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Rickenbacker 4003 vs. 4001C64

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by joeviau, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. joeviau


    Jul 9, 2002
    Rhode Island
    Okay, I'm looking at pics of these guys. One's a lot more expensive than the other. Does the "toaster" and "horseshoe" pickups really make that much difference in the sound? The C64 is mono while the 4002 is stereo output. There's also no binding on the C64.


  2. The C64 is a reissue of an old Rick, the same vintage as Sir McCartney's. Earlier, there used to be a similar model named v63 that had the same or similar specifications. Both look great (no binding anywhere and dots on the fretboard - yum!) and are said to sound very different from the later models. If you want to believe what some people say, the "toaster" sounds very warm and the "horse-shoe" very growly. I haven't played any of them myself, so I can't really tell :)
    Sartori likes this.
  3. Coolcow666

    Coolcow666 Ribonucleic acid freak out! Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    I pretty much have the same exact question as Joeviau did (Search function FTW). I am looking into getting a Rickenbacker but I really don't see a significant difference between the 4001C64 and the 4003 models (other then price). Can someone please elaborate on the differences between these two.

  4. jwl


    Jan 25, 2005
    i have a 4001v63 and have owned a 1980 4001 and several 4003's. imo the 4003 sounds very much like a fender jazz. you can easily nail the jaco bridge tone with a 4003. the v63/c64 imo has a slightly more scooped mid high endy kind of sound and that is what the vintage rick sound is. they both sound pretty good but i don't think they are interchangeable. the 2006 models of the 4003 have a new circuit with a push/pull on one of the knobs that allows you to have the vintage sound or the newer 4003 sound. this imo is a great feature and over due. that is the rick i would get. i do not understand why rick changed the headstock on the c64. it is a reverse of the v63 and is one reason why many rick fans prefer the older v63 over the c64. imo. the pickups have a different sound, as i said more of a scooped sound on the v63 as opposed to the 4003. both are very good basses but the prices of used v63's are going up. imho. peace, jeff
  5. The 4003 can sound like a J bass, but it just isn't the same - it is definately all Ric, and you can definately get classic Ric tones with it...

    There are some people that own both, and say that some of their 4003 basses sound very much like their CS4001....without the bass-cut capacitor in there:)

    They can sound vey much alike - don't believe me?:


    Paul D'Amour had a CS4001, but I believe he had Hi-Gains in there instead of the Horseshoe and Toaster, and he still got a very Squire-like tone out of it..

    I love my 4003, but still want a CS one day..
  6. Paul's tone was more like Squire on steroids, talk about in your face crunch. Especially on songs like Intolerance and Bottom. Too bad he didn't have the Ric to record with on Opiate...
  7. I thought he did??
  8. Jeff(jwl), you can't get vintage tones out of that green 4003 of yours?:confused:

    My J bass sounds nothing like my 4003...J bridge pups are bright for sure, but they are more of a high-mid, very percussive "click" to my ears, whereas a Ric has much more clank...even the newer ones..

    Listen to the differences by clicking on the pics:

    http://www.3dentourage.com/425/hear.htm - courtesy of Jeff from Rickresource

    Rics sound like Rics... some of them sound similar, but you can definately hear the difference betwen Fenders and Rics..
  9. Opiate was recorded with an Ovation Magnum I or II. He didn't get the Ric and Stingray until Undertow, he however didn't use his Stingray to record, Undertow is all Ric. He used the Ray for Prison Sex live I'd assume, since that song is BADG tuning.
  10. I thought the same thing about "Prison Sex" but someone else told me it was ALL Ric..

