Rickenbacker 4003 Electric Bass (with Case)

No longer available at zZounds
The Rickenbacker 4003 bass is a classic that still sets the pace today. The 4003 is known for its ringing sustain, treble punch and solid underlying bass.

What's special about this item?

Feature: What it does:
Neck-through-body construction Longer sustain; strong midrange; smooth feel
Vintage tone circuit Enhances treble via push/pull pot
Maple body and neck Crisp, articulate tone with long sustain
Mono or stereo output options Send different pickups to separate outputs

The Rickenbacker 4003 electric bass has a deep history. 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 '60s and '70s. In the hands of bass-masters including Paul McCartney, Chris Squire, and Geddy Lee, Rickenbacker 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 read more thin. The Rickenbacker 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.

Fully adjustable saddles on the 4003

Beyond tone, individual string-saddles on the bridge are fully adjustable to fit any playing technique. Slappers, pickers, and fingerstyle players can all set the action to the perfect height for their unique attack. Raise the strings up off the fretboard to really dig in to the groove, or drop them down for a softer touch. Precise control over intonation helps get accurate pitch, everywhere on the neck. You can add tapping, artificial harmonics, and chording to your bag of tricks without having to wonder if the notes will be in tune. With all this versatility, you'll be ready to sit in with any band and lay down a tight, tasty groove.

Super-slim body

Instead of the chunky, bass-heavy designs used by many manufacturers, a slim, streamlined body gives the Rickenbacker 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.

Cutting-Edge Production Techniques

At one time, all 4000-series basses were handmade from start to finish. As the demand for their instruments continues to grow, Rickenbacker is constantly searching for hi-tech production techniques that offer faster turnaround time without sacrificing quality. To that end, massive CNC machines were recently installed in their Santa Ana, California factory to speed up some of the more labor-intensive tasks, including rough body- and neck-shaping. The cutting heads on these machines spin at 15,000 RPM, and they are accurate to 0.0001th of an inch. Combined with special reverse-engineering procedures, the designers can perfectly reproduce every curve and swell in the original instruments for an exact match in look and feel. Master craftsmen continue to fine-tune each and every bass, installing frets, adding binding, spraying finish coats, and more in order to maintain the high level of quality Rickenbackers are known for. Bridges and nuts are also hand-set for the best possible intonation. There's no guessing from one bass to the next; they all play and sound equally amazing.

The Vintage Tone Circuit

Further blending of the old and the new can be seen in the electronics setup on today's Rickenbacker 4003 basses. Prior to 1984, a special capacitor was used in the bridge-pickup circuit to enhance the treble tone. While this capacitor helped to define Chris Squire's signature sound, it also lowered the output of the pickup system. Hair-metal was in full swing in the mid-eighties, and guitar pickups were being wound hotter and hotter. Bass players wanted to keep up, so Rickenbacker dropped the capacitor, exchanging treble for volume. Many players missed the traditional sound, though, and would add the capacitor back into the circuit themselves. Rickenbacker got wind of the common modification and offered the Vintage Tone Circuit as an option. In 2006, this circuit again became a standard feature with a push/pull switch in the treble tone-knob. Pull out on the knob, and you've got that classic Roundabout sound. Push it back in, and grind through Smoke on the Water with all the earth-shaking volume you can muster, just like Roger Glover.

Rick-O-Sound Flexibility

Rickenbacker continues to give you control over your tone with the famous Rick-O-Sound pickup system. Single-coil bridge- and neck-pickups each have their own separate tone- and volume-controls for building the perfect sonic balance. Two 1/4 inch output jacks allow for a variety of connection options. The standard output jack works like a regular bass output. Plug it into your amp, and thump away. The secondary jack can be used with a stereo Y-cable to route individual pickup outputs to separate sources. Players will often run the neck pickup through a separate EQ for a fatter bottom-end, while adding a chorus or flanger effect to the bridge pickup for swirly highs. The stereo-out is also great for routing the individual pickups to separate recording tracks. This lets you blend them where they sit best in the mix. No post-production wizardry necessary; your tracks will be ready to rock as you lay them down.

Quality Componments

Attention to detail and quality components further add to the value of these great basses. Switchcraft jacks and switches are standard, along with custom-made CTS potentiometers. These American-made components provide years of performance and reliability, delivering that legendary Rickenbacker sound, gig after gig. Deluxe Schaller tuning machines prevent gear-slippage, keeping your bass on-pitch, all the time. The included case is custom-molded to fit the 4003, and has additional padding and heavy-duty hardware to keep it safe and secure during transport. With so much history and quality in one design, your new Rickenbacker bass will quickly become the centerpiece of your collection.
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Body Type: Solid

No. Frets: 20

Scale Length: 84.5 cm (33-1/4 in.)

Neck Width at Nut: 42.9 mm (1-11/16 in.)

Neck Width at 12th Fret: 54.0 mm (2-1/8 in.)

Crown Radius: 25.4 cm (10 in.)

