On the Deluxe RickenbackerTM 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 setups, etc., via our TRS to Dual Mono Splitter. This split signal handling is managed via a separate output jack but is not required to be used.
By separating your pick-ups, you can experiment with a variety of tones. For example, you could route the neck pick-up to a bass amp with the lows on bass, and the bridge signal could be routed to a guitar amp. Going with the middle position, you would blend the two amps and split them. Similarly, you could send the bridge pick-up to an effect (distortion, fuzz, etc.), and the result 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 underused but is a fantastic option for these instruments. The two output jacks included a "Standard" and "Rick-O-Sound." The Standard output is a typical 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. You will hear the neck pick-up only if a standard mono/unbalanced cable is used.
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 many RickenbackerTM users are using. The benefit of using a splitter vs. a TRS Y-Cable is options. You can adjust your TRS cable lengths and mono cables with a splitter. You’re not locked in as with Y-cables. The TRS to Dual Mono Splitter will separate the Tip and Ring signals into two mono signals that can be routed to a pedalboard with patch cables or amps with long-run instrument cables.
Of course, you will need a quality TRS cable going from the RickenbackerTM to the TRS to Dual Mono Splitter, and that should be it!
So, I wanted to learn about this personally. I reached out to a good friend Chris Knutson who owns a RickenbackerTM 4001 that dates back to 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 a standard bass setup. 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) sounded amazing. This setup clears the lows and adds top-end break-up. I loved it.