For me, no other bass guitar has the magic, the looks, or the sound that the Rickenbacker 4001 has. Originally introduced in 1961, some of my favorite bass players have used these guitars to create some of rock’s most memorable music. From Paul McCartney to Chris Squire to Geddy Lee, to Lemmy Kilmeister to Cliff Burton, each used the 4001 to define their sound and unique approach to modern rock bass guitar.
My first bass was an Aria SG pawn shop special. I was thrilled. However, that experience paled in comparison to when I got my second bass guitar, a 1975 4001 in Fire Glo.
Most coveted by collectors, are the 4001 basses made prior to mid 1973, when they came equipped with the famed “Toaster” pickup in the neck position, as well as checker board binding, and crushed pear inlays.
This particular bass is especially rare for two reasons. The first reason is that although never mentioned in any Rickenbacker catalogs or price lists, for approximately 16 months from late 1969 to early 1971, Rickenbacker manufactured a very few 4001's with 21 frets. Instead of 20. This is one of those 21 fret models. One notable musician who used one of these 21 fret models was Chris Squire. He used one on some of the early Yes material. This particular bass was made in November 1970.
The second reason this bass is so rare is the superb condition of its figured maple. You can see the front wings are made from beautiful, dense, birdseye maple, with wonderful flame patterns on the back. This is not a standard color or pattern used by Rickenbacker at the time. Together, these two characteristics together with its checkerboard binding, toaster pick up and crushed pearl inlays, make this one of the best pre-73 4001 specimens to be found anywhere. Definitely the jewel of my bass collection.