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Which sounds the most like a Ric in the same position: '51 scpb PU or Jazz PU?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by boristhespider7, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    OK assuming PU's are in the same position as PU's on a 4003 Rickenbacker which would sound the most Ric-like? SCPB ('51 P) or Jazz?

    Or would another PU be better to get that tone (other than an origonal Ric PU)

    Just pondering a project build to get a Ric'ish tone without shedding out on a Ric
  2. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    What is the position, exactly of the Ric 4003, measured from the nut, or from the 12th fret?
  3. Qlanq


    Jul 9, 2007
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I own a RIC 4002 (that's right, "2," not "1" or "3"), and I used to own a 4001. I have also owned, or currently own, several Fenders over the years, including a real '75 J-bass in light ash, and various other instruments, foreign and domestic.

    To answer the question, none of the above. Most of the RIC signature tone comes from the maple neck-through construction which gives the signature articulation and scooped upper bass/lower mids; the pickups merely fine tune the response. I have a RIC HB-1 in my custom half-fanned P-J (alder body, rosewood fretboard, etc.), and guess what is sounds like - A RIC? No. It sounds like a P-J with a little more growl because I have the pickup in the D-G segment position.

    It works the other way as well. I demonstrated to a friend with a J pickup suspended over his RIC that even though there were some elements of tonal similarity as we moved the pickup along the string, that the long narrow coils of a J-pickup with 42 AWG wire tended to bring out a different resonance than does the more rounded geometry of the RIC pickups with 44 AWG wire, and it was not complimentary to the overall tone of the instrument.

    Moreover, as the strings taper from bridge to nut, the pickup poles may line up over a pickup mounted in the RIC treble position, but they will not line up over a pickup in the RIC neck position, either the current "one-inch" position or the "vintage" "one-half-inch" position. Check out pictures of CCR bassist Stu Cook's P-bass, on which he installed a RIC Toaster. Listen to the recordings. It doesn't sound like a RIC, but it does have a nice round tone that is its own personality.

    Bottom line: if you want a RIC, purchase a RIC. If you don't have the cash, save up the gig money over time. If you want the contrast in tone that comes from a wider pickup positioning, but not necessarily emulation, experiment as you will, as I did, knowing going in that it will not be a RIC tone. A good tone, yes, if the bass is of quality construction in its own right, but not a RIC tone.
  5. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    Thanks for the info...i'm sure there's a few on TB who have been down this road. I know a Ric is a sum of all its parts and without buying a Ric i won't get the full Ric tone. But am just wondering about which PU would get me the closest too that tone (although i accept this still may not be 100% Ric). Too many QC issues (plus feel and price!) put me off Ric's, so if i can get more in the sonic territory of it with Fender parts that are interchangeable/upgradeable i'll be tempted.
  6. Don't be afraid of QC issues on Ric's. Majority are fine and some companies have return policies like GC . I got my 4003s for 1350.00. As far as your pickup question I would be of no help sorry. Good luck!
  7. Grab a set of Classic Amplification Ric pickups - these are generally regarded as the closest to sounding like the stock pups - and put them in the same location as the Ric pickups are, and it'll sound like a Ric. Keep in mind the 33 1/4" scale of the Ric has some influence as well, and you'll never completely capture that with a 34" scale bass, but you'll get damn close.


    Hopefully you go ahead with this and come back to share pics and information, I'd love to hear more once it comes together. Good luck! :)
  8. El Tookay

    El Tookay Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    .....for the win. I've owned about 15 Rickenbacker 4000/4001's over the years, and yes, the sound is the sum of the parts. Rickenbacker pickups are unique in their construction, a low, wide coil, 44 gauge wire, etc, and I can say with 100% certainty that the Duncan offerings do not sound even close-up pretty sure the SRB-1N neck pickup is actually a floating jazz guitar pickup. At one time, Jason Lollar was re-creating true magnetic horseshoe pickups (until John Hall sic'd the corporate law weasels on him) which captured the true 60's 4001 tone. And yes, a true magnetic horseshoe does sound different than the current horseshoe. But unless you have the scratch to plunder a pickup from a '40's Rick, lapsteel, go with the current horseshoe. Don't like the shoes in the way? Have a tech take them off, and you will have a very snarly pickup with big 3/8" pole pieces...Done.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  9. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    QC? I played my 4002 as my primary, well, only bass for over ten years, and I never had to do anything, not even a truss rod tweak, until I started experimenting with different brands and gauges of strings on it a couple of years ago. And when I settle on a new brand model and gauge of strings, and settle the bass in to them, I anticipate going at least another ten years before I have to do anything else after that.

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