~ Rickenbacker Bass Models ~

Rickenbacker Forum

"Rocketing Skywards"
1989 4001V63 Mapleglo
Photo © 1999 Nicole Albertson



Rickenbacker Bass Models
and Specifications


~ The 4000 Series ~

by David Axt


[The following article is a compilation of data from various sources describing the different Rickenbacker bass models. This article also gives as brief history as to when the different features were added or discontinued.]


(Note: Dates in parentheses are from various sources. If you can confirm or deny these dates please contact me.)


Rickenbacker Forum


~ 4000 Series ~


The basses in this series have the following features, unless otherwise noted, neck through construction, cresting wave headstock, cresting wave body, finished Padouk fingerboard, 33-1/2" scale, 20 frets, Schaller Deluxe BM machine heads, combination tailpiece/bridge assembly with string mutes.



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
1971 - Starr Stowe was featured in the February 1978 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

~ Return to 2000-3000 Series ~

Rickenbacker Forum


~ Bibliography ~

The Bass Book
Tony Bacon and Barry Moore

Forty Years of Rickenbacker Basses - Part I
Bassist Magazine June 1998

Forty Years of Rickenbacker Basses - Part II
Bassist Magazine July 1998

Blue Book of Electric Guitars 5th Edition
Steven Cherne Edited by S. P. Fjestad


Gruhnís Guide to Vintage Guitars 2nd Edition
An Identification Guide for American Fretted Instruments
George Gruhn and Walter Carter


Rickenbacker International Corporation
John Hall, CEO

Rickenbacker Registration Page
Peter McCormack

Rickenbacker Frequently Asked Questions
Gerard Lanois

The Rickenbacker Connection
Mike Parks

Bass Colors and Dating
The Rickenbacker Connection


Rickenbacker Forum Article Submitted on September 3, 1999
Revised June 11, 2000

© 1999-2000 David Axt. All rights reserved.


Editing and Html Design by Peter McCormack



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