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Rickenbacker 4003

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ZeroSymbolic, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. This bass is my dream bass, but I've sadly never played one, its just that most of my favorite bassists play it, and I think it looks absolutely stunning.

    So In a childish way I'm asking "Whats it like to own/play one?"
  2. Ivan R

    Ivan R

    Jun 8, 2012
    They are awesome, but not for everyone. Try before you buy. Also, AVOID BASSES MADE IN 2009 (worst Rickenbacker neck year ever).
  3. patplaysbass

    patplaysbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 7, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Soon-to-be-ex Musician's Friend/Guitar Center Employee
    If you don't mind a wide neck (relative to a Jazz) then it's like playing a bass made out of magic and dreams and all things good in the world.
  4. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    I played one years ago in a shop. Didnt like it. I've been playing Jazzes & P's for years.
    I tried out a brand new 4003 again just this past june, loved it and took it home. It is truly an awesome instrument. The pick up cover seems to be in the way of the "sweet spot" so it came off. You need to get a bezel to cover the cavity. No biggie
  5. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Yeah, necks varied throughout the years from super duper slim all the way to 2x4's. Started as a one piece neck originally, then went to a three piece with the center strip being darker shedua wood, then back to a one piece for quite a long time....until very recently.

    In April of 2009, they came out with a nice two piece design that is rock steady and not fat at all. A bit deeper and wider that a Jazz neck at the nut, but not nearly as wide in the upper registers. They just don't taper them out as much as Jazz necks.

    So if you are looking to buy new, lots of dealers have them, and if you contact a dealer, $1600 seems to be the average deal for a 4003. If you buy used, only after April 2009 is my recommendation. The Rickenbacker corporate web site has a serial number decoder under their 'service tab' to assist you in that regard. Buying vintage should be considered only if you have done lots of research, or have a trusted friend who can help you out. Lots of very convincing fakes out there.

    But hey, if you find a cool one you can try, and you like the feel and sound, any Ric is a good Ric.
  6. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    For me, its about the way they sound. They are klanky and throaty and just have an "authority" about their sound. Whenever I play anything else and then play a Ric, I am always startled by how much better the Ric sounds. Of course, that's my opinion, other folks feel differently.

    Rics usually weigh in around 9-10 lbs, so those that like ultra-light basses may not like the weight. Some have also complained that the top is sharp (not contoured) and is uncomfortable to their forearm. These complaints are valid, but you get used to it pretty quick.

    IMO, it's the sound that makes it all worth it. They look cool, but lot's of basses look cool. It's that sound that touches my soul.
  7. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    The stock bridge is a bit challenging to adjust. Not being a 'purist', I sold mine and installed a Hipshot. They do not come with a truss rod adjustment tool. On mine, there is not much clearance between the nuts and surrounding wood. I had to take a grinder to a 1/4' nut driver to thin the 'walls' to allow it to fit on the adjustment nuts. They are not shielded and the pickups are not wound to be a RWRP pair to allow hum cancelling. After shielding with magnetic paint, I haven't had noise/hum problems. Aside from these practical issues, I agree that nothing sounds quite like a Ric. Mine is a 2010 mapleglo. I love all of their finishes except jetglo, so I went natural. I'm in a minority who don't dig black instruments. :rollno: I find the neck quite comfortable and enjoy the 33 1/4" scale. I don't have a problem with the lack of a forearm contour. The body binding is visually attractive, but if the option existed (at the price point of the 4003) to have no binding and contoured edges, that's what I would have purchased. It took me a long time to get around to buying one and a little work to get mine how I wanted it, but it has been worth the wait & tinkering for me. :cool:

    Life is short, I hope you can experience one before too long!!!
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I love the new Rics ...

  9. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    They are amazing basses, and un-like anything else. Some would say, quirky. i say, unique. Ric does make other models, besides the 4003. Check out a 4004, if you want a "modern" Ric bass.
  10. I've been playing Rics since the early 70s and I love them. They are not for everyone, however. There always seems to be a "love-hate" relationship for most bass players with Rickenbacker. In most cases, you either love them or you hate them; very little "wiggle" room with them.

    My advice? DO NOT buy until you've had the opportunity to play one or ONLY buy one from an establishment that has a very liberal return policy (in case you can't handle it).

    I wish you the very best of luck!! :D
  11. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    I had one once, but sadly it got stolen.
    I loved the tone, very midrangey, focused and clear as far as I remember.
    But I wasn't too fond of the way the neck played. Actually I prefered my Aria Pro II with way too high action for playability over my Rick. But that might just being me that's weird.
  12. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    I love my 4003 from 2009. The bridge is something, I removed the small black screws for adjusting the saddle hight, so the saddle is on minimum hight. The screws for adjusting the string dampers have been replaced with a normal screw which I can adjust with a flat screw driver. So these to sett of knobs/ screws on the bridge had to go, they were in the way as I play with a pick. Otherwise, one have to find that "Rickenbacker playing position" due to the ergonomic and the sharp binding.
    In one hand I have the most comfortable and fast neck in the world, thus the Geddy Lee Jazz bass, on the other hand the somewhat strange 4003. But I play the Rick most, it is all about the tone, look and the neck, which is not slim but fast due to little taper.
    Btw, the 4003 is VERY versatile tone wise, most of all my basses.
  13. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    The tone is all between very deep creamy lows with only neck pup to the barky aggressive mids tone with bridge pup soloed.
  14. greggster59


    Oct 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    I bought one with a bad neck last year. Sent it back the same day. For a long time I was cured of my Ric GAS.

    Then found this beauty a couple of weeks ago (http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/4745/rick4.jpg) and haven't been able to put it down. I have it strung with TI Jazz Flats and get a very wide range of tones on.

    You should at least try and play one to see if it is for you. Good luck
  15. Pbass4003


    Dec 1, 2012
    Queens, NY
    I'll let you know tomorrow—NBD! ...So excited I changed my SN in anticipation!
  16. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    I'm a P bass guy and I owned one for a few years.

    I bought it around 2005, I remember haggling the guy at Samash to $900 new (this is before their prices went up).

    I did a few tours with it and sold it for almost 2.5 times my original purchase price.

    The bass sounded AMAZING. The one thing that caused me to sell it was that I would develop rashes on my right wrist from the sharp corner. I wasn't able to get around this, so I had to sell it.

    It's an amazing bass. Going from an American P bass to a Rick is like going from an old Toyota to a brand new BMW. The quality is amazing.:bassist:
  17. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    You sound like the perfect candidate for a 4004 Laredo! :cool:

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