Body Wood: Maple

Neck Wood: Maple

Fingerboard Wood: Rosewood

Weight: 4.1 kg (9.0 lbs.)

Overall Length: 113.8 cm (44-13/16 in.)

Overall Width: 34.3 cm (13-1/2 in.)

Overall Depth: 31.8 mm (1-1/4 in.)

Fingerboard Binding: Yes

# Sides with Body Binding: 1

Fret Marker Style: Triangle

Tailpiece: RIC

Bridge: RIC

Neck Type: Through body

No. of Pickups: 2

Type of Pickups: Single Coil

Output Type: Mono and Stereo

Machine Heads: Schaller Deluxe

For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 714-545-5574

Rickenbacker 4003 Electric Bass

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.

Entire dimensions of bass playing capability are directly attributable to this venerable series. Rickenbacker basses are still handmade in America, using traditional methods refined and honed since Adolph Rickenbacker put his first electric guitar in service at the United States Patent Office almost 70 years ago. Experienced craftsmen lovingly oversee every detail of production. No robots, no computerized machinery -- just human hands and eyes, backed by a determination to make, quite simply, the best products possible.

Prior to 1984, Rickenbacker basses utilized a capacitor in the treble pickup circuit to emphasize treble tones coming from that pickup. However, changes in tone preference and a call for higher output led RIC to discontinue the use of this capacitor in favor of a more balanced sound. Nevertheless, many users added this capacitor back into the circuit, experimenting with and sometimes preferring the sound of the older configuration, despite the resulting drop in volume.

Rickenbacker has decided to give players a choice, allowing the best of both worlds. With a simple pull of the treble tone control, the Vintage Tone Selector will allow a player to move between both sounds at the drop of a hat. Pressed in, you'll hear the familiar balanced tone of the 4003, while pulled out to engage the circuit, you'll appreciate the bite and crispness popularized by such artists as Chris Squire.

Combination Tailpiece and Bridge Assembly
Nestled into a massive metal tailpiece, the height adjustable bridge reflects the maximum string energy back as extra punch. Individually saddled strings have generous intonation adjustment range. A variable mute assembly hides out of the way until called upon; each side adjusts separately. Strings are easily threaded through the end of the tailpiece for rapid changes.

Internationally Acclaimed Pickups
Traceable back to Rickenbacker's original 1928 patent, this bass pickup is renowned for unbelievable clarity and wide range response. Both pickups on the 4003 models are single coil, hum protected designs with high power output. Adjustment screws lower and raise units to player's preference.

Ultimate Control
The toggle pickup selector may be used to switch from one output channel to the other, or both. Each 4003 bass has separate treble and bass tone controls and separate pickup volume controls. The control knobs were selected not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for visibility in typical low light situations.

Dual Rod Neck-Through Body
Always the hallmark of a Rickenbacker, the neck runs the full length of the bass; string tension remains entirely on one laminated wood assembly. The result is a lifetime of accuracy of alignment, plus markedly superior sustain and tone. All bass necks have 2 field replaceable truss rods, allowing for each side to be adjusted separately.

A Balanced Neck and Body System
Instantly recognizable, the fluidly sculptural body and head shape serve primarily to establish proper instrument balance. One of the thinnest and fastest necks around plus an ergonomically accurate body contour mean easy playing without fatigue. Full cutaways permit access to the highest frets without strain and a conventional tail shape permits stable storage in a stand between sets.

Bass Tuning Keys
The keywinds are superbly crafted to microscopically fine tolerances. As a result, gear backlash and slippage are virtually eliminated. All components are completely removable for cleaning or maintenance and finished to a superlative smoothness, fully protected from hard use or abuse.

All Round Protection
A deluxe molded hardshell case is included with each Rickenbacker bass. Plush lined and form fitted, these hard wearing cases feature an accessory pocket, heavy-duty hardware, and extra padding.

Reviewers gave this product an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars. (1037 ratings)
Submitted February 15, 2012 by Tim Whitaker in New Egypt, NJ

"Holy Smokes!"

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
(see rating details)
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I've been playing guitar and bass for 42 years. This bass is incredible in every way. I wanted a Rick 4000 series for a while but never pulled the trigger because of the price. I should have done it sooner! After seeing all the raving reviews on line about this bass I ordered it from Zzounds (excellent customer service, price and fast shipping BTW). I then came across a guy on Youtube that is supposed to be some kind of guitar repair man and he bad mouths the Ricks. I have to say I became a little concerned. I'M NOT CONCERNED ANY MORE. The quality of this bass both in terms of materials and craftsmanship as well as SOUND lives up to it's lofty reputation. I will say that the Rick has a sound all it's own which I love. If you don't care for that signature sound, then this bass will not be for you. However, if you do like the Rick sound - only a Rick will give it to you. This is the third bass in my collection and it's definitely going the be the most heavily used on - NO DOUBT!

Musical Background:

42 years, I play all kinds of music and every Sunday at church
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