Rickenbacker Bass Models, A history/list

Vintage, Modern, V & C series, Fretless, Signature & Special Editions

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Rickenbacker Bass Models, A history/list

Postby (dminer) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 9:07 am

I copied this from another forum and I thought that it was the most complete listing of bass models and their changes that I'd ever seen. So, I'm posting it here as a reference source on FYI questions. Thanks to Shawn
Keep on Rick'n On, David

4000 MODELS
4000
This bass is the first bass model that Rickenbacker produced.
Original Features: Single pickup, chrome 1 volume and 1 tone control, mono output,
unbound body, dot inlay, clear plastic pickguard with gold back painting, cresting wave
headstock, unbound rosewood fingerboard, 8 dot inlays, clear plastic finger rest, Schaller
BM nickel machine heads. Originally available only in Mapleglo and older style Fireglo
(2 tone brown sunburst) finishes.
1957 - Prototype sent for photographing in April
1957 - Introduced in June
1957 - (Late) movable bridge with string mute
???? - Chrome plated knobs replace black "flying saucer" knobs
1958 - Walnut neck replaced mahogany neck
1958 - White pickguard became optionally available
1959 - Neck width narrowed
1960 - Maple and walnut neck replaced walnut (or mahogany) neck
1960 - "Fireglo" (red sunburst) finish became optionally available
1961 - Body became slighter, slimmer and more contoured
1963 - Bridge/tailpiece with under string mutes replaced bridge with sliding mute.
1963 - Jetglo and Autumglo finishes became optionally available
1963 - White pickguard replaced gold pickguard
1963 - Black bakelite knobs replaced chrome knobs
1969 - High gain pickup and cover replaced horseshoe bridge pickup
1969 - Headstock shortened
(mid 70's) - Set neck design replaced neck-thru design
1971 - Grover sealed back machine heads replaced Schaller open back nickel machine
heads
1974 - Gap in center raised lip of bridge eliminated
1974 - Gap in center raised lip of bridge eliminated
1974 - Pickguard shortened 1/2 inch
1975 - Cast chrome plated zinc bridge/tailpiece replaces chrome plated cast aluminum
bridge/tailpiece.
1975 - Schaller BMC chrome open back machine heads replaced Grover sealed back
machine heads
1984 - Model 4000 removed from price sheets
1987(1985?) - Discontinued


4000FL
This bass is the fretless version of 4000 model
Features: Single pickup, volume and tone controls, mono output, unbound body, dot
inlay, gold pickguard, cresting wave headstock, 33-1/2" scale, unbound rosewood
fretboard. This bass was a special order only.
1960 - Introduced
???? - Discontinued


4001 MODELS
4001
This is the deluxe two-pickup version of the 4000 model. The neck pickup was added to
give greater tonal flexibility and greater bass response. This bass was originally designed
for use with flat-wound strings.
Features: Bound body, bound Padouk fingerboard, triangle inlays, two pickups, separate
volume and tone controls, mono-output, truss rods adjust at head. Originally this bass was
only available in a Fireglo finish.
1961 - Introduced
1963 - Bridge with under string mutes was added
1965 - Black plastic seven-sided knobs with silver tops replaced all black Bakelite knobs
1965 - Mapleglo finish became optionally available 1965 - Three special six-string 4001
basses were produced
1969 - Ric-O-Sound became standard instead of an optional feature
1969(1971) - High gain single-coil pickup and cover replaced horseshoe bridge pickup.
1969 - Headstock was shortened
(????) - 9th dot inlay position marker was added in between the 18th and 19th frets
(????) - Three special 30 inch scale 4001 basses were produced
1977 - Starr Stowe was featured in the February 1977 issue of Playboy magazine holding
an Azureglo 4001 owned by Gene Simmons.
197? - Some set neck basses produced
1971 - Grover sealed back machine heads replaced Schaller open back machine heads
1972 - Maple headstock wings replaced contrasting walnut headstock wings
1972 - Center walnut stripe running the length of the instrument was introduced
1972 - High gain neck single-coil pickup replaced toaster neck pickup
1972 - Clear plastic finger rest was eliminated
1973 - Schaller BMC chrome open back machine heads replaced Grover sealed back
machine heads
1973 - Single color (white or black) body binding replaced block binding
1973 - Smaller pearloid fingerboard inlays replaced crushed pearl large triangle inlays
1973 - Pickguard was shortened by moving back from bridge pickup surround
1973 - Large bridge pickup surround was made smaller and more rectangular
1974 - Gap in center raised lip of bridge eliminated
(mid 70's) - Set neck design replaces neck thru design
1974 - Neck pickup was moved 1/2 inch closer toward the bridge pickup
1974 - Pickguard shortened 1/2 inch
1983 - Discontinued


