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The Rickenbacker 4001 is a bass guitar that was manufactured by Rickenbacker as a two-pickup "deluxe" version of their first production bass, the single-pickup model 4000. This famed design, created by noted luthier Roger Rossmeisl, was manufactured between 1961 and 1981, when it was replaced by an updated version dubbed the Rickenbacker 4003. Variant models of the 4001 include the 4001S, 4001LH, 1999 (European model), 4001V63 (reissue), 4001CS (a limited edition series based on Chris Squire’s 1965 British model RM1999) and the 4001C64S C Series, a recreation of Paul McCartney's left-handed 4001S with a reversed headstock. There is also a Lemmy Kilmister signature version (4004LK) of the instrument.
A 1977 Rickenbacker 4001
|Neck joint||Bound or unbound maple (4001S model)|
|Scale||33 (medium scale) or 301⁄2 (Short-scale version)|
|Body||Bound maple and unbound maple (4001S Model)|
|Neck||Maple and Walnut|
|Pickup(s)||2 single coil/horseshoe|
|Fireglo (Cherry Sunburst), Autumnglo (Tobacco Sunburst), Burgundyglo (Red), Jetglo (black), Mapleglo (natural) and Azureglo (blue)|
The iconic upper bout and headstock silhouettes of the Rickenbacker 4001 are the most salient characteristics of the "crested-wave" body shape designed by luthier Roger Rossmeisl for Rickenbacker's model 4000. The 4001 model features a neck-through construction, a full-wood body, fretboard with metal strings (originally flat-wound, though many players replaced them with round-wounds), twin truss rods, triangle inlays, two pickups, two volume and two tone dials, selector switch, and wiring for Rick-O-Sound (standard after 1971). Rickenbacker also produced six-string and 12 string guitars and a short-scale bass, the 3000 model. The bridge system is a relatively unusual design, both in aesthetics and in function, featuring removable saddles, as well as a compartment designed to hold a foam mute.
The 4001S (and 1999) model varies in its use of dot inlays, and unbound neck construction. The Rickenbacker 4003, which replaced the 4001, differs in the truss rod design and introduces a fret wire that better withstands the wear from round-wound strings. Fast fret wear was a common complaint for many years, and Rickenbacker sought to address the issue. The pickups are also higher in output, and the bridge pickup, a so-called "horseshoe" pickup, was entirely remodelled, featuring a more conventional design, although the "horseshoe" is still part of the construction, albeit removable. More recent 4003 models also feature a push-pull switch on one of the tone knobs, which diminishes the output of the pickups, to more closely resemble the original 4001 tone. Other features remained similar to its forebear.
Rickenbacker has in recent years also produced a five-string model, featuring a more conventional bridge system, smaller Schaller machine heads and distinctive, asymmetrical pickups. It retains the Rickenbacker's signature 33" scale length, an unusual design for a five-string instrument.
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