4 Replies to “Interesting RickenBACKer History”

  1. I had a blonde 4001 back in the day. I think it was a ’73. I currently have a walnut 4003 that mostly sits in the closet. Best bass I’ve ever had. The 4001’s were great except for one thing: they had a capacitor wired into one of the pickups that limited the lowest frequencies, making it a challenge to get a big, bassy sound (Paul Simonon switched from a Rick to a P bass for that reason). The capacitor was put there because the puny bass amps of the 50’s-60’s could get overwhelmed. Rickenbacker was slow to correct the issue, as 4001’s had many acolytes who very much wanted the Rick sound as it was. And it was a great sound, but sometimes one wanted more thump. Eventually they came out with the 4003, which lets you choose. You can have the classic Rick sound, or bypass the capacitor for more bottom end. So in my opinion it’s a better bass: it still has the incomparable feel, sound, and action of the 4001, but has the greater low frequency option.

    Set-up on Rick’s can also be tricky. You either need to learn to do it yourself or find a luthier who has experience with them, mostly due to the double truss rods in the neck, and the fact that the necks were designed to be ruler-flat, not slightly concave.

    Another problem with Rick basses in the 70’s (maybe still?): some bassists would buy them and immediately re-string them with Rotosounds because they wanted to sound like Chris Squire of Yes. But Rick necks weren’t designed for strings that heavy. In many cases the Rotos worked out fine, but sometimes the excess tension would warp the neck over time. It was luck of the draw, depending on the wood of your particular bass or the local climate. I wasn’t a Rotosound guy, so not my problem, thank God.

    I played guitar in a different band for a while, and I used a Rick guitar for a year or so. Great sound, but I found it difficult to play as far as the action. I was never much of a guitarist anyway, so that was probably a factor.

    Looking forward to this video.

      1. Thanks, but I never developed decent technique. By the time I faked my way into being a guitarist (the band already had a bassist), I was mostly focused on finishing college. I never put enough time into it. I’m ok at coming up with parts, probably why I wasn’t kicked out.

  2. This is a resource for a completist, and I’m glad everything comes back to the Hard Day’s Night chord.

    I’ve never had the pleasure, as I’ve only played Strats and Gibsons. If I tried to channel my inner Roger McGuinn, an appalling combination of mediocrity and comedy would result.

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