4001FL
This bass is the fretless version of the 4001 model. This model was only available as a
special order.
Features: Two pickups, separate volume and tone controls, stereo and mono output,
bound body, 9 dot inlays, bound Padouk fingerboard, truss rods adjust at head.
1960 - Introduced
198? - Some set neck models produced
1989 - Reintroduced with dot inlay (????) - Discontinued


4001S
The designation "S" stands for "Special"
This bass is a simplified "no frills" model of the 4001. This bass is also known as export
model "1999" sold in Europe by the Rose, Morris & Company.
Features: Horse shoe bridge pickup, toaster neck pickup, separate volume and tone
controls, mono output, unbound body, 9 dot inlays, unbound Padouk fingerboard, clear
plastic finger rest, truss rods adjust at head.
1964 - Introduced
1967 - Bridge with understring mute was added (1967?) - Bridge with under string mutes
was added 1969(1967?) - Discontinued being sold by Rose Morris
1980 - Reintroduced as standard US model with center stripe walnut laminate, high gain
neck pickup, high gain bridge pickup and cover, no finger rest.
1986(1984?)(1985?) - Discontinued (replaced by 4003S model


4001V63
Vintage Reissue Series
This bass is similar to the 1963 model 4001S
Features: Horseshoe bridge pickup, no body binding, mono output, 9 dot inlays, no neck
binding, toaster neck pickup, contrasting walnut headstock wings, (Kluson style) Schaller
vintage machine heads and black knobs. Available only in Mapleglo and Fireglo finishes.
1984 - Introduced
1986 - 8 dot inlays with 1 inlay removed from in between the 18th and 19th frets
1986 - Bass lengthened 9/16 inch to an overall length of 45 1/16" from 44 1/2"
1986 - Neck profile narrowed 1/16"
1999 - Currently still in production


4001CS "Chris Squire"
Limited Edition Series
This bass is the Chris Squire signature model similar to Chris Squire's 1965 model 1999.
[Note: Chris Squire's original bass had finger rest mounting holes, different shaped
headstock, different tuners, and stereo output.]
Only 1000 of these basses were produced.
Features: Horseshoe bridge pickup, no body binding, mono output, 8 dot inlays, no neck
binding, toaster neck pickup, contrasting African Vermilion headstock wings, clear
plastic back painted pickguard with signature, more rounded shaped neck profile.
Available only in Cream Colorglo finish.
1991 - Introduced
2000 - Production completed March 15, 2000


4001V63PMC "Paul McCartney"
This bass was designed for the Japanese market and based on Paul's 1964 Model 1999.
Features: Horseshoe bridge pickup, no body binding, mono output, dot inlay, no neck
binding, toaster neck pickup, large white pickguard, left handed only, right-handed
headstock. Available only in Fireglo finish.
???? - Introduced
1999 - Currently still in production


4002 MODEL
4002
This is a deluxe version of 4001. The 4002 model was a limited edition and in terms of
features the fanciest bass that Rickenbacker ever produced.
The two pickups were moved to have the same location as a Fender Jazz bass. The
original price tag in 1977 was $1250. One white bass was produced.
Features: Ebony fingerboard, pearl dot inlays, block bound body, two humbucking
pickups, low impedance (XLR) output, 3-ply black/white/black laminated pickguard,
truss rods adjust at head, 21 frets, black headstock binding, black fingerboard binding,
contrasting walnut headstock wings, chrome Schaller M-4 tuning machines. Available
only in Mapleglo and Walnut finishes.
1975 - Introduced
1984 - Discontinued


