4001 or 4003

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MEKer, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    Just between these two Rics---which would you consider the best and why OR is there really no difference once you pick one up and start playing?

    Reason I ask----I have owned two 4001s back in the day: a 1969 (stolen) and a 1971 (sold by necessity :crying:) Man, I loved them. So now thinking about reacquiring a Ric and cannot make up my mind to go back to my first Ric loves or get a new one.
  2. I played a 4001 while my 4003 was being shipped and thought that it felt real stiff. It wasn't all that comfortable and I was a little scared I wouldn't like my 4003. The '03 fit me like a glove. Not to say I can speak for the whole line, but I'd feel better about a 4003. Plus you have the capacitor that's supposed to make it sound like a 4001 anyway. I don't really use it.

    Edit: and it was owned by a competent and knowledgable musician so I'm sure it wasn't neglect or serious set up issues.
  3. 4001
  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Both are excellent, but I do have a fondness for the early '70s 4001s with the shedua strip down the neck.
  5. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I have owned a 1968 4001, a 1973 4001, a 1974 4001, a 1976 4001, a 1978 4001, a 1983 4003, 2 1986 2030, a 1989 4003s5, 1989 2030, 2 1990 4003s5, a 1993 4003, a 1993 4004L, a 1993 2020, a 1996 4003, a 1997 4003, a 1999 4004ci, a 1999 4003s5, 2 2001 4003, a 2004 4004cii5, a 2006 4004ci,

    And I have worked on more than 20 other Ricks ...

    The old 4001 basses are nice but I don't like the old truss rod system and the .0047 capacitor. The 4003 basses are quite nice especially the newer ones from the last few years.

    But my favorites are my modified 4004 basses.

    Stock the 4004 bass does not do it for me. But with a few simple mods they can be nice players.

    I also prefer the 4003 to the 4001. The 4003 is the improved version of the 4001 bass.
  6. Not to de-rail. But what kinds of mods do you do to your 4004s?
  7. miles'tone


    Feb 26, 2008
    Wales, U.K
    I used to own a '78 Ric 4001 and it was a dog. Nothing could be done with the truss rods (I belleve, as I was told by a very good luthier who knew his Rics) and it had a very high action so it was quite hard to play.
    You would probably be better off getting a new or fairly new 4003 and get the most for your money.

    slight deviation.... Yes Ric5, what mods have you done to your 4004? My old luthier of yore removed a resistor(?) from my 4001 to beef up the bridge pup which worked great for me at the time (hard as it was to play). Never heard of someone modding a 4004 before. Interested!
  8. The 4003 is structurally and arguably better sounding than a 4001.The 4001 in my opinion, looks better than the 4003 though.
    Get a 4003, change to a 4001 pick guard and move the neck pickup that little bit forward ala 4001. You will have the best of both worlds.
  9. Best of both worlds....... Just get yourself a used and in excellent condition 4001V63 !!!! End of the debate right there !!!
  10. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    I have a 4001, but while I like the aesthetic of the shedua strip, the 4003 has a number of improvements, so when I get another Rickenbacker, it will likely be the 4003 model.

    I should note, however, that since my 4001 is a restoration (was completely bare of paint and hardware when I bought it), the hardware is all what a new 4003 would have, including the push/pull pot. Likely it sounds more like a 4003 than a 4001, if there is a difference.
  11. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    A 4003 built from 2006 onwards, is the ideal model, imo. (between the 4001 and 4003), But I also greatly prefer the 4004 model, as it's been further refined and updated, and is what a true modern Ric bass is all about. I beleive Ric5 mods his 4004's with V/V/T instead of the stock 3 way selector switch/V/T.
  12. PWRL


    Sep 15, 2006
    While 4001s have great vibe, having owned both I have to say the newer 4003s are superior. They're built more substantially and have better circuitry.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The stock 4004 bass comes with one volume and one tone and a toggle and 2 series humbucker pickups. That is a setup that I like a lot on guitar but not on bass.

    There are quite a few mods that can be done to a 4004. These mods improve the tone of the bass.

    1 - you can wire the hb-1 pickups to a toggle for single/series/parallel funstion.
    2 - you can wire the controls volume, volume, tone like a jazz bass.
    3 - you can wire it with stacked pots so each pickup has a seperate volume and tone control.
    4 - you can drop in Rickenbacker single coil pickups.
    5 - add an active preamp.
    6 - combine some of the above mods.

    Then my favorite mod I like to turn the 4004 into a 5 string bass.

    http://www.3dentourage.com/425/98 red 4004L5.htm
    http://www.3dentourage.com/425/2002 4004cii5.htm

    The 4004 is the best Rickenbacker for doing mods. Why? Because collectors are not as concerned with 4004s and 4004s don't seem to lose value for being modified. Collectors usually want a 4001/4003 to be stock or close to stock. Also the 4004 has that nice rounded edge body that is more comfortable to play.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Also a slight mod to the 4001 makes it a better bass.

    I like to rewire a 4001 with all 250k ohm pots and remove the .0047 capacitor. This warms up the tone slightly and gives the bridge pickup more bass and low mids.
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The v63 bass is pretty much a 4003s bass made to look like a 60s 4001s. But the truss rods and pickups are modern.

    A lot of people like to add a toaster neck pickup to the 4003 bass.
  16. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    Ric5 -- I never knew you didn't like the .0047 capacitor. To me, that is part of the inimitable Rick tone. At least do what RIC does now: put a push-pull bypass switch on it so you can have it either way at will.

    I also think the best mod for a 4004 is to recast the controls as V-V-T with the 330 kohm pots, but I change out the tone capacitor to .033 instead of .047 to retain more mids.

    The old truss rods, once set, are still viable. Once I decided on a make, model and gauge of strings for my 4002 and set the rods almost 20 years ago, they haven't needed anything since.

    Do notice that for the older style rods, those of us who have older basses talk about "setting" the rods instead of "adjusting" the rods. Joey's bass notes gives the preferred procedure.

    And the new adjustible pole high-gain bass pickups on the 4003 are probably the best pickups overall that RIC has produced to date.
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Ya the new push pull bypass is the best of both worlds.

    I have not tried the .033 cap ... I will do that someday .. I like the vvt mod ... but I think the stacked pots works even better.

    Yes once properly set a 4001 can go decades without another adjustment. The only time they need a re-adjustment is if you go to strings that put a lot less or a lot more tension on the neck.

    Yes the newer pickups are quite good.
  18. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    I've played some really crappy 4001s in pawn shops, probably because they were abused/neglected, and 4003s have tended to vary a little in neck profile which makes them all feel a bit different, so main thing is don't buy one without playing it first. Most major cities have some used inventory and new 4003s are not hard to come by either.
  19. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I have a '73 4001 which I've had since before the 4003 was a twinkle in the eye I love it and will never sell it. However, if I got another Ric it would be a 4004, preferably with single coils and an ACG EQ-01 installed
  20. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member

    If I got a 4004, I'd probably do the stacked knobs mod. I know a lot of people like doing V/V/T, but I really don't like that setup for my own use.