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Rickenbacker question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fat jonny, Jul 30, 2001.


  1. fat jonny

    fat jonny

    Jul 8, 2000
    Columbus Ohio
    Well the main reason i started playing bass is because of a movie called cliff em all in which cliff burton plays an old ric throughout most of the movie, so the time has come for me to get one myself. I have read nothing but good things about rics and they look so damn cool my mind is made up. But the thing is i have been looking on Ebay at these and i cant decide which one to get. what is the difference between a 4001 and a 4003? I know the 4001s are older models but what else is different? Is one model better in quality that another? Is it better to get a vintage 70's ric or a newer 90's one? or does it not really matter? Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Hey Jonny

    It is my *never* :rolleyes: humble opinion that all Ric basses are incredibly high quality, wonderful instruments. The only reason I don't own one is that I am broke and the salesguy I was dealing with on a brand new Mapleglo 4003 was a sleeze... As with all basses, play it first to make sure you like how it plays and how it sounds, but I've never found a single Ric that sounded or felt inferior to any other ric (or any other bass for that matter). Maybe one day I too will find a nice old used ric that is still in one piece (the pickup cover, and all original parts) preferably in mapleglo :) MmMmmm natural wood finish.. and I will be able to bask in its glory. Good luck to you!

    William
     
  3. I am glad to see more and more players influenceed by Cliff BUrton. He played a 4001 rick and he sounded great! I would go for the 4001. But If your in a certain price range and stuck between a new and old go for the cheaper. But make sure it sounds as good a a Ric should be !!!!!!!!!


    Rest in Peace Cliff
     
  4. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto
    The main difference between a 4001 and 4003 is the truss rod system. Both models have dual rods, but the 4001 uses a softer metal and slightly different design than the 4003 does. As a result it is possible to have neck troubles with a 4001 IF you want to use round wound heavy gauge strings on it. I'm not saying that you will have problems if you choose to do this but during the 70's (before the 4003 was introduced) heavier gauge strings were very common. The choices of strings and gauge back then wasn't what it is today. Due to the number of broken 4001's (fretboard popping off of the neck) Rickenbacker chose to decide not to warranty any of their basses that had developed neck problems due to excessive string tension caused by the heavier gauge roundwound strings. Their position was that the 4001 rod system was designed for flat wound strings only.

    In 1980 Rickenbacker introduced the 4003 which had the redesigned truss rod system. It was designed to handle the extra string tension of all guages of roundsound strings. Initially the 4003 was identical to the 4001 (except for the rods). However over the past 21 years there has been a number of changes to the 4003. These are not big changes that one might see immediately but very suttle ones. The electronics have definately changed and give quite a different sound than back in 1980. Today's 4003's are much bassier than the treblely 4001. The widths and thickness of the neck has increased as well. If you had never played one before you would never know. But to us longtime 4001 players, we immediately notice the difference.

    I own a 72 4001 and use roundwound strings on it. I always have, but I will only use medium-lite gauge strings on it. I've never had a neck problem with this 4001 or any of the other ones that i've owned over the years. They are the ultimate four string bass IMO.

    If I was going to purchase a RIC for the first time, I wouldn't care so much if it's a 4001 or 4003. What's more important in my opinion is to find one that you like that feels and sounds good to you. If you want a beater, then be prepared for what you get. But if you want a nice clean one, there are lots of 4001's and 4003's out there to be had for a great price. I'm sure that which ever one you buy, you will be very happy with it.

    Buy one now while they're still affordable.
    Cheers
     
  5. Rich Briere

    Rich Briere

    Jul 5, 2000
    I've been a Ric owner for many years and have had, perhaps 8/10 of them. I ended up finding one, a 63 REISSUE 4001 that was just light years above any of the others, so I began to trim my Ric closet.

    My point?? Go to your local Ric dealer and start playing them. When you find the one that takes your breath away....buy it. I'll qualify that by making one other statement. IMHO, if the dealer--as mentioned above--isn't deserving of your business, take it somewhere else.

    I've never understood how anyone can buy a Bass "sight-unseen". Ark!!! (Batton down the Hatches--here come the Flames!!:) Would you want to marry a person that you'd never been with?? I love my basses...all of them.....and we all went through a "courtship period" before we went home together. Again......just MY humble opinion
    :^>)

    Bass-ically Yours,
    RB
     
  6. nanook

    nanook

    Feb 9, 2000
    Alaska
    Besides the weak neck on the 4001's they were also noted for dead spots on the neck.

