Rick 4001 vs. 4003

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Spam2mapS, Jun 30, 2002.

What is the better bass?

Poll closed Nov 2, 2002.
  1. Rickenbacker 4001

    12 vote(s)
  2. Rickenbacker 4003

    20 vote(s)
  1. Spam2mapS


    Jun 26, 2002
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I have been getting interested in the older Ricks lately. I was wondering what the general opinion is on what the better bass is.

    I was also wondering if the 4001 can handle roundwound strings or not. Is this ok for the bass, or am I better off just getting a 4003 to handle rounds?
  2. tim4003


    Apr 30, 2002
    Dawsonville , GA
    Yes, rounds string under less tension than flats, so it should be fine.
    If you change from flats to rounds, or visa versa, you might have to tweek the neck a little, but that should be it.
  3. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2000
    I voted for 4001 not because I it's any better, but because I have one. I don't know if I could tell you what the differences are between the two.
  4. 72beetle


    Jun 10, 2001
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I voted 4003 because quite frankly, I can't hear the difference between the two - so I'd lean towards the 4003 because of the dual truss rods, which gives you twice the precision when adjusting the neck.

  5. Bass-only

    Bass-only Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2001
    Is it true that the 4001's have always had a dual truss rod set up (like the 4003's)? I thought I read that somewhere!
  6. tim4003


    Apr 30, 2002
    Dawsonville , GA
    TRUE! I used to think not, but I found out different.
    All 4001s DO have double truss rods. 4003 truss rods are a little stronger.
  7. DW


    Jun 22, 2000
    Sorry to be late to the show, I don't get a chance to stop by often.

    I have never heard of any significant problems with 4003 necks.

    Neither 4001 or 4003 have graphite reinforcement. Both have dual trussrods.

    The 4001 has a thinner neck and does not adjust like Gibson or Fender rods. You must manually move the neck in the direction you want and then snug up the trussrod nuts to hold the adjustment. Failure to understand this led to fretboards popping off and other problems. That's not Rickenbacker's fault, but it did eventually lead to the 4003 which has a redesigned trussrod system (works like Gibson and Fender except there's two of 'em).

    The 4001 neck was designed for light gauge flats. When relatively high tension rounds came out. like Rotos and Boomers, some (not all) people reported problems and Rickenbacker would not cover this under warranty. Again, not their fault, but it did lead to the thicker neck on the 4003.

    Both are great basses. I voted for the 4003 since I like the neck profile better.
  8. jpwinters

    jpwinters Guest

    Aug 22, 2002
    Norfolk, Va
    Actually the first 4003's rods worked like the 4001's. They were just thicker and the neck was beefed up a bit. In 86 they switched to the current rod system that they use now.

    Originally, the 4003's rods also adjusted at the body instead of the headstock.

    The neck pickup was also located in a different position on the original 4003's.

  9. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    Guess you heard of mine recently in another thread.

    And below is another sample, posted two days ago buy a guy called Tom on the Rickenbacker Forum :

    This is a great forum one which I visit often. It has been a while since I posted.

    The story:
    In May of 2000 I purchased a new 4003 FireGlo. After two years of fustration with trying to get the neck adjusted for decent action, I am finally sending it back to Rickenbacker for repair under warranty.

    The issue with the neck started when I received the 4003. There has always been a bow from the 1st thru 4th frets then the neck seems to be normal from the 4th fret downward. I have tried adjusting the truss rods per the Rickenbacker manual and using the E and G strings as a straight edge (capo at first fret and fretting last fret) But what happens is the truss rods only adjust from the 4th fret downward on the neck. The neck then has a slight horizontal "S" shape to it and the strings buzz heavily on the 5th thru 7th frets on all strings. If I lossen the truss rods to remove the "hump" in the middle of the neck the action is extremely high even with the bridge bottomed out. Fustrated again, I put it away for almost a year. I have also tried several brand of flatwounds strings including Rickenbackers.

    Recently, I started getting the itch to try the bass again. This time the neck had an excessive bow and I could not tighten the truss rods any further to remove the bow. I called Rickenbacker and spoke with their service department. I obtained an RA number and will be sending it back to be checked out.

    Its really strange that I would have so much trouble with the 4003. I've played several 4003s in the past and the action and playbility was smooth as butter. I have always wanted a Ric bass and would like to make this bass work and be the Rickenbacker bass I know it can be.

    I will post updates in case anyone is interested in how this proceeds.

    I won't recover all those I could read, but I did read many about 4003 neck problems. This does not mean that ALL (or even MOST) 4003's have neck problems, that only means SOME 4003 have problems from the start.

    All the best,
  10. nivagues


    Jan 18, 2002

    Where is the rickenbacker forum?

  11. nivagues


    Jan 18, 2002
  12. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
  13. nivagues


    Jan 18, 2002
    Another good forum.
  14. I had a beauty, white with black pickguard 1974 4001 the neck profile was way thinner than the 4003s i have tried, however you have to be very careful about the the dual truss rods in ,as they can twist,not just from string changes,the 4001s[ were supposed to be strung with flats],everyone exept McCartney puts rounds on them for that early Deep purple, Yes,Rush etc. GROWL, they also can be affected by temp. and humidity ,one rod goes one way the other goes the other way Nasty, Mine developed a hairline crack under the G string 1st fret,difficult to fix properly so I unloaded it ,I sure do miss that one.I prefer the 4001 for its thinner neck profile try to find an early one with the horshoe pickup and checkerboard binding but double check the neck.
  15. Jugghaid


    Jun 28, 2002
    Denver, CO, USA
    I really like the 4000 series, either 4001 or 4003, both great basses. I also like the 3001. Totally different sound and style. Here's a pic of mine:
  16. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    This is a little off topic for this thread, but I figured some of you might be able to help me out: The volume of the low E string on my 2002 4003 is noticeably lower than the other 3 strings. I've tried adjusting the height of the bridge pickup, but it hasn't helped. Has anyone else encountered this problem? If so, how did you remedy it? Thanks!
  17. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    Lot of them have this problem though not necessarily the E string...my D is noticably louder then the rest. I just pluck lighter on the D. Having a booming E string isn't neccessairly bad either....my old String Ray had this and I loved hitting that string as loud as I could.