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The Mysterious RIC 4001...1982?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Infernal Affair, Feb 14, 2003.


  1. Hello all,

    I have to say that this is probably one of the most active discussion boards about bass that I've seen so far, and that I've been reading some of the threads for the past few days and find them very helpful to me. Maybe you guys can help me out in my first post...

    I've been learning bass for a little under a year, on a trusty ESP B-205 LTD (yeah, it is kind of weird learning first on a 5 string, and I hardly ever use the B, but I was planning ahead when I got it...), but I recently had the opportunity to purchase my dream bass: an azureglo Rickenbacker 4001. The thing is in amazing condition, no buckle rash or anything, just a small ding on the bottom of the body and a few more larger dings on the headstock edges.

    But the funny thing is I checked the serial number, VB435, and apparently the thing was built in February of 1982. However, from what I've read about 4001's, they stopped production of the 4001 around 80 or 81, with a small number of them trickling out afterwards. Is my 4001 one of those that trickled out afterward? Or could this possibly have been a 4003 fitted with some 4001 parts like the headstock cover that says "MODEL 4001" under "MADE IN THE USA?" From my understanding, there are no cosmetic differences between the 4001 and early 4003's, since the early 4003's had the one-piece pickguard. It mostly has to do with the truss rod, but I don't know how the two guitars' truss rods are supposed to look different.

    Either way, the thing plays beautifully. Like people say, it cuts through anything. Whether it's a 4003 or a 4001 I'm still happy with it no matter what. If it turns out to be a 4003 in disguise I can benefit from the sturdier truss rod, and if it's a real 4001 I can benefit from, well, it's name. :) What really matters most is how it plays, anyway.
     
  2. Check the fretboard! if it has dot inlays its a 4001, if it has triangular inlays its a 4003...
     
  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    No.

    Dot inlays are "S" models, which were/are made in both 4001 and 4003 versions. "S" models usually also lack body binding and are more contoured.

    As far as I know, 4001s were in production into 1982, and were built (or available) at the same time as the first of 4003s. However, I could be wrong about the dates.

    You may want to go check out The Rickenbacker Forum for more info about that bass and Rics in general. Have fun!

    Ain't that Azureglo nice? My 1980 4001 is the same color, but a lot more beat up.
     
  4. "No.

    Dot inlays are "S" models, which were/are made in both 4001 and 4003 versions. "S" models usually also lack body binding and are more contoured. "

    Exactly. Dot inlays are reserved for the "S" series of Ricks. I personally prefer the triangular inlays. It's one of the perculiar qualities that sets it apart from other basses.

    "You may want to go check out The Rickenbacker Forum for more info about that bass and Rics in general. Have fun!"

    Thanks for the hat tip, HeavyDuty. I never knew about that board. I'll go make an inquiry right now.

    "Ain't that Azureglo nice? My 1980 4001 is the same color, but a lot more beat up."

    Part of the main reason I got this, besides the condition, was the Azureglo! I love the color to death, and prefer it over all the others. Actually I think all the 4001/3 model colors look great cept for the natural finish. And it's not that I don't care for natural finish (a Stingray with a natural finish and a black pickguard looks absolutely gorgeous to me), it's just I don't like them much on Ricks.
     
  5. actually,"the 4003 was introduced in 1979. it started as a model 4001 designed for use with roundwound strings".."the 4001 was discontinued in early 1986" and the 4003 replaced it entirely(thats from the book "the complete history of Rickenbacker guitars" by Richard R Smith)...so I would say you have a 4001..especially if the truss rod cover says "4001"..hope this helps
     
  6. Thanks very much for clearing that up! I've been looking for an official word on when exactly the 4001 was discontinued. I only found sketchy internet sources saying around 80-81. Actually, I think I'll order that book.
     
  7. no problem..glad I could help...
     
  8. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I didn't realize they built them side-by-side for so long!
     
  9. Heavy Duty, what do you mean by "built them side by side"??...I'm not following:confused:
     
  10. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    "At the same time"...
     
  11. I think they still do....I was reading on the Ric registration page\Ric fourm that they will do basses one week, then hollow bodies the next, and so on....that site is LOADED with info on all Ric's and Mr. John Hall himself answers questions and gives up some really useful info..check it outhttp://www.brunnet.net/rickresource/discus/index.html
     
  12. Yes. I've been checking out that forum since HeavyDuty mentioned it in this same thread. Extremely helpful.
     
  13. LizzyD

    LizzyD Chocoholic

    Oct 15, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Sadowsky Artist
    Last year I sold my black 4001 I'd had since the late 80's. I did some research about it and I *think* it was the official Rickenbacker site that said the 4001 was discontinued in 1983. The one I sold was dated May of '83, and was a 4001. There is also a site for registering Rick serial numbers that had a bunch of info too, so I'm not sure where I got that info.

    I was concerned because I'd told the guys at Bass NW (where I consigned it) that it was made in '84, but after I checked the serial number I realized it was '83, and then I thought any Rick afficionados would question whether it was really a 4001 because EVERYbody knows they stopped making them in '83....ha ha.

    I still have some pictures on my web site of that bass for anyone who might like to see it. http://www.lizzyd.freeservers.com/Rick4001info.htm
     
  14. I have a similar question: just bought my first Rick - it does not say 4001 on the headstock so I assume it is a 4003. The serial number places it at November 1979. But it has a one piece pickguard and it's a burgundy skunk stripe finish.

    I thought the 4003's had finishes that covered up any possible skunk-stripe and that the first 4003's had a two piece pickguard? How can I tell for certain whether my trussrods are 4003's or whether my bass is actually a 4001?
     
  15. It should be 4001.
    There is a photo?
     
  16. All my knowledge about Ric tells me that this is not 4003...
     
  17. Thanks man, that is my intuition as well - the only thing missing from this being a no brainer of a 4001 is that the headstock rod-cover doesn't actually say 4001. So it could be a fresh cover I guess.. Is there any way to test the rods to determine if they are the 4001 type I mean assuming they are.. you don't wanna treat them like they're 4003's, but how to determine without trying to pop off the fretboard? :)

    Cheers
     
  18. Btone

    Btone

    May 5, 2001
    Remove pickguard. If you see the two acorn nuts, it's a 4003, like this one:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Not always true, some 4003 have the early 4001 truss rods!
    They have a split guard and adjustment at the body instead of the headstock...

    Pic of mine

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]