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 Post subject: 1991 4003 question
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:10 am
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I'm new to Rics and would appreciate the views of more seasoned Ric owners on early 90s models. A 1991 4003 to be exact which I'm looking at possibly buying. Pic attached. Are there any issues I should particularly look out for on an early 90s model? Are the early 90s generally regarded as a good period for Rics or is it a period to avoid? This one has a much fuller body shape with fatter horns than usual, does this body shape detract from the value or general desirability? There are hairline cracks on the binding near the fret ends and also a few on the body binding, is this unusual or normal for older Rics? Otherwise looks in pretty good shape. Any thoughts or advice appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: 1991 4003 question
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:43 am
Posts: 13
ikay wrote:
I'm new to Rics and would appreciate the views of more seasoned Ric owners on early 90s models. A 1991 4003 to be exact which I'm looking at possibly buying. Pic attached. Are there any issues I should particularly look out for on an early 90s model? Are the early 90s generally regarded as a good period for Rics or is it a period to avoid? This one has a much fuller body shape with fatter horns than usual, does this body shape detract from the value or general desirability? There are hairline cracks on the binding near the fret ends and also a few on the body binding, is this unusual or normal for older Rics? Otherwise looks in pretty good shape. Any thoughts or advice appreciated.


I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I’ve noticed a couple of things over the years: 1) There are no characteristically bad years for Rics. 2) For every variation in production over the years, there are fans. Some like the thicker profile horns, some the thinner. Some like those with very thin necks, others like the meatier variety. Some like toasters, some like high-gains. Some hate the two-piece pickguards of the early- to mid-80s, and others appreciate them and the other feature distinctive to those years. Some like the stability of the old hairpin truss rods, others like more modern compression rods, and still others are hoping that the dual-action rods that Ric has been installing in some basses become standard issue. Some like 1/2” neck pickup spacing, some prefer 1” spacing. And so on. In short, there are no “stay away” years, just figure out your preferences and then which years come closest to your desires.

_________________
--Bob Farace

2015 4003 Fireglo
1992 4003FL Fireglo
1983 4003 Walnut


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 Post subject: Re: 1991 4003 question
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:12 am 
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Hi Bob, thanks for replying. Out of interest, how would you characterise the differences between your 1983 and 2015 models? Do they sound and play differently, how do the necks compare, how does the larger body of the '83 feel ergonomically against the 2015? Ian


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 Post subject: Re: 1991 4003 question
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:38 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:43 am
Posts: 13
ikay wrote:
Hi Bob, thanks for replying. Out of interest, how would you characterise the differences between your 1983 and 2015 models? Do they sound and play differently, how do the necks compare, how does the larger body of the '83 feel ergonomically against the 2015? Ian


Ergonomically they feel quite similar to me. A little background: my first bass ever was a white ‘78 4001 that I bought used in 1980, and which was stolen in ‘89. I muddled along for many years with basses of other manufacturers, ending with a nice 1982 Vintage ‘57 Precision, until I finally got another Ric in 2015. Two, actually, the brand-new ‘15 and the ‘83 both found me within a week (I traded a ‘72 Tele Bass for the ‘83; no regrets at all). Picking up the ‘15 4003 in the shop that first time felt like coming home after a long trip. The Precision now feels coarse and uninviting to me, and I haven’t played it much at all since getting my Rics back into my stable.

As for sound, the ‘15 is more aggressive, and the ‘83 is more polite. Part of that is probably because the newer pickups are reportedly wound a bit hotter. Part is no doubt due to different strings. I have stock Ric strings on the ‘15 (I guess it’s popular to replace them, but I really like them) and I have the unfortunately discontinued D’Addario EXP Reds on the ‘83. One thing I prefer on the ‘83 is the old-style hairpin truss rods. I adjusted them once as soon as I got the bass, and they haven’t needed any tweaking since. The ‘15 with modern compression rods needs adjustment seasonally. The only mods I’ve made to the ‘83 were to retrofit the straplocks from the current production basses (easy swap) and adding the push-pull vintage tone switch since the ‘83 had the old bass-limiting capacitor as standard. I haven’t modded anything on the ‘15. It might also be worth noting that I’m using my basses in a jazz context with my current band. Some people say that Rics are one-trick ponies, but I’ve found them quite versatile if one bothers to explore what happens when you use the tone knobs at other than full. I tend to first knock back one of the volume controls just a tiny bit and you can hear the tone open up. This is common with two-pickup basses. Then I knock a bit of treble off the neck pickup and turn back the tone maybe about 70% on the bridge pickup and I get a delicious chocolatey tone that works well in the context of our band. Using a Ric for jazz is certainly not unheard of. Dave Brubeck’s son Chris has been using a fretless 4001 since 1970. Fred Williams used a fretless 4001 with Ornette Coleman in ‘78, and Jamaaladeen Tacuma used a fretted Ric with Ornette in ‘79. Rics have a lot more versatility than many will give them credit for.

Yesterday I had delivered another Ric, a Fireglo ‘92 4003 fretless. It is wearing a set of strings that is long discontinued, the Ric 4445 nylon filament-wound set. I’m still assessing the strings for my purpose (I might install a set of the Optima 4440 reproduction of the stock Ric/Maxima 4440 set from the ‘70s), and still tweaking the bass to my liking (it’s been in my hands less than 24 hours), but it’s another winner and seems quite loud.

I hope this helps.

_________________
--Bob Farace

2015 4003 Fireglo
1992 4003FL Fireglo
1983 4003 Walnut


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 Post subject: Re: 1991 4003 question
 Post Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:10 am
Posts: 4
Very helpful thanks Bob. I know there's no substitute for getting one and finding things out myself but it's really useful to hear from people with more experience! Cheers


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