616_140413_resized.jpg 20200620_001435_resized.jpg

    Bass matches my cat.

    Why did I buy a 4 string Rick? Became obsessed with the Chris Squire/Geddy Lee tone as of late. However, I owned a rick 4001 in the 80's and certainly remember trying to get that famous grindy growly tone and could never achieve it, no matter what I tried. Rotosound Swingbass strings and later I even put a guitar humbucker in the bridge position. Also, tried the Ric O Sound without success. I chalked it up to the above players using some kind of secret amp trickery and eventually got rid of the bass.

    I bought this bass new from Musicians Friend and was listed as in stock at the time of purchase but was soon informed that they didnt have it in stock. After a couple days of nothing being shipped I called and was informed to my horror that they expected a shipment from Rickenbacker in December 2020! i was offered an alternative though. I could cancel the order or I could get one from Guitar Center but it most likely will be a wall hanger in one of their stores. Opted for the latter.

    The manager for the San Antonio Guitar Center contacted me and described a couple dings and she offered 10% off because of this. I asked for 15% and she agreed. Knowing this hung on a wall at GC I had very low expectations.

    Received the bass a couple days ago. The described dings were more or less unnoticable. Predictably, the setup was horrible and it had the deadest strings I have encountered in a long time. Put some Hybrid Slinkys I had here on it and set it up the best I could.

    The sound blows me away! OMG, that tone. This bass has that classic grind in spades! i have a bunch of dirt pedals including the Geddy Lee sig pedal and this bass doesnt even need it. That tone is there naturally. When I dig in it gets even more nasty. Do not even need to pull out the pot for vintage tone and haven't plugged in the Rick O sound yet.

    I am working on doing a recording and will post it here.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  2. vlad335

    vlad335 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Latrobe, PA
    I do not understand why I had so much trouble getting this tone in the 80's. That bass was seriously growl deficient. Sounded like a boomy Fender actually. Perhaps it was the electronics?

    Did some of these basses back in the day just not have the mojo?

    Anyway... With the previous experience in mind, I had actually considered replacing pickups before I even had the bass in my hands. Was looking at the Horseshoe and the Toaster pickup. Haha! That would be a total waste of money!

    One thing I don't like is the bridge. Awful. Can't get the intonation dialed in and it has to go. Looked at the Hipshot but I want quick release since I soak my strings in denatured alcohol and this makes it alot easier.

    Looks like a serious mod is in order.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    too cool! it sure does look great. i'm looking forward to hearing it just because you're so excited! :D

    but i'm glad you like your ax --- congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
    staurosjohn likes this.
  4. vlad335

    vlad335 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Latrobe, PA
    Ok, dug out my Zoom B3 and figured out how to make a quick recording.

    Please forgive the horrendous playing. This is the Rick straight into the Zoom using Audacity. One take and very sloppy.

    Just started learning Rush Limelight like 15 minutes ago so playing a couple parts just to give an idea of the tone. No effects on the Zoom whatsoever ( It could use some compression.)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Great score, much happiness to you both! :bassist:
  6. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Is your cat's name Rick N. Backer?
    Pauly 4001 and spot65 like this.
  7. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    Congratulations on the beautiful new bass and finally finding "that sound."

    Look into the new version of the tailpiece RIC just introduced.
    vlad335 likes this.
  8. Koshchei


    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    Yeah, there's absolutely nothing that sounds like a Ric! Welcome to the club! And yes, the old bridge is legitimately awful. The Hipshot is a drop-in replacement, and the V2 is also excellent, though you have to drill holes.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
    vlad335 likes this.
  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    So cool. Glad it worked out. Embrace the growl!
    vlad335 likes this.
  10. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.
    Too cool. Beauty for sure.

    BTW I have a 2019 used 4003 Maple glo currently in shipping from a GC in Florida. Gave me a great price and it was immaculate. I too was told about month long waits on ordering a new Ric. Just couldn't get any one to deal on prices or have any ideas on when a new one would be expected. Seems Ric has a real backlog.

    Any way mine should be here on Wednesday, Can't wait.

    Enjoy your new baby.
    vlad335 likes this.
  11. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    It's two things:
    - the strings: they have to be fresh roundwounds to get that grinding tone.
    - where and how plucked: you have to pluck between the bridge and neck PU's. And hammer hard and I mean _hard_ on every single note.

