Rickenbacker 4001/4003 Bass DIY Kit Review (Mod Bass Kit-The Fretwire, RC-4/RCA-4 Pit Bull Guitars)

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Rickenbacker bass kit review:

I’m not gonna lie. Out of all the kits I’ve built, This is the kit I’ve been the most excited for. When I got this thing 3 days after I ordered it I was so excited I nearly peed my pants. Unboxing it was even more exciting. Look at how cool this thing is! Most bass players will know right off the bat that this isn’t a true rickenbacker, the two biggest giveaways being the musician style bridge, and the jazz bass pickup cover. It was a good effort, but not really. Kinda cheesy actually. But I’m gonna cut them some slack because I think there are two improvements in this kit over an actual rickenbacker:
the rear pickup is a jazz bass style pickup. This is cool because ricks bass have weird pickups that were designed for guitars, so there’s no place to rest your thumb while plucking the strings. If you take the rear pickup cover off, the jazz pickup gives you perfect placement for your thumb to rest. Also, the routing is much better. Ricks have a huge gap for a rear pickup cavity that looks terrible if you do remove the pickup cover. With the jazz pickup routing, you’re more flexible on the kind of rear pickup you want. You can always remove more material to fit other style pickups, adding material back in is much harder. So thumbs up for that.
The scale length of the neck and body is actually a full 34”, instead of ricks weird 33.25” scale length. The longer scale length means more tension on the strings, which is great if you play light gauge strings or if you play in drop tuning, also, if you want to string it up in BEAD tuning or get really crazy and do a full 4-5 string conversion, the 34” scale will take a low B string much better than the 33.25” does.
So those two things really make up for what this kit is lacking in my opinion.
Building this kit is pretty straight forward. Because its a set neck, I had …continue reading on my blog at https://gunsandguitars.net
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Arlo Roan says:

Keep the videos coming. They are all great. Binge watching them now!

Jakeman3 says:

Is the open A string always flat or just out of tune for this demo?

Ericlogos says:

Instead of buying all these crappy kits, save up and buy a good guitar. Nah, I like your videos. This bass sounds great.

ryanbwags says:

Subscribed! I’ve been waiting for a kit of one of these! Can’t wait to get one.

A Keeper Of Odd Knowledge says:

So what kind of wood?


I feel what you’re saying about the 4001s. The bit about them repurposing guitar pickups makes sense to me as to why they sound so thin, even though the pickups are placed way up higher toward the neck than on most basses. I guess they needed a wider string amplitude to compensate. The old 4001s also had very soft frets because they had a higher brass content, so they’d wear quickly. Glad they eventually remedied those issue with the 4003’s hotter pickups and frets with more nickel content, but why they still have such an awkward truss rod system when other neck through basses don’t, I’ll never know, especially when, if you mess up too badly, you scrap your $2k bass. All this on a fully bound neck with a tailpiece that would bend upward from the tension of the strings that was a bitch to adjust even with the strings slackened, and then Les Paul style electronics with 2 output jacks on top of it. Those 4001s were a guitar repair man’s nightmare, but goddamn do they look cool.

I just ordered an Electra Japanese copy from the 70s with hot humbuckers, a slightly longer scale length, a more compact rear pickup mount, a bolt on neck with one truss rod and standard nickel frets, and a slightly thicker body with a replacement bridge the previous owner added to reduce the lift they’re known for. I saw all that stuff and my first thought was, “You mean the way it came stock fixed all the issues I had with it, you upgraded the bridge, and you’re letting me have it for a third of the price of a real one?” Screw the brand name and the made in USA sticker; gimmie. Doesn’t have the 2 outputs but I could never justify carrying around 2 different amps or 2 separate pedal chains with 2 cables coming out of my bass to utilize that feature, especially when I have a bass DI preamp with a blend function anyway for a similar bi-amping effect. Great review! Was wondering if I made the right choice or not by not going this route.

Rossella Lombardi says:

i think you had (have? had? i don’t know .. i am italian) connect your pickup in inverted phase. If i was you i will try to invert one of them, because the sound became ugly when both the pickups are actived

Nick Martin says:

Dayum you got me so excited about getting a budget rick that i popped over and that kit is on preorder! sold out, def wanna build one!

Literatetree says:

How about that 51 p bass??

