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Monkey Steve

NBD - Rickenbacker 4003S/5 Mapleglo

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I  pulled the trigger on this on Friday and it arrived today.  Have to say, I had no previous experience of Promenade Music, and had they not been the cheapest online sellers of the Mapleglo version, I might still not know them, but they have been superb.

Hours after placing the order Gary from Promenade, their bass specialist, rang me to discuss the set up, we swapped a few stories, and he threw in an allen key because he couldn't see that Rickenbacker had provided any (in fact the have, buried in the case candy).  This is how it arrived:

IMG_2268.thumb.jpg.919a053b4df2b640afe47de75a17e7de.jpg

And this is how it looks now:

IMG_2269.thumb.jpg.b62a6a82ef6892798965d784678ce1d4.jpg

50% more gorgeous, I trust you'll agree

Black scratchplate thanks to Rickysounds (it arrived about an hour after the bass)  Half way there to recreating the BT (black trim) option that I have on my 1975 4001  I contacted Rosetti about organising a swap of the nameplate for a genuine Rickenbacker black one, and they told me that this is not something that Rickenbacker will agree to.  So having tried to source a genuine replacement, I'm now awaiting a knock off from our friends in the East.  If that isn't a good fit then I did see that somebody on another forum has done something similar by sanding the paint off the plate to take it back to white, then painting the rest of the of it black.  I'm reluctant to do that as it would lose the "Made in USA" but I'll keep it in mind.

I've also stuck on Dunlop straplocks - the very first change I made to any bass when I got the 4001 over 30 years ago.  And I had to do the same thing this time, put some rawlplug into the screw holes.

First impressions:

  • The maple is much lighter than my 4001, possibly/probably due to ageing of the varnish (?). The maple isn't highly figured, but it is what it is.  The finish feels quite thick and plastic-y.  I'd have preferred a satin finish, but it's a minor point.  For tradition's sake I'd also have loved to have a skunk stripe, again, as per my 4001, although I do like the dark brown headstock wings which aren't on my old bass.  But it would have made the thru neck more obvious - easily seen if you are close up, but lost in the bright maple a few feet away.
  • Strings feel lighter than my usual choice, but I'll keep them for now until the new zinginess runs out.  As a consequence it feels a bit floppier that I like, but not by too much
  • Still has the Rickenbacker clank - responds well to aggressive playing, but cleans up nicely when I want it to
  • The neck feels very different to the 4001, which has a narrow U feel to it.  Wider (not just because of the extra string, the spacing feels wider) and shallower.  Oddly feels a little clubbier below the 5th fret and slimmer as you get up the neck, but still a real pleasure to play over the whole length. Very fast, great access to the dusty end, but noticeably a few frets short compared to my other 5 strings which both have 24 frets.  Still, I don't get that far up the neck very often
  • I'm missing the 4001's bridge pickup surround, which is where I anchor my thumb.  the top of the bridge pickup doesn't feel to be in quite the right position
  • Also slightly missing the non-S features - bound body, neck inlays.  But I'm happy to concede that these are even more cosmetic than the BT stuff, and that actually the rounded body makes it easier to play than the bound version.  But still...and I can't help missing the 4001/3 bridge that they managed to put on the last attempt at a five string 4003, although there's nothing wrong with the bridge it has from a functional point of view

So Day 1, about an hour of playing and half an hour of tinkering, with a full set up to be done when I change the strings, it's definitely a keeper.  For all my (minor, mostly cosmetic) niggles, it's a great bass. And it'll be 25% greater once I get the black nameplate...

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Looks great with the black pickguard. It would look even better if you can get a black headstock truss cover with white logo! 
I tried one of these when they first came out and whilst it sounded great, the neck dive and overall weight was too much. 

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6 minutes ago, Chopthebass said:

Looks great with the black pickguard. It would look even better if you can get a black headstock truss cover with white logo! 
I tried one of these when they first came out and whilst it sounded great, the neck dive and overall weight was too much. 

I haven't noticed any neck dive, and it's noticeably lighter (and thinner) than my other fivers (a Wal and a Warwick) but outside of that I have nothing to gauge it against, so YMMV

Keep your fingers crossed that the soon to be arriving nameplate fits properly, 

Here's the look I'm going for - from my 4001 Mapleglo BT

IMG_1319.thumb.jpg.2380600045a9463a9d5bc35c70bc9949.jpg

From the days when they had the plexiglass nameplate, which was much nicer than the moulder plastic version they use these days.  There is a plexi replica for sale on eBay, but having ,made contact they won;t confirm the dimensions, they just say it's a match for the old plexi nameplates...but I could measure the old nameplate myself...

 

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Always thought Rickysounds had black TRC's in. Might be worth a query if nothing else.

Congrats BTW.

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17 minutes ago, Skybone said:

Always thought Rickysounds had black TRC's in. Might be worth a query if nothing else.

Congrats BTW.

Not that I could see - I suspect they want to stay on the right side of Rickenbacker, who stopped selling name plates quite some time ago (as I understand it they will sell replacements, but you have to go through quite a few hoops to get one, and prove that it is destined for a genuine Rickenbacker, and send back the broken original - I had hoped to be able to do a straight swap, but Rossetti say No)

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Lovely, and yes, Promenade are great people, went well out of their way to help me a few years ago when they really didn’t need to 

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So I tried the plexi nameplate from my 4001...

CC248758-8CD4-450C-8BD0-CB12CA50C3E7.thumb.jpeg.1f3ac7e1c737d278c489dac423bd6eca.jpegLooks good from this distance, but annoyingly it sits about 2mm away from the nut - makes it look like a fake with the wrong nameplate!

I’ll see how good the Far Eastern replacement is when it turns up, hopefully in a few days

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First change I made to my (matt black) 4003s5 was to ditch the horrid white scratchplate and replace it with black. Good move.

 

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