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Rickenbackers - Overrated?


Ricky 4000

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12 hours ago, Bob Lord said:

I see a few local band types using them, and they invariably seem to do their best to make them sound like a normal bass. Which I totally miss the point of... if you're not using it for its ability to get that grindy, aggressive trademark sound, then (IMO), there's too much downside in using one. If you're going to use a fat, wooly fingerstyle sound, there a loads of basses that do a better job. Grab a plectrum, turn up the gain, turn up the mids and turn up the volume!! Waste of money otherwise

BTW I'm not dissing them, I love them and own one, but they're not very practical or comfortable. The only reason to use such a specialist instrument (apart from how cool they look) is because you need their unique sound

So it's a choice of grindy and aggressive or fat wooly fingerstyle then? That's where I've been going wrong. Being a fingers player it must sound like complete mush. 🤔

Personally I favour aggressive punchy fingerstyle. I actually find it very comfortable to play and can play anything on this that I can play on my Sterling and never thought about it as a specialist instrument.

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1 hour ago, Delberthot said:

So it's a choice of grindy and aggressive or fat wooly fingerstyle then? That's where I've been going wrong. Being a fingers player it must sound like complete mush. 🤔

Personally I favour aggressive punchy fingerstyle. I actually find it very comfortable to play and can play anything on this that I can play on my Sterling and never thought about it as a specialist instrument.

I'm sure your fingers are not at all wooly. :)

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18 hours ago, Ricky 4000 said:

Stolen... euch, sorry to hear that... that sucks the big one. ☹️

My first Ric 4001 (my first bass, bought new in 1980) was stolen in Hendon circa ‘86. Particularly annoying as it had a lot of sentimental value. Jetglo, s/n TC915 if it’s out there......

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Hiho ,I,ve tried to stay away from this topic.

Are they overated,not a bit.How do I qualify this,I play about 100 gigs a year and have a stable of great basses all different to each other but I go back to Rick all the time.I have fitted a Hipshot bridge years ago and have nothing but praise for them.Like the bass it,s set up and forget.My Rick is now 20 years old and still going strong but the pleasure I have every time I play it, how do you put a price on that.Ergonomics and comfort,lot lighter than my Musicman,more comfy to play than my thunderbird and I could go on.Sound-nothing like it and it cuts and punches through the mix.Getting the right amp n cab is IMHO quiet a consideration as they can be picky but Orange does the trick for me.

I,ll dig out my tin hat now.

 

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@bassmachine2112No bombs from me - I completely get it. I may or may not end up owning one, but enjoyed playing one.

TBH it’s a live and let live policy in my world - be original, try combinations, hone your sound and craft to mix with your other instruments, if that’s a Rick or a rickety old Hagstrom - you just have to rock it

Edited by Cuzzie
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I’ve followed this thread loosely and I’m wondering about the premise. Does anyone actually overrate the Ric? As it’s generally regarded as a bit of a one trick pony (as an owner, I don’t think it is) it is surely hard to overrate it. Does it have some questionable design features? Does its looks divide opinion? Is it sometimes badly put together? Yes to all of those, but overrated? Not so much IMO, it’s just a bass at the end of the day. BC does like a Ric bash and sometimes it’s warranted (I often agree with those points) and Ric themselves do nothing to endear them to the bass community, but to call it overrated sounds off to me, you might as well ask that of any ‘one trick pony’ bass. My 2p FWIW.

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  • 1 month later...
On 03/01/2019 at 02:35, Ricky 4000 said:

Mr Foxton's 1970s Ibanez 4001 was the 'Fireglow' colour, apparently... his black one, red one, white one, cream one, probably other ones - were real. 😁 

I thought that his Ibby Rick was black. Did he have an FG one, too?

Apparently sold for nearly £2k at auction back in 2016. Wow.

 

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On 28/12/2018 at 00:23, Ricky 4000 said:

No, not really... differently rated, yes.

It's like, there are bass players, and then there are Rickenbacker bass players.

People think Rickenbacker players are the sort of folks who drive a Subaru Impreza (stereotype - yawn)... well that is simply not true... if it were a Japanese import Impreza, running at least 400/400, then yes, you're probably right. But please don't go judging every Subaru owner to be a Rickenbacker player.

It could be a farmer FFS, and everybody knows a farmer would play a Fender.

