2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

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2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (Benjamin) » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:13 am

I have a 2000 model 4003 I purchased in 2012ish. I added the push-pull cap mod in about 2013. All the pots are 330K and I am 100% certain that aside from my use of an official 330K push-pull and the oil cap, she is 100% standard. When I tested those pots out of curiosity they were around 180K.

I am very happy with how she sounds. Actually in a recent studio session for my new band (recording the first single), the Rickenbacker won the argument over my modded Epiphone Ripper with full Bartolini preamp and pickups. No surprise you say, but the Ripper is a surprising animal and it does things the Ric could never achieve. Vice versa. The Ric won by virtue of a more musical/quality tone and fits the band better.

We are tuning Eb standard and I use DR Lo-Riders. I can drop Db without much trouble. Overall, I wouldn't mind a little more "glass" to the tone, just so I can have that extra little clarity when needed and roll back. There is an absolute tonne of bite as it is, but maybe missing a tiny bit of that upper sting. Coincidentally that's what the Ripper provides.

The battling ideas are:
1. I am a fool and I will probably find at the next gig that there is more than enough treble (I usually run EQ on amp fairly flat) besides it will probably be DI...
2. I am now using a TC Spectracomp, which is an awesome pedal. I could modify the toneprint and boost the top-end a frag
3. Swap pots for 500K items (500K push pull?) - or only swap the volume pots?
4. Install a Bartolini mute cavity pickup and wire in parallel (?) with bridge pickup - and maybe another push-pull pot so I can engage/disengage (yes this is the silliest maybe)

At the session I raised the pickups to fix string output balance. I think they might be slightly too high now, as they are more susceptible to string collisions, but this hasn't affected the top end response. I might need to simply adjust my technique.

So this might be a case of "what would you guys do?" and how much glass could I expect from this model/vintage of bass? I am not going back to Roto RS66LD strings, they don't last anywhere near as long as the DRs and don't have much over them in tone in my opinion.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (songdog) » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:14 pm

Benjamin wrote:All the pots are 330K and I am 100% certain that aside from my use of an official 330K push-pull and the oil cap, she is 100% standard. When I tested those pots out of curiosity they were around 180K.

How did you test the pots? 180K is suspiciously close to half of 330K. Keep in mind that when there's a plug in the mono jack, the two volume pots are connected in parallel, even if only one pickup is selected. You can measure the two volume pots independently using a TRS plug in the Rick-O-Sound jack.

A 500K volume pot might be too high. I would expect it to give more of a resonant peak. It might not sound like what you expect from a Rickenbacker bass.

You might get closer to what you want by leaving the bass alone and using Rick-O-Sound.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (Korladis) » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:39 am

If you like it, why change it?
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (ram) » Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:55 am

Easiest test, change strings... try Daddarios EXL170s - I run D'Addarrios on all my basses except the 4004C There I use your Rotos. Try tweaking the compressor. I have one of them and love it as well. Might consider trying a SansAmp as well. As far as pots go I think I'd have a complete harness made. Forumite Dane Wilder makes a nice harness. He matches everything up. So it would just be a popout/popin kind of thing, but most importantly everything would match electronically. Good luck with your tonal quest!
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (aceonbass) » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:47 pm

180k pots are tone suckers, no matter what they're in. I like tone pots with a true 500k rating, as well as 250k pots. Tonal clarity is the result. If you have your tone and volumes dimed now, then you're probably looking for something your bass isn't giving you.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (Benjamin) » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:49 pm

I measured them directly on the pots. Is that not the way it is done?!? I can try other methods and I will retest again.

How the heck could 330K pots be 180K pots and why? That's the question.

I think there's some confusion. I love the sound, absolutely. Not changing strings, settled on those as they are perfect for me. I am simply curious as to whether there is a problem and how I would get a little extra sharpness - and whether I should expect a little more brightness inherently from this bass.

It is far far from a dull bass. It has the sound, the growl. It will bite your head off. What I seek - or am curious about - is that 5%. At the end of the day it is nothing other than wondering why I recall measuring 180K from 330K pots... which will then inform any decision moving forward.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (jps) » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:55 pm

If it sounds great why change anything?
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (Benjamin) » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:54 am

I love you guys but I feel you're not understanding my question and I am repeating myself.

I don't want to change anything, as such. A tiny bit more clarity up top would be nice, but not a deal breaker because the tone is wonderful to my ears. It is crisp wide open, all manner of volume positions, vintage cap up/down, rolling tones back etc is all musically tasty.