    Man, I can get very aggressive tones with my 4003 - I've heard it recorded, and I'm sold on them - excellent basses.
  11. jwl


    Jan 25, 2005
    my green rick is not a 4003, it is a 4001v63 and it is all vintage rick. it doesn't really sound like a 4003 to me. i'm not saying there is not some overlap but as i said, imo a 4003 sounds a lot like a jazz. but i didn't mean to imply that is all it sounds like. the circuit in a 4003 is different than the wiring in a 4001. i should have been more clear. it does have it's own sound, but a 4003 has a different sound than say the 1980 4001 i used to own. i sold that 4001 in 1985 and in 2000 i bought a 4003 after not playing ricks for 15 years. i was expecting the 4001 sound and got something more like a jazz and was a little disappointed. the jazz sound is my fave bass tone but i wasn't expecting it from a rick. i should have researched it before i bought one but i still thought it was a good bass. i agree you can hear the dif between fenders and ricks (sometimes) but they can sound similar. as they do on moving pictures by rush. the studio can change everything. peace, jeff
  12. DOH!

    I forgot...even better..it was a V63


    I can get a very Squire-like tone from my 4003 though - it's just a little thicker..everyone that heard it swears by it "that sounds soo much like Tool"(them)...I also own a J bass too, and typically don't get this response(nothing wrong with that either)...

    They both sound pretty good..but I can hear more warmth in the J and more bite in the Ric...
  13. Coolcow666

    Coolcow666 Ribonucleic acid freak out! Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Thanks for this link


    but which is the 4003 and which is the 4001c64? The files for the top two rics are named 4003 and the last ric is unnamed. I figure the first ric on the page is the 4001 since it has fret dots but the file says otherwise.

    Also, thank you for all the responses but I still don't see how the 4001c64 costs so much more for so few differences!

    I have heard that the original 4001 had problems with roundwound strings and that was the reason for the wonky dual truss rod. Can a 4001C64 take roundwoud strings?

    I am still on the fence for which I want to order! I wish that I could play them side by side but no music store around, that I have seen, have either in stock. The 4003 temps me with the new thinner neck and the vintage tone knob. Does anyone now when the 4003 will start sporting the thinner neck and will/does it have the fret triangles (gawds do I hate those triangles).

    Thanks again!

  14. Espidog


    May 19, 2006
    The main reason the two different generations of Ric pickups sound so different is down to the way they're wound. The old Toaster (neck) and Horse-shoe (bridge) designs had many fewer turns of wire on them than the "Hi-Gain" types that are standard-issue now. This gave them a lower impedance (around 7k) compared to the Hi-Gains (11k), resulting in lower signal strength and a broader frequency range, notable for its subtly detailed treble. Also, they were wound by hand, which introduced slight variations between examples.

    The Re-issue Toasters have more windings on than the originals, and consequently sound less "vintage" than many people would wish. Quite a few owners have had their re-issue Toasters unwound to 7k impedance, in an attempt to get back that 60s sound.

    The Horse-shoe pickup is a truly unique design, dating back to the earliest days of Rickenbacker, when they were making the world's first electrically amplified lap-steel guitars. The chromed pieces that curve over the strings are the ends of a great hefty C-shaped steel casting that acts as a hum-shield and shapes the pickup's magnetic properties.

    It might interest you to know that every Toaster pickup was the same type, regardless of whether it was fitted to a bass or a guitar - it's what gave those early Byrds recordings their trademark 12-string jangle.

    More info can be found HERE
  15. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    Actually that's not completely true...
    the newest version of Rickenbacker toasters are scatter wound 7.4k Ohms and very close if not identical to 60's toasters.

    I also disagree that that's as big a difference as having the Horseshoe treble pickup.

    I find the CS, the v63 and the C63's all sound much more McCartney-like than any bass without the Horseshoe (meaning Paul in The Beatles, not now)

    I don't think of the Rickenbacker sound as either bright or scooped at all!
    It's just what Squire went for... yet with the same bass guitar McCartney sounded thumpy and round and smooth.

    Almost any bass wound up trebly and overdriven gets the Squire sound pretty close.
    The Paul thing is MUCH harder to get right.

