1973 Rickenbacker 4001 Bass

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1973 was a major transition year for the 4001 bass. The plexiglass thumb rest was gone. In February the full width triangle fret markers lost their "crushed" appearance and changed to a less bold pearloid, but still covering the entire width of the fret. Beginning in May the pearloid fret markers became smaller, no longer covering the entire width of the fret. Also the "gaptooth" began to be discontinued on the chrome bridge. These transitions took place over a couple months period. The neck pickup began to change from toaster shape to a 4 pole starting in June and took a couple months to fully transition. In July, standard checkerboard binding began to disappear and had fully transitioned to solid white by August. The four pole bridge pickup still included a chrome cover and chrome surround. The surround sometimes had cutouts to accommodate string vibrations. Capacitors were various combinations of orange, brown, yellow and white. During the year, plastic coated wiring was introduced on the potentiometers. Most 1973 4001's have a combination wiring of cloth and plastic on the potentiometers, but some have only plastic wiring. The heptagonal shaped knobs with silver faces usually had black lettering, but from June to September occasionally had only a plain silver face. From February to June, Rickenbacker outfitted some 4001's with a rare bridge pickup surround that had sharply squared corners. This was more reminiscent of their 1960's style.

Other 1973 Ric 4001 features: Cresting wave shaped headstock, Grover Imperial tuners with large chrome bushings, logo on plexiglass truss rod cover, dual truss rods, neck through body design including skunk stripe, 20 frets or fretless option, white pickguard, CTS potentiometers, ric-o-sound input jack plate, pots cavity marking, 3 way pickup toggle switch, black Tolex case with blue, orange or purple interior.

The letters on the chrome input jack plate determine the year and month of production. The digits indicate the number of production. Some examples of 1973 Rickenbacker serial numbers are:

MA 25x 1973 January
MB 61x 1973 February
MC 88x 1973 March
MD 118x 1973 April
ME 206x 1973 May
MF 262x 1973 June
MG 322x 1973 July
MH 374x 1973 August
MI 444x 1973 September
MJ465x 1973 October
MK xxx 1973 November
ML 677x 1973 December