4003 MODELS
4003
This bass is the improved version of the 4001 model. The improved 4003 truss rods in
neck are designed for use with round wound strings.
Features: Two-piece pickguard, improved truss rod design, truss rod adjustment at body,
triangle inlays, bound body, bound fingerboard, mono and stereo output, Grover sealed
back machine heads.
1980 - Introduced (replaced the 4001 model)
1982 to 1983 Rickenbacker B Series of Fireglo colors (three-color sunburst finish:
black/red/yellow)
1983 - Schaller BMC chrome machine heads replaced Grover sealed back machine heads
1985(1984?) - One piece pickguard replaces two-piece pickguard
1985 (1984?) - Bridge modified
1985(1984?) - Truss rod adjustment changed to headstock end
1988/1989 - Bridge pickup capacitor removed and replaced with a shunt.
1995 - Schaller strap lock system replaces standard strap buttons.
1999 - Currently still in production


4003FL
This bass is the fretless version of the 4003 model.
Features: Bound body, 9 dot inlays, single color bound Padouk fingerboard, mono and
stereo output. (Refer to 4003 for specifications and changes.)
1980 - Introduced
1999 - Currently still in production


4003S
This model replaced the 4001S.
Features: No body binding, mono output, 9 dot inlays, unbound Padouk fingerboard, truss
rod adjustment at body, two-piece pickguard. (Refer to 4003 for specifications and
changes.)
1980 - Introduced
1995 - Discontinued in November


4003SB
This model is similar to 4003S and the 4001V63.
Features: No body binding, mono output, 9 dot inlays, unbound Padouk fingerboard,
horns wider than V63, toaster neck pickup, clear plastic pickguard and logoplate. Only
available in Mapleglo.
1982 - Introduced
1983 - Discontinued


4003S/5
This bass is a five string version of 4003S with a low B string added.
Features: Unbound body, 9 dot inlays, mono output, unbound Padouk fingerboard,
Schaller M4 machine heads.
(1986)1987 - Introduced
1995 - Schaller strap lock system replaces standard strap buttons.
Still in production


4003S/8
This bass is an eight string version of the 4003S model.
Features: Unbound body, 9 dot inlays, mono output, unbound rosewood fingerboard,
toaster style neck pickup, Schaller M4 machine heads.
1987 - Introduced
1995 - Schaller strap lock system replaces standard strap buttons.
1999 - Currently still in production


4003 "Redneck" or "Bloodstar"
Limited Edition Series
This bass is similar to the 4003 model.
Features: Ruby red finished fingerboard, black hardware, black pickguard and truss rod
cover, 9 black micro dot inlays, Ruby red finished unbound body
(1987?) - Introduced
(1987?) - Discontinued


4003 "Tuxedo" or "Whitestar"
Limited Edition Series
This bass is similar to the 4003 model.
Features: White lacquered fingerboard, black hardware, black pickguard and truss rod
cover, 9 black micro dot inlays, white finished unbound body.
1987 - Introduced
1987 - Discontinued


4003/SPC "Blackstar"
Limited Edition Series
This bass is similar to the 4003 model.
This is a Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) signature model.
Only 200 basses were produced
Features: Jetglo finished fingerboard, black hardware, black pickguard and truss rod
cover, 9 white micro dot inlays, Jetglo finished unbound body.
1987 - Introduced
1990 - Discontinued


4003 "Shadow"
This bass is similar to the 4003 model.
Features: Black bound Padouk fingerboard, 9 black dot inlays, black hardware, black old
style knobs, black pickguard and truss rod cover, block binding, Jetglo finished body and
neck.
(1986-89?) - Introduced
(1989?) - Discontinued


4004 MODELS
4004C "Cheyenne I"
This is an updated more contemporary bass model.
Features: Features: No pickguard, unbound natural oiled walnut body, unbound maple
fingerboard, contrasting walnut headstock wings, gold-plated hardware, 9 black dot
inlays, 2 humbucking pickups, tone and volume control, mono output, black truss rod
cover, Schaller M4 machine heads, combination tailpiece/bridge assembly.
1994(1993) - Introduced
1995 - Schaller strap lock system replaces standard strap buttons. 1999(1997) -
Discontinued


4004C "Cheyenne II"
This bass is the revised version of 4004C Cheyene I.
Features: No pickguard, unbound character maple and natural walnut body, unbound
Bubinga fingerboard, contrasting walnut headstock wings or matching body color
headstock, gold-plated hardware, 9 black dot inlays, 2 humbucking pickups, tone and
volume control, mono output, black truss rod cover, gold Schaller M4 machine heads,
gold combination tailpiece/bridge assembly.
1999 - Introduced
1999 - Currently still in production


