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Ric 4001 or 4003 ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Low Sound Love, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Hey all

    Need some input here: I want to buy a Rickenbacker bass. I was on the lookout for either a 4001 or a 4003. Now I have got a lead on one of each.

    I could either get a '73 jetglo 4001 in great condition, with original (silver colored) case for €1800. Love its looks.

    Or I could get a 2001 mapleglo 4003 in mint condition, also with original case, for €1500. Love the push/pull pot for the cap.

    I play downtuned stoner rock/alt. rock/alt.metal, my rig consists of a variety of dirt pedals, an Ampeg V4B and Mesa cabs.

    Any advice? Cheers!
  2. woodyng


    Dec 19, 2007
    Oregon coast
    Play them both and see which one you like best. My money would be on the '73.
  3. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I love my 77. Not played any newer ones (post 2000). Silverglow huh? Interesting color.. Pic's would be appreciated!
  4. Did they have the push/pull pot in the 2001 models?
  5. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    I'd go for the 4003 without hesitation. Ballsier pickups and a neck meant to have rounds on it. It's a no-brainer.
  6. antonspon


    Mar 27, 2013
    I have a '73 fireglo 4001 which is my dearest friend and compadre, so I'm biased! I've also checked out a couple of new 4003's which disappointed me (a) because the necks were chunkier than my 4001 (love slim necks!) and (b) in both cases the strings were misaligned on the neck and over the polepieces (slack QC for such an expensive instrument). However, the 4003's do feel a bit more solid than the 4001, which is a bit like a nervous racehorse! I downtune the 4001 to D for 2 of our songs with no problem, so that should be OK. Hope this helps. Good luck!
  7. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Value-wise, the '73 Jetglo in great shape is a MUCH better deal. As long as it's original.

    Though I will say that a Rickenbacker isn't the ideal bass for playing downtuned stoner rock. In fact, it would be close to my last choice for that kind of music.
  8. Thanks for the replies!

    The push/pull pot on the 4003 was added afterwards.

    The 4001 is a jetglo (black), the 4003 is mapleglo (natural). The case of the 4001 is in a silver color.

    I won't be able to test them side by side, nor even on the same amp, so an honest direct comparison will be difficult.

    smcd, any reason in particular why you wouldn't recommend the Rick for downtuned heavy rock/metal stuff?
  9. Andy D

    Andy D

    Jun 18, 2011
    Bay Area
    Katie Campbell of C'mon plays a Ric 4003 and they're as stoner as it gets. Sounds magnificent!
  10. arjune


    Oct 8, 2006
    SF, CA
    Don't forget Al from Sleep! If legacy is an indication, Ricks are fine for Stoner metal/rock/etc.
  11. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    A Rick, in my experience, has a mid-range oriented tone that isn't ideally suited to the low end muscle that (I assume) you want for down-tuned playing. I'm not saying you can't make it work. The bass player in Earthride plays a Ric and they do kick some stoner ass. But it would probably be easier to get where you're going with a P-bass. Or a J, or a MM.

    '73 was the year they phased out the checkerboard binding, wasn't it? If that 4001 has a checkerboard binding, that is DEFINITELY the bass you want.
  12. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    Indeed it was. And indeed, that would be!
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The newer Ricks are awesome. Modern truss rods. You can damage the neck on a 4001 by an improper truss rod adjustment.
  14. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Anybody want to set the record straight, here?
  15. The neck on the 4001 was designed for 100 gauge strings under normal tension. If you want to use heavier strings or alternate tunings, the 4003 is the better choice. I don't think that rounds versus flats is an issue with either instrument, though.
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The 2001 4003 you are looking at will have hotter and louder and fuller sounding pickups. The 73 will have the .0047 cap and 500k ohm pots and quiter pickups. For the music you want to play the 2001 4003 will be a lot better.

    I have owned 3 2001 Rickenbackers and that seems to be a year when everything they made was exceptional.
  17. Gizmot

    Gizmot Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    The 4003 is a better bass than a 4001. A lot of people assume that older instruments are better (not necessarily what we're talking about here). The facts are that the newer design is more stable and the push-pull switch makes it more flexible. I have a 4001 that I put the 4003 mod into and its huge.
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I played a 68 4001 as my main bass for 30 years, then I get a 73 and I liked it better, then I got an 89 4003 and I liked it better, then I got a 2001 and I like it better. Now I play 3 modified 4004 basses.

    That old 68 4001 came to life when I removed the weak pickups and the bass cutting .0047 capacitor and put in 4003 high gains.

    Here's my 2001 4004 modded into a 5 string. I don't have to detune to get low notes, and I don't have to worry about weak necks and weak pickups.

  19. Thanks for the opinions.

    The '73 4001 doesn't have the checkerboard binding, it does have the horseshoe pickup.

    I was leaning towards the 4003 from the start, even more so now. Just too bad it isn't jetglo. Aesthetics matter :)