Posts tagged ‘4001’


Review: Bluetone Bass 200


Finnish boutique amplifier makers Bluetone have recently introduced a compact bass combo – the Bluetone Bass 200 (1,450 €).

The Bass 200 is a modern hybrid bass amplifier that combines an all-valve preamp section with a compact and efficient Class-D power amp. The preamp’s architecture is based on four tubes (2 x ECC82/12AU7, 1 x ECC83/12AX7 & 1 x EF86), while the modern power amp section and the combo’s light poplar plywood cabinet result in a low weight of only 12 kilograms.

Another factor in keeping the combo’s weight player-friendly is Bluetone’s choice of speaker – a neodymium-powered Eminence Kappalite 3012HO, with a power handling of 400 W and an impedance of eight ohms.

The combo’s cabinet features two ports in the back, and it comes covered in black textured vinyl.

Thanks to its low weight the amp’s top handle is all you need to move the combo around, and its compact size (W= 42.5 cm, H= 52.5 cm, D= 29.5 cm) means it will fit in a car’s boot easily.

I very much like the business-like look of the Bass 200’s control panel, which means it’s very easy to find you way around the amp’s features.

The Bluetone Bass 200 offers separate knobs for preamp gain (Volume) and power amp output (Master). The active three-band EQ (plus Bright-switch) offers three-way selectable mid-band rotary switch, with centre frequencies of 300 Hz, 500 Hz and 1 kHz. The Mute-switch is a handy addition, which should be made a regular feature on any bass amplifier.

The Bluetone Bass 200 may be compact, but it is still fully spec’ed:

Around the back we find a switchable effects loop with its corresponding level control, an adjustable balanced, line level DI output (XLR), and Speakon and phone jack speaker outputs. Many bass combos have the speaker cable soldered to the internal speaker, which can be a real pain if the cable gets damaged. Bluetone’s Bass 200 goes the professional route, using a short high-quality speaker cable, which connects the back panel’s output to a sturdy phone jack on the combo’s back wall.


The Bluetone Bass 200 offers plenty of clean headroom, but should you desire a little overdrive or some genuine valve distortion the combination of the Volume and Master controls will happily oblige. In terms of the drive character the Bass 200 is clearly more of an ”old school” amp, dishing out plenty of Ampeg-style tube goodness. For modern metal tones I’d probably suggest you use an appropriate distortion pedal.

In my mind a bass amp’s EQ-section should be a tool to fine-tune the amp’s tone to your personal taste and/or the room and playing situation you’re faced with, and not, as in some lesser amps, to make up for the amplifier’s tonal deficiencies. Bluetone’s Bass 200 scores full marks in this respect – even with the three-band EQ’s controls set to 12 o’clock the bass sound is great and well-balanced. This combo keeps the different tonal characters of different bass models intact, freeing up the EQ-section for additional tweaking.

Despite its name, the Bluetone Bass 200 actually delivers 250 watts of output power connected to the combo’s own Eminence speaker. This is more than enough power to use the combo ”as is” for most of the smaller and medium-sized venues most working bassist play in these days. And if you need to be louder, the excellent DI output will send the combo’s signal to a PA system.

The first clip features a Jazz Bass played fingerstyle:

I used a plectrum to play my Rickenbacker 4003:

And here’s an example of the Bass 200’s distorted sound, played with a short scale Squier Vista Musicmaster Bass:


The Bluetone Bass 200 is a great choice if you want a compact and lightweight professional bass combo. No, this isn’t a cheap mass-produced bass combo from China, but I feel that for a handcrafted Finnish amplifier the price tag is really rather moderate.


Bluetone Bass 200

1,450 €

Contact: Bluetone Amplifiers



+ handcrafted in Finland

+ size

+ weight

+ features

+ soundSave





Bluetone Bass 200 – the Kitarablogi-video


Now on Soundcloud: Bluetone Bass 200

Here are two demo clips of the Bluetone Bass 200 hybrid combo (valve preamp & Class D power amp).

• Jazz Bass (fingerstyle) – Based on the song ”Did I Hear You Say You Love Me” by Stevie Wonder

• Rickenbacker (plectrum) – Based on the song ”Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney & Wings

Amp recorded combining the built-in DI Output with the signal coming off a Shure SM57.

Contact: Bluetone Amps



Bass Porn: My 1987 Rickenbacker 4003

Rickenbacker 4003 – beauty

My Rickenbacker 4003 is finished in silver, and sports the black hardware so common on 1980s Rickenbackers.

