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Question For Rickenbacker Enthusiasts

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by csala, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. csala


    Aug 14, 2005
    Santa Monica, Ca

    I'm strongly considering buying myself a nice Rick. It's my understanding that their quality has been consistent over the years, but is there a particular era that is considered their best?

  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Not really, though they've never been better than they are right now. Plus, a brand new one will cost less than a used one will. I've had models from 76, 77, 85, 99, and 06, and to be honest, the 77 is my favorite, but it's really no better than the 06, and anything from 06 to now will have the vintage tone circuit and slimmer neck. Good luck.
  3. LuckyPants


    Mar 7, 2008
    I'd get a new one, the vintage tone circuit gives a lot more choice in tone. I have an 06 and I've played a 77, they're very similiar so I'd recommend a new one.

    Plus, instead of buying someone elses history, why not make your own? ;)
  4. Any era of Rick is great quality. However, I'd suggest either a mid- to late-seventies 4001 or a brand new 4003. Your best bet will probably be the latter, although I believe I heard that the early 90's 4003s are very highly though of as well, and at any rate you can order a VTC and install it on any one you want.
  5. jbiscuti


    Dec 22, 2007
    NYC / LA
    Endorsing Artist: Grolsch Strap Locks
    No "lean" period for Rickenbacker. Great instruments consistently from 1957 to now.
  6. tercesyrev

    tercesyrev Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Before you go down that road check out what else you can get for the $$$ you'll spend on a Ric. You'll be amazed
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    the most expensive and most collectable are 60s 4001 basses ...

    70s 4001 basses are good gigging basses ...

    the early 80s models are the least sought after ...

    about 1986 they started producing what I would call the modern 4003 bass ... stronger neck and modern style truss rods ...

    my favorite Rics are the newer ones from about 1997 to present ...

    The older ones had slimmer neck but they were also weaker ... the old truss rods were quirky ... if you adjust them wrong you can pop off the fret board ... the old 4001 basses had a .0047 capacitor that eliminated all bass and low mid frequencies from the bridge pickup ... the pre 1990 Rics had 500k ohm tone pots which gave them a brighter and colder sound ...

    I also like the 4004 basses ... they have 2 15k ohm humbuckers that are wired in series like a p-bass ...
  8. popeguilty


    Sep 26, 2007
    Denton TX
    the 80s are generally the least sought-after, but i really like them. my '85 4003 is my favorite of the ones i've played. i'm also a big fan of the black trim & hardware, which was available from the late 70s until the (early?) 90s.

    at some point, i think in the mid-90s, the necks became "fat", which some people like, but others really don't (i don't like them). they've supposedly gone back to the thinner neck profile, but i haven't seen a new one in person to confirm that (though I haven't heard anything to the contrary).

    but, yeah, in general, their quality has always been excellent
  9. lambro


    Jun 1, 2004
    not true, 1974 onwards saw a lot of inconsistencies up until the lates 90s, about 25 years of hit or miss, not to mention the often ruined truss systems

    one thing to watch for is the location of the neck pickup

    some models do not have it in the correct position, the McCartney & Chris Squire Models are correct with it closer to the neck

    the current C64 models are the ones to get now
  10. The current ones seem fine to me. I have 2 - 2007 4003s and they are my main basses. Love them. I also owned an early
    '80s 4001 and as others have said the truss system went wonky on it and pretty much ruined the neck. This also could have been the tech that worked on it at the time not knowing how to properly set up a Ric.
  11. melt


    May 16, 2007
    Well my personal favorites are those from about '69 to '72 (never played an earlier). However the newer ones are great. My least favourites are actually mid to late 70s, but it's entirely a matter of opinion, and each bass varies somewhat anyway, as all basses do. You'll pay a lot for an early 70s/60s one; the current ones are as good value as any. Bear in mind most of the problems with 4001s were caused by people not knowing how to adjust them correctly; with the 4003s it's no longer such an issue due to the "improved" truss rod design.
  12. B3bopbass


    Apr 28, 2005
    What are the specific reasons that this is the case?
  13. "although I believe I heard that the early 90's 4003s are very highly though of as well"

    I love Ricks and have owned many over the years. One of my favorite basses (and main touring instrument for many years) was an early 1990's 4003. Fantastic instrument.... sold it (like an ass) ...I miss it:crying:

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