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EllCurrell95

Rickenbacker 4003 neck pickup

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Posted (edited)

Hi

ive just gotta myself a secondhand ‘09 4003 and it sound crazy as with both pickups or just the bridge pickup. But using just the neck pickup it’s much quieter and sounds very thin, not a lot of low end if any. I’ve lowered the bridge pick up and made the neck one higher and it’s balanced out a bit. I guess my question is whether this is normal for the neck pickups? Or is something up?

 

edit: when I say it’s balanced out a bit, the bridge pickup it’s still noticeably louder and bassier than the neck, it’s a lot similar when the ‘vintage’ circuit is activated.

Edited by EllCurrell95

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Posted (edited)

It should have the Push / Pull pot on the Tone control, is that pushed down or up?

I use mine with both pickups on, but the neck volume turned down a bit. Sounds plenty ballsy to me.

Plus, the neck pickup is reknown to be a bit weak for some reason.

You could look at replacement pickups, Gemini Pickups in Wales do a couple of variants, hand wound & RWRP. Nice. There's also the Nordstrand Rickenbocker.

Edited by Skybone

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Quiet neck pickups (in comparison to the bridge) on modern Rics is common, but thin? Not so much.

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2 hours ago, Skybone said:

Nordstrand Rickenbocker.

I have tried one of these and it solves the OP's problem without affecting too much the classic Ricky sound. Good choice.

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My 4003s is from 2015 and the front pickup in isolation is quieter. I find this is more problematic on some setups than others. On my practice amp it sounds faulty but running it through my big rig it sounds like there are no issues. I initially thought I would be having to buy new pickups but I am quite happy with the stock setup now.

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Ooooor...

Rick-O-Sound it out to an SVT and crank that bad boy! 😄

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Played mine yesterday, and did a bit of experimenting with this thread in mind. 

Yes, the neck pickup's output is less than the bridge pickup, and because of that, it does sound a bit thinner, but still very much a "rounded" sound. The pickup is set as high as I can get it. 

IIRC, Bass Direct sell Nordenbocker's.

 

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12 minutes ago, Skybone said:

Played mine yesterday, and did a bit of experimenting with this thread in mind. 

Yes, the neck pickup's output is less than the bridge pickup, and because of that, it does sound a bit thinner, but still very much a "rounded" sound. The pickup is set as high as I can get it. 

IIRC, Bass Direct sell Nordenbocker's.

 

If you order one from Bass Direct, you should call them first to make sure they have it in stock.

I've had one on order from them, since 26th of February. I've still not heard when it's due to arrive.

The last time I checked; the website still didn't say that it's out of stock.

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One thing to remember with a 4003 is that the overall sound that everyone seems to love (unless, of course, you don't) seems to come from the balance between the pickups.

 

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14 minutes ago, 12stringbassist said:

One thing to remember with a 4003 is that the overall sound that everyone seems to love (unless, of course, you don't) seems to come from the balance between the pickups.

 

^^^^
THIS!

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Posted (edited)

I have four 4003's and the neck pickup never gets solo'd on any of them, simply because the overall sound of both pickups is what I am after. I'm generally one of those people who will just leave all the tone controls in one place (fully on) on the bass and sort my EQ on the amp and I'm good to go on stage. The neck pick up has a very good sound but needs boosting. The bridge pickup always sounds nice and trebly, but it's the mix of the two that I will always use. In the studio, it's a versatile enough bass.

The vintage pull out pot they have added now is a waste of time for me in a live situation, as it just sucks all of the bottom end out of the bass and I could only see a possible use for that in the studio, but I would just EQ around that on the amp to get the sound right, anyway..
 

Edited by 12stringbassist
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If you check out the Classic Amplification website; they sell a replacement pickup cover which is about 3mm taller than the original.

This allows adjustment of the neck pickup to be closer to the strings than the original.

Obviously it's only worth doing if you're currently unable to adjust the pickup to the correct height.

Raising the pickup might help with the output; with the usual caveat regarding string pull from the magnet.

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2 hours ago, 12stringbassist said:

I have four 4003's and the neck pickup never gets solo'd on any of them, simply because the overall sound of both pickups is what I am after. I'm generally one of those people who will just leave all the tone controls in one place (fully on) on the bass and sort my EQ on the amp and I'm good to go on stage. The neck pick up has a very good sound but needs boosting. The bridge pickup always sounds nice and trebly, but it's the mix of the two that I will always use. In the studio, it's a versatile enough bass.

The vintage pull out pot they have added now is a waste of time for me in a live situation, as it just sucks all of the bottom end out of the bass and I could only see a possible use for that in the studio, but I would just EQ around that on the amp to get the sound right, anyway..
 

Exactly this, except I drop the volume on the neck pickup a bit.

Used to have a 4003 built in '05, which didn't have the Vintage Circuit. Loved the sound of it, but always kind of wished I'd got one with the circuit included. When I bought the current 4003, the VC was included, and I was keen to try it out. Let's just say that it didn't take very long for the VC to be deactivated.

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10 hours ago, 12stringbassist said:

The vintage sound thing is just a pointless bass cut.
Fortunately, it can be ignored.

It's not pointless at all! Instant Machine Head. And it's great when running in stereo for copping the early Geddy and Chris Squire tones.

Admittedly,  if I'm gigging straight into one amp, the vintage mode isn't really useable live, but in the studio or in stereo it's invaluable - it's what a Rick should sound like to me.

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1 hour ago, Cosmo Valdemar said:

It's not pointless at all! Instant Machine Head. And it's great when running in stereo for copping the early Geddy and Chris Squire tones.

Admittedly,  if I'm gigging straight into one amp, the vintage mode isn't really useable live, but in the studio or in stereo it's invaluable - it's what a Rick should sound like to me.

I did say a couple of posts above it was usable in the studio. :)

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The quiet neck pickup thing is one of the reasons why I generally prefer vintage Rick (pre-73) basses. The toasters on my two vintage basses are louder than the bridge pickup, and that balance (or lack of it) is a big factor in the classic vintage sound. I also have them very near the strings. If I do get another 4003 it’ll be having a half-inch position toaster put in it. 

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