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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rocinante_x1, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Rocinante_x1

    Rocinante_x1 Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Washington State
    What is the major differences between the Rickenbacker 4001's and the 4003's? I know there is the whole push-pull pot on the 4003, and the 4003 is the more updated version of the 4001, but what are the differences? Also, Which do you folks prefer between the two, and why?

    I'm thinking of Buying a 4001 off of my english teacher for $800.
  2. Chronicle


    Sep 13, 2006
    a 4001 for 800$ is a steal.

    The major differences are simple. The 4001 is made for flat rounds so the neck was made of flat rounds. The colors, eletronics, pickups are different on a 4001.

    A 4003 is made for roundwound strings and has simpler colors. The new ones have a thinner neck like the 4001 model and Walnut headstock wings. Very nice edition.

    Those are the basic examples of difference.
  3. Andy_colassal


    Nov 21, 2006
    Regina, SK
    what happens if you put round-wound strings on a 4001> and vice-cersa?
  4. Chronicle


    Sep 13, 2006
    A 4003 can handle flat and round. I hear on old 4001's, the necks wouldn't be able to handle the tension of roundwounds.
  5. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    That's the old story...... however, modern roundwounds generally have less tension than flatwounds. My 4001 has a much harder time with medium flats than a medium-light set of rounds....

    As I understand it, the 4001 uses a weaker truss rod system which requires manual assistance pushing the neck into backbow to set the neck relief, while the 4003 rods are able to be adjusted without need of such assistance (as John Hall told me...). Some 4001s may also have thinner necks than the 4003.

    There were also various pickup changes through the years. Some models have the neck pickup closer to the neck, and some have the "toaster" style neck pickup.

    There is lots of Ric info on the web if you do zee Google....
  6. Chronicle


    Sep 13, 2006

    Well i did say "wouldn't" so i meant old roundwounds :p

    The new 4003's have a thinner neck like the 4001s.

    And i can agree with the weaker truss rod system- that was another example i was thinking.
  7. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Another point worth mentioning is that the 4001 came with a capacitor installed inline with the bridge pickup which thins out the sound and makes it brighter. Many people with 4001s remove or short this capacitor (I've added a switch) to get the full frequency range out of the bridge pickup. The latest 4003s have a factory-installed pull-pot for this. Removing the capacitor from the circuit gives the bridge pickup much more sonic authority.
  8. xlows


    Oct 21, 2006
    To my ears, the 4001s are less capable of other sounds than the Ric sound without help from an amp, and the 4003 can do a wider variety of sounds by itself. That said, the one I chose was a 4001. I find it an easier player and more comfortable as a whole.
  9. In the interim period between the 4001 and 4003 (early 80s) you'll get examples of Rics that have qualities from either model since they overlapped. There are also 4003s with a two piece pickguard.
  10. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL

    Wrong-Just use low tension strings. I have Ernie Ball nickel rounds on my '76 4001. No problems
  11. Chronicle


    Sep 13, 2006
    Yeah but back in the day i heard the roundwounds were different and the tension of them were too great for the 4001.
  12. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL

    Ah, I see. I had heard that before as well, and I actually called Rickenbacker tech support about it before I bought my old 4001. I guess it depends on the brand, gauge, whether they're steels or not. Cheers! :)
  13. RandallFlagg

    RandallFlagg Guest

    Aug 18, 2003
    Kansas City


    You sir, are correct!
  14. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Thanks! I strive for accuracy when at all possible..... :bassist:
  15. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    4003s came with the cap for a while, and technically it cuts the low-end, it doesn't make the sound brighter.
  16. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    When did they start putting a push-pull switch in the 4003?
  17. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I think right at the end of 2005, though the announcement was made in January 2006.

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