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What am I missing out on with not having a Rickenbacker?


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Begs the question.......I am fortunate to own a pretty good collection of basses that push my skills.  Two Shukers, Ovation Magnum, couple of Sandbergs, couple of MM's ..........but what am I missing with Rickenbackers?

 

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If you're commenting about a 4001 or 4003, you're missing out on a the hum, because their pickups are NOT designed to buck the hum.

You're also missing out on they joy of trying to intonate it.

Solution, get a 4004:

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Try one, make up your own mind... I've had 3  over the years, I ended up flogging them as you do...at length I wish I'd kept the last one, a tatty black '73. 4001.

I like them, others hate them, only you can decide.

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I've had 3. They all got sold. They dont work for me, but a couple of summers ago I played at a festival in Westerham and there was a kinks tribute. He used a 64 reissue with flats. It sounded magic. so maybe one day I may buy a forth and pop some flats on it

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Years back I had a Mapleglo 4003. Hated it. Became a Ric hater, uncomfortable, one tone bass etc etc. Some years later, a mate was selling a 77 4001. I gave it a tryout and really loved the tone - not particularly clunky but very solid. We did a good deal on it. First thing I did was bought a bezel for the bridge pickup so i had somewhere to anchor my thumb. I fell in and out of love with it, gigged it occasionally and kept it mainly as an investment. Fast forward a few years and I joined Stray who’s original bass player always used a Ric. Not wanting to take my old 77 out on tour, I bought a 2016 black 4003. I’ve gigged this bass extensively over the last couple of years and really fallen in love with it. I’ve tried to change to short scale basses as I’ve got little girl’s hands but I keep coming back to that Ric (and the 77 4001). It just feels right now - probably because I used it so much over a short period of time. So what are my thoughts on it? . . . The neck doesn’t taper very much - it’s a very consistent width all the way down. The truss rods never seem to need adjusting - it’s extremely stable. The scale length is slightly shorter than standard 34” - suits me. It’s very resonant. It looks as cool as funk. The build quality (on the later bass, not the earlier one) is extremely good. While you CAN get that classic Ric tone, it’s by no means a one trick pony. The pups sound distinctly different to each other, the tone controls are very effective and you can roll off the top without losing volume and the vintage switch on the bridge pickup brings an extra dimension of flexibility making it more versatile than a normal passive 2 pickup bass. They take a bit of setting up. The bridge on any 4001/3 more than a couple of years old is not very user friendly to say the least, and getting a good pickup balance can be a bit of a chore, however, once set up, they do the job well. The sharp angle around the edge of the body can bug you and cut into your forearm when playing sitting down - funnily enough I only really noticed this on my old mapleglo and not on my second two Rics. I would imagine this is a not issue on the ‘S’ models which don’t have the binding. The 77 is Burgundyglo which looks way cool, it has some nice roadworn charisma and the white bits have all aged to a gorgeous cream so it really looks the part. You also have the option to split the pickups to different amps using the Rick’o’Sound system. This requires a splitter box and isn’t something I’d be bothered with! Personally i think they’re massively overpriced new and I’d never buy without trying as they seem to vary so much over time - my two are completely different beast - particularly the neck profiles, and put the two side by side and even the body shapes and headstocks are different! There’s a lot of haters and that’s fair enough but you’d have to prise mine out of my dead cold hands if you wanted to take it from me! Stay safe me lovelies! X

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Had a 4003 for many years. I loved the sound, loved the look, hated the ergonomics. Now I miss the sound, miss the look, but don't miss the ergonomics. I just found it very uncomfortable for my style of playing. I'd love to try a 4004 with a forearm contour.

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I've owned two 4003's over the years. Idiosyncratic, difficult to adjust intonation/action, feeble fretwire that my preffered Rotosound Swings eat alive, crazy twin truss rods, cheap feeling binding and chrome and one trick pony tonal characteristics... yet I still miss them!

Go figure.

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I didn’t have a problem intonating my 4003s, fiddly yes, but ok. The twin truss rods are weird but, again, something that is not insurmountable. The weight of my all maple one, however, was a different issue. The thing was a boat anchor, a great sounding boat anchor, but an anchor nonetheless. I should’ve bought a walnut one, they’re much lighter, but I was seduced by the fireglo finish.

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Wanted one for years, but always ended up with something else Fender-esque. Finally bought one, and never looked back (even when I had to sell it - bought a Faker or three).

Finally managed to pick up another one last year, and loving it (as well as the walnut Faker in the pic).

Some love them, most hate them, think Marmite or Harley Davidson. 

My advice: definitely "try before you buy", and consider adapting your technique to suit it (i.e. play between the pickups).

 

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I have only tried one twice. Once many years ago with one that had dead strings which was underwhelming and then again a couple of years ago in Guitar Guitar in Glasgow. I liked it when I played it more recently but the price kinda scared me off. With me not playing live just now I can't justify such an outlay when I have so many other great basses.

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A couple of years ago I went to pmt to try a custom shop jazz and the assistant was playing a rickenbacker, so I had a go, I don’t like the look and I didn’t like the shape or sound, but the neck had a very flat fingerboard, and low action ,  it was a dream to play, but a bit bright sounding for me 

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Definitely a lot of hate for them but if you want one, try one. I had a Mapleglo 4003 about 12 yrs ago and sold it on quite quickly. Never really bonded with it. It was a nice bass but a lot of money to sit as part of a collection. Kinda missed it so I picked up a 4003s in 2016. It's done a whole album and a fair few shows and is probably one of my most played basses. It sounds great, looks cool and fits the vibe of the band I use it with. The downside I find is that on the various FB groups for Ric owners some of the owners come across as real idiots but then I bought it to play it, not talk about whether the USA flag sticker stays or goes!

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11 hours ago, OliverBlackman said:

Just remember when playing your other basses that they’re all better than a Rick. I think they call it JOMO 

Not sure what JOMO means.............

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