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Anything to look out for when buying a Rickenbacker?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nosedivekarma, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. nosedivekarma


    Jun 28, 2005
    I've finally decided that my first bass is going to be a Rickenbacker. :hyper: I've wanted one since I can remember and know that I'll eventually get one anyway, so while I can afford it I'm gonna bite the bullet and go for it.
    Anything I should look out for quality control wise when trying one out in the shop?
    Also, I'm looking to play 60s psych pop/rock in a Beatles, Kinks, early Floyd type of style and wondered which model might be the best suited to that type of music
  2. JebusChrist


    May 23, 2005
    try it before you buy it, that's all I can think of. Ive read some reviews of Rick 4003's where people complain of poor quality/customer service, and the necks needing adjustment, but this isn't much of a problem if you have a good guitar tech you know
  3. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Make sure you play one yourself. Rics seem to be binary in regards to playability. People either love them or hate them, its best to make sure you are in the first group before you put money down.
  4. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    I'm assuming you're thinking of a 4001/4003. The main thing to consider is that, even though they look the same, there's a lot of variation in neck feel and size between not only the two models, but even between different years of the same model (4003 especially).

    The best thing you can do is play a few from various years before you decide on one. I have a newer 4003 and even though I think it's beautiful, I'd really like to try an older one with a smaller feeling neck.

    One more thing to think about if you get an older one is whether it has the cap on the rear pickup and whether you want it bypassed. Are you going to run in stereo? Another consideration...

    Like mentioned above, people seem to love 'em or hate 'em. Though they're not my all time favorite, I've always really liked them and am glad to own one. Nothing else sounds like a Ric...
  5. Well I've had a '78 4001 for over nine years and I'd never part with it! :) Rick's are renowned for their toppy tone but in actual fact I find mine very versatile tone wise. The only drawback as far as I'm concerned is that compared to alot of other instruments I've tried (even other passives,) it is rather quiet, so I tend to use a Line 6 Bass Pod on stage as a pre-amp. Whether this is a characteristic of the '70's models only I'm not sure- I've never tried a model with the '60's "horseshoe" pickup so I can't really compare.
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    If you're looking at a 4001, check carefully for signs of fretboard separation from improper truss rod adjustment technique.
  7. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    I'd say get a newer 4003. The pickups are hotter, the necks are stronger & they'll easily accomodate roundwound strings. The old 4001's were designed for flats (though most of the "classic Rick sound" you're familiar with is from roundwounds). Sometimes those old, very thin necks couldn't handle the tension, even though most of the cracked necks & fretboard separations you'll see on old Ricks comes from over zealous truss rod adjustments by an unqualified yahoo.

    I have three Ricks myself (74 4001, 78 3001, & an 03 4003) and love them all. I would say since this will be your first bass, get the 4003...less headaches. Ricks are also much more versatile than many people think. And I believe that the 4003 would fit the style of music you describe perfectly. If you do end up with an older 4001 I highly suggest the .0047 cap mod - losing that bass capacitator opens those old Ricks up to a whole other sonic realm!

    Good luck and (an early) welcome to the club! Ricks are special man, like no other bass out there.
  8. nosedivekarma


    Jun 28, 2005
    Thanks for the advice so far guys. I think the 4003 seems like the best bet. God, i'm so excited! I'm gonna get it in a couple of months time. Buy a cheap practice amp to start with and then, after about a year of solid practice, upgrade to something nicer - with valves! :bassist:
  9. I keep saying this....but go to Harmony Central, and read the reviews of the newer Ricks(4003) built after 2001.....they are excellent basses!

    ......and visit the guys at www.rickresource.com

    Sometimes John Hall even talks on there(CEO of Rickenbacker).

    I also agree that they may, or may not be for you, based on feel......but if you like that Ric tone, there is NO substitute! :eyebrow:
  10. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I've had my 4003 since '92 and no other bass has knocked it off its #1 spot since then. I'll go to a store, play some different basses, get some massive GAS going... but then I'll go home and play my Rick and that GAS is gone like a balloon being popped. I suppose it's actually saved me a lot of money over the years! I guess I'm just genetically coded to play a Rick.

    Oh and it's quite solid, I've only had to adjust the truss rods when I've experimented with different-tension strings.
  11. nosedivekarma


    Jun 28, 2005
    Maybe playing a Rick after playing something like a P bass would be a problem but because it's my first bass, I'm not used to ANYthig yet. So, I suppose i'll just get used to it even if in the beginning i find it hard.
  12. 69Vette


    Sep 21, 2004
    Burbank, CA
    That's an excellent point. If a Ric is what you want, then there's no reason to start anywhere else. Plus if you did, you'd just wonder if you're missing out because you didn't get the Ric. One more piece of advice which, while being good advice no matter what bass you own, is even more critical for a bass with a non typical truss rod system; The most important thing after deciding which bass you want to play is to make sure it's set up properly! The need for proper intonation is a given, but how your neck and bridge are set up can make or break your playing experience with ANY bass. I've owned basses that were sold cheap specifically because the owner thought they "sucked and played horribly", when all they really needed was a good setup.

    Believe me, spending the money on a good setup by the right tech is the best money you'll ever spend when it comes to supposed 'non-essential' instrument costs. You'll be happier with your bass, you'll progress quicker as a player, and you'll always know your sound is coming from you and not being hindered by your gear. Good luck!

  13. Not only is he the CEO but is also the owner. :D

    Actually you can talk to John daily at Rickenbackers official site at www.Rickenbacker.com. With all the dang posting he does there, i wonder if any work is actually getting done. ;)

    I Just want to touch on the post about the quality. Ric's quality control and consistancy is some of the best out there. If you talk to just about anyone off the two Ric forums who has ordered a new Ric, Alot of them say its playble right out of the box.

    Read the warrenty VERY carefully on your Ric when you get it. And in the case of something possibly going wrong you will now what your options are. Just a heads up...cause the warranty problems is where alot of Ric's somewhat discouraging customer service problems arise.

    By the way...i hope you found a Ric in your city. Cause if you order one it could take between 9 to 12 months of waiting time. There is a long waiting list for Rics.

    Good luck...hope to see you in the Ric club soon. :cool:

    P.S. A little drooling material for you. ;)