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NBD: Ruby Rickenbacker 4003 (PINCH ME!)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cataract, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    I've always considered myself to be a Fender Precision player, though I've owned and used the heck out of a 4H Stingray and a Gibson Ripper..

    Wanted to try something different, so I picked up an older Ibanez ATK300- which was great and all, but I saw this particular Rickenbacker here in the classifieds and fell in love.

    Sold the ATK and picked up this amazing 2014 Rickenbacker 4003 in Ruby red:

    Why have I not been playing a RIC since forever ago?! All this talk about the binding being uncomfortable (not true at all) and the neck being too skinny / too chunky (also not true) and the pickup cover & bridge getting in the way of playing (ALSO also not true)...

    I'm in bass heaven. This thing is great. Took me maybe 10 seconds to feel right at home with it. I'm still kind of processing the fact that I've found my forever bass!!!

    One thing that IS absolutely true about this bass: this particular paint color is indeed very hard to photograph - took these photos with my still kickin' 2012 iPhone 4S :)
  2. byoung93888

    byoung93888 Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    Very nice!
    nixdad, superdick2112 and cataract like this.
  3. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Mile High Bassist Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    I have one just like it - great bass.

    Congrats, and Enjoy!
    cataract likes this.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    That sucker is beautiful. Looks like a vintage Corvette with the white side swipe and chrome trim. :D
  5. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    Thanks, guys! I'm still kind of in shock at how great this instrument is. Been playing since '94 and I'm pretty sure this is the most amazing bass I've ever played, tonally and just straight up feelwise ..
  6. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Beautiful bass - I love the Ruby finish.
    cataract likes this.
  7. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World

    Nov 25, 2008
    Felt similar when I snagged my 4003. It's a nice bass.
    nixdad and cataract like this.
  8. Plake

    Plake Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    drooldrooldrooldrooldrool Killer! Congrats!
    cataract likes this.
  9. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    I'd been playing on this thing for at least a couple of hours last night when I realized I hadn't even tried out the vintage tone toggle -- I laughed out loud- this has been pairing so well with my Rusty Box, it's ridiculous
    woodyng2 and Jeff Scott like this.
  10. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World

    Nov 25, 2008
    As for some qualitative notes (not included in my previous post). Things I've noticed worth noting:
    1 - The low E can be a little weak, relative to the other strings, mostly with the bridge PU. I've seen some search results about this being an issue for others, and the PU height adjustment seems to be the answer. I'll say it looks like a bit of a chore to get to the PU and I haven't done that yet. A little dirt or comp goes a long way to making this not an issue.
    2 - I've not felt the thumb rest (like a Zeromod) is needed. I can rest my thumb on the body/hardware without much issue.
    3 - The bridge looks like a challenge to adjust. I don't do my own setups, so I'm not going to comment on how easy/hard it can be. Mine came with a really good intonation and string height, so I'm not likely to tweak anything.
    4 - Single coils make noise. I don't mind them.
    5 - Refrets can be an issue, down the road. Some folks leave the fretboard bare after this operation.
    cataract likes this.
  11. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    Thanks for the tips! I was debating whether or not to remove the pickup cover but having had some (literal) hands on time with it, I don't think it's that huge of a problem being there.

    Different? Yes! But I guess what I'm trying to say is that picking up a 4003 is telling me a lot about my personal playing style & technique-- I don't use my right palm to mute or silence strings (the silencing is almost all in my left hand) and I tend to play either just ahead of the bridge pickup area comfortably or fairly close to the bridge.

    One of the things that bugged me the most about my Stingray 4H was that the pickup itself was pretty high and right near where I naturally wanted to pick, so I'd wind up catching myself hitting the actual PU with my pick, ugh!

    One thing I've noticed about my 4003 is that the neck pickup's nowhere near as loud as the bridge pickup, when A/B'd with both vol knobs dimed. The bass does seem louder / more present with the neck vol slightly turned down (with both pickups selected). I haven't had a chance to refine my EQ but even though the neck tone's kinda muddy, this sucker isn't lacking any bite.

    Right now I'm debating whether or not to black out the hardware / TRC - not sure if I'd like the Hipshot bridge though!
    woodyng2 likes this.
  12. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I consider mine the most perfect and amazing instrument I have ever owned. You bought a bass you should hang onto for the rest of your life.
    superdick2112 and cataract like this.
  13. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World

    Nov 25, 2008
    HA! I meant to post them in another Should I Buy A Ric thread. They seem to be useful here.
    cataract likes this.
  14. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    I've said this before, surely, but this time's for certain- there's no way I'll ever let this one go!

    The only bad thing about this situation is that I'm already eyeing the 4003s model, which I almost pulled the trigger on but glad I didn't. Super looking forward to picking up a guitar amp on the cheap and putting the Rick-O-Sound through the paces. I'm also super glad that the 4003 binding isn't even noticeable at all to me while playing, trying to figure out why so many people have brought this up as a dealbreaker issue here.

    Maybe older models had sharper binding edges? The most uncomfortable instrument I've ever played was a Fender Telecaster, and that was mostly because of the lack of hip contour.
  15. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    Lots of Ric action on the boards these days! Haha
    Feel free cross-post !!
    monsterthompson likes this.
  16. Madhouse27

    Madhouse27 Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2016
    Now THAT is a sweet looking bass!
    cataract likes this.
  17. I'll just add my two cents to the above:
    1. The poles on the bridge pickup come from the factory raised for the A and D strings so that can be the culprit if the E or G have less volume. Just takes a few seconds to adjust the poles if this is an issue. It wasn't on my 4003 because I dropped the action pretty low but if you play with higher action it could matter more.
    2. Thumb rests are personal decisions. I've never needed one, but sometimes use the bridge pickup cover when playing behind the pickup. When playing more towards the neck I sometimes use the pickguard. It's sufficient for me.
    3. The bridge is easy to adjust once you know how it works. I found some great info on Joey's website.
    4. Yes single coil hum can be a bugger.
    5. Never had a refret. Even on my '72 4001 (although the frets are nearly done on that one they still work and have been dresses and leveled).

    Rics are great basses and they are their own thing. Very fun to play for me. Mine gets gigged all the time. Enjoy!
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
    monsterthompson and cataract like this.
  18. I've never had a problem either with my arm resting on my 4003, the binding doesn't cut into my arm at all. But I think it depends on your body size/type because for some people it is an issue.
    cataract likes this.
  19. Got one, love it! Not as pristine condition as yours. Not sure if you know, but based on readings on this site, Rickenbacker have taken this colour out of the line-up.
    cataract likes this.
  20. rocu


    Jan 28, 2015
    Missoula, MT
    I've got one just like it!

    2012 iPhone 4S that is.

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