Can you tell the difference between a Rickenbacker and a Precision?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sloppy_phil, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. Darkness = Precision, Robin Hood = Rickenbacker

    80 vote(s)
  2. Darkness = Rickenbacker, Robin Hood = Precision

    102 vote(s)
  3. I honestly cannot tell the difference

    19 vote(s)
  4. This sloppy_phil guy is a complete moron; it's obvious they were both recorded with CARROTS!!!

    48 vote(s)
  1. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    Thanks, brother; I'm also getting much enjoyment from the sound these days. And let's just say we named the tunes to throw you guys off! ;)

    The Ric was indeed just the neck p'up soloed. Plus I had the tone control rolled all the way off to make it more appropriately 'reggae'.

    The truth is that since I got the Ric, I've found it a little tougher to pick up the P. The neck profile on the Ric fits my hand perfectly, and I guess I tend to go for what feels best most often. But I've been looking at the P with some longing eyes the last little bit... I suspect it'll come back into rotation soon enough!
  2. cassius987

    cassius987 Inactive

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    What kind of a Ric is it (4001, 4003; year)? It really did sound nice in that reggae vibe.

    I bet a 4004 would sit somewhere in between a 4001/4003 and a P Bass due to its humbucking pickups, so it would be cool to compare that as well. It's cool that, in the right hands, just about any bass is capable of just about any sound.
  3. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    it's an '84 4003, but an original run bass, 'cause it's basically a 4001 with dual truss rods. Has the tone cap in place (i took it out, but actually put it back in after playing around; to me the Ric magic is with the cap in line. On a side note, i'll wire it push/pull for modern/vintage when it needs a setup!), the bridge p'up mounting unit is the straight across style as opposed to the dip-down on most 4003s, and the tuners are still the wavy grovers, but it's got the p'up placement/spacing and pickguard of a 4003.

    I didn't think initially it would suit for reggae, but I gotta admit, running it into a flip-top Ampeg also makes a difference; it doesn't sound quite that fat/deep in any other amp i've tried it in.:D
  4. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    My guess is that your (the OP's) sound ideal that you have in your mind, is projecting into your technique and overall choices, and lead you to a somewhat similar tone whichever bass of those two you play. This is why a test like this is pointless.

    Another Ric player with "attitude" may make it instantly obvious that it's a ric, while your recordings here hide the insides of the beast, so to speak.
    Or, I could be wrong :)
  5. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I guessed correctly, but it was the flatwound sound in darkness that led me to be right. Without your clues I would be lost.
  6. Nope. Can't tell the diff.

    I've thought this before going through You Am I's back catalogue. The bassist uses a P and a Ric and I'd challenge anyone to consistently pick which is which.
  7. cassius987

    cassius987 Inactive

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Uh, wait a sec, if he's playing a Ric and making it sound how he wants it to isn't that also how a Ric sounds? He's not "hiding" anything!

    If a Ric player with "attitude" makes it obvious it's a Ric but this guy playing a reggae groove doesn't, the fault is with your ears (or mind) for not hearing that a Ric can do both.
  8. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I got it right. For me, it was the growl or raspiness in the Ric sound that I was pretty confident was not coming from a P bass.

    The thing that surprised me was that such different strings could sound so similar. I thought the choice was going to be a gimme when I read that the P had flats and the Ric stainless. I thought the flatwound sound would give it away all by itself - but it did not for me, anyway. After I read where the OP said he had the tone rolled all the way off on both, that part made more sense.
  9. TwinBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    Spokane, WA
    I'm not terribly familiar with the Ric tone, but Darkness sounds very much "P" to me.
  10. jabsys


    Mar 30, 2011
    I guessed right, I thought the stainless strings on the ric would have been brighter and easier to spot, to me the flats on the P didn't sound much different to nickel rounds with the tone down but definitely still had the typical P sound.
  11. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    You don't get it. The OP could have made the poll easy and played the more classic or characteristic sounds of each bass, but he chose to make them similar and then let us guess on that, for a little more challenging poll. That's where the Ackbar joke comes in. Everyone knows that basses can make more than one type of sound with the amount of variables that exist. ;)
  12. Well the Ric is often described as a 'one trick pony'. So this poll puts the lie to that.
  13. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    That myth will never die, for many ignorance is indeed bliss.
    Lemmy doesn't sound like Paul McCartney, but whatever, we'll all play what we like no matter what we see or hear, and that's fine.
  14. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    The 4000 series all have two truss rods.
    The early 4003 had new style rods which are adjusted at the body end of the neck (the reason for the two-piece 'guard) and the two extra screws in the end of the tailpiece (no lift there!).
    Purists didn't like the aesthetics of the added screws, so they were eliminated, and the rods became adjustable from the headstock again after a couple of years.

    The 4003 has essentially been the same since then until the last few years when some more 'vintage' features were reintroduced:
    full width inlays, walnut headstock wings, thinner neck, slimmer body contour, longer headstock, and the return of the cap, though now it's switchable.
    The newer adjustable pole pickups are the best thing they've done for the functionality of the bass in a long time.
  15. GregC

    GregC Questlove, Black Thought, Hamilton Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Cool clips, nice playing! Thanks for posting these.

    My guess is that the tone controls being rolled off all the way masked some of the differences between the two, but maybe I just think that because I typically run tone knobs wide open.:)
  16. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    Indeed, shows that you can get a lot of sounds even with a bass usually described as a one-trick pony.

    A Ric 4001 or 4003 has two pickups and separate tone and volume controls for each. If someone can't get more than one sound out of it, the problem isn't with the bass.

    Any bass with a volume control and a tone control is capable of multiple sounds. Even one wired straight to the jack you can get different sounds from just by altering your technique or throwing a different set of strings on (flats vs. rounds). I mean, the P-bass has got only one pickup and people get all kinds of different tones on P-basses. Versatility is up to the player more than the bass in most cases.
  17. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil

    All this is more or less why I started this thread. It was a fun experiment; I knew the differences between the basses were pretty drastic, but it's neat how you can get them to sound similar depending on a few factors!

    To that end, I've got another (the final) mix of Robin Hood here for you guys to listen to; the bass/kick has been boosted a bit because everyone agreed the song needed a fatter bottom end, but we also adjusted the amp/DI blend on the bass signal to favour the amp over DI. As a result, there's a lot of more the Ampeg's natural high-end roll off in effect. I think the difference b/w this and Darkness should be even less now, and that's a result of trying to capture the more natural/genuine tone, coming from the amp itself.

    Robin Hood (final mix):
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  18. Charley Umbria

    Charley Umbria I'm Really a Drummer Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Rock City, TN
    The Trees? Nicely done. I would not have thought to try and get the 1978 Geddy tone from my P. You may have also convinced me to keep my phaser... :D
  19. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    haha... i thought i recognized that riff from somewhere!

    nothing wrong with using a P for some Rush.... I mean, Geddy used a P for their first album, didn't he? :meh:
  20. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    hmmmm.... so it's been several days, and over 200 votes cast. As it stands, only a touch over 30% of TB has been able to identify the correct basses. :eyebrow: I figured that it would be roughly 50-50, but this makes the whole point of my thread even more poignant; not even 50% can truthfully identify the basses, and a bunch of people who did, only said they were able to do so because the P had flats, and the Ric had stainless steel rounds.

    Is there someone/where this could be sent to so that people stop believing that a Ric isn't capable of anything besides bright, prog-fueled, insanity? :D
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    Primary TB Assistant

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