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Got a question about a Ric year and model

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RJ Gibson, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. RJ Gibson

    RJ Gibson

    Jun 29, 2014
    Came across one that has the serial number H08154. Seller told me he thought it was a 4001 model but I looked up the serial number and it said it was made in May of 87. Confused as I'm a Fender player but couldn't resist picking this one up. Any sites that can help me out on finding the model and where I can get hold of a User's guide/Owner's manual? TIA
  2. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    August 87
    It would be a 4003
    Go to Ric site or Google up the manual - the only major difference between between yours and a new one would be the vintage tone selector push-pull pot
  3. RJ Gibson

    RJ Gibson

    Jun 29, 2014
    Thanks hotrod....obviously, mine doesn't have that feature. Any other sage advise on the 87 4003? .....good bad or indifferent? I was told to play TI nickel flatwounds on it to not stress the neck.
  4. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    You can put any type of strings on it that you prefer on a 4003. It's the updated version of the 4001. Specifically the truss rod system in the 4003 was redesign (and big improvement) which allows for your choice of strings. This was not the case with a 4001 from the 60's-80's.

    A 1987 4003 will have the .0047 cap still in it which reduces the bass signal from the bridge pickup by 50%. If you want to get a fuller sound out of the bass, a simple bypass of the .0047 cap will fatten up the tone to make it sound like a current 4003 (when in the modern mode, = .0047 cap bypassed).

    RJ Gibson likes this.
  5. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I believe that that cap went away in 1986 and came back with the vintage tone circuit about 2006.

    I had an 89 4003 that had no cap and neither did my 1990 4003.

    1989 was the last year that Rickenbacker basses came with 500k ohm tone pots and 250k ohm volume pots. In 1990 they switched to all 250k ohm pots. Then when the vintage tone circuit came out all of the pots became 330k ohm pots.
  6. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Commercial User

    Jan 27, 2012
    The Rickenbacker website's serial number service is great for telling you when a particular serial number was produced, but it doesn't explain the numbering system nor tell you what features you are going to find on a particular model. You'll need a book for that!:)
  7. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    And that book there is a dandy! ;-)
  8. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Commercial User

    Jan 27, 2012
    Thank you, sir!
  9. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Congrats on the purchase.

    If it is a 4003, which is sounds like it is, then put whatever the heck strings you want on it.

    I can tell you, as an old former Ric-o-phile from the '80s, that advice like that was RAMPANT in music stores and rehearsal spaces back in those days. Stressing the neck, wearing out the frets, this and that flatwound, no roundwounds, no flatwounds, keep below a certain guage set of strings, etc etc etc.

    All those admonishments were due to the 4001 quirks and MOST of them bunk (sure, some 4001's did have neck failures due to heavy strings), but it was primarily due to the 4001 trussrods and folks not knowing what the heck they were doing when it came to adjusting them and blaming the strings - instead of their own lack of knowledge. :)

    Obviously Geddy and Squire and Burton among others ran roundwounds just fine on their 4001 models, and roundwounds will wear any frets on any brand of bass over time, especially stainless steel sets.

    That said, yeah I'd recommend a string set in Nickel, even so flats are a great idea if flatwound sound is your thing, just because unlike most Fenders, refretting a Rick 4003 involves rebinding AND refinishing the neck. And being a neck through instrument, well, swapping necks due to damage or luther hackery isn't an option like it would be on a bolt on bass. ;)

    Congrats on the purchase, enjoy it. Just remember when it come to maintenance and setup it's not a Fender, and either learning yourself or finding someone who understands 4003 mechanics will pay in the long run. :)

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