My situation is probably not typical, but I had to share my experience with this outstanding bass. I am a songwriter and worship leader and my primary instrument is guitar, though I am very competent on many instruments. I had been using a recent five string Am Dlx active J bass, but wanted four strings and a more passive tone. I thought I would end up with some variant of a J bass until I played several and just could not bond with the neck. Tone was good, but I just wasn't digging the feel. Call me crazy given how iconic and versatile the J bass is. Anyway, I picked up a 4003, plugged in and that was it. I was hooked.
What struck me at first was the playability of the bass. The thick-ish u shaped neck is substantial, but not huge and seems to feel meaty yet fits the hand. I do not like baseball bat neck profiles, and this is not. Action was great and playing just seemed effortless. Everything was smoother, quicker, more precise and effortless. Refined but with character and not sterile or bland I would say.
Tone wise, I couldn't believe how full, warm, yet articulate this bass is. Especially the neck pickup, but the bridge and middle positions are also outstanding and seem to cover way more tonal ground than a J. The pull vintage tone option is nice, but I probably won't use it. The down position just seems to masterfully merge the vintage vibe that the early Ric's are known for with a modern fidelity that just works. I'm a classic finger bass layer, but occasionally use a pick for certain tectures and the middle position was simply fantastic for this. Full, meaty, chewy yet articulate.
In a band context I ran this through Sansamp Bass Driver DI into my in ear monitors, and I found myself not missing an amp at all. This bass sits in the mix perfectly and can be heard as well as felt and with no effort at all. If I dig into the strings, I get a nice subtle growl. Back off and it can be clear as a bell.
For some reason I had thought that these Ric's would somehow be thin, or lack warmth or fidelity if I wanted it. I was wrong on all accounts. I can hear that Ric character, but this is no one trick pony. This bass covers more ground than I could imagine and I had to write this review to sing it's praises. Yes, you can channel your inner early Geddy Lee, but you can coax just about any kind of tone you can imagine with just a flick of the pickup toggle switch and a change in technique. The bass is highly responsive to nuances of the player. Build quality is outstanding in every aspect as well.
Could not be happier. Get one now and never look back!