Preamp for Rickenbacker?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Gastambide, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. Gastambide


    Mar 4, 2005
    I have an 80's Fireglo Rickenbacker 4003. Like many Ric owners, I bought mine hoping to get a Geddy-like tone, only to discover that was nothing like the Rics actually sound! (Heck, just listen to how clanky and hollow Geddy's Ric sounds on the Exit Stage Left album/video.) I have always loved the way this bass looks (especially with the conversion to black pickgaurds and nameplate!) and feels, so I have undergone a series of experiments to try and help the bass's tonal deficiencies. (Lack of tight, punchy low end)

    First, I had the bridge replaced with a Schaller (which was great on my Warwick Nobby Meidel). This made it more adjustable, but the E-string sounded very weak. I finally resorted to resting the string on the screw itself, bypassing the saddle, which gave it more resonance. I am toying with the idea of putting a Badass 2 on it in hopes of further improvement. (I know it sounds great on my Precision!)

    Then, I replaced the stock pickups with the Bartolini replacements (passive). Frankly, not a big improvement, sonically. I am now thinking of trying to get an onboard preamp (Bart?) to run with passive/active switching. My question is - has anyone heard a Ric w/ an onboard preamp? I'm trying to decide if this is worth trying. (I already have run it through a Sansamp Bass Driver, and am fairly impressed with that result, but am wondering if adding an onboard preamp will be superfluous in this situation and will not be able to do anything that the Sansamp isn't already doing.) So, any opinions from those who have tried this on a Ric would be appreciated. I'm also wondering if another brand of Preamp would yield better results than the Bartolini? (2-band tone EQ)
  2. klem


    Mar 14, 2004
    Is your Nobby still living? Which serial? Would you be so kind and post me some pics?
    Have a look at my private site:
  3. SubMonkey


    May 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    OK, I'll pony up a little input, not exactly what you're looking for, but close.

    I use a Rick 4001 that I rescued from a pawn shop. it came with a pair of DiMarzio pickups that I have yet to fully identify (a g**tar sized bass humbucker by the neck and a J-shape split humbucker in the bridge) when I got it was wired with a few coil split/parallel/series switches that just weren't of much use to me....

    So, I've re-wired to match this spec (minus cap c3) ;

    This helped quite a bit (still with the DiMarzios in place), later I came across an older Bartolini TBT... Now, unwilling to deface this old Rick anymore that it already has been, I built the preamp (and battery vol/tone controls) into an external box cause all that just wasn't going to fit onboard without some surgery...

    This is now my main rig. So, at the risk of pimping my current project a little bit.. if you were to surf on over to and check the MP3 page... "Crawling Away" and "Something Right" were both recorded with this bass... hopefully this helps a bit...