Rickenbacker 4003 – headstock

Rickenbacker 4003 – tuners

Old Rickies from the 1960s use Kluson tuners. Seventies models were most often equipped with Grover tuners. By the Eighties Rickenbacker had switched to Rickenbacker-branded Schaller tuners from Germany.

Rickenbacker 4003 – inlays

The original 4001 basses featured triangular ”shark-fin” inlays that went all the way from one edge of the fretboard to the other, effectively cutting the ’board into many pieces. The Rickenbacker 4003 has redesigned and slightly smaller inlays.

Rickenbacker 4003 – horns + pickups

Viewed from the top both singlecoil pickups seem identical.

Rickenbacker 4003 – neck pickup

While the units feature virtually identical polepieces and coils, they do differ in the details. The neck pickup is powered by a single, flat bar magnet stuck underneath the bobbin.

Rickenbacker 4003 – bridge pickup

The 4003’s distinctive bridge pickup tone of the Eighties model is produced by using a unique, thick rubber/ceramic-compound magnet that has a large gap (for the wiring) on the fingerboard-facing side. The hand rest has been removed by the previous owner.

Rickenbacker 4003 – bridge

The Rickenbacker bass bridge stands in its own recess inside the combined tailpiece and mute assembly.
In the Eighties Rickenbacker experimented with different tailpiece thicknesses, leading to quite a few bridge assemblies featuring two additional screws close to the ball ends. These factory-installed screws keep the – slightly too flexible – tailpiece from being bent out of shape by the string pull.

Rickenbacker 4003 – body binding + bridge screws

The body binding on Rickenbacker basses is usually glued to the body wings before the wings are attached to the through-neck.

Rickenbacker 4003 – full front

Rickenbacker 4003 – full back

Rickenbacker 4003 – glue line

Look closely, and you’ll be able to spot the glue-lines demarcating the through-neck.

Rickenbacker 4003 – jack plate

Rickenbacker used several different numbering schemes throughout the decades. In 1987 they introduced a new numbering system with a letter indicating the month of production (A = January) and a number standing for the year (0 = 1987). Additionally there are four numbers on the lower edge of the jack plate (digitally wiped from this photograph).
The Rick-O-Sound-output is for use with a Y-cable (stereo plug to two mono plugs), splitting the pickup signals for use with two amplifiers or for adding different effects to each of the pickups.

Rickenbacker 4003 – body beauty

This is what my own Rickenbacker-bass sounds like, when recorded using a SansAmp Bass Driver DI-box:

fingerstyle/neck PU

fingerstyle/both PUs

fingerstyle/bridge PU

plectrum/neck PU

plectrum/both PUs

plectrum/bridge PU


Some Rick-tastic clips:


Näin poistetaan Rickenbacker-bassosta tallamikrofonin suoja

Nykyään lähes kaikki soittajat poistavat Rickenbacker 4003 -bassosta tallamikrofonin suojan, koska se on yksinkertaisesti tiellä.

Tässä Gear Wiren mainio video-opas aiheeseen:

HUOM: Videossa ei mainita, että vanhoissa 4001-malleissa (sekä niiden uusintapainoksissa) tallamikrofonin suoja ei ole pelkästään suoja, vaan se on mikrofonin magneetti. Näistä malleista suojan/magneetin luonnollisesti ei saa poistaa!

Lataa Rickenbackerin pdf-tiedosto tallamikrofoneista tästä:

Rickenbacker 4003/4001 bridge pickup assemblies


Rickenbacker 4003 – Sounds!

Here are a few soundbites I recorded with my Rickenbacker 4003.

My silver Rickenbacker (made in 1987) went into the Sans Amp Bass Driver DI and from there into Pro Tools.

I’ve got a set of Cleartone-strings on my 4003.

fingerstyle/neck PU

fingerstyle/both PUs

fingerstyle/bridge PU

plectrum/neck PU

plectrum/both PUs

plectrum/bridge PU

By the way, I dislike the sound of a slapped 4003   😉


Rickenbacker-basson soundeja

Tässä ovat esimerkkejä Rickenbacker 4003 -mallin soundeista.

Oma hopeanvärinen Rickenbacker (vm. 1987) meni Sans Amp Bass Driver DI -boksin kautta Pro Toolsiin.

Kielet ovat Cleartoneja.


sormisoitto/molemmat mikrofonit



plektralla/molemmat mikrofonit


En muuten pidä 4003:n släpsoundista  😉


Classic Basses, part 3: Rickenbacker 4001/4003

Rickenbacker was one of the first manufacturers to latch onto Leo Fender’s idea of an electric bass with a proper long scale.

