Rickenbacker 4001

The Rickenbacker 4001 is a two-pickup “deluxe” version of Rickenbacker’s first production bass, the single-pickup model 4000. This Roger Rossmeisl design was manufactured between 1961 and 1981, when it was superseded by an improved version known as the Rickenbacker 4003.

Does Rickenbacker still make the 4001?

The 4001 was first introduced in 1961 and was manufactured until the very early 1980s, gaining popularity among bass players such as Lemmy Kilmister, Kim Gordon, Rick James, Geddy Lee, and many, many more.

What is the Difference Between Rickenbacker 4001 and 4003?

The 4001 is the original design, whereas the 4003 was an upgraded version debuted in the 1980s. 4003 didn’t have a cap on the bridge pickup until the mid-2000s, when they added the vintage/modern switch, but 4001 has a bright cap on the bridge pickup. Both include the rick o sound stereo feature as well as body binding.

Who plays a Rickenbacker 4001?

The Rickenbacker 4001 bass was used by the former Jam and Stiff Little Fingers member, as well as a slew of other bass legends, including Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee, Chris Squire, and, of course, Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister.

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Rickenbacker 4001 Bass

The 4001S, 4001LH, 1999 (European model), 4001V63 (reissue), 4001CS (a limited edition series based on Chris Squire’s 1965 British model RM1999), and the 4001C64 and 4001C64S are all variations on the 4001: the C Series is a recreation of Paul McCartney’s left-handed 4001S with a reversed headstock. The instrument is also signed by Al Cisneros (4003 AC) and Lemmy Kilmister (4004 LK).

Rickenbacker 4001
A 1977 Rickenbacker 4001
Manufacturer Rickenbacker
Period 1961–1981
Body type Solid
Neck joint Bound (or unbound maple 4001S model)
Scale 33.25 in (845 mm) (long scale)
30.5 in (770 mm) (short scale)
Body Bound maple (and unbound maple 4001S Model)
Neck Maple, Walnut
Fretboard Bubinga, Rosewood, Maple
Pickup(s) 2 single coil toaster/horseshoe pickups (early models),2 single coil Hi-Gain pickups (later models)
Colors available
Fireglo (Cherry Sunburst), Autumnglo (Tobacco Sunburst), Burgundyglo (Red), Jetglo (black), Mapleglo (natural) and Azureglo (blue)

Construction Of Rickenbacker 4001

The 4001 model has a neck-through body, a full-wood body, a fretboard with metal strings (originally flat-wound, but many players replaced them with round-wounds), twin truss rods, triangle inlays, two pickups, two volume and two tone dials, a selector switch, and Rick-O-Sound wiring (standard after 1971).

Rickenbacker also made six-string and 12-string guitars, as well as the 3000 model short-scale bass. The bridge system is an unusual design in both appearance and function, with replaceable saddles and a pocket designed to house a foam mute.

Dot inlays and unbound neck construction distinguish the 4001S (and 1999) models. The Rickenbacker 4003, which replaced the 4001, has a different truss rod design and a fret wire that is more resistant to wear from round-wound strings (rapid fret wear was a popular complaint for many years, and Rickenbacker worked hard to address it).

The pickups are also more powerful, and the bridge pickup, a so-called “horseshoe” pickup, has been completely redesigned, with a more conventional design, however the “horseshoe,” while removable, remains part of the build for aesthetic purposes.

More current 4003 models include a push-pull switch on one of the tone knobs that reduces the output of the pickups to mimic the original 4001 tone. Other characteristics remained consistent with its forefather.

Rickenbacker has just released a five-string variant with a more traditional bridge arrangement, smaller Schaller machine heads, and distinct, asymmetrical pickups. It keeps Rickenbacker’s distinctive 33″ scale length, which is unique for a five-string instrument.

Rickenbacker also produced a streamlined model, the 4004, between 1993 and 2018, that used the 4001’s trademark shape but featured smaller pickups, a simplified control layout, a more conventional bridge system, and eschewed the use of aesthetic details such as binding or a pickguard.

Rickenbacker 4001 Notable players

  • Barry Adamson of Magazine (also in Buzzcocks, Visage and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
  • Becky Baldwin of Fury, touring bassist for Mercyful Fate
  • Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr.
  • John Bentley of Squeeze
  • Cliff Burton of Metallica
  • Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath
  • Jon Camp of Renaissance
  • Peter Cetera of Chicago
  • Al Cisneros of Sleep and OM
  • Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival, with a 4001 featured prominently on the Bayou Country album cover photograph
  • Paul D’Amour of Tool
  • John Deacon of Queen
  • Joey DeMaio of Manowar
  • Julie Doiron of Eric’s Trip
  • John Entwistle of The Who
  • Bruce Foxton of The Jam
  • Simon Gallup of The Cure
  • Matt Gatera of The Seagulls
  • Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees
  • Roger Glover of Deep Purple, Rainbow and Episode Six
  • Martin Gordon of Sparks and Radio Stars
  • Graham Gouldman of 10cc
  • Paul Gray of The Damned, Eddie & The Hot Rods and UFO
  • Bob Hardy of Franz Ferdinand
  • Haruko Haruhara, fictional character from the anime series FLCL
  • Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, Trapeze, and Black Country Communion
  • Rick James
  • Tony James of Generation X
  • Inge Johansson of Against Me!
  • Simon Johns of Stereolab
  • Jesse F. Keeler of Death From Above 1979 and MSTRKRFT
  • Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead
  • Dušan Kojić of Šarlo akrobata and Disciplina kičme
  • Göran Lagerberg of Tages and Kebnekajse
  • Audun Laading of Her’s
  • Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather
  • Geddy Lee of Rush
  • Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy
  • Dan Maines of Clutch
  • Glen Matlock of Sex Pistols
  • Paul McCartney of Wings and The Beatles
  • Randy Meisner of Eagles and Poco
  • Mike Mills of R.E.M.
  • Mario Mutis of Los Jaivas
  • Prescott Niles of the Knack
  • Chuck Panozzo of Styx
  • Charles Michael Parks Jr. of All Them Witches
  • David Paton of Pilot and The Alan Parsons Project
  • Tracy Pew of The Birthday Party
  • Fabio Pignatelli of Goblin
  • Scott Pilgrim, fictional character from the Scott Pilgrim series
  • Prakash John
  • Pete Quaife of The Kinks
  • Scott Reeder of Kyuss
  • Heidi Rodewald of Wednesday Week and Passing Strange
  • Kira Roessler of Black Flag
  • Mike Rutherford of Genesis
  • Don Schif
  • Timothy B. Schmit of Eagles and Poco
  • Paul Simonon of The Clash
  • Jim Smith of Cardiacs
  • Chris Squire of Yes
  • Tommy Stinson of The Replacements (and formerly Guns ‘N Roses)
  • Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear
  • Dougie Thomson of Supertramp
  • Pete Trewavas of Marillion
  • Fred Turner of Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash
  • Ben Wahamki of The Lumineers
  • Andy Warren
  • Roger Waters of Pink Floyd
  • Josephine Wiggs of The Breeders
  • Paul Wilson of Snow Patrol
  • Chris Wolstenholme of Muse
  • Buddy Zabala of the Pinoy band Eraserheads

How Much Does a Rickenbacker 4001 Weight?

Condition Excellent 9/10
Case HSC
Weight 9 lbs 9 oz
Serial Number RE2848