The Rickenbacker 4003 Bass is famous for its ringing sustain, treble punch, and solid underlying bottom end. It’s also famous for its distinctive, elegantly curved body shape, accentuated by a subtle strip of binding, deluxe triangular fretboard inlays, stereo output, neck-thru-body construction, double truss rods, and high output single-coil pickups with wide response range and brilliant clarity. The Vintage Tone Selector activates a capacitor in the treble pickup circuit to emphasize the high end. Pressed in, you get the familiar 4003 sound, pull it out to add bite and crispness.
In the short lifetime of electric string instruments, very few basses have earned the accolade necessary to genuinely call themselves “classics.” Even less can claim the title of industry standard – but no one can dispute the fact that the Rickenbacker 4000 Series deserves these titles. The piano string-like ring, punch, and sustain brought the bass player out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
Unique style and unmistakable tone: Rickenbacker‘s original solid-body electric bass was first introduced in the spring of 1957, bringing its own unique style to the Rock and Roll explosion of the early 60’s and 70’s. In the hands of bass-masters including Paul McCartney, Chris Squire, and Geddy Lee, 4000-series basses forged a solid reputation for distinct tone and comfortable playability. The latest Rickenbacker 4003 bass stays true to its roots, offering these same characteristics to a whole new generation of players.
Neck-thru construction: True pioneers in musical instrument construction, Rickenbacker luthiers were the first to produce a neck-thru-body bass design. A single piece of wood from the headstock to the tailpiece allows string vibration to travel unhindered through the length of the instrument. This results in a clarity of tone and ringing sustain unmatched by bolt-on or set-neck designs. The 4003 uses this same neck-thru principle today. This construction process is too time-consuming for most mass-production brands to implement, but many boutique bass builders are now discovering the benefits of what Rickenbacker has been doing from the beginning. It may take a little longer to build this bass, but Rickenbacker knows it’s worth the wait. Get one in your hands, and you’ll agree.
Balanced sound for diverse musical styles: Some basses offer deep tone at the low end of the spectrum, but the higher notes tend to be a bit thin. The 4003’s combination bridge/tailpiece assembly reflects more string energy over the pickups for a consistent, balanced sound across the entire fretboard. You get piano-like clarity at the top with plenty of growl down below. This is why Rickenbacker basses are played by such a diverse group of musicians. Lemmy from Motorhead, Andre 3000 from Outkast, Mike Mills from REM, and Chris Ross from Wolfmother are all able to get the tone they need from the same instrument. With so many genres represented, you’re sure to dial in a sound that suits your style.
Super-slim body: Instead of the chunky, bass-heavy designs used by many manufacturers, a slim, streamlined body gives the 4003 increased treble response and added punch. Both body and neck are made of maple for a full, bright tone with a nice, crisp bite. The rosewood fretboard adds mellow warmth, so notes in the upper register don’t sound harsh or shrill. Any style, any technique, comes through with expressive, dynamic clarity.
All about the neck: The thin, fast neck has become a favorite among progressive-rockers and bass-shredders alike. Check out some of Cliff Burton’s earliest work with Metallica, Chris Squier’s jaw-dropping solos from the 70’s, or any of Geddy Lee’s blistering Rickenbacker riffs. You can play the slickest runs from low to high and back again without getting bogged down like you would on a fat-necked bass. It may be skinny, but it’s also strong and stable thanks to the dual truss rod system. Each neck is designed with a natural curvature, or “neck relief”, to ensure the best possible string/fret contact. If the neck relief changes, you’ll get fret-buzz and even dead spots in extreme cases. The truss rod adds stiffness from inside, maintaining the proper curvature. Neck relief is partially dependent on string tension, so changing to heavier- or lighter-gauge strings can cause problems, along with temperature and humidity fluctuations. In these situations, the dual truss rod system can be tightened or loosened to compensate for the new conditions, letting every note ring out as it should.