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Dunno why, but when I saw this bass on craigslist locally for a pretty good price, I decided I had to buy it. Rickenbacker 4003AC.

At first glance, it looks pretty similar to my Ric 4003W. Maple neck and fretboard, neck-through body. A closer look reveals some differences. No body binding, but that's the same as the 4003SW. Green triangle inlays on the fretboard. Not one, but two Rickenbacker bridge pickups. The neck pickup is a lot farther away from the neck than is usal for Rics, and the bridge pickup closer to the bridge, similar to a Fender Jazz bass or a Ric 4002. There's a thumbrest up near the neck.

The AC designation stands for Al Cisneros. Apparently he's a big deal in some circles; He plays bass for Sleep and Om. His style is to play up near the neck, hence the thumbrest there. Also why the pickup covers wouldn't bother him. For the rest of us, it comes with pickup bezels. You take off the covers and install the bezels in their place, making it possible to play over the pickups. The bezels also provide alternative thumbrests. I'm looking forward to plugging it into my amps and hearing how it differs from more conventional Rics.

image.png

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Rickenbacker/4003AC-Al-Cisneros-Limited-Edition-Bass.gc

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Comparing the 4003W with the new 4003AC.

image.png

Note the difference in the pickup placement.
The 4003W, on the right, has pickups mounted in raditional Ric positions. The neck pickup is centered on the virtual 24th fret (8½" from the bridge). For open strings, that's the node of the 4th harmonic, two octaves above the fundamental. The bridge pickup is at the virtual 36th fret (4¼"), the 8th harmonic, three octaves up.
On the 4003AC, the neck pickup is pretty close to where a Precision pickup would be. It's not at a node, as far as I can tell, although the leading edge, that is, the edge nearest the neck, is at the node for the same harmonic as at the 4th fret (center of the pickup is 6" from the bridge). The bridge pickup is 2⅞", also not at a node. I expect the sound to be noticeably different from a standard Ric.

The 4003AC is heavier than the 4003W. I'm guessing that that's due to the two chrome surrounded pickups. The new bridge may also be heavier. It's certainly an upgrade from the old Ric bridge. The knobs are definitely bigger!

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7 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

Is it an illusion or is the 4003AC smaller bodied than the 4003W? I'll leave pickup positions and nodes for another day.

An illusion, I think, due to the 4003W having a bound body.

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Playing with the 4003AC this morning. It has a different sound than the 4003W. Not hugely so. I'm not sure if anyone else would notice once the band starts playing, but maybe we'll find out one of these days, when bands can get together again.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Had a band practice Friday, and I took the 4003AC. I like it. It's set up with a very low action, compared to my other Rics. That made it more clacky. Little bit of buzz. I noticed it on the A string, particularly when playing a B. Intonation is spot on, all the way up the neck. I like the sound a lot. A bit brighter, a bit punchier than a standard Ric. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's a better sound than a standard Ric, but it is a different one, and in a useful way.

I'll take it to a gig on Thursday (different band). My expectation is that the guys in that band will ooh and ah over its looks, but won't like the sound as much, if they notice a difference at all. They prefer the deep sound of a standard Ric, which is one thing the 4003AC isn't as good at.

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5 hours ago, isaac42 said:

. . . I'll take it to a gig on Thursday (different band). My expectation is that the guys in that band will ooh and ah over its looks, but won't like the sound as much, if they notice a difference at all. They prefer the deep sound of a standard Ric, which is one thing the 4003AC isn't as good at.

Wait, you have a gig this week?! How did that happen?

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18 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

Wait, you have a gig this week?! How did that happen?

Oregon is starting to open up. The sports bar adjacent to the bowling alley called up the bandleader for Let It Roll and asked if we could play this Thursday. The other guys really need the money, little as it is, so we're playing.

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Took the 4003AC to another band practice yesterday (yes, a third band). Sounded really good. In that band, we do a few songs in which I play with a pick. I found that the pickup placement made that more difficult than with a standard Ric. Before I left for practice, I raised the bridge saddles slightly. I didn't notice any difference in the action, but the fret buzz I'd noticed before seems to have gone away.

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9 hours ago, isaac42 said:

Oregon is starting to open up. The sports bar adjacent to the bowling alley called up the bandleader for Let It Roll and asked if we could play this Thursday. The other guys really need the money, little as it is, so we're playing.

Cool. 👍 Be safe. AFAIK the St. Louis area hasn't opened up to that extent yet. Even if it does, it'll be a couple of months before Mrs. DeepEnd and I go out anywhere.

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No gig this week, either. Maybe next week. Should be into phase 2 by then.

Still loving the 4003AC. Ric should have done something like this ages ago. Okay, they kinda did with the 4002, but it had other features that made it very expensive, and it didn't sell well. Very hard to find now, and very expensive. I'd love to play one, but there are so few in existence, it's not likely. In the meantime, the 4003AC will have to do.

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Posted (edited)

I need a 5 string, does Ric make them and how $$ :classic_smile:

since I seem to record low notes on synths

would like to be able to play on a bass guitar etc...

Edited by nice keetee
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