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Question for Rick owners

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Stinsok, Dec 30, 2002.

  1. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I recently got the chance to play a 4001 (first encounter) at a local music store (it was used.) The sound was very thin and had no low end at all. Is this common? Geddy Lee and Chris Squire's sounds have a huge midrange punch, but the low is there too. Does it require a lot of work to get a good sound out of a Rick? Was this an uncommon bass? I am not bashing in anyway- I think they are cool basses!
  2. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Hmmm. Bad tone pot or cap, maybe? Mine has plenty of bottom...
  3. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    When I run my Ric through my SWR 410 by itself, I find it to be pretty tinny and harsh; however, adding a 15" really helps fill out the sound. Maybe the lack of lowend had something to do with the amp/speaker configuration you were using...

    Ultimately though, I don't think the Ric is cut out for massive amounts of low end. I play in a heavy three piece band and I found that as much as I loved how the Ric played, it just didn't fill out the low end like I needed. I couldn't get any thump -- sustain for days, though. Lee and Squire obviously could get Rics to work sublimely in their bands, but it just couldn't cut it for me. I really tried to make it fit too -- I love the look and feel of Rics...

    Anyway, that's just my experience -- I'm sure there will be someone out there to disagree with me!:D
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Not a "disagree-er" becker. But "thump" isn't an adjective that comes to my mind with the 4001. I think of it as very, "big", "punchy", clear, low end, but still with lots of depth. Just like the 2 Rick electric guitars I've tried, the 4001 isn't "warm", "mellow", or "round-souding." The notes on a 4001 always sound very distinct, even on the low end, with any amp made since solid state came into being, (bubinga fretboard helps its clarity, too).

    Dave Davies of the Kinks got a very "warm", "round" sound out of his 4001 when I heard him live decades ago, but he was using a 60's era, all-tube, amp and Rotosound hadn't come out with roundwounds yet.

    Personally, I think a Sadowsky is one of the basses that epitmizes the sound you are after.
  5. Malcom


    Oct 21, 2002
    The Midwest
    Most Rick players seem to have a dinky/twangy tone, but I've gotten a near Jah Wobble tone out of mine, just slap on some flats, use the tone pots, and favor the neck pickup. It's almost odd how thuddy you can get, considering these things are all maple.
  6. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I love the look of these basses, does anyone make aftermarket pickups that would bring out some lows without destroying the looks or completely changing the personality?
  7. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    If this is a 4001 from the 70's or early 80's, it would have the .0047 cap in it. That capacitor is designed to reduce the output of the bridge pick-up by 50%.
    The result is a thinner sound (aka Squire, Lee). You must remember that the pick-ups back then were not wound as hot as they are today. They were generally in the 7.4 ohms range and sometimes even less. Which would make the bass sound thinner and much different than a P-Bass or Jazz.
    To thicken up the sound of a 4001 all one needs to do is simply bypass the .0047 cap (as I suggested approx 18 months ago in the Rickenbacker thread).
    Bypassing the the capacitor will bring the bottom end to life on a 4001 and the output level will also increased.
    I recommend the bypass of and not the removal of the .0047 cap in general on the 4001. That way you can quickly change the bass back to its original condition with the simple removal of the bypass wiring.
    If one was to buy a 4001 and replace the original pick-ups with Rickenbacker's re-issue pickups you would find the sound of the bass would be much fatter sounding. Rickenbacker's re-issue pick-ups are much hotter and fuller sounding than the originals were. That's why a newer 4003 sounds more like a Precision than a 4001.
  8. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    That's good information.... Thanks!

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