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Rick 4003 is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by drewphishes, Jan 3, 2018.


  1. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    Philly
    Have an opportunity to trade two basses for a 4003 in fire glo

    the basses are an ibanez sr 1800 and a Peavey GV bass...

    Probably put the value on those around 1500 realistically

    is 1500 a good price for a mint ric?

    will I like the sound/

    I play my P bass primarily but I also like to slap a bit so a little unsure.
     
    spaz21387, ELG60 and electracoyote like this.
  2. Raw N Low

    Raw N Low If I can't hear it, hopefully I'll feel it Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Denver, Colorado
    If you like it enough, it can be.

    One thing that sticks out about Ricks is that they have skinny necks. I like how they sound but, my hands are on the larger side. I'd advise trying one before buying if possible.

    $1500 is the basic rate of a used Ric in good shape.
     
    RedJag, DiMarco and Slough Feg Bass like this.
  3. Axstar

    Axstar

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    If I had the chance to swap a Peavey and Ibanez for a Rick then I would already have my coat and shoes on. :woot:

    Ricks weren't always made with skinny necks; there is a lot of variation in neck geometry over time. I wouldn't do the trade unseen, I would need to see the Rick up close first. I would check under the TRC for twisted rods, check that the neck wasn't warped and check that the bass isn't warping around the neck pickup route. I would probably also want to see the electronics just to make sure nothing dodgy was going on, and try and ensure it wasn't a fake (old Japanese copies are very close to the originals).

    If nothing else, the Rick has better resale/residual value if you don't get on with it. :bassist:
     
  4. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    Philly
    what should I be looking for?
     
  5. Axstar

    Axstar

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    Make sure it is a real Rickenbacker! Rickenbacker basses only say 'Rickenbacker' on an easily removable piece of plastic on the headstock. Some real Rickenbackers lose their trussrod covers over time, and some Japanese copies (etc) have had Rickenbacker trussrod covers put on them erroneously. Beyond that there are Chinese copies that ship with 'Rickenbacker Made in the USA' written right there on the trussrod cover, even though neither assertion is correct. I follow the 'Rickenbacker' hashtag on Instagram, and yesterday some guy posted his bass collection that included a Chinese Rickenbacker copy. Was he duped or was he trying to dupe me? I've seen a couple of people nearly fall for a fake Rickenbacker offered in a trade. The Chinese copies still don't look accurate, but they are slowly getting closer.

    There is a bit of information here about identifying Rickenbacker copies:

    Joey's Bass Notes - Recognizing Rickenbacker Bass Copies


    Beyond that, it depends on the age of the instrument but Reverb is a good place to look as a few sellers upload detailed photographs of Rickenbacker basses of various ages. Some include the electronics, pickup backs etc.

    Check the output jack plate. Rickenbacker stamp a serial number here, and use fairly unique domed-head screws that you don't see on copies. Then again you could stick a Rickenbacker jack plate on a copy...

    Without sounding like a sycophant (hopefully) @PaulBoyer's book is a useful one-stop shop for getting an idea of variations over time, including special 'color of the year' finishes, changes in design etc. It can be a bit tricky to ever say "Rickenbacker never made a bass that colour" or "Rickenbacker never made a set-neck bass", as just occasionally they did one or the other.

    I would be warier of trading for an older 4001 bass, as these had idiosyncratic 'hairpin' truss rods that didn't perform in the same manner as Fender rods. If you adjust these rods using Fender logic then you risk separating the fretboard from the neck itself. A modern 4003 bass won't have this problem though, like any bass, there is a chance that a previous owner has wrecked the trussrods by using the wrong wrench or by snapping the nut off the rod itself.

    If I were offered a Rick in a trade, I would check for:

    • Worn frets. As Rickenbacker use neck binding (most of the time but not always!) and lacquer their fretboards, a re-fret can be more expensive if the frets are worn out.
    • Lifting bridge. The rear of some Rickenbacker bass bridges can lift and bend under string tension. Not a big problem, but you could use this to haggle!
    • Cracked finish on the neck. I've seen a couple of Rickenbacker basses with long hairline cracks that run parallel to the fretboard from the nut to around the first couple of frets. This suggests that somebody has incorrectly adjusted the truss rods and caused the fretboard to separate.
    • Replacement pickups. If the bass has Seymour Duncan or Bartolini pickups then this could be a haggle point as well, as Ricks seem to hold their value better if they are kept original.
    • Silliness under the trussrod cover. As per above, if the rods are incorrectly adjusted then the adjuster nuts can end up pointing down the way into the floor of the access route. This could be a costly repair depending on the damage.
     
  6. hypercarrots

    hypercarrots

    Jan 28, 2009
    los angeles
    yes because looks like you're having a hard time selling the sr1800 and rickenbackers are easier to sell if you don't like it.
     
  7. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    Philly
    hes upgraded the bridge to a hipshot bridge as well so thats a plus I think, but the original is included
     
    SakuBass and Axstar like this.
  8. Axstar

    Axstar

    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    If the original is included, and not damaged, then this is the best of both worlds really.

    The Hipshot adjusts like a Fender bridge and is considered by many to be an upgrade, even if others consider it less than totally infallible. Rick purists don't like them, but if the Rick becomes your daily driver then you might be glad of it.
     
    SakuBass likes this.
  9. Paulabass

    Paulabass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    My Ric has a hefty neck on it. Any bigger would have bark.
     
