On Saturday, I did the rounds to pawn shops and music stores that I do every month or so with a guitarist buddy. The first place we visited had a 1974 Ric 4001. I fell in love, but just couldn’t justify spending the money they were asking…even though the guy stated that they had JUST marked it down $2000 from their original asking price. The guy told me that the seller said that it had spent at least the last decade in its case under the bed. I went home and felt sick about not getting it. I have a 1974 Fender Bassman 50 amp, and the idea of having both an amp and bass from the same year really ate at me. The dating for my amp puts it being built in the latter part of 1974 (the newest cap being dated in August of 1974). The date code on the Ric bass shows August of 1974, so, yeah, even more of a match. My wife told me to buy it. My guitar buddy told me to buy it. My drummer from my band told me to buy it. I listed out all the pros and cons and it was a really lopsided list, with the con side only having one item in it: price. Sunday came and went and I went in there today and played it, then walked out with it. It had the original hard case, and when the guy opened the case, there was a Shure SM58 in a Shure zipper bag inside, so I got that as part of the deal, too, so, I didn’t pay as much for the bass as I thought I did. There are a few problems. The pickup cover is missing from the bass and it was not in the case (I did find one for sale on Reverb and snagged it, though, so I will at least have that covered). There are some dings, scrapes and rashes here and there, but hey, its 48 freaking years old. The pots are a little scratchy, but I’m hoping some electronic contact cleaner will clear that right up (maybe? See questions below). The tuners aren’t original, having been replaced at some point with Grover tuners (original tuner screw holes are still there on the back of the headstock). I don’t know if I still paid too much or not (especially after buying the replacement pickup cover), but I now have one of my dream basses, and I doubt it will go down in value in the coming years. Overall, I am just plain excited to have a real Ric 4001, now. The neck is SO nice on this! I have only ever played 4003s and I hated the necks on them! (more pics at bottom of post) Now for several questions for the Ric experts in the house: First, concerning the Ric-o-Sound jack: Should a normal stereo splitter cable (1/4” TRS to two mono 1/4” jacks) work for that? Second, am I good to spray some contact cleaner into the pots to try and clear up the scratchiness in them? Normally, I wouldn’t even ask, and I can’t fathom why I’m hesitant to do it with this bass, nor do I have a reason why I would think it wouldn’t be ok, just want someone to pat me on the head and tell me I’m good to go. Three, if I should have to replace any of the pots or jacks, should I hold onto the originals? I don’t ever plan to sell this, and I have known the NEXT owner of this instrument for almost 23 years (my son). Fourth, it appears the string mutes have mostly rotted away. Can those be replaced, or should I just leave well enough alone? I don’t really plan on using them, but, you know, want to try and get it back to ‘normal’. Fifth, am I nuts for wanting to put Dunlop strap locks on? Or should I just plan on using some of those rubber “strap locks” like Fender and other companies make? I normally put Dunlop strap locks on my instruments, but I think it might be a bad idea with this one. Lastly, I believe Ric originally sold the basses with flats on them (did they still do that in 1974?). If they did, is it possible that the coiled strings I have in the case are the original flats that came on the bass? I ask because they were in the case and not sure why, unless the previous owner liked to switch back and forth between flats and rounds? It currently has the rounds on it. In regards to strings, do the experts have a suggestion for this bass? For reference, I am normally a rounds player, but do have Labella Deep Talkin’ flats on my Fender Precision. I use SIT Nickel Powerwounds on my Carvin LB-70, D’Addario XL strings on my two short scales, and D’Addario NYXL strings on everything else except for my Leo Jaymz RB kit (Ric clone), which currently has RotoSound 66s on it. Thank you all for any help, information and pointers you might have for this new Ric owner!!