Rickenbacker 4001 or 4003? Please help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Groove Reaper, May 25, 2005.

Which is better, a Rick 4001 or 4003?

Poll closed Jun 1, 2005.
  1. 4001

    39 vote(s)
  2. 4003

    42 vote(s)
  1. Hey I'm a new member(go easy on me) and I'm planning to buy a new bass near the end of the summer to replace my crappy Yamaha rbx-170. I've made up my mind that it's going to be a Rick but I don't know if I should get a 4001 or a 4003. I've read several reviews on various sites and heard alot of bad things about the newer 4003's neck and action. I've also heard that they made the neck of the 4003 wider than the one of the 4001, which is bad for me because I have small hands so the thinner the better. I'm leaning towards the 4001 but I'd like your guys' opinion on the matter. I'd like to know if what I've just said is true and I'd like to hear about your guys' personal experiences with Ricks. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :help: Thanks.
  2. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    I own both. I actually have 3 Ricks: a 1974 4001, a 1978 3001 & a 2003 4003.

    I'd say go with the 4003. Yes the necks are indeed bigger, but only to accomodate an updated trussrod system that can handle roundwounds. Many of the old 4001's can take rounds, but many can't.

    Plus I think the tonal qualities & possibilities of the 4003 are much more vast. IMHO, if you want a 4001 to sound "full" you gotta yank that .0047 cap outta there. The p/us on the 4003 are infinitely better as well, much fatter, louder & bassier.

    Ricks are quirky basses, but god I love 'em. You NEVER mistake a Rick bass for any other.
  3. If you can find an older 4003, you can have the best of both. My mid-80s 4003 has a much smaller neck than the new one that I played in a store, recently, while trying out amps. (I'm also afflicted with small hands.) It still has the double truss rods and stereo curcuitry described above. I don't know why they started making the necks bigger. :spit:

    The only down side of my 4003 is the sharp edged binding around the body. I have to wear an athletic wrist band, to keep it from digging into my forearm. The 4001 has no binding and the top of the body is rounded.

    ...no, mine's NOT for sale!!! ...but I WILL take offers on the stereo cable I bought to experiment with! :D
  4. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    4001's do have binding, the 4001S does not.
  5. bass117


    Apr 7, 2005
    Levittown, NY
    I have a 1998 4003 and I am only responding to add a vote for the 4003, sorry I have never played a 4001 but as I am experiencing my annual G.A.S. attacjk (gear acquisition syndrome), I may peruse ebay to see what's available. I have a dozen basses from a cheap Japanese violin bass to a beautiful Carvin LB76 6-string but my Rick 4003 is my gig bass. You usually can't go wrong with new and you usually have problems with used (IMHO) so I say come on board with a new 4003 Rickenbacker exactly as you want it (I have a Fireglo). They also have a 5-string.
  6. i_g55


    May 26, 2005
    Well, I've never used a 4001 either, but I've been using a '96 Ric 4003 for a year. I play blues with it and I am extremely content about the vintage tone it offers thru my Marshall B150.

    I've read a lot of reviews about the 4003 and some of them mention about the risk of neck problems (like warping, etc) within the first 1-2 years, until the neck settles.

    However, mine is a '96. I bought it secondhand, came with a nice action and never needed adjusting since a year.

    Conclusion; superb distinctive Ric tone, sturdy neck, cool look. What more can u ask?

    I love my 4003...[​IMG]
  7. Just get a new 4003, if you don't like the neck you can sell it for almost as much as you paid for it. Ric's have one of the best resale values in the market.

    I love mine.
  8. Thanks for the info guys, I appreciate it. I've been wanting to get a Rick for over a year and I've donne quite a bit of homework. I knew that the 4001 could not have handled roundwounds, if I would have got one I would have put flats on it. Now I'm thinking I might get a 4003 from the eighties(thanks J.T. Chester) but I'm worried about having two truss rods because there is no licenced Rick dealer anywhere near where I live, the closest one is in Montreal, 6-8 hours away. Could the guitar tech at my local music store handle adjusting the truss rods on a 4003 should they need to be adjusted? I don't know of any luthiers that are near where I live either.
  9. stretch80


    Jan 31, 2005
    I have a 72 4000 (single pickup, no binding) that has had rounds or half rounds on it since I got it in 75, and its neck is straight and beautiful. Why would the older basses have trouble with rounds? Flats typically are higher tension. Do the necks bow back without that tension? Fortunately, mine hasn't .

