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1981 Rickenbacker 4003 Vintage Bass Guitar Fireglo w/ Case & Horseshoe Pickup, 4001


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Up for sale, a 1981 Rickenbacker 4003 in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case and upgraded with a Rickenbacker Horseshoe '60s-style pickup. Featuring maple neck through body construction, this Rickenbacker has healthy natural sustain, weighing 10lbs 3oz and strung with fresh 45-100 roundwound strings. The pickup complement includes the original Hi-Gain neck position single coil, offering plenty of breadth and woof, while the upgraded Ric Horseshoe pickup is notably deeper and thicker than the usual Hi-Gain design, still delivering Rickenbacker's present midrange growl and note attack, yet sonically wider and thumpier. We've had this early Rickenbacker 4003 professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with comfortable action and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has a very round and substantial C-shaped neck profile carve with generous shoulder. It's a particularly deep profile for a Ric bass, measuring .955” deep just beyond the volute, staying consistent in depth and also measuring .955” at the 12th fret. The 33 1/4" scale is Rickenbacker's traditional long scale, and the gloss-finished slab rosewood fretboard features pearl triangle inlays, professionally refretted with medium jumbo fretwire that has plenty of meat and crown, showing no wear. The bass plays cleanly up the straight neck with responsive, optimally adjusted truss rods. The nut measures a full 1 5/8" in width. The original Rickenbacker logo/truss rod cover is present, along with the stock nickel-plated clover button tuning machines that turn smoothly and hold pitch reliably.

All of the electronics work as they should, with the Hi-Gain/Horseshoe pickup pair wired to the original harness, with CTS pots that date to mid-1980. The Rick-o-Sound stereo jack plate has a cleanly stamped serial number with a "UH" prefix, conclusively dating production to August of 1981. All original hardware is intact and the chrome plating is bright and clean; the bridge even retains its original (crusty) mute foam. Plastic parts are in great shape including the distinctive two-piece pickguard only seen on early 4003 examples. There is a small, very clean repair to the pickguard just to the bass side of the neck pickup. The guard is perfectly flush in this area and stable.

The gloss Fireglo finish exhibits buckle rash across the back and various small dings and scuffs on the body as a whole consistent with honest use. There are a few small touched-up dings on the bass-side lower bout on top, and there is palm wear through much of the gloss behind frets 1-6.

The original black tolex hardshell case is included. The case has a clean exterior with black leather ends, retaining a trio of functional latches and the stock handle.