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Rickenbacker eras

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Count Bassie, May 3, 2010.


  1. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    Just curious, an '82 is being tentatively offered to me for a nice deal. I had a '76 and it was a coffee-table all the way to the headstock. Had a '90 and it was a racecar with plush seats and cruise control...

    Anyone around who's an authority on the various characteristics of these basses as if along a timeline? Were there differing qualities of neck, etc. during different periods?

    Thanks...
     
  2. 12bass

    12bass

    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    From what I've gathered, Rickenbacker production has been fairly consistent through the years. FWIW, I have a 1982 Ruby 4001 which remains a solid instrument with nice low action. Most people who try it think it is very easy to play. After years of playing with roundwounds the frets are getting a tad low. Mine was made during the transition period for the 4003 model.
     
  3. alangoldstein

    alangoldstein

    Jul 23, 2007
    Charleston, SC
    Endorsments: Aguilar, Hartke, DR strings, Analysis Plus "Oval" Cables
    good posting. ill ask my friend who has a 70;s i think , i played it it was so nice... its mapleglo !
     
  4. alangoldstein

    alangoldstein

    Jul 23, 2007
    Charleston, SC
    Endorsments: Aguilar, Hartke, DR strings, Analysis Plus "Oval" Cables
    since we are on the topic, is the 4003 only different to the 4001 in headstock shape and triangle inlays?
     
  5. 12bass

    12bass

    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    The 4003 model also has a somewhat more robust truss rod design.
     
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    The most collectable Rics are from the 50s and 60s. The least collectable are the early 80s. They are still good basses but people don't seem to like the 4003 basses where you adjust the truss rods at the body.

    The headstock was different in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and present.

    Take one year like 73. some Rics got the grover tuners and the headstock was smaller. later in the year they were using the traditional tuners and the headstock was a little bigger. Also in the late 90s they changed over to cnc machines and the headstocks were more consistant. But even then there seems to be 2 different headstock profiles and 2 different neck profiles in the 90s and 2000s.

    The original 4001 had full length inlays. About 73 the inlays got smaller. The about 2008 they went back to full width inlays again.
     
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    Yes the 4003 has truss rods that move the neck. The 4001 basses you loosen the rods move the neck then tighten the rods down to hold the neck in place.
     
  8. the analogies you made....just don't work at all. sorry.
     
  9. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    Pardon my loose comparisons, but I'm being casual with my speech; I'm really just after the information the post goes on to describe.

    Truth is the 90s bass I had was a 4001s Blackstar-I should have said that, thanks for the reminder- and that might be part of the reason for the difference (I so poorly) outlined. I have heard tell however that there are different profiles according to different production runs, which is the nature of the post.

    Minus 2 points for me. So, got anything to offer on the subject?

    Ric5, concerning neck profiles, do you have any info on the runs around '82? I'm hopefully getting to see the bass by the coming weekend, I'm just doing a little homework here and there.

    Thanks for all the interest, folks.
     
  10. I have a "82 4001 and I would call the neck thin and fast. The thickness is perfect(for me anyway),although,I also like my "04 4003 which has a beefier neck. I just like Ric's...
     
  11. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    This is some of what I'm hoping to run into. Thanks.
     
  12. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I have a 74' with full width inlays and a thin fast neck ( for a Ric).

    I personally would much rather have my old 4001 than a brand new one. I have gotten quite used to adjusting my neck manually and I actually wish all basses were like this.
     
  13. pjmuck

    pjmuck

    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    +1. Generally speaking, the 4003 and newer models have chunkier necks to accommodate the redesigned truss rods. My '79 4001 is much thinner than the neck profiles today.
     
  14. There's really no way of knowing if your 82 is a 4001 or a 4003 apart from seeing if it adjusts at the head under the TRC (truss rod cover) or at the body under the pickguard.

    One dead give away is if the pickguard is two pieces. Here is an example of that type of pickguard:

    file.

    But don't discount someone changing the pickguard out to a single piece pickguard... just because.

    The only real way to determine if it's a 4001 or a 4003 is to find the truss rod nuts (as stated, either under the TRC or under the pickguard.

    Also, if it's a 1982 model, the serial number will start with a V and have another letter (either A thru L... each letter is a new month, A is January and L is December)

    Here is my own serial number for comparison. So, ZL would be December 1986. Yours should be V and then a letter with numbers.

    8-fullsize.

    Also, I'm no authority on any of this but I do know there are differences in necks thicknesses throughout the entire timeline of Rickenbacker basses. I have heard tales that the 2010 models with the split two piece necks are the thinnest 4003 necks ever... along the lines of the thin necks of the 70s 4001s.

    On a side note: You implied you didn't really like your '76 which was a 4001 and liked your '90 which was a 4003.

    I haven't owned (or played) a 4001 but I had a '90 and that was the bass that made me fall in love with Rickenbackers.

    Anyway, good luck on your inspection.
     
  15. I have a pretty good sampling of Ricks - 1974 4001, 1996 4003 and 2008 4003. The dimensions are all very similar at least to my feel. There had been talk about different sized necks, but I don't notice a big difference between them.

    The only material difference is the pickup performance. The 4001 has capacitor which significantly changes the sound (the 2008 4003 has a choice), but there has been a lot written about this already.
     
  16. one way to tell if its a 4003 or 4001..the truss cover will read" made in USA model 4001" and the 4003 will only have made in USA..
     
  17. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    Thanks for all the useful info, incl. the serial# info (thanks Tarrbot).

    Right, I had a 4001 from '76 (bought it for $495 used in '95), and a 4003/s, without binding and inlays. The 4003/s was the sweeter of the two, due probably in part to the somewhat lighter and curvier body and faster neck. Definitely had a different neck.

    Meanwhile I'm still waiting to hear from the guy who has the bass I'm interested in... :hyper:
     
  18. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
  19. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    Not the trad-thing I'm into, but beautiful color, and I wouldn't kick at it! Nice shots, thanks for the show n' tell!
     
  20. fretno

    fretno Supporting Member

    May 10, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Thanks man ! :bassist:
     

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