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Rickenbacker 4003 vs. 4001

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sexy magik, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. 4003

    47 vote(s)
  2. 4001

    22 vote(s)
  1. Sexy magik

    Sexy magik

    Mar 23, 2012
    i finally found a decently priced left handed rickenbacker 4003 and 4001 but i just want to know which one is better, i just want to know your opinion, (iv'e already done the research and know the difference between the 2 bass) and why its better than the other and please only participate in the poll if you have experienced both bass and know the difference

    thanks in advance
  2. I have a 4001 but with all the improvements made in the last few years if I was going to buy a Rick now I'd go with a 4003.
  3. BatCave2112


    Jan 8, 2013
    Ric 4001 has usually a thinner neck which is nice for people with smaller hands but the 4003 all the way its more reliable and just basically the same thing but updated
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I've owned several of each, and all from different years. Imo, the newer 4003's, from '06 ,on, are the best of the bunch.
  5. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Same experience for me too. My 09 4003 has a nicer neck than my drummers old 4001 and sounds nicer too.
  6. I've owned both - I voted 4003.

    4001's are lovely basses, but the 4003 is a 'modern' version/continuation.

    In a modern band environment, 4003 for me all the way. My current, and now only Ric, is a 2012 4003. Really blows my previous Rics away - the pickups and tone from it are red hot!
  7. I own both. My 4001 is a '72 and my 4003 is an '08.

    I agree with the above comments favoring the 4003.
  8. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    My old 4001 is a beauty , a friend liked mine so much he bought a new one and I have to say they are very close in feel . I was surprised at how close his 2011 is to my '80 . His has the push/pull pot , I simply bypassed the cap on mine . I prefer the sound without the .0047 cap .

    Rickenbacker never had a Norlin or CBS era , but some instruments feel better than others .

    Will you have an opportunity to play both basses ?
  9. Stephent28

    Stephent28 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    C470, CO
    I like the necks on the 4001's better but the newer 4003s are probably better built basses. I have a 4001C64S and it incorporates the best of the old and the new.
  10. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I also agree. My 2010 4003, had a bigger neck, and sounded better. Than my 1972 4001. I did like the look, and feel of the 1972 better though.
  11. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    My 4001 neck feels better to me than any of the new 4003's I've tried and there ain't no vintage vibe like a real vintage vibe!
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I disclose nothing
    The 4003 is 2 better ...
    poorbassist15 and alexlocurto like this.
  13. jj4001


    Dec 27, 2010
    Providence, RI
    After playing exclusively an '80 4001 for more than 10 years, I bought an '86 4003 last year.

    The 4001 is the bass I will be buried with, but I like playing the 4003 much better. It has a slightly thinner neck (front to back) and feels a bit lighter.
  14. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    4001s are so hit-or-miss in my experience. Some may have been lemons or were just terribly abused but I have played a few horrible examples. Yet the great ones really, really shine.

    The 4003 from certain years is the same way. But with the new 4003 option you get a warranty replacement if need be and some improvements on the design that should make it less of a game of chance to get a good one. And the used market seems to make buying new instrument a whole lot more attractive for Rics than other basses.

    From a practical perspective, I say 4003, but if you are willing to sift through the crap you can probably find a killer 4001 with enough patience. And they are different beasts for sure.
  15. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    I like the klank that I get from my 4001's more than the klunk I hear from every 4003 I've tried.
  16. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    There is variation of course, but the new 4003s are generally superior.
    Never played an early 4001 (1973 and earlier) however.
  17. Sexy magik

    Sexy magik

    Mar 23, 2012
    unfortunately no, im going to buy the bass online.

    thank you everyone for your opinion on the 2 bass and i have finally made up my mind. i will be buying a 4003 :D
  18. No! Don't! Please, reconsider! Not for me, but for you...

    I've never played a 4001, but every post needs a baseless voice of dissent... :D

    IS THAT A PUN?? :p
  19. Baker69


    Mar 24, 2008
    Being a fellow lefty and having owned both a '78 4001 and now a new 4003 I feel I am in a perfect position to advise! I see you have already decided on a 4003 but I will tell you what I think anyway.

    As you have already gathered, both are excellent basses in their own right, which unfortunately makes the choice between the 2 that much more difficult.

    Without doubt my 4003 is the better of the 2 basses in relation to construction and quality, but the neck is a lot chunkier than my 4001, so if you have small hands you may need to consider this, Ric necks have varied in size over the years but my '78 was quite slim.

    Even with the vintage push pull switch and despite what people tell you the 4003 can't quite get the clanky growl of the 4001 (possibly due to the higher output pickups) but could also be down to the thicker neck as well, so if you are looking for what I would call the 'classic' Ric sound then the 4001 is the one to go for.

    Personally I found the 4001 to be a bit lighter but then the 4003 isn't excessively heavy anyway.

    'Unofficially' you have to be careful as to what gauge strings you use on a 4001 with it having a weaker neck, however I never experienced any issues with mine.

    The newer 4003's have skinnier horns (which I prefer to the thicker horns of the 4003), but this is all down to personal preference.

    To summarise, I really miss my 4001, in particular it's tone and skinny neck, but am very happy with my 4003 which has a more versatile sound. The ideal scenario is to get both of course, but for now I think you are probably wise in going for the 4003.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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