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Rickenbacker 4003

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jdubbass38, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. jdubbass38


    Mar 20, 2009
    I am looking at getting a ric, I have been on a waiting list at a local music store for a wile now. I am selling my Fender american P to take me part of the way there and than going to dish out the rest from the pocket. I am starting to have second thoughts if the ric is worth getting? I would be getting a deal of a life time since its been on order for almost 2 years, I will be getting it for the price it was then. What do you guys think?


  2. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I can understand you feeling that way...I bought my Ric from a TB'er here used so i didnt have to wait, and yes I love it but I dont think I could have waited 2 years for it though. Have you ever played a Ric?
  3. I am a bit of an impulse buyer, so waiting a year or two for a bass can put a strain on the GAS!

    Having said that, GET that Rick, then if it is not for you, they do hold their value fairly well.

    P basses are EVERYWHERE, you could always get another one!
  4. jdubbass38


    Mar 20, 2009
    No, I heard they have a punchy tone and I like Punchy but have never played one.
  5. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    It's a gamble if you've never played one. No other bass has such a loyal fan base, and opposing detractors. I waited 2 yrs + for a 4004, but a 4003 shouldn't take that long. There's plenty out there now, I would think yours to be among them
  6. Been using Rics for the last few years exclusively. Bought an EBMM SR 30th ANN a month ago from a fellow TBer. Used it for the last month. Love it and thought I might use it for awhile. Give my Rics a rest. Took my 4003 to rehearsal today on impulse and immediately wondered why I ever bother trying out other basses. For me and maybe me alone 4003s are it.

    P.S. I will keep the EBMM. It is a great bass. In the past once I decided a bass can't replace my 4003 it is out the door with it.
  7. I'm neither a loyal fan nor a detractor (which makes me a detractor to the loyal fans....go figure). For reference, I owned a 4001 for about 10 years. It is a different bass than the 4003, but not so much that I feel I'm not qualified to answer.

    If you've played a Ric and dig the sound, it's worth it, but I feel that way about a lot of things. You're getting a decent price on a bass that will hold it's value. Considering the economic slump, you won't make a killing on it, but resale shouldn't be much of a problem.

    As stated, the American P is everywhere. The only downside to this is the Fender price increase will likely hit you, should you decide to sell the Ric and go back to a P. But that's life and a gamble I'd think is worth it.

    It's a decent bass with a unique feel. For better or worse, you won't get that sound or feel anywhere else. If you're smitten with it and can afford it, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. There may not a be as good of a deal down the road. Nothing worse than the feeling you missed out on a "once every few years" kind of deal.

  8. I agree that they're either a love em or hate em kind of bass. Are you waiting for a particular color or something for it to take so long?
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
  10. ProfGumby


    Jan 15, 2007
    Michigan's U.P.
  11. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Sales Engineer
    They are definitely worth it at the old price.

  12. Maccaman


    Mar 28, 2009
    :rollno: I played a 1972 Jazz exclusively for 20 years. It was gorgeous, played, looked and sounded fantastic! I loved it. Then I joined a Beatles band and got a German Hofner 500/1 and loved it. Then, of course, I had to get a Ric 4001. But my wife asked why I didn't sell the Jazz since I hadn't played it in 2 years (I was playing guitar in my previous band). The thought appalled me at first....my Jazz? Are you CRAZY? But the more I thought about it the more I figured she really did have a point... I mean how many guitars does anybody really need? Beside, the used Rics were going for $1,600 - $2,500 and I'm not rich. So I sold the Jazz (it had hot deMarzios in it and a Badass II brass bridge and I had re-plated most of the nickel parts) but because it had been refinished, I could only get @1,500 for it. Then I bought a 1981 Jetglo Ric 4001 for $1,600 and immediately got my tech to set it up with Pyramid flatwounds (the guy I bought it from had it set up with rounds a la Chris Squire). I've frankly regretted buying it ever since. It's big and heavy and I think I've taken it to two gigs and never even used it... just play the whole night with the Hofner. I have recorded with the Ric and it sounds great... really warm, but it's just too damn heavy to have on your shoulder for 4 hours. If you P bass was vintage KEEP IT! is my advice
  13. adepagter


    Mar 27, 2009
    I think the flats are factory recommended for 4001s due to the older truss rod design. Now, no one actually does it, but that's the story.

    If the 4003 has improved output on the pickups over a 4001, I think it would be darn near the perfect instrument. The only weak link with my 4001 is that the pickups are much weaker than the ones modern basses, including newer Fender American Jazz basses. Other than that, they're especially good for non-slappers like me.
  14. Magical_Merlin


    Nov 2, 2008
    Kent, WA
    musiciansfriend.com says they have all 4 colors of the 4003 in stock.
  15. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area
    You can usually find a Ric on shelf somewhere if you are near a major city. (Of course they always seem to be set up poorly but that's another story).

    I have a EBMM Sterling and a Ric. I absolutely love my EBMM but the difference is; I may imagine myself selling the MM one day (probably not but its possible), but I will never sell my Rick. I've found a "pine box" bass with my Rick.

    So the pluses to a Rick - nothing sounds like one. Nothing. No stomp box or amp or style of playing is going to make something else sound like a Rick. When Geddy Lee switched to a Fender Jazz, the difference in sound was immediate and obvious. I personally wish he never put down his Rick.

    But I'll tell you that it is true that they're not for everyone. The neck feels very different than other basses - mostly because the fretboard is so heavily laquered. If you like to pop and slap - look elsewhere. Rickys are not for slappers. (You know, I like that phrase so much I'm going to change my sig). Also, as some of the posters have said, some find the bass heavy and uncomfortable. I never have personally but there you go. Also, get rid of the pickup cover. Folks that pick one up always complain about it. So would I. All Rick players I know invest the 5 minutes necessary to remove it.

    Bottom line, I love my Rick but I would also recommend giving one a try first.
  16. melt


    May 16, 2007
    As with all other instruments the weight (and balance) of Rics varies tremendously (I'd say I've played a hundred or more). My '72 weighs only 8.5lbs; however I've played some that weigh 11 or so. You can't just buy one and expect it to be "right". You may get lucky, but as with any make of bass, there's just as much chance of you getting one you don't get on with (they all sound different too, but again this goes for pretty much anything). What I would say is you should never write off a make of bass without playing lots of different ones. I used to have a P-Bass that also weighed about 8.5lbs, but I've played some that must weigh 14 or so. I've also played sweet-sounding ones and awful-sounding ones. Too often people play a single instrument and write off the whole brand.
  17. melt


    May 16, 2007
    Have you done the cap mod? My 72 is pretty much as loud as any Fender I've played.
  18. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area
    What's the cap mod?
  19. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    You can slap on a Rick. I've been slapping on mine since day one when I bought it back in '92. Granted, you won't exactly get a Jazz or MM style slap tone out of it but it's physically possible to slap the thing. :)
  20. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Older Ricks had a small capacitor inline with the bridge pickup that cut frequencies below 500Hz or so, emphasizing the upper mids and highs (creating the (in)famous Rickenbacker Clank tone). A lot of players wanting a fuller tone would either take that cap out or wire a shunt around it.

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