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Pickup Changing for Rickenbacker 4003

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jasonhhdx, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. Jasonhhdx


    Sep 24, 2019
    I just got a used ric from my friend. I want to change a pick in a warmer sound for rock style, but I still want to keep the ric sound. I plan to keep the treble pickup, only change the neck pickup. My first choice is the Bartolini. But I have no idea about how these two sound will combine. Will this work?
  2. UntitledUser


    Sep 18, 2019
    Why also not keep your original pickup, and add a warm overdrive pedal (setting it with a low drive) before the amp?
    It's a pity changing a Ric, you loose both historic and economic value doing this.
    (my personal opinion)
  3. konfyouzd


    Jan 3, 2009
    I apologize if this doesn't apply for you, but I seem to remember on some guitar forums they had ways of providing pickup DI's to one another so that another user could try out a pickup through their own rig before buying to get a general feel for how it responds, but I also don't know very well how that actually works.

    Maybe a smarter TBer than myself will chime in.
    Jasonhhdx likes this.
  4. Jasonhhdx


    Sep 24, 2019
    actually, I really like Bartolini sound in my Ibanez BTB bass, I tried a few different kinds of overdrive on my zoom pedal, but I didn't find anyone can let ric work like BTB. do you have any choice of overdrive for this?
  5. Jasonhhdx


    Sep 24, 2019
    do you have the name of those websites? I can not find them
  6. konfyouzd


    Jan 3, 2009
    I knew of guitarists exchanging pickup DI's on Sevenstring.org, but I am not entirely sure how they did it. Nolly was one of them, though. Does he post here?
  7. UntitledUser


    Sep 18, 2019
    since you have a zoom you can try this:
    -record a simple riff/loop with a free software or a daw, using your ibanez with a patch that you like (es. amp and overdrive or amp only)
    -now plug your Ric instead of Ibanez, using the same patch, place a parametric EQ as first effect in the chain.
    -Using a narrow Q value on the EQ, and boosting a lot (es. +12) a frequency, make the frequency selector of the eq rotate while you play the same identical riff that you recorded until you find that you have found a sweetspot.
    Use the previous recording as a reference to listen, so that you can mimic a bit the warmth the tone.
    -If it doensn't work try the same thing, but cutting a freq instead of boosting, to see if you find something that you want to remove.

    This would not make your basses identical, but can help you to understand what you would like to add or what you would like to remove. Once that you know it, you can obtain similar (but of course not identical) tone/feeling.
    Jasonhhdx likes this.
  8. alembicbones


    Nov 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I'm kind of the same mind set as UntitledUser. I think the magic of a Ric is in it's proprietary components. I understand that you like the Bartolini sound from your Ibanez. Is it possible that the Ric just might not be the right bass for you? You wouldn't be the first. It took me well over 35 years to finally dial into a Ric that I truly enjoy playing (4003s/5).

    In the short term, I think I would mess around amp settings, eq's and potentially pedals to shape a pleasing tone for yourself. If you still feel a pickup change is necessary, you might first think about adding a Ric Toaster in the neck position.

  9. Jasonhhdx


    Sep 24, 2019
    yes, I almost lost my mind with EQ and amp setting in my playing. this is really different from others bass I used to play. maybe because the high gain pickup? or control? But I like ric sound and their design. even this is not the right one for my playing, I can hold this as a collection.
  10. UntitledUser


    Sep 18, 2019
    Ok, different basses can't sound identical. That's a fact.
    But seems strange that you can't find a frequency that you can cut (if you have too much trebles for example) or boost (lowmids or lows) to make it more friendly for your tone taste.

    If you really need to modify it, don't sell your original pickup, at least.
    Glenn Johnson likes this.
  11. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Have you thought about trying Ric HB-1 humbuckers? They are the same size as the stock High Gains currently installed.
    ctmullins and Dabndug like this.
  12. fakeneckplate'65

    fakeneckplate'65 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2014
    Columbus, OH
    I have as always found that the neck pickup is much lower in output than the bridge pickup. To combat this I recently had a Nordstrand Nordenbocker installed into my 4003 & it is amazing. Much more clarity & output than the stock pickup. I wouldn't consider it warmer than stock though. I've never heard anyone that considers the neck sound to be bright in any way.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
    FRoss6788, Guzzi Toad and SactoBass like this.
  13. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Have you played the bass much yet, if at all, in a band context with the stock pickups?
    Nlenhard17, Picton and dkelley like this.
  14. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    ^^^THIS! :thumbsup:
  15. I dunno... for what a rick costs, the discomfort of playing one, the amazing various tones made famous by Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Fred Turner, Paul McCartney all different, all with stock pickups..... it kind of makes you wonder why you'd buy a rick if you didn't adore the sounds you could get from it.

    I don't love the pickups either, mind you, but they can be made to do most of what most folks need really well. It will never be a precision or a jazz or a stingray or a spector, but it'll get get close enough for general use and has all of the rick tones as well.

    Definitely, imho, I'd not touch the pickups (other than height, wiring etc) and focus on outboard gear to get the tone you want instead.

    Bonus is you can then work on tones from that same outboard gear sound with every bass you play, although they all will offer different versions.
    smtp4me, Nlenhard17 and Methaneman like this.
  16. SleepyShark


    Feb 28, 2018
    The Low End
    IMO the "Ric sound" comes from the sum of its parts. While people can argue about the Ric's design flaws until the end of rock and roll, the sound is apologetically Rickenbacker and you know it when you hear it. I think modding that aspect risks losing what makes it special.

    I get why people change the bridge, etc. but personally I wouldn't change the electronics. Not that it's some holy artifact that must remain in its original condition and never modified... YMMV, after all, it's your bass.
    Methaneman and buldog5151bass like this.
  17. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Silly question. Why spend the money for a Ric, and then change to a different pickup?
    Picton, dkelley and J Gold like this.
  18. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I am not a fan of barts … Try the Seymour Duncan Rickenbacker neck pickup ...

    Also what year is your 4003/4001 Certain years have 500k ohm tone pots … putting in 250k ohm tone pots will give it a warmer tone … Some of the 4003 basses already have 250k ohm tone pots and some have 330k ohm pots.

    Try changing the pots first if you have one of the years with the 500k ohm tone pots

    I had 2 almost identical bases one year apart and one had 250k ohm pots and one 500k ohm pots … the tone difference was noticable
    Nlenhard17 and Zoobiedood like this.
  20. JKB1957


    Jul 18, 2015
    I would retract your post. It is never good to anger the RIC Gods. Very bad juju to talk about desecrating a RIC, much worse to actually do so. Only one thing is of greater blasphemy, to have a Fender P-Bass and remove the "tort" pick guard. AAAAHHHHH!!!!!! Seriously it's your bass do what you want, but if you want a different tone maybe looking for a different bass would be easier, and cheaper.
    dkelley likes this.

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