    I can't tell any difference in the sound of the two other than maybe the tone controls on the 4003's have more range. They can produce the classic Ric sound or be adjusted for a lot more bottom that the 4001's.

    Ric electronics have never been he quietest in the world but when you are making music, it isn't noticeable. Sound studios hate them but no other bass can produce the sound.

    I went through the same dilemma as you and chose the 4003, no regrets.
     
  7. Thrillkiller

    Thrillkiller

    Apr 25, 2001
    NC
    An interesting point about Cliff's Ric - he had a Jazz pickup in the bridge location, and a Thunderbird humbucker in the neck position. So you could say he played a Ric, but the sound he got had nothing to do with the Ric electronics because there weren't any.
     
  8. BassBaron

    BassBaron

    Jul 20, 2001
    San Jose, CA
    I own a '79 4001 and the neck is still arrow straight and I use .100's Dean Markleys. However, the output from the pickups is really low, especially from the bridge pickup. I raised the pickups till they were nearly touching and the output was still way lower than a new 4003 I tried, it also lacks the punch and bottom-end of the new 4003...can anyone shed some light on this?
     
  9. I'd like to switch my HI-GAIN pickups to the vintage horseshoe & toaster... Any suggestion?
     
  10. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto
    Guys, we had this discussion last year. I would suggest that you do a search for Rickenbacker on this site to read all about how to double the output of your bridge position pick-up.
    It's done by bypassing the .0047 capacitor. Takes 5 mins or less and your 4001 will be a new instrument.
    Even if you put in a horseshoe p/u and don't bypass the .0047 cap, you won't notice much of a change. Do the bypass, you'll be glad you did. All of the instructions and comments from Ric 4001 owners who did it are in the thread mentioned above.
    Check it out, there's lots of reading, but it's worth it.
    Cheers
     
  11. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves

    Jul 16, 2001
    chicago, il
    BassBaron, I have the same problem with the bridge pickup in my 4001. Sounds good, but very low output.
     
  12. Rich Briere

    Rich Briere

    Jul 5, 2000
    Bassman..is that cap not found in the V63?? Thanks.

    Bass-ically Yours,
    Rich Briere
     
  13. BassBaron

    BassBaron

    Jul 20, 2001
    San Jose, CA
    bassman:

    I guess the good folks at Rick had just come back from the ol' 3-beer-lunch when they decided to put that cap in; I read that thread and did the mod and it sounds like a different bass (although it took me more like 15 minutes). You should try it too, Mr. Grieves ;-) This forum is the most useful thing on the whole worthless net!!
     
  14. BassBaron

    BassBaron

    Jul 20, 2001
    San Jose, CA
    I also wanted to add that my 4001 is in need of refretting and my luthier says its going to be a lot harder (more expensive) because of the clear-coated fingerboard...does anyone have any experience with refretting a rick? Should I just ditch the clear-coat all together and have it 'natural'?

    thanks
     
  15. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto
    Rich, the .0047 cap is not in the 4001v63. It is not in any of the mono output Ric basses.
    That's why the v63 sounds as hot as it does. I did the bypass to my 72 4001 a few years ago, then last year I put in a horseshoe (just the p/u not the mounting assembly) and what a difference from the original wiring and pick-up. She's one hot bass now!
    The nice thing about this modification is that it can be reversed at anytime without changing the originality of the bass.
    Cheers
     
  16. nanook

    nanook

    Feb 9, 2000
    Alaska
  17. Yeah, will taking the varnish off the fretboard make it wear quickly? Mine is looking a bit crusty and disintegrating (especially higher up), and since I am applying a natural finish to the rest of the bass can I do it to the fretboard as well?
     
  18. Funkster

    Funkster

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    That's a definit!! I never leave for a GO gig without my RIC. To any of you with older RICS take Bassmans advice do the bypass surgery, you won't regret it!!
     
  19. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves

    Jul 16, 2001
    chicago, il
    I've always wondered why that pickup was so cold. I just assumed it was a weak pickup, and have contemplated putting in a Seymour Duncan. But that bypass sounds like just the thing to cure it. Unfortunately, soldering is not one of my marketable skills, so I'll probably take mine in to a tech, even though the bypass sounds very straightforward.

    Thanks for the tip, everyone.