    When the new strings die down in a few days you'll notice that "crunch" initially on the notes will start to turn into more of a "clop". Once they're fully dead in a couple weeks, you'll be kind of back to square one where you were in the 80's with your other rick, no matter how hard you hit it.
    Compression won't help that, but it will definitely help even out the string volume and reduce the unwanted dynamics.

    Similarly for the Chris Squire tone, which requires fresh roundwounds and a very strong picking hand.

    Don't ask me why I know all this in so much detail.

    That's not a bash on the rickenbacker (I love the 4003, I gigged with one for many years, and can't wait to get another one), that's just a fact of life of the rickenbacker when you want the GL tone and no one is immune. If you watch GL play, that's how he does it all the time, including on his jazz basses, and usually with fresh strings. If you're not gigging all day every day and strong enough to attack the bass like that, you won't get that tone.

    As for the bridge, yes it's truly terrible, but fortunately there aren't detectable tonal consequences to replacing it. So if you can get it setup the way you want with the existing bridge, I wouldn't spend the money on replacing it. If not, by all means get the new bridge from rickenbacker, which looks to be much better and it'll still play and sound great.

    Sorry to be kind of a wet blanket on the tone, but don't let that discourage you about the bass. It's a great instrument and when you find your tone on it, you'll probably still love it.

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  12. JoshS


    Dec 30, 2018
    Congrats on the NBD. Nothing like a 4003. :)
    vlad335 likes this.
  13. dangevans

    dangevans Guest

    Mar 26, 2014
    I've never had an issue with the stock bridge. If you do it right, you can dial in the intonation and not have to touch it at least for a long time. It isn't as easy as some other basses to get to, but it can be done.
    Skullie and vlad335 like this.
  14. Kevorargh

    Kevorargh Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2013
    West Bethel, Maine
    I still have the stock bridge on mine - I had to replace the saddles on my 4001 when I owned it because the graphite saddles wore down.

    As for tone - you won't get a true Chris Squire without sending the at least the high end signal through a guitar head - I believe that's how he originally did it. I simulate the tone with my BOSS GT-10B with a little reverb and tremolo so I can get that Starship Troopers sound - it works well.

    Geddy's tone requires some dirt and a lit of higher range mids.

    I have a 2003 Mapleglo - great score!
    vlad335 likes this.
  15. Manticore

    Manticore Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2016
    SoCal and PNW
    Congratulations! And yes, replace the bridge soonest. Although it may be possible, I've yet to run across a Ric with the original-style bridge that would properly intonate; aside from being a PITA to adjust, the saddles simply don't have enough travel to get the instrument intonated properly. I replaced mine in the mid-70s and haven't had issues since.
    vlad335 likes this.
  16. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    My 4003 is starting to exhibit the (unfortunately) normal lift. If you opt to change your bridge, please repost. It would be interesting to see what route you go.
    vlad335 likes this.
  17. vlad335

    vlad335 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Latrobe, PA
    I hear what you are saying about the strings. Absolutely correct. I have been playing these Ernie Balls for a couple days and they are definitely losing the magic.

    I need to chznge this bridge to a quick release type like the gotoh 404. Like I mentioned above I soak my strings in a PVC pipe in denatured alcohol. Makes them like new but it is much easier if you don't have to pull them thru a bridge.


    Geddy's Rick has a plate underneath the Badass bridge and I am going to do something like this. Would make this bass unbeatable!
    luciens likes this.
  18. Koshchei


    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    Some strings definitely sound better and last longer than others. You can maintain the growl with DR Hellborgs for about 500 hours of playtime, after which they go downhill swiftly. Rotos only last a day or two for comparison. The downside of Hellborgs is how different they feel and play due to their single wrap construction.
    luciens likes this.
  19. Koshchei


    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    The Hipshot is probably the best course if you're using an older bridge, because it's a good design and a drop-in replacement, but the V2 is also good - it's mounted with 8 screws in total as well (massive overkill), so it's not going anywhere.
  20. vlad335

    vlad335 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Latrobe, PA
    I found it! Now I have to see if my Luthier guy can do this. Brilliant!

    r10.jpg r8.jpg

    Combine part of the Rick bridge with a Gotoh 404!

    Screenshot_2020-06-23 GOTOH 404SJ-4 4-String Bass Bridge w Steel Saddles eBay.png

    I love the Gotoh. quick release with a zinc base and steel saddles. Just like the Badass
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020