The Rickenbacker is a 4string bass guitar and the Rickenbacker 4003 vs 4001 bass guitars are still the most ideal and longed-for bass guitars. They’re very popular and one can instantly pick out their unique tone from a vast range of recordings no matter the period or genre, they’re a highly flexible set.
These guitars have been the most sought after by bassists because of their firm necks, steady playability, the body builds blended together with a sound that is versatile and full.
Before we look at Rickenbacker 4003 vs 4001, we need to establish that the 4000-style bass has been around for a long and a lot of modifications have been made over time although a vast bulk of them have builds centred on the classic double-cutaway “cresting wave” design that was first produced now considered a rare and vintage model
Rickenbacker 4003 (features, pros, cons)
The Rickenbacker 4003 is the improved version of the 4001 model and it is quite similar to the 4001 model with only a few alterations.
It features a wider neck profile than the 4001, it uses high hot gain pickups which produces a sound that has a more frequency response and better bass output. it has a modern truss rod system and also a bound maple double-cutaway body except for the 4003S which has an unbound maple body; the fretboard is built with rosewood and contains 20frets. It has triangular fret markers the 4003S has dot markers.
- Improved modern truss rod system
- Wider neck profile which allows for a more balanced sensation
- Pickup doesn’t get in the way of playing
- Improved neck lamination for extreme use
- A wide neck profile makes playing difficult for players with short fingers
- Headstocks are considered too big
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Rickenbacker 4001 (features, pros, cons)
The Rickenbacker 4001 was produced from 1961 until the year 1983 and is the best choice for players that are into vintage guitars.
It is an electric bass guitar that features a slim neck, a bound maple double-cutaway body, or an unbound maple body in the case of the 4001S and is structured with caps in its circuit which creates its vintage sound. It also features a horseshoe and toaster pickup modeled after Paul McCartney’s guitar.
A bound neck joint or unbound maple in the case of the 4001S model, the neck is built with maple and walnut wood and the fretboard is built with rosewood and 20 frets. It has an old truss rod system which although is hard to adjust but once set up runs for years.
Modified models of the Rickenbacker 4001 include 4001S, 4001LH, 1999, 4001V63, 4001CS, 4001C64S C Series
- Two pickup system which gives room for versatility
- Wider control range
- A slim neck that makes playing easier for players with short fingers
- Its neck profile is too thin
- Its horseshoe pickup gets in the way of playing
Alternatives to Rickenbacker 4001 and 4003
Ibanez GSRM 4 String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Black (GSRM20BK)
- Low action
- Excellent fretwork
- Not loud enough
Best Choice Products 22-Fret Full Size Acoustic Electric Bass Guitar w/ 4-Band Equalizer, Adjustable Truss Rod
- Inexpensive yet great sounding
- Fretwork is excellent
- The fretboard is a little dry
Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 Bass Guitar (4 String, Black Cherry)
- Its sound is incredible and it has a wide tonal range
- The frets are well marked and dressed
- Intonation and action is great
- The bridge is solid and heavy
- It’s not loud enough for some people
Squier by Fender Affinity Series Precision Beginner Electric Bass – PJ – Olympic White
- Great action
- Comfortable fretboard
- Great intonation
- Quality not as great as more expensive guitars
Sawtooth EP Series Electric Bass Guitar, Satin Black w/Black Pickguard
- Sounds amazing
- Low action and good intonation
- Fretwork is poorly done
Rickenbacker 4003 vs 4001 – comparison/differences
Both the Rickenbacker 4003 vs 4001 models are remarkable and exceptional bass guitars and as we all know, the 4003 is the updated and improved version of the 4001 and so are similar in many ways but they also have their distinct specs which each of them unique in its own
- The dimensions and components of both guitars are the same, they both feature a bound maple double-cutaway body except for models 4001S and 4003S that features unbound maple double-cutaway bodies.
- Both fretboards are built with rosewood and contain 20 frets each
- They’re both electric bass guitars
- The Rickenbacker 4001 uses a medium impedance horseshoe and a low impedance toaster inspired by Paul McCartney’s guitar which is the original design while the 4003 uses high-end pickups, this difference in their pickups makes for a great difference in the sound that it produces, while the 4001 produces the classic ric vintage tone rich in harmonics while the 4001 produces a more warm and punchy sound.
- The 4001 model is built with an old truss rod system which although is hard to adjust but once set up runs for years but the 4003 model has an improved truss rod system which effectively the high tension strings it comes with.
- Another difference is the neck, while the Rickenbacker 4001 was built with a slim neck profile that enhances overall playability and is suitable for players with short fingers, the 4003 model comes with a wider neck profile which although may prove difficult for players with short fingers but the wider neck allows for more versatility and a balanced sensation
- The Rickenbacker 4001 is set up with caps in its circuits which enhances its vintage tone while the Rickenbacker 4003 is usually set up with its caps out and this enhances its warm tone.