4004L "Laredo"
Features: No pickguard, unbound Jetglo hardwood body, unbound maple fingerboard,
chrome-plated hardware, 9 black dot inlays, 2 humbucking pickups, tone and volume
control, mono output, black truss rod cover, chrome Schaller M4 machine heads, chrome
combination tailpiece/bridge assembly.
1994(1993) - Introduced
1999 - Currently still in production


4004LK "Lemmy Kilmister"
Limited Edition Series
This is the Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) signature series model.
Features: (To be announced)
(TBA) Introduced
1999 Not currently in production


4005 MODELS
4005
This bass is a hollow body model.
Features: Offset double cut semi-hollow away body similar styling to 1965 model 360-
375 guitar, single bound edge on the back of the body, unbound rounded front edge,
bound cat's eye soundhole, teardrop shaped pickguard, clear plastic finger rest, large
crushed pearl triangle inlays, 2 toaster pickups, R tailpiece, 2 volume/2 tone/mix
controls. Available only in Fireglo and Mapleglo finishes.
1965 - Introduced
1969 - Headstock shortened
197?) - Colorglo finishes available 1972 - High gain pickups replaced toaster pickups
1973 - Single color (white or black) binding replaced block body binding
1973 - Smaller pearloid inlays replaced crushed pearl large triangle inlays
1974 - Gap in center raised lip of bridge eliminated
1984 - Discontinued


4005S
This bass is also known as Rose Morris European export model "3261".
Features: Hollow unbound double cut away body similar to model 360 guitar, R tailpiece.
Available only in Fireglo and Mapleglo finishes.
1965 - Introduced
1969 - Discontinued


4005WB or 4005OS
This bass is the double-bound version of the 4005 model. Originally this model was
called 4005 OS.
Features: Hollow double bound double cut away body similar to model 360 guitar, R
tailpiece. Available only in Fireglo and Mapleglo finishes.
1966 - Introduced
1984 - Discontinued


4005-6WB
This bass is the six-string version of 4005WB.
Hollow double bound double cut away body similar to model 360 guitar, R tailpiece.
Available only in Fireglo and Mapleglo finishes.
Features:
1966 - Introduced
1984 - Discontinued


4005/6
This bass is the six string version 4005
Features:
1965 - Introduced
1978 - Discontinued


4005/8
This bass is the eight string version of 4005.
Features:
1967 - Introduced
1984 - Discontinued


4005 LS "Lightshow"
This bass is a special multi-colored light version of the 4005. It is the companion to the
331 model light show guitar. This was a special order item.
Features:
(1968?) - Introduced
(1968?) - Discontinued


4005/5
This bass is the five-string version of the 4005 model.
Features:
1972 - Introduced
(????) - Discontinued


4005-6WB or 4005-6OS
This bass is the six-string version of 4005WB. Originally this bass was designated as
4005-6 OS. Hollow double bound double cut away body similar to model 360 guitar, R
tailpiece. Available only in Fireglo and Mapleglo finishes.
Features:
1966 - Introduced
1984 - Discontinued


4005/6
This bass is the six-string version of the 4005 model.
Features:
1965 - Introduced
1978 - Discontinued


4005/8
This bass is the eight-string version of the 4005 model.
Features: The headstock was elongated in order to accommodate the 8 tuning machines.
1967 - Introduced
1984 - Discontinued


4008 MODEL
4008
This bass is the eight string version of the 4001 model.
Features:
1975 - Introduced
1983 - Discontinued
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Postby (leftybass) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 9:26 am

Isn't this the work of David Axt? I thought it started life right here on this forum.....
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Postby (admin) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 9:53 am

This very nice review was a great attempt by David Axt to put the features of Rickenbacker Basses into historical perspective. It was originally written for the Rickenbacker Registration Page. I remember this as I wrote the code for the original. The original also has photos to illustrate a number of these features. Much more work needs to be done, but a great start. It is alway disappointing when information gets pasted to other forums and the author, who gave generously of his time, gets lost in the shuffle. Thanks again Mr. Axt. I am not sure why we are crediting Shawn, but in any event I wanted to set the record straight.
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Postby (ken_james) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:01 am

