A few Rickenbacker questions;

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DaMaGe, Inc., May 18, 2005.

  1. Ok, after months I still haven't gotten very far with my decision on a new bass. Because of my small hands, I don't feel comfortable on 35" scale basses and I'm beginning to feel 34" is also slightly over my comfort level... some of those stretches on the lower frets are a bitch to do. :p

    So just now a rick' came on my mind. I never was a fan of the looks, but I'm getting more into it and I heard they're great basses. The slightly shorter scale is what got my attention (although I'm not sure how noticable the difference is, and the neck looks pretty thick), but how will that handle lower tunings in terms of string tightness?

    My current bass (Ibanez SRX300) is also a bit too heavy for my feel, and from pics the Ricks' look pretty light judging from the very slim bodies.

    Was also wondering if any people found the pickup cover on the 4003 to be in way when playing. (do pickup covers have any use btw?) If I would buy one and find it to be in the way, is it possible to remove it?
  2. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    It is light for a bass. I was unaware the scale was smaller though. When I transition from this bass to another, I never notice a different. The neck is a bit big. It has this wierd contour right where the neck starts to turn into the headstock. You just get use to it. Are your hands just really small? Many people do remove the pickup cover as it's right where they want to pluck. As long as you don't want to pluck right where the cover is, it's no problem. I've never taken mine off.
  3. The difference is minimal, 33 1/4" I believe.

    My hands are quite small yes, then again I'm a short guy. I always feel dwarfed when I'm standing with my friends. :p
  4. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I have been playing an older 4001 for a couple of weeks now. I love the thing. The scale is a little shorter but I don't think a Ric really qualifies as a short scale bass.

    I have always been into the Ric looks and the tone is awesome. Just love the sound they produce.

    I too own and play an SRX300. The necks don't feel anything like each other. The Ric neck will feel wider but thats the main difference I feel. The string spacing may be a little wider as well but I have not actually checked. As for the weight the Ric feels pretty light to me but my SRX feels pretty light compared to my Fender Jazz so I don't think you feel a lot of difference between the Ibanez and the Ric. I will say that the Ric is lighter but not by a huge amount. The body is nice and thin though. It gives the Ric a light and manageable feel.

    The one I'm playing still has the pick up cover on it and it bugs me. It's not my bass so I won't take it off but I have played them with out the cover and it's much nicer not having that thing in the way. I like to rest my thumb on the pick up so I can't really do that with the pick up cover on it.

    Rics are great. I don't think you could go wrong with one.

    I am gassing for one really bad. the more I play this thing the more I have to have one of my own.
  5. bamageo


    May 18, 2005
    I once owned a Ric. I couldn't get enough of Chris Squire at the time and the tone on the Ric was the key to Squire's sound. As times changed and what I played followed suit I went back to my '73 Jazz, which has a wider range of sounds.
    The Ric is different from most basses, not only it's sound but also it's unusual shape and design. Now to get back to the originator of this thread. Have you seen or heard a Schecter Elite? I bought one a while back (an E4) and it is wonderful. Nothing can beat the Jazz, I'll say upfront, but the Elite is a fine instrument. It covers the range of bass sounds as well as the Jazz, and with active electronics it can be made to sound like the Ric, no small feat. The scale is fairly long but the frets are not so wide and the width at the nut is almost as narrow as the Jazz. The Elite is not a light bass...not as heavey as the Jazz either. I was fortunate to have taken a chance and tried the Elite 4 and I wonder why I haven't heard alot about them. I would love for all bass players to have the opportunity to try one and you.... the bass player with the small hands, this might be the bass for you.
  6. form52


    Mar 17, 2005
    Ric's are definately nice basses.
    Best thing you could do is get your hands on one and see how it feels. Another option is to look into manufaturers that make shorter scale lengths.
    Though the price is high and I know I've had my fair share of bad things to say about them... Warwick may be something worth looking into as well. They will make most of their bolt-on's with your choice of a 30", 32", or 35" scale length. The 30" or 32" may fit you pretty nicely.