  10. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Axstar covered the basics nicely. The only other thing I’d mention is to look for bubbling or separation of the clearcoat around the bridge. If the bass is more than a couple years old with no sign of finish problems, you are probably good to go. Depending on how you hold the bass, they can be uncomfortable to play for some, particularly the bound models, strongly advise you try one before buying. The SR series are very well designed ergonomically. A Ric? Not so much, but it may be worth it for that tone. They fit my hands and posture well, YMMV.
     
  11. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    Fantastic grouping of info on this subject. Gonna paste and copy on a note to self! Thank you.
     
    Axstar likes this.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Definitely a try before you buy bass. I love my '81 Ric. I had a 2011 that I wound up selling and a few others over the last several years that I didn't bond with. $1500 is on the high side for a used Ric, but not crazy.

    As someone else said, it's probably easier to sell the Ric if you don't like it than your other basses.
     
    Michael Schreiber and Aqualung60 like this.
  13. Hounddog409

    Hounddog409

    Oct 27, 2015
    ohio
    The RIC neck is no where near as skinny as the IBBY.

    That SR1800 is worth about 700 used tops, though is a very sweet bass.

    I doubt the Peav is worth 800.

    I would trade both in on a RIC
     
    pudgychef, MDBass and ajkula66 like this.
  14. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Tone Twins 4.JPG Really, truly, honestly - only you can answer that question. Rickenbackers are probably the most polarizing bass there is around here; even more so than Gibsons. For every fanatic Rick fanboy, there's someone who thinks they're a tool of the Devil, and a curse on us all. Only you can decide which cult you want to join. Personally, I like them a lot, but.. I don't think they're exactly the Alpha and Omega of basses, either. However..
    - Rickenbacker necks run from thick to thin, in batches that can be a year or more long. And, since there's considerable hand finishing on them, there's a surprising amount of variation from bass to bass as well. Both of mine, which are 28 years apart in age, are pretty slim - as Ricks go. Rick necks also have very little taper, which some people have described as "like trying to play a pencil". Bothers some; others, not so much...
    - Truss rods are single acting, and pretty straightforward, as truss rods go. Most of the horror stories about them come from not being able to get a 1/4" nut driver on them because the cavity is too small (and this, sadly, is sometimes true), or scary stories from the 4001 era, when the truss rods were a completely different design, and would punish the uninformed tinkerer by popping the fret board off. Key word here is 4001... which, by the way, is what that Jetglo one is..
    - Bridge/tailpiece. Yes, they're an old, fairly poor design. Some people (like me) have no problem with them; some people hate them. You'll have to decide for yourself...
    - Rick pickups. Single coils, and, IIRC, still wound by hand, in house. Yes, they can - and will - hum; sometimes a lot. There are fairly simple ways to minimize it; and YES, RIC should have done it decades ago. But they didn't, so...
    - The finish. Yes, it can be a problem. It's thin, and, especially now, with the newer paints, pretty brittle. Mine aren't new; that's all about that from me...
    The bottom line, if you're thinking about buying a Rick, is play it first. And, if you think you might like one, play several of them if you can. As I said, they will all feel different; but, you'll know when you find the right one for you. And, as for the price? You're lucky; you're looking at close to $5,000 worth in the picture. But, they're leftys; one of them is possibly unique, and I bought them both when there were no new leftys - and no prospect of them, ever again. So, it was a seller's market...:whistle:
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  15. Gizmot

    Gizmot Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    As noted before, I think that Rics are unfairly criticized for various aspects of them. I've had them for decades and they have always served me well and I have never had a problem.

    Nonetheless - there are elements of truth in what some naysayers claim. You should absolutely play the instrument that you're buying to make certain that it feels right to you. They vary quite a bit, so make certain and find one that fits you well.

    I think that you'll love the Ric sound - solid lows and a nice round sound.

    Should you buy one? Absolutely - you'll love it.
     
    Michael Schreiber and cataract like this.
  16. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Texas
    You really think Rics have skinny necks? That’s seems kinda crazy to me. But I guess everyone is different. The one I owned had a much much fatter neck than anything else I’ve ever had. Especially towards the nut.
     
    Raw N Low likes this.
  17. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Texas
    You could probably put together 3 Ibanez necks and get the same amount of wood in a Rickenbacker neck.
     
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    You can buy a brand new 4003s for about $1400 USD. Try the walnut 4003sw
     
    tonequixote and 12BitSlab like this.
  19. This is purely my perspective, so take that into account:

    I would have no issues trading those two basses for a contemporary mint Fireglo Ric 4003. None whatsoever. $1,500.00 is pretty much the magic number for a gently used Ric with original HSC.

    Contrary to uninformed self-authoritarian reports, a Ric 4003 is NOT a one trick pony. Players are one-trick ponies, not musical instruments.

    I am a fairly proficient slap n popper. I can slap a Ric just fine. If you're not proficient, and if you haven't gotten around the unique Ric ergonomic, YMMV.

    YMMV!!!

    I'll just set this here (the man starts to play around 3:59, gets slap happy around 6:51, and DOESN'T EVEN REMOVE THE PICKUP COVER!!!):

     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  20. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    I have a love hate relationship with Rics.

    I love the look and the sounds it makes.

    I hate the mechanical mute, the pickup cover, and the lack of a 5 string model.
     

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