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Difference between 4001 and 4003 rickenbackers


Mystic Rhythms

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I was wondering when I was in my local music store, after hearing the price of a 4003 was alot cheaper, what is the difference between a 4001 and 4003 rickenbacker? The only thing I really know is that the 4001 is older, but it costs about 2-3 times more. Anyone know?
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A 4001 should not cost more than a 4003 unless it's a '60s model, and then only because of vintage appeal. The 4003 is just the updated version of the 4001 with a better truss rod design - there is no difference in dimensions or components, other than they are newer. But that's not to say that there are different 'feeling' Ric 4001s and 4003s. They are handmade, as they have always been, and because of the human element in the production process, there are small differences that may be noted from instrument to instrument. For the most part, you are better off getting a 4003 over an older 4001 with an inflated price tag.
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As far as I know the last 4001 to be made by Rickenbacker is the 4001 CS Chris Squire Special Edition. The edition is already closed (it was limited to 1000 instruments, and I proudly own one of them! :D ). The instrument is absolutely superb.

You can check it at http://www.rickenbacker.com/us/4001cs.htm, as well as the rest of the Rickenbacker models.

The rest to be found in the market are probably vintage instruments, and if you are not a collector I'd rather go for a 4003, as already mentioned by Banta. :thu:

"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn"

Charlie Parker

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First off, the newer Ricks have better wood. With these two particular instruments, the truss rods are different. It's a little more difficult to adjust in the 4001 (older) than in the 4003 (newer). 4003 has a thicker neck and hotter pickups. 4001 was built with flatwound strings in mind and the 4003 can handle anything. Those are pretty much the only differences. The 4001 is more expensive because they don't make it anymore.
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Ric stopped putting out the 4001 as their regular production model some time in the early 80s. As some have mentioned, they redesigned the neck so that it was friendly to roundwound strings, which I'm told have generally higher tension than flatwound strings (evidently this doesn't take into account the La Bella Jamerson set, e.g.). Well, OK; Chris Squire has been playing rounds on the same old early 60s Ric for several decades. And I imagine most 4001 basses you'd pick up now have rounds on them, too. Ric still puts out the 4001 as a limited edition & reissue (e.g. the V63 & V64); I don't how different the neck design is from the 4003, though. The biggest difference in the reissues & the truly vintage 4001 basses is the pickups: a "toaster" pickup in the neck position (with two black strips, instead of buttons), and a "horseshoe" pickup in the bridge position (metal, with a gap in the middle of the pickup cover). You could always drop those into a 4003 if it mattered to you.

 

I have a 4003. It's the only Ric I'll ever need. I'd kind of like to clone it, though, once or twice... :D (I'd like the same one with flats, the same one with rounds, and--dig it--the same one as a piccolo, which I'm quite sure would be a total rage.)

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I have a 77 that has had roundwounds on it sincde the seventies. I've heard the major diff. is that the trussrods and adjustment ends are slightly larger on the 4003. The early 4003's had a two piece pickguard and were adjusted from the body end, but they discontinued doing that fairly quickly. The problem with the 4001 trussrod system is more Techs that try to adjust them like a Fender than a problem with the trussrods themselves. When tightening the trussrods on a 4001 you are supposed to flex the neck and set the trussrod rather than just move it with the trussrod itself. Lots of techs in the old days would just crank away or adjust one side too much. The result would often be the fretboard seperating from the neck. As long as you do your own adjusts or have a tech that knows how to properly adjust 4001 ricks, it's not really a prblem.

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