The best years to buy a Ric?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by myro255, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. myro255


    Apr 13, 2007
    ive decided to make the jump to a Rickenbacker. Im now wondering if i should buy an older ric or to just go ahead and buy a brand new one.

    any thoughts or opinions?
  2. 2008 is a great year!

    Seriously on the Ric forum you'll hear guys say since 2006 they've gotten even better. I've got a 2008 and a 1972 and love both so who knows!
  3. ofsalesmen


    Apr 1, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    The newer Rics come with a tone switch that lets you have the modern 4003 tone as well as the vintage 4001 tone (which is a bit more on the trebly side). I'd go with a newer one unless you're looking for a special finish like Azureglo or White. I really like the 4001s in unusual colors, especially with black trim.
  4. Geddyfleaharris

    Geddyfleaharris Supporting Member

    Depending on what you mean by older - '70s Rics, especially early '70s are bringing pretty big money these days on Ebay. I had a '79 or '80 Maple Glo Ric that I bought pretty much new. Back then not too many people seemed to know how to adjust the truss rods and consequently a lot Ric necks from this period seemed to have been messed up because of this. That is what happened to mine. It got to the point that the intonation was so far out that it sounded like I was out of tune all the time. This is where some people say that Rics have a reputation for having touchy necks. About mid 1980s The Ric company beefed up their truss rod system and it has been clear sailing since then. Some people still don't like the dual truss rod system and I for one take mine to a pro to get adjusted.

    I have 2 - 2007 4003s and I just bought a 2004 4003 from a fellow TBer. You will pay almost as much for a used one that is 10 years old as you will for a new one. From about 2005 or 2006 the 4003 models come with a push/pull switch that will give you a vintage 4001 tone and also a slimmer neck.

    Love Rics!
  5. any year is a good year for a Ric
  6. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    True. If it were me, I'd get a brand new one. They really have never been better than right now. I've had a 76, 77, 85, and 99, and my 06 rules them all, no kidding.
  7. myro255


    Apr 13, 2007
  8. myro255


    Apr 13, 2007
    this is slightly off topic but i hear the bridges on the Ric's really blow.

  9. I would go with the 2008 models just cause they started making them with the full length fretboard inlays again. I have a 2007 model and it does not have that feature. Like everyone says, if you can find a new one, buy it...otherwise be prepared to pay pretty much the same price for a used one. I agree though, "Every year was a good year":bassist:
  10. superfunk47


    Sep 9, 2007
    Matter of opinion, although IMO they really, really are. They don't make much contact with the surface of the body (despite the appearance) and adjustment of intonation requires removal of the strings first, and there's not much adjustment other than that that can even be made on those bridges.

    You want a good bridge for a Ric, get a Hipshot. :bassist:
  11. I had a 1978 4001 I bought new. Sold it in 1984.
    I bought a new 4003 in 2002.
    I put half rounds on it and had a tech set it up with the action real low!
    My 4003 plays better (for me) than any other bass I've ever played!
  12. myro255


    Apr 13, 2007
    thanks for all the great comments guys :D
  13. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Some Rics have chunky necks, not sure what years they were?
  14. jakeox


    Feb 15, 2007
    The brand new ones are really excellent; they've brought back a lot of the vintage-style features (full width inlays, walnut headstock wings), and the necks are nice and thin. The vintage tone switch is very cool too.

    If you're looking for a collector's piece, you'll want something from mid-73 or earlier. They're a little hard to find and pretty expensive. In my opinion, the best value in a used Rick is in the late 80s models. They're the first of the 4003 basses, so they have modern truss rods, and the pickups are hot and the necks nice and thin.

    If I were looking for another Rick to play right now, I'd either go brand new, or late 80s. The late 70s Ricks are popular, and have great necks, too, but they tend to be a little more expensive than the late 80s that are just as good.
  15. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I like my 80 '01 with the triangle inlays. Noice!
  16. Rich L

    Rich L

    May 17, 2006
    Ft Myers, FL
    Never liked my '02 as it had the chunky thick baseball bat neck. The '06 I picked up after was sweet! Thin neck profile, vintage tone do I miss that bass :crying:

    One thing I've learned over the years is that all Ricks are not born equal... no 2 that I've had ever sounded alike. Took me awhile to find "the one". Now I have to start all over! :scowl:
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    My preference is 1986 thru 2008 ... the older ones have weaker necks and weaker pickups.

    I have owned rics from 1968, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, and maybe a few I forgot.

    I like my 2001 4003 a lot.
  18. pjmuck


    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    Rick quality control over the years has been fairly consistent compared to other companies, so I think just about any year is decent (as long as the bass was treated right, as mentioned with the dual truss rod/tension issues already mentioned). The earlier ones supposedly couldn't take higher tension strings/gauges well, though I've used D'Addario XL 45-105s on my '79 4001 and the neck/action hasn't moved! I take it out of it's case after months of not playing it, and it's in perfect tune. No kidding.

    I think a more fitting question might be which is better, the horseshoe/toaster PUPs or the "newer" button PUPs. For many Rick players, the horseshoe/toasters are the ultimate Rick tone, though they're obviously more expensive and much harder to find aftermarket.
  19. justBrian


    Apr 19, 2002
    Surprise, AZ
    Me, too. (Though I call 'em "Shark Tooth" inlays. ;) ) It's currently sporting Chromes and just kills.