are rickenbacker basses more popular than their guitars?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bon viesta, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    i seem to feel like rickenbackers biggest products are their basses rather than their guitars, but maybe it’s just because i’ve found myself in a bit of an echo chamber. when have you ever seen people salivating over a rickenbacker 6 or 12 string guitar? well i’m sure plenty of times, so many times, but i feel like every bassist in the world who hasn’t already tried a rick and said “nah, not for me” finds rickenbackers as the holy bass or something. or at least an interesting bass and a good one at that. or maybe i’m projecting a large amount here ;). but for reference the rickenbacker bass hashtag on instagram has 30k posts under it, while rickenbacker guitar has 4.1k posts.
  2. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88 Commercial User

    Sep 16, 2013
    Ontario Canada
    Retail store manager
    They sell around 10k instruments a year and it’s close to a 50/50 split with basses a bit ahead.
    AFAIK ......
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  3. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    I have no idea. However, I do seem to remember some sort of an interview with John Hall where he mentioned that the Jetglo 4003 was their best seller. Maybe someone else remembers that interview and can clarify?
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  4. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    One thing about Rickenbacker basses...a recent survey found that 1 in 4 Ric basses buy them for their looks instead of their tone/playability and sell them within 3 months.
    (Let’s not even talk about the bassists who buy Ric copies...yes, because they like the way they look.)
    I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
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  5. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    oh the dreaded chickenbackers. probably a byproduct of strict copyright enforcement leaving only the worst basses still around, because any decent rick copy would have been sued. oh man imagine a world where warmoth could license and sell rick bodies and necks... oh i’m drooling already.
  6. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    though with thru construction i don’t think it would be possible. unless if instead of rick bodies they sold these funny little wings that you had manually glue onto a neck with industrial strength so you don’t have your bass falling apart onstage. man has anyone ever thought about how weird rickenbackers are? who would come up with neck through construction in like the 50s??? only a madman, that’s who.
  7. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    It's a little of both. I love the way the 4003 looks, but I don't think I'd ever gig with one again. I gigged with Ricks more than any other bass in my pitiful gigging career, and there are definitely drawbacks both ergo-wise and tone-wise to a 4003 as your main gigging bass. I won't go into all that here, except to say a lot of folks get starry-eyed about the 4001/3 but then get a bit of a rude shock when they finally get one and drag it to its first gig.

    That said, I'm still a 4003 lover and eventually plan to get another one day. And since I've gigged with them before, I'd know what to do if I ever used it as a main player (good amp, good compressor to start with).

    It's a 60+ year old design, I think even older than the Fender P, IIRC. So it can be quite a shock for a player who thinks it's going to be like playing an Alembic or a Fedora in a live or recording situation. It just won't be like that...

    But yes I think Rickenbacker still can't make them fast enough. They are beginning to stay in stock in places nowadays, though, so the market may be changing, or Rick is making them faster or both. Who knows....

  8. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Commercial User

    Jan 27, 2012
    I remember a conversation with John Hall who (IIRC) said the top seller was the 330 guitar, but that may be because it is the descendant of the Capri guitar from the '50s and kind of an evergreen product. It might even be difficult for someone in the company to determine the actual numbers. But I think the 4001/4003 bass (practically the same instrument) could be the champ.
  9. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I actually played a Chickenbacker a couple years ago, they wanted $400 for it at a pawn shop, complete with fake Ric TRC. When I pointed out it's clear fakery to the counter-flunky, I got the "I dont give an Eff" shrug. Buyer Beware Indeed. It was indeed, a piece of junk. Tarnished frets made of some kind of wonder-metal that had not been crowned or leveled in any way whatsoever, crappy bargain-basement electronics, sloppily cut triangle inlays embedded in black epoxy, dry, crusty looking "rosewood" fingerboard, etc. It looked like lots of cheap Indonesian basses up to about 2 feet distance, then you start seeing the finish flaws, but that's not uncommon on budget basses. The Chinese know how to paint, apparently. Since "praising counterfeits" is not allowed on TB (which seems to apply only to Ric copies), I'll say the Ibanez "Lawsuit" basses were "some undetermined degree of terrible less than Chickenbackers". I don't know where the "1 in 4 Rics are returned or sold within 3 Months" idea comes from, if that's remotely legit, please post sources or links, otherwise I call BS. Rics have plenty of QC issues, and were indeed designed to look cool, with ergonomics a distant consideration, but if you like that Squire/Geddy/Macca/Glover tone, there simply is no substitute.
  10. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    I remember an interview with J Hall saying the 330 was their top selling instrument , with their basses coming in closely behind .
    Ric basses are unique instruments and I love that they sound , feel , and look different than Fender instruments .
  11. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    rickenbacker instruments are distinctly eccentric, in the best possible way.
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  12. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    I love a nice Ric .
  13. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Guitarists practice more, Exhibit A.
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  14. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    I certainly see more Rick basses in the wild than I do Rick guitars. I have no idea what the sales would show.

    But with that said, my own initial interest in Rickenbacker products came from seeing guitars, not basses. And I'd still buy one in a heartbeat. My 4001, which I absolutely love, was a trade I just lucked into. I wasn't actively searching.
  15. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I think if you ask TB if Fender P basses are more popular than Strats you'd at least split the vote.
    But from what I learned when I worked in the market is Ric sells a much higher percentage of basses than many popular brands. But they still sell more guitars if only slightly.
  16. Pops OB

    Pops OB

    Nov 4, 2016
    What’s a Rickenbacker?!
  17. ElectricBass72


    Aug 6, 2019
    I'd love to have one of the Rick 12-string electric guitars.
  18. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The very specific tone of Ric guitars (and the high price) makes them niche market, if you really want that jangly Beatles or Byrds tone, that’s your guitar. The 12 string headstock layout alone is pure genius. I rarely see Ric basses for sale in any guitar store, and Ric guitars are practically nonexistent, at least in my area. I have literally never seen a Ric 12 string in person.
  19. ^^^THIS^^^

    The Rickenbacker guitars, especially the 12-string models, are iconic. And let's not forget one other example of high-visibility artists who made prominent use of the Rickenbacker guitars: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. The late Mr. Petty and lead guitarist Mike Campbell used them often in concert, as well as on recordings.
  20. JoshS


    Dec 30, 2018
    You can buy one here: 1993Plus | Customer Appreciation Instruments, Rickenbacker | Wildwood Guitars One in stock, as of 12/16.
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