I for one would like to know how many Shadows were produced. Also After seeing the Redneck 8 string recently were there any Blackstar or Tux 8's produced?
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Postby (admin) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:16 am

I am with you Kjames. BTW, DMiner thanks for reminding us of this topic as it is bound to generate much discussion. One of my lifetime dreams is to have access to the RIC archives so that I might be able to answer questions of the type that you have asked Kendall.
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Postby (eddied) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:27 am

The 4003SB came with mono and ric-o-sound inputs, not mono. I also came with a toaster and stock hi-gain bass pickup, no a horseshoe. The body is a couple lbs heavier, the headstock is shorther and somewhat wider. It was a poor attempt at the V63. I still have one, have made a few mods, from all Rick parts, and it plays and sounds quite remarkable. It is heavier that all my other Rick basses, but it is certtainly unique.
Rick bass fanatic. I own and play several professionally. I have a passion for the S models.
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Postby (eddied) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:30 am

Anyone know how many 4003SB models were made and sold? Who else has one? I actually still have a full color advertisement for all 3 Rick B models. Email me for a copy. It shows John and Georges models also...
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Postby (dminer) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 11:06 am

Peter, thanks for clearing that up...duh, I guess I should have thouroughly checked all the areas of this forum first before posting. The only reason that I thanked Shawn is that he was the poster on another forum and he probably should have just linked to your page and credited David Axt for his extensive research. Cheers, David
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Postby (jwilli) » Thu Mar 06, 2003 12:53 pm

BTW, the Redneck basses were RED not Ruby. Thank you, thank you very much.
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Postby (rickcrazy) » Sat Mar 08, 2003 1:16 pm

With all due respect, some of the information on the 4001 Model in Dminer's post hereabove is inaccurate by a few months, and in some cases, by one or two years. Plus, Star Stowe made the centerfold of the February 1977, not 1978, issue of 'Playboy'. Cheers.
A Rickenbacker bass is much like the Jaguar E car - perennially ultra-fashionable.
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Postby (anonymous) » Sat Mar 08, 2003 3:02 pm

Sergio: The work of David Axt is meant to be a first attempt at writing a bass model history. Please feel free to provide corrections based on new information and we will amend the above text. Do you have any guitar corrections to add at this time?
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Postby (anonymous) » Sun Mar 09, 2003 6:01 am

Hi, Peter. Thanks for reading my post. Well, if the 4001s I currently own and once owned, not to mention those I come across with on the Net are anything to go by, then:

1970 (not '71) - 1st version Grover tuners were introduced.

NB: I believe that Grover tuners (2nd version) never really did go away after the new-style Schallers were introduced (mid seventies). My 1979 4080 came fitted with these, a 1982 4001 I once owned also had these.

1973 (not '72) - High-gain pickup replaced toaster pickup.

Pickguard was shortened in '73? How about circa 1969/1970?

1973 (not '74) - Gap in center raised lip of bridge eliminated. Or, to put it differently, the old, crude-looking bridge/tailpiece unit is superseded by a much improved unit which has remained in use to this day.

1975 (not '74) - Neck pickup was moved 1/2" away from fretboard.

How about the handrest? When was the taller type introduced? My guess is, sometime in 1975.

Thanks for reading.
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Postby (anonymous) » Mon Mar 10, 2003 1:39 am

*1977 - Starr Stowe was featured in the February 1977 issue of Playboy magazine holding
an Azureglo 4001 owned by Gene Simmons. *

Yeah, I was able to get a pic of this from a friend and the 4001 looked more like jetglo rather than azureglo except if you get to look at the peghed w/c is "dark blue". Anyway, here's a link (not of the pic!- but the stats) of the playboy playmates for 1977 and you will see that Starr Stowe is the only playmate w/o the measurement stats. I guess they couldn't decide which is sexier - Starr or the Ric! (I'd pick both)

http://www.thevideotemple.com/playmatesdata/pmdata/pmdata77.html
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Postby (gpatt5762) » Tue Apr 08, 2003 6:55 pm

4003S went to Dec, '96, not '95.

Peter, am I new now?
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Postby (bigbajo60) » Tue Apr 08, 2003 8:12 pm

Pardon my intrusion! I just want to know if I can still post on here or not!

*pause*

HOORAY!
My first bass was a Rickenbacker...
My best bass is a Rickenbacker...
My last bass may very well be a Rickenbacker
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