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Rickenbacker

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sheepdip, May 11, 2004.


  1. sheepdip

    sheepdip

    Apr 14, 2004
    What's the difference in the playability, sound and construction between the 4001 and the newest models of the Ric's? How do they compare to the Fenders. Is it better to look for an early one or just get a new one? :hyper: :meh:
     
  2. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    The 4003 has a "reinforced truss rod". Supposingly more solid, especially with high gauge strings.

    Soundwise, the 4003 still has that very unique RIC tone, but goes deeper into the bottom end too. That's a question of a capacitor.

    After owning 4 RICs thru the years, I got rid of'em. But they are great basses. And the 4003, due to its larger tone capabilities, is more versatile than a 4001, IMO.

    Hope this helps,
    JL
     
  3. lsu921

    lsu921

    Jun 6, 2003
    Addis, La
    I'm going to reply to this thread from my personal experience. I know everyone won't agree, but here we go.

    I had a friend with a 1979 Ric 4001 that I used, and could have bought for $350. I passed on it, because it needed some major cosmetic work. He got it from a pawn shop. The thing played like butter. Effortless. I didn't care for the binding on the body, but it sounded so good and played so good I didn't mind.

    I bought a 2003 Mapleglo Ric from MF, because I don't have Ric dealer within driving distance. It was beautiful! Prettiest bass I've ever owned. The playability was TERRIBLE!! James Jamerson would have had a hard time playing this thing. The action was ridiculous high. I worked on it myself, and even conceded to bring it to a great luthier that lives nearby. He's expensive but good. He couldn't do much better than me. The action was still way high. The neck was twisted. Their customer support was as bad as the action on the bass. Needless to say, I don't have it anymore.

    I would defenitly try one before you buy one. I think the setup differs a lot from bass to bass. They sound and look great... I just had a bad experience.
     
  4. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    I second lsu921 there.

    One of my 4003's had a huge neck problem. My 4001's never had one, and even never required the least setup.

    The latest 4003 I had was perfect and stable. But I just turned the page of the RIC thing.

    I second lsu921's advice : don't buy a RIC without trying, though this advice is virtually applicable to any bass.

    Cheers,
    JL
     
  5. DW

    DW

    Jun 22, 2000
    No. The 4003 rods are not "reinforced" and you're confusing the 4001 truss rod issue with the 4001 neck issue. The present truss rod is a conventional style rod as used on Gibsons and Fenders except there are two of them and they are anchored in a way that makes them removable.

    The 4001 (and 1981-85 4003) used dual truss rods that were an early version of what we now call a double-expanding rod. It's quite strong and there's nothing wrong with the rod itself, only in the adjustment of the rod. If you just crank it like a conventional rod, it doesn't move in a predictable way, especially on a long-necked bass. You can wind up with a cracked or popped off fretboard or other neck damage. You have to manually move the neck into position and use the truss rods to hold the position. Since people just wouldn't do this, Rickenbacker eventually changed the design.

    The neck issue is that the 4001 necks were originally very slim and designed to be used with Rickenbacker brand strings which were low tension flats made by Maxima. There weren't a lot of aftermarket strings back then anyway. But when Rotos and other higher tension strings became available, people used them and that sometimes damaged the neck. If the tension didn't damage it, then they often damaged it when cranking the rods. Later 4001s had thicker necks and were much less of a problem. Anything that survived this long is probably all right as long as you are cautious. But don't buy an old one without inspecting the truss rods.
     
  6. DW

    DW

    Jun 22, 2000
    Pre-1986 basses had an extra .0047uF cap in line with the bridge pickup. It cut out the lows and low-mids. It was originally meant to balance the old horseshoe pickup with the neck toaster-top pickup but it was kept on long after those pickups were dropped in favor of the current high-gains. Many older basses have had that cap removed and replaced with a straight wire.
     
  7. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
  8. DW

    DW

    Jun 22, 2000
    If there was a defect in materials or workmanship then it would have been covered under warranty and you should have returned it to the factory. Rickenbacker customer service is top-notch. Since you apparently chose not to send it in, I can only assume the twisted neck was an adjustment issue and not a factory defect.

    Most factory made basses and guitars come with the nut cut a little high and could generally use a pro setup. Especially if they have gone through a climate change. If they sit in the Musicians Friend warehouse, that only compounds the problem. You could have bought your bass from Pick of the Ricks, North Coast Music, Rhoads Music or Mike Parks and gotten the same price as MF or better and an inspection and free setup to boot.

    Frankly, if your tech couldn't make it play right and there was no factory defect, you should have taken it to someone else, hopefully someone familiar with Rics.
     
  9. DW

    DW

    Jun 22, 2000
    What in particular? If you mean "improved truss rod design", I agree. Again, the old rods will hold the adjustment just fine. But the way they have to be adjusted is a problem.
     
  10. lsu921

    lsu921

    Jun 6, 2003
    Addis, La
    The neck problem was a factory issue. They gave me the run around for a couple of weeks, because my warranty card was not in the system. Once they finally got that, they were unresponsive to my calls and email. They finally offered to look at it, but said they couldn't promise me anything on a return time, or what they would be able to do. I paid $1150 for the bass, almost $100 getting it looked at, and they wanted me to pay another 60 - 75 to get it shipped round trip to Cali. I was just fed up at that point and got rid of it. To top of my experience MF knocks 15% of the refund, because the warranty card was sent in. :mad:

    You are right about Pick of the Ricks and some of the other stores. They have better prices, and I'm sure are more willing to help.

    I would like to own a 4001CS one day or a 4001V63, but those of course will be used and I'll make sure I look it over real good before I throw down my cash.
     
  11. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I've got a ric 4003. To me its a great bass the output is really hot for a passive instrument I have to switch my amp the the 10db pad or what ever for active basses.

    When I moved to venezuela I did have some problems with playability this is mainly due to the massive climate change from manchester england to maracaibo venezuela. I also though my cables were staying in my ric as tight as they could.

    Then one day I was putting some new strings on and it pulled the nut off and they were light guage strings!!!!!

    But recently after thinking this is stupid to have a bass this nice that has fallen into disrepair, I had it set up by a pro.

    OMG this thing is amazing he fixed everything that was wrong with it. I can go from jaco harmonics to jamerson funk just by flicking the pickup selector. It is now again my main bass and my favourite.

    Rics are great bass the quality is fantastic, now when putting down this sort of cash for anything u should always try before u buy. But a decent pro setup can go along way. After the work this guy did on mine i'm never doing anything myself.

    Hope this helps

    P.S the SKB case is really nice but air france like to break them in there plane holds