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Rickenbacker 4001 vs 4003

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bigwig, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. Bigwig


    Dec 27, 2003
    Whats the difference between these two basses?
    I've never really looked at Rick's with anything more than a glace, but I went to an awesome show last night, and one of the most impressive bass players of the night was rockin' one with style and skill.
    My friend turned to me and asked 'What kind of bass is that guy sportin'?', and usually its pretty easy for me to tell, but this time, I couldnt give him a model, only the company name.
    They both look pretty similiar to me (an untrained eye).
    But where are the differences in these two basses?
  2. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    The 4001 is the older version and the 4003 is the updated. Basically the 4003 has a stronger neck (newer truss rod system) and hotter single coil pickups. 4001's usually have a thinner neck profile as well.

    There are alot of smaller differences like varying headstock sizes, different tuning keys, a bass cut capacitor (sp?) in 4001's-early 4003's, different neck pickup spacings, one or two piece pickguards, even slight changes to the basic body shape.........lots and lots of small stuff. Basically they are very similiar except for the stronger neck on 4003's.

    Some prefer 4001's and some 4003's. I like the stronger neck and have found recent Ric quality to be excellent so I'd lean towards a 4003 (actually I have fallen for the 4004 series but that is a whole other story ;) ).....but there are quite a few fantastic 4001's as well. So just try them both out and see what suits you best !
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  4. Bigwig


    Dec 27, 2003

    thanks for the awesome reply. I think a 4003 is what I'm looking into, but they're certainly not cheap..
  5. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Actually,for an American made neckthru,handcrafted bass, you won't find a better bargain than a Ric. The last new Ric I bought was about 3 years ago,and it was just over $1k. Not bad at all.
  6. Prahainspring


    Oct 22, 2002
    New Jersey
  7. hampulator


    Feb 10, 2012
    Being as I just bought a Ric ,I always wondered this difference also. Thanks 4 the post!
  8. silverburst

    silverburst Commercial User

    Aug 22, 2007
    Los Angeles
  9. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear

    Aug 14, 2000
    Just get a 4002.

  10. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    nope get the 4004 ... it is 1 better
  11. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    The differences between the 4001 and 4003 are more of an evolutionary thing. By that I mean that if you compare an early '60's 4001 to a 2006 and onwards 4003 you'll see more significant changes than in a late '70's 4001 vs an early '80's 4003.
  12. sharpbass

    sharpbass Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2011
    this does not help....
  13. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    I want a Ric next, so I also have some questions:

    I have also read that 4001's are set up for flatwound strings, and tha tyou have to do adjustments to put roundwounds on. Have heard that 4003 are set up for roundwounds...Is this true? Also, on Ric's web site they don't even list that they make 4001's anymore. Is this also true?
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    stringing the old 4001 basses with round wound strings will strees the neck beyound their design specs.

    The reality is that most people who have old 4001 basses string them with roundwound strings and they have no problems.

    The old style 4001 bass was discontinued in the early 80s.

    Some people go on about how the old 4001 is better. But in truth it is a flawed bass. I don't want a bass where I can pop the fretboard off with an improper truss rod adjustment and a bass that is not supposed to haqndle round wound strings. Give me a new 4003 or 4004.
  15. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    Well then, that makes a 4005 2 better! :D
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The 4008 is 4 better
  17. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I think it would be more accurate to say it was often setup using incorrect techniques than that it was a flawed design. I've never heard of a popped fretboard on a 4001 that wasn't the result of someone trying to adjust it via the trussrods rather than pre-stressing the neck. If all you'd ever set up were fenders and haven't been told the proper way to adjust the Ric, this mistake is almost guaranteed.