Quality of new Rickenbacker 4003 basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by psi, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. psi


    Mar 11, 2005
    New Jersey
    I'm about to purchase one of these guys after playing a '76 4001 at the local Guitar Center, but I'm concerned about a few things.

    I read a lot of reviews on Harmony Central of new 4003's claiming that the action was EXTREMELY high out of the box and even luthiers couldn't lower it for them. I was under the impression that Rickenbackers had super low action?

    Also, I've read that the 4001 neck is different from the 4003. Is it fat like a Fender P? Or even fatter?

  2. 00soul


    Jan 4, 2005
    seal beach, ca
    the necks on the newer ones are a bit fatter than the older ones.
  3. I recently picked up an '05 4003. The action was a little high for my taste out of the box but was easily adjusted by lowering the bridge. No truss rod adjust required.

    The neck of the 4003 is not as slim as a 4001 to accomodate the dual truss rods. This results in a neck that is much more stable and one that takes round wound strings very well.

    Rics are still hand made an no 2 are identical even in the neck profile.

    I'd say go for it without concern. They're a great bass and the company produces a high quality product, made in the USA at a reasonable price.
  4. Mine's an 03' 4003, and it rocks.....great bass, but only if you like a chunky neck....feels simillar to my P bass...they made them thicker to withstand string tension better that the old ones, whilst sacrificing a bit of speed....

    The action may be high because it needs a trussrod adjustment.....typically Rick necks tend to move around a bit for the first couple of years, as the wood settles. They are really strong, but that's what happens when you have a huge chunk of maple, instead of a laminated neck...but I haven't really noticed much movement at all, and there's two trussrods to fix it if you need to.....

    All in all, I'd say go for it if you like the sound, and feel....I love mine!
  5. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    OK the twits on HC don't have a clue. The thing is, Rick basses are designed to be set up with and straight neck, ie little or no relief. AS Anthony Jacson would point out, if you go for a straight neck set up, you need to raise the nut a bit, this is what Rick has done. The problem is, this kind of thing is against conventional setup wisdom and most luthiers, or repair men will set a nut up with the inention of setting the neck with a bit of bow ie lowwer. Most manufacturerers suggest a bit of bow too, but not Rick'.

    The biggest problem is that Rickebacker doesn't send their basses out with a setup (they are honestly too swamped with filling orders todo so), an expect dealerrs to do it before putting the instruments on display. I tried a new oiut of the box 4003 at PM BLues in RI and the guy apologized for the lack of setup and explained they hadn't had a chance to do it yet on that particular bass (that's where I found out about Rick not setting the things up at the factory). Now lets face it, most retailers don't do any set up on thier instruments, they just put them out. With Ricks, this is bad (for obvious reasons) and it gove a lot of people the wrong impresion about the things.

    Personaly I've knoiwn people who have gotten thier action stupidly low on their ricks. As long as neck is straight and the distance from the last fret to the bottom of the strings is a little (just a little) more than the distance from the first fret to the bottom of the strings things should be groovey.

    As for Luthiers not being bale to fix the high action, that has to be BS. Even if it was real problem, a REAL luthier should be able to file the nut slots or bridge sadles down (no idea why you'd need to do the latter).

    Yes the newer neck are chunkier (I think I've heard htem compared to P-bases, but to me they are flatter in profile). Though when I bought my former 79 I compored it to a new (2003-04) 4003 and didn't really notice any difference, but there might be more between a 4003 and 76 4001. They made them thicker to deal with the modern truss rods. They could probably make the neck thiner but that might alow the rods to damage the neck (from the greater force they can exert).

    Personaly I love to see Rick go back to using thinner necks, and maybe use a graphite bar running between the rods for extra rigidity. If they did that they might also be able to make the rods a bit more petiete.

    Personaly, if I were you, I'd try and find a 4003 you can try out with in driving distance. If you are really interested be willing to drive a fair distance if needed. My rule of thumb, don't buy somehting blind try it first.

    ~Paul :)
  6. psi


    Mar 11, 2005
    New Jersey
    Alright thanks for the advice guys
  7. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005
    If I'm not mistaken, the 4001 has and has always had dual truss rods. LINK

  8. Yes they do...but the newer necks are capable of greater tension, due to their thickness, and the modern-designed truss rods...you can adjust them way easier....
  9. Horny Toad

    Horny Toad Guest

    Mar 4, 2005

    Yes, I know - I own both a 4001 and 4003. I was replying to the post by "EASonBass" where it appears he is implying that the neck of the 4001 is thinner because it doesn't have to accomodate dual truss rods.

  10. My bad. Thanks for the correction. I was. And, was wrong.