 

Thank you for your time.  😁

On the car analogy - I have a Rickenbacker and I drive a Lotus...

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On 28/12/2018 at 17:31, Ricky 4000 said:

If you don't like how they look, or sound - and they haven't changed the uncomfortable ergonomics - then I think I can save you 2 grand by saying with some certainty, that you still won't like it. 😁

 

Sorry about this, Mr Hall. 😌

They did change the ergonomics (and the other stuff folks complain about), but people just kept on buying the older model!

89wL5MU.jpg

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On 28/12/2018 at 20:06, 4000 said:

There’s a good reason why that happened. The ‘60s Rics came with very low tension flats. So what did everyone do? They stuck Rotosounds on them. 😉 Then there’s the other thing; they had to adjust the truss rods. But 4001 rods don’t adjust like other rods; you first slacken off the truss rod nuts, then move the neck into position, then tighten the nuts to hold it in place. Unfortunately, up until relatively recently, not a lot of people knew that. So the first thing they do is tighten the rods as per other basses, which either screws up the rods, pops the fingerboard, or both (if you’re really lucky). And of course it has to be said that those thin necks, in the days before reinforcement, weren’t really designed to handle heavy strings. Having said that, many of the necks managed, but some didn’t. When adjusted correctly the rods are pretty effective; Geddy’s tech said that they got one of his Rics out after some years and the neck hadn’t budged an inch, whereas his Jazz had been through several necks at that point. 

Actually, Rics have a superior truss-rod mechanism to most other brands; they are very responsive and the twin rods allow you to adjust laterally too. Further, they are field-replaceable, without surgery or specialised tools.

Some folks seem to think that Ric should have retrospectively adopted Fenders designs back in the 50s, on the basis that people would be complaining about it on internet forums more than half a century on.

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On 29/12/2018 at 17:28, Woodinblack said:

There was a Ric on bass players market round the corner from me for £850 the other day, but it had really been beaten up a lot. I briefly thought about it, decided against it.

Yes - that was one to dodge - there was video of the bloke smashing it into the floor and chucking it about on stage; the fact that it survived is noteworthy!

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On 06/01/2019 at 11:12, bassmachine2112 said:

That,s the one,totally agree whatever floats yer boat.Alot of Rick players swear on using Rotosound strings but my last piece of the jigsaw was Dunlop super bright stainless strings 40-100.All my basses have them although some have 45-105.A proper set up makes all the difference but that,s true for all basses.

I use Rotosound 40-100 on a Ric.

I recently swapped the strings on a Warwick to Rotos and the action went low; I guess they are lower tension than whatever was on there before.

One of the reasons for Ricenbacker's dislike of Rotos was the abrasiveness, not the tension, as they could wear the frets down. That said, my '64 has had Rotos on it since the 70s, all bar a short period where I had it set up and they put Dean Markleys on it (but I reverted to Rotos).

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On 06/01/2019 at 11:39, ezbass said:

I’ve followed this thread loosely and I’m wondering about the premise. Does anyone actually overrate the Ric? As it’s generally regarded as a bit of a one trick pony (as an owner, I don’t think it is) it is surely hard to overrate it. Does it have some questionable design features? Does its looks divide opinion? Is it sometimes badly put together? Yes to all of those, but overrated? Not so much IMO, it’s just a bass at the end of the day. BC does like a Ric bash and sometimes it’s warranted (I often agree with those points) and Ric themselves do nothing to endear them to the bass community, but to call it overrated sounds off to me, you might as well ask that of any ‘one trick pony’ bass. My 2p FWIW.

I took a couple of them to the last SE Bass Bash...🙂

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I'd take a Ricky over a Fender any day. Although as I can't afford either it's never really been an issue. 

I did once have a rather nice (and massively underappreciated at the time) Ibanez Rickenbacker copy. I chopped it in for 50 quid against a guitar when I had delusions of becoming aguitardist. Man I wish I'd kept that thing! I also wish I'd kept my Warwick Thumb as I'll probably never be able to afford another, but hey ho. Needs must and life goes on. 

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One other thing re. the one-trick pony signature sound...

I went into Wunjo (Denmark Street) a few months back and going down the stairs there was a big expansive sound like a double bass playing; I went into the room and it was someone on a Ric through a Markbass!

Mind you, I do go for the clatter & clang myself...

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