    I'm sure there are plenty of other manufaturers out there that make shorter scale length basses, just hunt around some.
  7. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I have fairly small hands for a guy. My fingers are kinda short so I dont like basses with fat necks like Warwicks or even the MM Stingray. The Ric necks feels good. Not to big I would say it's pretty close to a P-Bass
  8. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    I too am a Hobbit. Had a Ric for years, and found the neck to be comfortable, not as chunky IMO as the Precisions I've played. Scale length difference was not really noticeable to me. I sold it after I got my Mouradian, which I believe has the same scale length as a Ric. The string spacing is tighter than on many basses, but not the narrowest ever. I love the look of the useless pickup cover. I play right around the neck joint, so it wasn't a problem for me. I wasn't crazy about the sound, actually, though mine may have had dead pickups, it was bought used. Got considerably better when I put in Bartolini replacement pickups.
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    If you're looking at Rics for the scale length, but aren't particularly looking for the Ric tone, you might want to consider a 4004, which is said to have more of a standard tone. For example:
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    The scale length of a Rickenbacker is 33.5 inches. I know this for a fact - I've owned two of them...

    It's a relatively light bass - but only because the design is so very slim & compact. Except for the bubinga fretboard/fingerboard, it's constructed of 100% maple, which is one of the densest, heaviest woods there is. So, relative to its dimensions, it's actually one of the heavier bass guitars on the market...

    Most players don't consider the Rick to be an all-purpose bass - and certainly I don't - so it probably wouldn't be a good choice if you can own only one instrument. But, it has such a distinctive sonic personality & vibe, there are certain types of applications for which only a Rickenbacker will do. In that sense, it's kind of like a Fender Precision - no other instrument completely captures its character & essence - you need the real thing. It's most definitely a classic...

  11. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    I owned a Ric 4001 in the 70s. The neck felt wide and flat, but a lot slimmer than the P bass I'd been playing. The rear pickup with the cover is mounted on springs which was a problem because I play rather hard, and the wires disconnected after awhile. I loved the way it felt, but the rear pickup was a problem for me.
  12. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    If you want a shorter scale, thin neck, light and balaced bass, you MUST check out a Kubicki Ex-Factor. 32" scale, one of the fastest necks out there, and sounds great. I used to own two of them, and IMO they are MUCH more versatile and easier to play than a Rickenbacker.
  13. primus_55


    Dec 28, 2004
    I found the ric i played weight a tonne.
  14. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Scale length of a 4003 is 33.25" according to the Ric website. I don't notice the difference in scale between this and my Jazz (34") and the weight difference is fairly minimal too - my own Ric is a bit weightier than you might expect for such a slim bass. Neck is chunkier than the Jazz front to back, but width and string spacing aren't that different (about 1/4" or so narrower at the nut maybe - check out the specs on the websites). Neck is super comfortable though. Pickup cover doesn't bother me, I just play either side of it, but they can be taken off.

    Sound is very distinctive middley growl, but I still think of it as a very "musical" bass. It sort of makes you want to dig in a bit more and play the hell out of the thing! Despite what some people would have you believe, it's not a bad slap bass either once you get into it. Nothing else sounds exactly like a Ric, as has been said many times. But then again, it doesn't have the real bottom end thump of a good Jazz bass (or my Stingray) and perhaps isn't such an all-rounder. I find I still use my J more than anything else on gigs, it's the most versatile and the best compromise beteeen the polite Ric bottom end and the weak G effect of the SR4 (discussed elsewhere at some length). But I'm keeping the Ric, at what it does well it cannot be beaten.
  15. apollo11


    Aug 19, 2004
    New York
    The Ric may weigh as much as a jazz or p, but the thin body, front to back, makes its seem lighter by feel. They are extemely comfortable to play, especially standing. The neck is thicker than most, but you get used to it very quickly. Unlike many basses, the neck doesn't taper out as it nears the body, so it becomes faster higher up on the fretboard. It is very narrow at the upper half of the neck.

    The pickup cover is easily removable---takes a few minutes. There is a schematic at the Ric website that shows how it comes off.

    Oh, yeah, the sound is killer, too.
  16. Well, thanks for all the great info guys. :)

    There are so many interesting basses, 4, 5 and 6-strings, doubled up 8-strings, fretless, different scale lengths. It's hard to find what exactly it is you want.

    Instead of a short-scale, I might consider a 6-string so I can play more in position, what also helps. Could come in handy for playing Dream Theater stuff too. :p

    But whatever it will be, thanks for all your help.