Help me help a friend with this Ric question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fletz, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. Fletz


    Jan 16, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hartke artist
    A woman who works for me just told me yesterday "20 years ago I bought a bass guitar because my boyfriend was a musician. It's a ricken-something..."

    So I asked her to send me pics and info because she's considering selling it and wants my help. What she sent me is below and I think a great find. Depending on the help I get from you all, I may save her the effort and buy it myself. Or I'll post it up here for sale.

    What's the expert opinion on this? (Other than the bridge situation with those strings). What year? What's it sell for? It appears to be in great cosmetic condition.

    Onto the pix ... Thanks in advance for all your help.




  2. It's a 4003/5 from february 1992. It's a 5-string (factory) Rickenbacker 4003* , but since Rickenbacker isn't known for it's 5ers, it is in fact a modified 4 string, with a toaster neckpickup (thus eliminating the issues of having 5 strings/4 polepieces), and the bridge-assembly is in fact a regular 4-string bridge, with the notches grinded down. The spacing on the bridge should work out just fine when the strings are back in the grooves on the saddles, and tuned to pitch.

    *it's called a 4003, but in terms of specs it's a 4001S (dot inlay fretboard, no bindings, contoured body, no stereo output)
  3. Fletz


    Jan 16, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hartke artist
    Is it rare? I am a supporting member who buys and sells a lot here. What might the value be if she decides to sell it?
  4. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Post the photos on Rickresource forum, and chances are good that one of the forum members will either buy it themselves, or tell you fair market value. Paul Boyer posts over there, and he can read you chapter & verse on that bass in a heartbeat. I'm guessing it could be worth around $1,500?
  5. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Commercial User

    Jan 27, 2012
    I post here, too. It is a 4003S/5. This one was made in February 1992. It is NOT a conversion, and has a five-saddle bridge, but the player appears to have modified the spacing of the strings to his/her liking by cutting new grooves in the middle saddles. It's easy to see that the tailpiece is lifting drastically -- the black ones were more prone to this, and most had two extra holes for screws closer to the end to prevent this. You won't likely find another tailpiece, so if I were you, take it to a qualified techie who can drill new holes and bend the tailpiece back into proper position. Yeah, $1500 in its present condition would probably be fair.
    Tbone76 likes this.
  6. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Bam! Another case solved! Is the bridge identical to a four string except for the saddles? I assume the extra string tension munched the bridge? If I owned it is put a black hip shot on it (if they make a 5 string) and call it good.
  7. Fletz


    Jan 16, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hartke artist
    Thank you Paul!
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Freaky custom spacing. Wonder if the then-owner was trying not to "get lost" across 5 strings or something.
  9. Fletz


    Jan 16, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hartke artist
    I am guessing those strings just popped out of their slots.
  10. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    Yeah I would assume the strings are just out of their slots - a common complaint on the 4003s5 basses is that the brdige slots aren't cut deep enough.

    It looks bone stock to me, but I'm no expert. Because of their rarity, you could easily get $2500+ if you find the right buyer.

    The additional screws on the tailpiece would go a long ways towards making it usable.

    I'll buy the bridge pickup for too much money if you want to part it out.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    That is a 100% original unmodified 4003s5. It needs repair.

    I can fix this bass. I have the parts and the knowledge.
    woodyng, AGH, Tbone76 and 5 others like this.
  12. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Ric5 speaks truth.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  13. cjj


    Sep 15, 2008
    New Zealand
    String tension isn't the only thing to cause tail lift on the black RIC tailpieces. They are powder coated, which is "cured" by baking. The heat seems to have weakened the casting on some of the black tailpieces, allowing them to bend under tension.

    Putting a couple of screws out there will hold it down forever. They actually shipped tailpieces with the screws from time to time. I've got an '84 with "extra" screws. Bending it back isn't difficult, just go slowly...
  14. Jay Mastro

    Jay Mastro

    Jun 23, 2014
    New York
    With a name like Ric5 I'd hope so ^_^
    blindrabbit likes this.
  15. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Send it to Ric5! He does some amazing conversions, this would be an easy restoration and a quick seller.
  16. +1 for Ric5, the guy is a legend.
  17. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    It's worth well more than 1500, they are rare and sought after. I've seen one going for 2500 not long ago.
  18. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    Never liked the Ric 5'ers.
  19. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Good find, make a fair offer and snag it.
  20. mapleglo

    mapleglo Ancient Astronaut Theorist Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    There was a 4003S/5 in Jetglo on the local Craig's List a few months ago for $2600. I though about buying it, but it was gone within a day. They ask as high as 5k on eBay for these. I'm not sure how many sell at that price though. Nice find.