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Would you rather... Rick 4001 vs 4003


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Posted (edited)

Hey all,

 

Apologies in advance if this has been done to death before... but...

 

Just wanting opinions here as I've not really had a great deal of experience with you-know-what-enbackers.

 

two very similar instruments (as far as I can see) have come up, both ricks, both blue. One is an early 2000's and one is a 1977.

Both are in excellent condition overall and both are effectively the same price, giver or take $100.

 

If you could pick, which would you go for and why?

 

Any help appreciated :)

Edited by basshead56
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I think my only advice would be to play them if you can, before parting with any money, and simply buy the one you like best.

 

If the 4003 was built before 2006, it won't have the "Vintage" circuit, which removes a cap from the circuit which makes it sound like a 4001. Though TBH, I prefer the "modern" sound.

 

It would be tempting to go for the '77 over the 4003, if the price is right, but it really is up to you trying them out.

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  • basshead56 changed the title to Would you rather... Rick 4001 vs 4003

Had a 92 4003, loved the sound. I recorded both a mid and late 70's 4001 in the studio years ago, thought they sounded dreadful. 4003 all the way (if they ever got a forearm contour).

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Had a 4003 2010.  It had the Vintage push-pull thing - tried it once, it sucked all the body out of the sound, just awful, never used it again.  I have played 4001 in the past (though never owned) and did prefer the slimmer neck profile over the 2000s 4003 but ultimately I decided I didn't want the hassle of the older agricultural truss rods.  That said I only had to adjust the rods on my 4003 once and it never moved in 8 years....so if the 4001 is the same then maybe not so much hassle.

If I had another I'd go with the 4003s....as I prefer a bit of contour and no binding.

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It's a tough one... I'd be drawn toward the 4001 but RIC aren't exactly consistent, both 4001s and 4003s have varied wildly from year to year, particularly in the shape of the neck. QC isn't always the best either so it really is try before you buy if you can.

 

It's odd that a 70s Rick is priced virtually the same as a much later '03, it's a lot more collectible.

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I play an 1987 4003 Ric and have sat with plenty of both the 4001s and 4003s. This particular 4003 just felt right, both amped and not, and with anything made of wood, you have to play it, bond with it, and accept that it’ll never be “perfect”.

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On 15/05/2024 at 03:59, Doctor J said:

Had a 92 4003, loved the sound. I recorded both a mid and late 70's 4001 in the studio years ago, thought they sounded dreadful. 4003 all the way (if they ever got a forearm contour).

 

A Rickenbacker bass from any era makes me think "Iconic look, Inconsistent everything else".  That said, we may have trend here.  I'm no Ric expert but I've played more than a few, and my favorite, by far, is this 1992 4003 that belongs to a keyboard player I've been with on and off for thirty years.  This bass was in my possession for a decade but he won't sell it.  Maybe 1992 was a good year at Ric.  Maybe.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 15/05/2024 at 07:39, Skybone said:

I think my only advice would be to play them if you can, before parting with any money, and simply buy the one you like best.

 

If the 4003 was built before 2006, it won't have the "Vintage" circuit, which removes a cap from the circuit which makes it sound like a 4001. Though TBH, I prefer the "modern" sound.

 

It would be tempting to go for the '77 over the 4003, if the price is right, but it really is up to you trying them out.


My response is based on the assumption you aren’t going to be able to try them.  Following on from the post I have quoted, re “vintage” and “modern” circuits:

 

My 2022 Ric has the push pull knob for the vintage circuit.  I almost always play on “modern” rather than “vintage” as to my ear that’s how it sounds best.  So I’d go for the  4003.

Edited by Simon C
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I've had several 4003s - some that I never got on with and were shifted on, pronto - and three 4001s. One was a nightmare with the hairpin rods, and my favourite, a Fireglo '41, came to me with an undisclosed mild fingerboard separation caused by the aforementioned rods. The new 2023 model is what I'd go for today. No way would I take a risk on a 4001 again without having it fully appraised.

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I love the later 4001 basses with the one inch neck pickup spacing. The necks are beautiful , I bypassed the .0047 capacitor on the bridge pickup. They do have the older style rods and you have to adjust them properly , I’ve only tweaked mine twice in the last 25 years. They’re incredibly stable. But before you buy look at the truss rods. Check if they’re turning down , or if there are any cracks or separation around the first three frets of the fingerboard. That’s where the damage will be from rods that were not properly set. Look for the tiny capacitor on the bridge tone pot , check if it’s been bypassed or removed. If there are no signs of abuse , I’d recommend the 4001. 

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