    The 4000 is very cool, but hasn't got a ton of bottom w/ no neck pickup. It's light too (mine is anyway!)

    I replaced the bridge years ago because the stock bridge couldn't be intonated, and every time I was in the studio the engineer would say "that bass is out of tune" and I'd end up playing the studio's precision or whatever. The new bridges may be better!

    good luck with your new Rick!
  10. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    >>> The type of string (round or flatwound) has nothing to do with it, it's string tension. I have a '77 4001 and have used all kinds of strings on it with NO neck problems
    whatsoever. If you want to be on the safe side, go with
    40-95 or 40-100 guage, you won't have a problem. 40-100
    for me is the perfect guage for a Rick bass.

  11. Fishman


    May 24, 2005
    Hamilton ON
    I moved from a '76 4001 to a '99 4003S5 and no regrets, it's all Ric. In fact I found the 4003 to have much more of the Ric personality I would hear on recordings (Rush, Yes, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath etc) but I was also able to get some very nice mellow tones, and used it for numerous blues gigs. Given the choice and the fact that they're made in the same factory and in the same tradition I went for the updated model... However 4001s are still great instruments, no doubt.

  12. i_g55


    May 26, 2005
    I think that won't be a problem with an experienced luthier. Today almost all 6-str basses (and some 5-str, too) come with dual truss rods. I think any guitar tech familiar with adjusting a 6-str bass can do the Ric neck...
  13. If your interested an 80's Rick. www.pickofthericks.com has a 1986 mapleglo one with black trim, said to be in excellent++ condition. (for its age). Going for $1095.00 USA

    But you better act quick...Rics dont last long around there. You can ask for pics as well. And they have a very good reputation.

    I buy all my Ric needs at www.ricpage.com. Also an excellent rep. But currently have to 80's Rics in.
  14. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I'd say 4003. The newer 4003 necks are evidently chunkier, but heck, it may work for you after all. I'd try one out and give it a whirl.

    The neck specs have changed over the years. My '92 4003 has what I would consider a slimmer neck. It's not Jazz slim, but a different kind of slim.
  15. I would just like to also add...i think the 4003 is great. It would be easier to attain one as well as cheaper.
    The neck is a bit chunky...but isnt hard to get around..i have small hands myself, but i feel right at home with the Ric(maybe its the shorter scale i dunno). And i have an 80's Ric with a smaller neck, but just to let you know...its not that much smaller than the current 4003's i own, so you may want to take that in consideration because i dont know how much smaller you want.
  16. Hey Reaper! There's a guy trading/selling a nice '86 4003 Jetglo (black) in the TB "For Sale" forum. Plenty of pix and a decent price! ($750)

    It's posted as "Willing to trade Rickenbacker 4003 for a 5-string" (...wish I knew how to link it :meh: )

    Check it quick... he's also got it on e-bay.
  17. Mr. Reaper, I just noticed that you're in New Brunswick. I agree that a 4003 would be the way to go. I also believe that there's an added benefit to the larger neck and trussrod changes, if it's comfortable in your hands. I owned several 4001s during the period from '68 through '76. The climate shift and cold winters here in Ottawa meant that I had to fiddle with the neck adjustments constantly through the winter months, despite keeping the humidity as stable as possible. I understand this has been improved with the 4003 model.
  18. Thanks for all the input guys, I'll defenetly get a 4003, probably white or black, but unfortunetly I can't afford one right now and I don't own a five string to trade for a 4003 :bawl: so I'll just have to wait a month or two and see what's on ebay. I'd like to know if any of you guys know anything about the el-degas rickenbacker copies they used to make back in the seventies and eighties. There's a guy selling one in my hometown for 250$cdn and since the bass I have now is an absolute piece of crap :spit: I figured I could get it until I could afford my Rick. what do you guys think?
  19. It may look like a Ric...but the main question is, would it feel like a Ric or sound like one?

    There have been some good clones out there..and this one might be one. Its something you would have to get your hands on and check it out.

    BTW. When it comes to buying a Ric...i think you should look to whats available online...i dunno if your planning on ordering a brand new one. Just a heads up...if you try to order a new one..be prepared to wait 9 to 12 months. Ric has a long waiting list.

    Good luck.