In 1957 they introduced their first bass model, the 4000, which was the world’s first through-neck bass.

Rickenbacker’s two-pickup model – the Rickenbacker 4001 (introduced in 1961) – turned out to become one of the company’s most successful instruments.  Paul McCartney and Chris Squire are probably the bass’ best-known users – they played the 4001’s export version 4001S.

In 1979 Rickenbacker came up with a model updated for use with roundwound strings. The new bass was named the 4003 and it  featured new truss rods (Rickenbackers always have two!) and more powerful singlecoil pickups with the neck unit moved slightly closer towards the bridge.

My own Rickenbacker 4003 was built in 1987.

Except for the rosewood fretboard, a 4003 is crafted completely from maple. The neck goes all the way from the headstock to the end of the body (a so-called Through-Neck), while the body is formed by two pieces of maple glued to the neck’s sides.

Rickenbacker typically uses a reddish type of rosewood for their fingerboards, which are usually gloss-lacquered. Another typical company trait is the narrow binding, which leaves a visible gap between the binding and the neck’s finish.

The tuning machines have been made in Germany by Schaller.

Rickenbacker’s idiosyncratic bridge design includes an adjustable string mute mechanism. Setting the correct octave compensation is a little bit more complicated than it need be – you have to detune the strings to get to the adjustment screws.

Alongside the use of maple as the instrument’s main ingredient the 4003’s singlecoil pickups play a large role in this model’s throaty tone. Most users remove the bridge pickup’s metal cover, as it tends to get in the way of your right hand.

The silver metal finish is kind of rare, even though a similar bass appeared on the cover of Rickenbacker’s bass catalogue in the mid-80s. The most popular finishes are ”Fireglo” (a red sunburst), ”Jetglo” (black) ja ”Mapleglo” (natural gloss finish).

You can check out the sound of my 4003 here or here.


Klassikkobassot, osa 3: Rickenbacker 4001/4003

Rickenbacker tajusi melko nopeasti, että Leo Fenderin keksimä sähköbasso pitkällä mensuurilla ei ollutkaan niin hullu idea kuin monet väittivät.

Vuonna 1957 firma toi markkinnoilla ensimmäisen sähköbassonsa, jolla oli mallitunnus 4000 – se oli ensimmäinen basso, jossa kaula jatkoi yhtenäisenä koko rungon läpi.

Kaksimikrofonisesta sisarmallista tuli sitten oikea klassikko – Rickenbacker 4001 (tuotanto aloitettu vuonna 1961).  Paul McCartneysta ja Chris Squireistä tuli tunnetuimpia Rickenbacker-käyttäjiä – tosin he soittivat 4001:n brittiversiota 4001S.

Vuonna 1979 sai 4001 uudella kaularaudalla ja vahvemmilla mikrofoneilla varustetun rinnakaisversion nimeltään Rickenbacker 4003.

Minun oma Rickenbacker 4003 on vuosimallia 1987.

Palisanteriotelautaa lukuunottamatta 4003 on veistetty kokonaan vaahterasta. Kaula jatkuu rungon läpi (ns. Through-Neck), ja basson runko koostuu kahdesta vaahterapalasta, joita on liitetty kaulan sivuun.

Rickenbacker on aina käyttänyt hieman punertavaa palisanterilaatua otelaudoissaan. Perinteisesti firman otelautoja viimeistellään kiiltävällä kirkaslakalla. Tyyppillinen on myös otelaudan matala reunalistoitus, joka jättää osan palisanterista näkyviin.

Virityskoneistojen valmistaja on 1970-luvun loppupuolelta ollut saksalainen Schaller.

Rickenbackereissa on läheis aina firman oma, hieman omintakeinen talla, johon on integroitu myös säädettävä solukumisordino. Oktaavikompensaation säätäminen on hieman monimutkainen, koska kielet joutuu löystää sitä varten…

Korkean ”vaahterapitoisuuden” ohella on yksikelaisille mikrofoneille tärkeä rooli 4003:n jäntevässä soundissa. Monet soittajat poistavat tallamikrofonin metallisuojan, koska se on oikean käden tiellä (näin teki myös bassoni entinen omistaja).

Hopeanvärinen metalliviimeistelly on suhteellisen harvinen, vaikka juuri tämänvärinen soitin oli 1980-luvun keskivälillä Rickenbackerin bassokatalogin kannessa. Tavallisimpia väriä ovat ”Fireglo” (punainen liukuväritys), ”Jetglo” (musta) ja ”Mapleglo” (kirkaslakkaus).

Voitte kuunnella oman 4003:n sointia esimerkiksi tässä tai tässä.