Ric people - advice please

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bman, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. bman


    Dec 4, 2000
    Sandown, N.H., USA
    I found a 1974 4001 in a store nearby. It's a maple-glo (is that the Ric term for natural finish?) with a white pick guard.

    It needs work. Maybe a lot. If you dig in at all, the pickups start fuzzing. (If I play NIB it sounds amazing.)
    If I touch the jack at all, it crackles like mad. I'm not so much worried about the jack as I am about the pups.
    The body is absolutely beat. Tons of nicks, scratches, wear, etc. But it carries with it quite a bit of character. I'm hoping it was well-loved and not neglected.
    Everything looks stock. The bridge is pitted but still shiny - not rusted or busted in anyway as far as I can tell.

    So why am I interested? It plays like a dream. I have never held a bass that felt so comfortable when I played it. And if I lay back a bit on my playing I can hear that great Ric tone.

    But I've got a complicated situation. The tag on it is about $1,100 (which, from what I've read here seems a bit high.) I'd have to trade my Variax toward it, which would leave me with only the Ric - which I almost consider a project bass. It just plays so unbelievably well.

    Talk to me. Am I looking at a hidden gem here? What kind of work do you think I'm looking at?
    Would I be killing its soul if I just ordered some Ric pups and had them dropped in? How available would a replacement bridge be? Would it be dumb to have all this work done to it?

    I played a new 4003 today just to compare, and it was a totally different animal.

    What do you think?
  2. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    1974 was a really sweet year for Rick. Often overlooked because it doesn't have any of the "classic" pre-74 features (checkerboard binding, full length MOP inlays, split bridge, toaster pickup). But 1974 was the last year for the 1/2" neck pickup spacing & (if it's early enough in the production run) the ONLY year for red marker dots on the neck.

    I just had my Fireglo '74 4001 "lightly restored". I had the bridge p/u rewound by Lindy Fralin, performed the .0047 cap mod, rewired the input jack & had it professionally set-up with the frets crowned & leveled.

    I love that bass so much. I've had it since 1987 when I bought it for $200. It had been through some rough times itself, but it sounds amazing (especially with the cap mod) and plays like freakin' butter...

    The necks on those old 4001's are much more comfortable to play IMHO. I also have a 2003 4003 & though it is a great ax, as you say it is a different animal.

    That being said, $1100 is a bit steep for a guitar that needs a lot of work, but prices on ebay are steadily rising for 70s Ricks. I'm not sure what kind of work that bass would need aside from jack repair & a good set up/cleaning.
    "Digging in" on those old hi-gains will growl & clank - that's the beauty. Not sure about the buzzing you describe.

    New Rick hi-gains are hotter, but definitely different. The '70s ones do truly have their own character.

    To answer a couple of your questions: Mapleglo is the correct term. Rick replacement bridges are readily availably. They are notoriously tough to intonate. Rickenbacker is supposed to introduce a drop-in no-mod replacement bass bridge this year that I am quite interested in.

    I'm not a fan of any of the Line 6 stuff really, but I'd hesitate about trading in your only bass for another bass that you'll almost immediately be without while it's worked on.

    But if a bass "speaks" to you sometimes there's no denying it. I own 3 Ricks & love 'em!

    Good luck!
  3. I don't own a Ric, but I do like them alot.

    If the pickups are "fuzzing", and it crakles when you touch the input jack, you might be looking at a couple hundred dollars of repair work right there, depending on what might be wrong with the wiring, though I'm no expert when it comes to electronics. Then you mentioned that the body and bridge aren't too pretty.

    Is it a hidden gem? It is if you like it that much. I'm not talking about resale value.

    Personally, I'd buy a new Ric, and then have a good tech set it up for you.

    I've dumped money, though not a lot into a bass or two I've owned in the past to try to make them sound better, but I was never as happy as when I bought a bass that sounded great right off the rack and didn't have to do a thing to it.

    Just my opinion.

    Good luck. :)

  4. Rock City

    Rock City

    Apr 8, 2001
    If you say that it's "fuzzing" out when you touch the jack,it probably needs a good cleaning. If the jack is that dirty, the pickups will not pass a signal properly due to the added resistance. What you get is a "fuzzy"sound when you dig in, because the pickup voltage increases, but can't cleanly pass through the jack.
    I'd bet a couple squirts of contact cleaner will do the trick. You can always use the possibility of the bass needing new pickups as a bargaining chip. I think I agree that $1100.00 might be a little steep unless the bass is very clean and working 100%.

  5. I'd say get an earlier 4003, even an early 90s one....they can have a much thinner neck than the new ones, and are quite simillar in feel to the bass you are looking at...except for one thing..

    The 4003s have a much better truss rod design, which can be adjusted like any other bass...

    ..the older 4001s have a totally different design, and some don't take to heavy, or med heavy strings too well, and they are a little harder to adjust, because you can't just turn the truss rods....you must loosen the rods, bend the neck where you want it, and then re tighten the rods...

    ...if you don't do this, you can pop the fretboard off(ouch!)....

    Get a thin-necked 4003 :)
  6. New Ric's out of the box are set up very conservatively. Many times the nuts are a little high. I had mine set up by a pro which included shaving down the nut slots and it is now in the "plays like a dream" catagory. And, that's a 4003.