Jonas Kråkenes says:

Hey Dan, would you reccommend attatching the neck with just glue, just screws or both?
Im worried that ill have problems if i glue it on, and the neck isnt perfectly straight on the body, ill have problems correcting it later on.

Fat Fuckin Lenny says:

Does the neck have two truss rods like a normal rick or is it just one?

irish conan says:

You never said anything about the tone knobs so I’m wondering if one of those knobs is push and pull like a real rickenbacker because if not I’ll have to order on

Rich Szala says:

Dan, how about building and reviewing the Fretwire 5 string bass? Also a video about finishing raw wood kits. Both how to apply a solid color paint finish and a stain finish including the application of Tung Oil. Thanks.

Zero-Mod says:

Thanks for the well produced informative review! (warning the below is too much info unless you are a real bass geek)
I did a review video on the fully assembled in China – sold out from China
copy Rics. It appears this kit has some of the “eccentricities” (issues) as those
basses. The Music Man bridge is a better choice than the other bridge commonly found on these – even though it is well made that ones geometry is wrong.
The pickups are problematic and I am not looking to argue some of the other expert opinions posted here but will offer a different perspective. They source these pickups without regard to whether they were ever made to work together! (neck/bridge) All the ones I have seen the polarity needs to be reversed on one to get proper tone/output in middle position. Even the fully assembled basses. Seems the Chinese like ” out of phase” sound? Another issue is the fretboard geometry – wrong for a Ric. Seems they made these by kind of mixing in ideas from wherever (Music Man bridge, Fender style fingerboard, Jazz bass bridge pickup but Ric style neck pickup) The field aperture (magnetic reach) of that neck pickup is weak on the E and G as it was designed for a narrower string spacing. Ric boards do not fan out as they go up the neck the way Fender basses do. I found the best solution to be installing a wider across – neck pickup. (I did a video just on these pickups as well) Question ??? Do these kits also have the “wrong scale” like many (not all) Chinese copies? Rics are 33 1/4 inch scale and the majority of these I have seen are 34 inch (Fender) scale. On such a long necked bass it effects the feel for balance and playing in the first position.

iTz_Matt [The Music] says:

6:34 Check your bridge on that, it might have dropped. Happened to my Ibanez SDGR bass a couple weeks back, it’s a common problem. Just tighten the screws and it’ll hold. The pickups are magnetic, causing the bridge to pull the string with it, and the string rattles against the pickup. Or it’s just fretbuzz. This goes to everyone who has this problem.

Thomas Wright says:

could you send me a wiring schematic for this bass

Dan Kish says:

What is that riff you were playing in the demo? I really dig it

Ferg Music says:

Hi Dan, Ian from Australia! I can’t afford a Ricky either! I have a 72 Fender Fretless P Bass with Active Seymour Duncan EQ PJ setup with 2 tone controls, no volume (You plug it, it is on full volume) and a 3 way switch! Mainly use a mono cable through my Fender Bassman 250/4×10 cabinet, but sometimes use a mono to stereo cable and add my Fender FM212 and run high freq through that and low freq through the Bassman! Great sound, but not the real deal, not that the punters would know! Sometimes I run my backup bass (A standard Cort T74) the same way! My question is: I was wondering if the set up in this video would work with Active P/U’s? I am looking at Seymour Duncan’s ASB-BO-4s and a Schaller BB-0318-010 Bridge Mainly for austhetic reasons! Do you think it would work? Your response would be appreciated! BTW Love your Vids

Nick Riggin says:

I got my 4003 for $1500. It was the first bass I ever bought, and I think it was worth every penny.

atheist group says:

slap on some seymour dunkan pickups and you are set

Kevin Bresnahan says:

I would totally do this, except shitcan the wiring and bridge pup. Get a rick aftermarket bridge from GFS or allparts. Then do a nitro finish in jet black

capitolemiproducer says:

What about Ricko sound

Juan Waffles Jackson says:

The Jazz style bridge pickup defeats the purpose of a Ric copy, and 34″ scale actually kinda sucks. Nothing wrong with 33″

sakari niiranen says:

When i see a rickenbacker i think lemmy or kill em all cliff

leroyatleroys says:

Yeah. The 4003 has been one of my absolute favorite shapes for a bass but I never liked it’s basic sound. I Really wanna build this. Especially for the price. Too bad I am a lefty.

daniel torres says:

What’s the name of the other page to buy those kits?

