On the Deluxe Rickenbacker models, they introduced the Rick-O-Sound circuit in their instruments. The Rick-O-Sound separates the two pick-ups (bridge and neck) into separate, independent lines that require a TRS (aka Balanced or Stereo) cable. You can then use these individual lines and send them to specific amps, pedal set ups, etc. via our TRS to Dual Mono Splitter. This is managed via a separate output jack but is not required to be used.
By separating your pick-ups you have the ability to experiment with variety of tones. For example, on base, you could route the neck pick-up to a bass amp with the lows, and the bridge could be sent to a guitar amp. Going with the middle position, you would have a blend of the two amps and to split them. Similarly, you could send the bridge pick-up to an effect (distortion, fuzz, etc) and the effect is only "on" when you select the bridge pick-up. Routing options to mixing console or front-of-house board could be interesting as well.
This question is asked often and this feature is under used, but is a fantastic option for these instruments. The two output jacks included a "Standard" and "Rick-O-Sound". The Standard output is a regular mono output and when in use, the pick-up configuration is as you would expect. Both pick-up signals are routed through a single line. The "Rick-O-Sound" output jack requires a TRS/Balanced/Stereo instrument cable to work properly, where the TIP is the neck pick-up and the RING is the bridge pick-up. If a standard mono/unbalanced cable is used, you will hear the neck pick-up only.
Some of the most notable users of the Rick-O-Sound would be Geddy Lee of Rush and Chris Squire of Yes!
For the most flexibility, we recommend using a splitter to manage the signals. We offer a TRS to Dual Mono Splitter which is what many Rickenbacker users are using. The benefit of using a splitter vs. a TRS Y-Cable is options. With a splitter, you can adjust your TRS cable lengths, and/or mono cables. You’re not locked in as with Y-cables. The TRS to Dual Mono Splitter will separate the Tip and Ring signals into two separate mono signals which can be routed to a pedalboard with patch cables or to amps with long run instrument cables.
Of course you will need a quality TRS cable going from the Rickenbacker to the TRS to Dual Mono Splitter and that should be it!
So, I wanted to personally learn about this. I reached out to a good friend Chris Knutson who owns a Rickenbacker 4001 that dates back March 1992. Chris used this bass in the killer band International Playboys so this bass has some miles on it.
I used our TRS to Dual Mono Splitter and TRS cable and split the neck and bass pick-ups to 2 separate channels on my Matchless HC30 head where the neck goes into Channel 1 and the Bridge goes to Channel 2. To create some variety, I adjusted Channel 1 to have a clean, rich tone and it sounded great for standard bass set up. Channel 2, I increased the treble and raised channel volume, so it was getting a great gravely/medium-grit tone for the bridge. Switching between the two via pick-up selector was great, but the combination (middle position) it sounded absolutely amazing. Clear lows, with the top end breaking up. I absolutely loved it.