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Used or new Ric?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JAL, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. JAL


    Dec 15, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Hey all. In the market for a new bass...have my mind set on a Rickenbacker. Just love the sound...anyways.
    here's my q:
    I can either get a new 4003, or try and find a vintage 4001.
    What are the differences tonally and feel-wise between the two, and which would be the smarter purchase?
  2. When I've played a 1978 Ric 4001 and a 2006 (or so) Ric 4003 these are the differences I've noticed.

    Neck - 4001 was waaaaaay thinner at the first part of the neck. Slim and fast. Not like nut width, but the actual neck was thin (like a Pedulla feels, except a bit thicker). The 4003 had a very baseball bat like contour, which I could see making a hand tired after a while, but I really dig fat necks.

    Sound - 4001 was a lot like the 4003, just understated. Definitely not as hot as the 4003 sounded, but that could have been an improper setup/pickup height, and there is no way for me to check that now.

    Ultimately, I'd choose a 4001 over a 4003 if you can find one in good shape, because in all honesty, they are going up in value an immense amount.

    Just make sure to address the truss rod issue, as a lot of Old ric's (which has been discussed before) are in poor shape in that department.
  3. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Unfortunately, I've heard reports that necks get warped on the older 4001 due to the thin neck. It's because back in the day, string guage was nnot as high and tensionwasn't as brutal on the necks. In the 80's, Rick changed the profile to deal with the higher tension strings
  4. Dangit.

    I'm in the midst of saving all the money I can for a Ric, and hoped that the neck would be better then the fat one on my current main bass, a Hamer.

    Masher, do you play any fast and/or technical stuff? I do now and then and I don't want my hands cramping up like they do occasionally with the Hamer.
  5. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    I heard that the newer 4003's have thinner necks?
  6. Ditto.
  7. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    If it were me an older Ric with a dot neck would be my first choice, a black or fire-glo 4001 as a second, any 4003 as a third. Actually make a Chris Squire model my first :)
  8. RandallFlagg

    RandallFlagg Guest

    Aug 18, 2003
    Kansas City

    Just to add to the thought....

    I have played both fairly extensively. In all honesty, for me, the 2001 4003 I bought new, works best for me. When the 4001s were all the rage, they were great (and still are) but still, in the back of my head, I have always believed (though I can't back it up) that Ric made the change to the 4003 for a reason.....perhaps I'm wrong.....but I really love my 4003....Hope this makes your decision a little easier.....
  9. ...bump for great justice.
  10. jim primate

    jim primate bass guitarist.

    i'll cut somebody for a ric.
  11. Chronicle


    Sep 13, 2006
    The new Rick necks are thinner but they arent thin like the 4001 necks of yesteryear. They are a little fatter than 4001's but still thin and easy to play.

    I would actually get a Used, hopefully "mint" condition", Rick. The hardware they use today could be better.. Plus vintage is always better :p
  12. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Actually, the newest 4003's have much thinner necks than ones made just two years ago. I have an '06 4003, and a '77 4001. Necks are almost identicle, very fast. However, prices on the older 4001's are running steep right now, 2-300 bucks more than a brand new 4003. Plus, the new 4003 has a push/pull pot to engage a "vintage circuit", essentially cutting the low end and giving you a very vintage trebly tone, like the older 4001's. This gives you the best of both worlds, and saves a few bucks in the process. Oh, and they are HOT, very beefy, and yet still retain that classic Ric growl. Go for a new one, you won't be dissapointed.
  13. I too had a 4001 years ago. As I recall, RIc changed the neck because the use of roundwound strings was causing the necks to warp or bend beyond what the truss rods could counter. I loved that bass, but just didn't use it enough to keep it when I moved and sold it for the cash. Regardless, if you plan to use round wound strings (and that's really what brings that bass alive), I'd go with the 4003, just my $.02.
  14. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    My advise on the Ric would be to grab whatever one you find a good deal on. The way they are selling right now you are almost guaranteed to be able to sell it and get all of your money back, plus shipping etc if you aren't thrilled with it.

    Here's an example for you: 6 minute sale!
  15. Exactly right, Ric apparently got a lot of complaints on the neck size and switched back to a sleeker feel. A used 4003 from a few years ago will have a baseball bat neck, a new 4003 will have a thinner one.
  16. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    A lot of the necks on the 4001 basses had problems because people didn't understand how the double truss rod adjustment worked and tried to crank the neck into position rather than move the neck first and snug up the rods after.

    My '78 Autumnglo has a very thin neck front to back and has been wearing Rotos its whole life with no problems. My advice if you're considering a 4001 is to take it on a case by case basis- check the truss rods are working and make sure the neck isn't warped or that that the fretboard isn't lifting anywhere.
  17. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    FWIW, despite the variances and the various greivances about neck stiffness etc. a Rick 'doesn't really get better with age' or so someone said to me, meaning Rick QC has been quite consistently good. YMMV, I have seen a couple of botched Ricks but I suspect they have been manhandled in modification.

    You cannot say the same of a 70s Fender or Gibson in the Norlin era. I don't recall there was an era when Rick production dropped in quality.
  18. JAL


    Dec 15, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Thanks guys for the response!!!
    Found a really nice '79 fireglo. Good condition, $1699.00.
    Sorta local music store; looks really nice. Going to go play it and see how it is; anything in particular I should be checking for?
  19. melt


    May 16, 2007
    Any separation of the fingerboard from the neck, particularly around the first few frets. This would mean the rods have been overtightened. In fact I'd make sure you check the rods (under the nameplate) and make sure they work ok. Also, check how much thread is showing; when they've been adjusted a lot the ends of the rods can bend back into the headstock making them difficult to adjust. This is usually a result of adjusting the neck using the truss rods only - as previously stated, and this is REALLY IMPORTANT, the neck on a 4001 should be moved into place manually and then the nuts adjusted to hold the rods in place, rather than using the rods themselves to adjust the neck. This doesn't apply with the 4003. Even if there are problems it's not that difficult to fix - the rods are removable - but it's worth checking and is what causes most problems for people unfamiliar with how the 4001 works. Other than that, just the usuals; electrics, frets etc. Try and make sure it's all original, particularly in the pickups/electrics department as this will affect the value and hence the price you pay.
  20. JAL


    Dec 15, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    So, it's a dual trussrod bass? I thought the 4001 was single and the 4003 was double...sorry, i'm not as well informed as I should be.

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