Steve Soldwedel says:

Hey, Dan. Is there binding on the body? I’m thinking of buying the kit and buying some basswood and then filling the control and pickup cavities, and the neck pocket, then routing new cavities and a pocket on the backside to make it into a lefty. Just want to know if there’s anything to do with the body that would prevent me from being able to accomplish this. Thanks.

Jokermatte91 says:

Cool!!!! Would you do a video where you improve the bass??

Krude Creations says:

1:05, Lemmy

John Pierce says:

What stain did you use

DeadKoby says:

I got a real Ric… the newer ones have updated electronics with a thicker sound… and a pull knob for the “traditional” sound. It kicks more butt than Chuck Norris…..almost. Sounds like you need to flip the phase on one of your pickups.

Franjo Tudjman says:

the trick you are doing with fingers on slap at 4;12,can you tell me the name of it please?

Rush fan says:

My Dream Setup At The Moment Is My 1998 Standard Mexican Stratocaster But With Noiseless Single Coil Pickups And Locking Tuners, With LifeLine Cables Going Through The Compression Unit My Dad Uses Which Goes into My Dream Amp Setup,Which IS The Hughes And Kettener (I Call Them H and K’s) TubeMeister 18 Head Plugged Into A Marshall Or Randall Cab The BOSS TU-3 Tuner Pedal, The BOSS OS-2 Drive/Distortion Pedal, The MXR Analog Chorus Pedal, The MXR Phase 95 Pedal, Thhe Boss DD-5 Plus The Fs-5U Tap Tempo, The Morely Optical Wah/Volume Pedal, And The SKB 8 Port Powered Pedal Board. See How Much THAT Cost’s.

Bleuh says:

Doubt we’ll ever get a 1:1 Ric clone (besides the lawsuit models), because Rickenbacker is more lawsuit-happy than Gibson and a lot of the hardware/electronics are custom-made exclusive for their instruments.

David Bennett says:

Sounds pretty good to me.

ColdfacekillerJr CFK says:

Needed more 70’s Rush

A. V. F. says:

Now play that Rick’ hard like Lemmy!

:| Inspiration says:

The body looks tin.

Dave Viner says:

Cool video

Edmond Young says:

if you didn’t like how rick basses sound, with both pups in parallel, why didn’t you just keep them wired in series?

Ed Arroyo says:

Wow, great vid. Nothing better than guns n guitars ! Wonder if they make a lefty, I know I’m awkward!

Daniel Barry says:

If Lemmy was around he would put it throw a demo

Brian Cutts says:

Again another excellent video, thank you so much for taking the time to do these, I apologize I did not see your reply to my comment on the 51P Bass therefore you got this up before I could send you pictures of my finished MOD Bass, I do not have a Facebook account but will set one up just to send you the pictures of what I ended up with. My Mod came out fantastic with a Wudtone Columbian finish antiqued i had some wiring issues as you did, my 51P is fully finished in seafoam Nitro with a few upgrades Gotoh Bridge and GFS MM pro pickup, plays and sounds like a monster fully gig ready. my next build on the bench is the BYO Stingray double humbucker, I appreciate all the videos you have done please keep up the great work, i would love to see you doing some basic soldering on Bass pots or guitar pots may seem like a small thing but I’ve talked to a couple other first time builders and I’m not the only one running into issues on to what goes where properly, I still have issues with that and would like to see how easy you can make it as everything you do seems easy. that and your hell of a player as well, so thank you so much for taking the time I will keep pushing subscribers your way

LogoSeven says:

Look at your audience!
You do a nice job.
And I’m a jerk.
Ok, I’ll subscribe.
And I’m sorry.

Rush fan says:

My Dad Plays Bass And Uses 3 Jazz Basses. His #1 Is A 70’s Reissue With Replaced neck (The Original Neck Was Warped) With A Hip Shot Tuner With A Switch that Allows Him To Go From Drop D To E Standard And EMG Active Pickups. The Next 2 Basses Are A Fretless Standard Jazz Bass With Active EMG’S, And A Geddy Lee Jazz Bass With The Same Hipshot Tuner As His #1 Bass. They Are All AMAZING Sounding.

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