The point is whether my bass has abnormally low value pots then that is something that I would be interested in addressing properly. If I have measured them wrong and find they are correct, all is well.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (Korladis) » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:07 am

aceonbass wrote:180k pots are tone suckers, no matter what they're in. I like tone pots with a true 500k rating, as well as 250k pots. Tonal clarity is the result. If you have your tone and volumes dimed now, then you're probably looking for something your bass isn't giving you.


Dimed is the only useful setting for a tone knob, for me.

The only reason I don't remove the tone controls from my Rickenbackers entirely is because then I'd lose the push/pull pot for the bridge pickup, which I actually do use quite a bit.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (jps) » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:22 am

Korladis wrote:Dimed is the only useful setting for a tone knob, for me.

The only reason I don't remove the tone controls from my Rickenbackers entirely is because then I'd lose the push/pull pot for the bridge pickup, which I actually do use quite a bit.

You can add a VTS easily, the tone controls are not a required necessity to having it. If you remove the tone pots, physically, you even have two(!) holes to add switches to, for a couple of different functions without having to drill any new holes to the bass.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (henry5) » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:44 pm

Korladis wrote:
aceonbass wrote:180k pots are tone suckers, no matter what they're in. I like tone pots with a true 500k rating, as well as 250k pots. Tonal clarity is the result. If you have your tone and volumes dimed now, then you're probably looking for something your bass isn't giving you.


Dimed is the only useful setting for a tone knob, for me.

The only reason I don't remove the tone controls from my Rickenbackers entirely is because then I'd lose the push/pull pot for the bridge pickup, which I actually do use quite a bit.


I seem to be unusual in that I fiddle with my tone pots all the time; often volumes too. Depends what sound I want for a particular passage.

Re the original question, try changing the pots. It’s the only way you’ll be able to decide for sure. I would however say, as someone who often eq’s quite heavily (as did most of my tone heroes), that if you tend to run your amp fairly flat I’d experiment with amp eq first.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (lumgimfong) » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:10 am

I say ditch all your caps and put in a bass Stellartone ToneStyler tone knob if more bright is what you want.
You can get crazy bright and it is fun trying all those different caps positions and hearing all the different sounds you can get from the bass vs. a standard tone knob.
To get even brighter, use the guitar ToneStyler. ToneStyler recommends for this, as long as you don’t need like reggae dub tones and EBO mud sounds.
I have one (the guitar 16 position version) in my Starfire bass and I am shocked at how bright a bass can be. Beyond Squire bright. Almost unusably bright with the guitar version I have in the bass. I had no idea basses were inherently that bright. Now I have a huge spectrum of sounds to pick from when I play. Now I want one for my 4003.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (Benjamin) » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:44 am

I partially solved it by bumping the lows and highs by 3dB on my TC Spectracomp. Finally got a couple of chances to run the bass rig at a decent volume and in a live setting it will be fine.

Maybe down the track I will look at pots. For now I am happy. As I said, it was only the teensiest bit of extra glass I was chasing. So I can take it that my pots are truly about 330K and it was just how I measured them.
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (jps) » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:14 pm

Benjamin wrote:...the teensiest bit of extra glass I was chasing.

This will take care of that "missing" glass. Try one of these fine products (the Silk button, in particular) and you'll be there.

https://rupertneve.com/products/portico-5017/

https://rupertneve.com/products/517-500 ... e-di-comp/
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Re: 2000 model 4003 - upgrade pots or not?

Postby (Korladis) » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:27 am

henry5 wrote:
Korladis wrote:
aceonbass wrote:180k pots are tone suckers, no matter what they're in. I like tone pots with a true 500k rating, as well as 250k pots. Tonal clarity is the result. If you have your tone and volumes dimed now, then you're probably looking for something your bass isn't giving you.


Dimed is the only useful setting for a tone knob, for me.

The only reason I don't remove the tone controls from my Rickenbackers entirely is because then I'd lose the push/pull pot for the bridge pickup, which I actually do use quite a bit.


I seem to be unusual in that I fiddle with my tone pots all the time; often volumes too. Depends what sound I want for a particular passage.

Re the original question, try changing the pots. It’s the only way you’ll be able to decide for sure. I would however say, as someone who often eq’s quite heavily (as did most of my tone heroes), that if you tend to run your amp fairly flat I’d experiment with amp eq first.

I use the volume knobs. Just not the tone knobs. Except for the one I use for the push/pull functionality.
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