Here is a vintage 1962 Rickenbacker 4000 electric bass guitar. This original owner example, serial number BD 156 (April ’62), is in incredibly well-preserved, near mint, 100% all original condition with the original bridge cover/mute and original silver hard case with blue interior. This extremely rare early production Ric 4000 is unique in that it is one of only several produced during this era and one of very few to feature transitional appointments. Quite possibly the nicest example in existence, it was very recently purchased from the original owner!
Though the 4000 was introduced in 1957, this example was made only several months after 4001 production began, and essentially shares an identical construction approach. Like the one that sold at Heritage Auctions for over $20,000.00 several years ago, it too sports a FireGlo 2-tone Sunburst finish, a large profile gold back-painted plastic pickguard with matching gold trussrod cover, clear lucite fingerrest and bridge corner surrounds, a large horseshoe pickup, chrome “flying saucer” knobs, Schaller BM tuning machines, an early fixed modified 6-string guitar bridge (whereby only 4 of the 6 are utilized), the original chrome bridge cover with underside attached padded mute which can be slid within the confines of the acrylic bridge guides to adjust intensity of mute application, a 33.5″ scale length, and a neck-trough cresting-wave body shape with mahogany core.
This Ric 4000 features the transitional combination of late-’50s/earl-’60s appointments (large gold guard, clear plastic bridge surround, early style chrome knobs, etc.) with the non-slab contoured cresting wave body finished in the more modern Brugundy Red/Pink FireGlo finish. While there are some subtle cosmetic differences, the Rickenbacker 4000 is effectively a Rickenbacker 4001 (Rose Morris 1999) without the toaster-top neck pickup. Otherwise, they’re identical. Both models are incredibly scarce and were under-produced, yet the model 4000 is decidedly more rare. Famous bassists, such as Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, Roger Waters, and Chris Squire were several of the greats that helped elevate the bass’ stature amongst players and collectors alike, but during the time since their unofficial endorsements, specifically ’60s Ric basses have become unparalleled with regard to both desirability and value.
This bass is in absolutely remarkable near pristine cosmetic condition. The bass exhibits absolutely no playing whatsoever, and displays only the slightest elements of wear associated with storage. If not for several random dings caused by free-floating accessories within the case, the bass would most certainly be considered to be in mint condition. It is simply the finest example of any early production Ric bass of which I can find evidence. Furthermore, it was recently purchased from the original owner, who bought it new in Detroit circa 1963. Included are 4 photos of the original owner with the bass during the mid-’60s, prior to his tenure in Vietnam, after which he claimed to have only used the bass on several occasions.
Both trussrods (dual trussrod system) work perfectly, and were recently adjusted during a setup to accommodate lighter-gauge .040-.10 Pyramid long-scale round-wound strings. The neck is currently perfectly straight, and the action is low with equal bridge movement available in either direction. The bass is lightweight and extremely resonant. The large horse-shoe pickup sounds incredible, and to my recollection, I’m not sure if I’ve heard a better one. There is sparse light finish-checking over the entirety of the instrument, but surprisingly little. Additionally, there is a very minor separation along the first fret between the fretboard and the neck. This is notoriously common, and with tension is almost invisible. I have decided not to have it addressed, but it certainly be repaired to disappear completely should the next owner desire. One of the bridge screws broke in half from tension, so it is missing the original securing nut, and the original screw is about 3/4 the length of the others. The original CTS potentiometer codes are dated 137 6126, 137 6128 (both of which are mid-’61) and all corresponding electronics are original.
The original silver case is in very excellent condition. All latches work perfectly, and all appointments are in excellent shape. There are no structural issues nor odors. Interestingly, there are very few Ric 4000/4001 cases in existence, so this case is perhaps even more rare than the bass itself, and should be perceived as a very valuable accessory.