    My advice is to try both a new 4003 and the 4001c and see what you like.
    Personally I think that's no contest.

    I played John Hall's 4001C on the American Music Awards last year and I can tell you,
    The C is a REALLY nice instrument.
    rockinrayduke likes this.
  16. Blazer


    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    If you want to hear what both kinds of pickups sound like I have two links to two tracks where they can be heard.

    For the tone one gets from a toaster pickup you ought to listen to a Beatles track like "Hey bulldog". Paul McCartney played that bassline on the neck pickup of his Ric giving it that punch the later day Beatles tracks are known for.
    Hey Bulldog

    for the growl of a horse shoe any early track of Yes would be good. Chris Squire played through guitar amps playing largerly over his bridge pickup, resulting in that concrete mixer sound evident on Yes records.
    Yours in no disgrace
  17. michele


    Apr 2, 2004
    I'm on the fence too! The 4003s that some dealers have now "on order" (those basses haven't left the Factory yet) should have the thinner neck BUT even the 4003s manufactured in 2006 that some dealers have NOW in stock have the chunkier neck! In fact at the moment even if I'm ready to buy and I've spotted one or two basses readly available I'm thinking about placing an order (and experience the painful wait) just to be sure that I'll got the new neck profile. (I guess the newer necks on 4003s will have the triangle position markers and not the dots ... too bad it's not an option!)
    But I hadn't still take my final decision: the price factor is very important because lately I've put a lot of money into gear ... and I have a wife! I could afford a 4003 but not a 4001CS.
    I'm really after the Mc Cartney tone. I don't dig Geddy Lee and Chris Squire but THAT Sir Macca's Tone ... OMG! That's all I'll ask to my future RIC!
    What do you guys think about the ability of the 4003 to nail that tone? Is a replacement of the neck Hi-Gain pickup with a Toaster needed?
    However I guess the major secret to that tone are flatwounds and plucking area ...
    superheavydeathmetal likes this.
  18. apollo11


    Aug 19, 2004
    New York
    Here is an attempt to answer a few different questions from a few different people here:

    I have both a C64 and a 4003. Both will nail the McCartney sound or the Squire sound or the Glover sound. For the 4003 to do Macca, you should have flats on it. I've had TI's on it and D'addario chromes, and both do a great job at capturing the Sgt. Pepper era. Currently on my 4003, I've got stock Rickenbacker rounds. I love them for their low tension and growly, bright sound. On the C64, I've got the TI jazz flats, which are absolutely incredible strings and will nail the sound. The 4003 with rounds can also get the McCartney sound, when played with the treble off. I seem to hear it sound just like McCartney's tone when the neck pickup is soloed and the treble back all the way or up just slightly. Either will do.

    The extra cost of the C64 may not be worth it to some people. I wanted it because it is a reissue of a vintage Beatles' instrument, and McCartney is my favorite bass player---it was well worth it for me. For the extra cost, you get a horseshoe pickup, a toaster, an unbound body and neck (like the discontinued 4003S), dot inlays, a tapered rear pickup surround, and nicer pickguard, which covers all the way to the horseshoe. You’ll also get the thinner neck with walnut wings on the flipped headstock.

    For those that don't care about these elements, the 4003 will do just fine in sounding like McCartney and will cost hundreds less. Plus, if you order one new, the 4003 now comes standard with the walnut wings, thinner neck and a vintage tone selector. For those that don’t care about the aesthetics of the instrument and it looking vintage, the 4003 would surely be the way to go.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. Either way, you'll be thrilled with what arrives on your doorstep. They are all works of art featuring fantastic craftsmanship, stunning paintjobs, and gorgeous tone and playability. You won't regret your decision.
    superheavydeathmetal likes this.
  19. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Forget Squire's Rick tone. Look at those freakin' boots!
  20. Espidog


    May 19, 2006
    That's good news! :hyper: Clearly I've been working with out-of-date information. Ta.

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