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Chinese Rickenfaker

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nunovsky, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    Hi! Eversince I started to play bass that I always dreamed of having a Rickenbaker. Thing is that I don't have 2000€ to spend on a new one and the the ones sold in the second hand market are also over my current budget.
    I've looking at some chinese copies at aliexpress.com that look really nice and that come with mahogany or ash bodies and have the option of rosewood or maple scale.
    I know that these basses are not the real deal, but I have two questions about them to help me clear things up in my mind.
    Are they playable? Do they sound any good?
    What type of upgrades and mods are suitable to make them better?
    PortlandBass77 likes this.
  2. angst178


    Oct 22, 2009
    Those basses need a lot of work to be playable.

    The question is wetter you like the look of a Ric, or if you like a Ric.

    If you like the look but not the tone or feel, then a faker might be what you want. It will need work though. And a new bridge pickup as those are just terrible. I used an SX Jazz in mine. But unless you can do your own work on it, it just isn't worth it.

    An alternative to that, if looks is what you want, are Retrovibe basses. They have the style of a Rich without being a forgery. From what I hear, they are well made and sound great.

    But if you want a real Ric, save your money for one. There are no other basses out there like them.

    The work I had to do to mine was actually a lot for any bass. It needed nut work. I had to file down the string slots because the action was too high. I had to rewire the thing because even though all of it worked, it had issues. I wired mine using a Les Paul diagram. The neck pickup is an OK little humbucker, but that bridge pickup was terrible. Noisy and no low or high end. I just removed the entire assembly and only kept the chrome surround . The bridge needed shims on the A and D strings because the fretboard has a radius and the bridge doesn't. Then they only used 2 screws the secure the bridge instead of 4.

    The good news is that the finish was excellent. I went in looking for a project that looked like a Ric. I also have added a blank truss rod cover. I am trying to find someone to make me one that says "Rickenbastard made somewhere" instead of the Ric looking one that came with it.

    Aliexpress is a good site though. I have bought a lot of stuff there. Pedals (Joyo), picks, screws, a couple of bass bridges, and some other stuff. There are some good deals on there. It just takes a while for anything to arrive.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    Nunovsky and Sartori like this.
  3. nico485


    Sep 10, 2010
    Arkansas, USA
    If you're handy at diy stuff try

    Bass Guitar Kits | Pit Bull Guitars

    I have no experience with these but had looked at a kit since I am in the same boat as far as not being able to afford the real deal. As already mentioned, of course these won't sound like the real deal, but have the look down.
    godofthunder59 likes this.
  4. angst178


    Oct 22, 2009
    blindrabbit and nico485 like this.
  5. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Watch this video, draw your own conclusions. The whole legality/morality issue on counterfeits has been flogged to death elsewhere, its your nickel, and your conscience. Its not a Ric in sound or construction, it just looks like one. Aliexpress is the Wild West of guitar sellers, so watch your back. A lot of people get what they order, a lot get burned. Read some reviews on Aliexpress to understand the risks. Logical Guitars of Canada sells them without the fake TRC.
    RickyT, JamWithEggs, TJH3113 and 5 others like this.
  6. angst178


    Oct 22, 2009
    nerkoids, Pyrat, blindrabbit and 3 others like this.
  7. Korladis

    Korladis Banned SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    For me something about the positioning of the bridge pickup just seems totally off. The old Ibanezes and Grecos were much better copies.
  8. nico485


    Sep 10, 2010
    Arkansas, USA
    @angst178 that thing looks killer!

    My thoughts on the ethics: I'm not buying a copy or clone. It's the body style. Even thought it's trademarked by Ric (which makes it illegal here in the states) you are not getting a Ric. People buying knockoffs can't afford a real one anyways so Ric isn't loosing a sale there.

    Do you feel guilty buying Pbass copies?

    Just my .02
  9. angst178


    Oct 22, 2009
    My purchase wasn't about buying a real one. I can afford one, I just don't like them. They don't sound good to me and I don't like the 33.5 in scale. But they look great.
    jdb72 and nico485 like this.
  10. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The Retrovibes are cool, don't sound like a Ric, but a new interpretation on that iconic body style, and no copyright issues. They are hard to come by, unfortunately, as the builder makes them up in small lots, and import /export duties can make them expensive. They have no US distributor AFAIK. The Ibanez and Greco "lawsuit" era Ric copies are very good by most accounts, some identical in neck through construction, but you won't find them on Ebay, Ric has them pulled whenever they come up. They do occasionally come up on Craigslist, which Ric doesn't seem to mess with. Club Rickenfaker on TB has some good images and reviews of the Lawsuit clones. These days they aren't much cheaper than a used 4003.
    Club RickenFaker / FakenBacker - Show Your Fake Rics!
    NealBass, blindrabbit and Sartori like this.
  11. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I'd buy either one of these before any Rickenbacker copy.
    Both of them sound great, the Dean surprisingly so, and they have a Ric vibe (not a Ric tone!) without going to extremes.
    The Schecter is active and is becoming increasingly harder to find...I wonder why people aren't getting rid of these basses, and the Dean Motto is passive with very potent J-hot pickups.
    Spectrum and Sartori like this.
  12. This is the only thing I have seen from the Far East that vaguely makes any sense. It's neck through which seems rare, and a kit - but has no finish on it and does not include any routing, pickups or hardware. Most of the complaints I hear seem to be about hardware and electronics so there you go.

    Screen shot 2016-02-13 at 11.32.10 AM. Screen shot 2016-02-13 at 11.32.06 AM.
  13. I've been lucky enough to own 4 Retrovibes though not a Vantage model and they're great basses,very light in weight too.

    As the OP is in Portugal the shipping and taxes are minimal so getting one shouldn't be a problem.
    Nunovsky and blindrabbit like this.
  14. Everyone here has covered all the things I would have said or linked to, so I'll just add that the unfortunate thing is that there isn't a lot of information about these out there due to the Rickenwaffen typically swooping in and shutting down discussion of these instruments. General consensus is though that with respect to the "new" ones, some are decent, others are not, and many are saveable with a bit of work; the lawsuit models are for the most part held in high regard, and prices can be almost as high as "real" Rics, but again some suck terribly; and "inspired" instruments like the Retrovibes are really fantastic but they don't nail the tone or the look.

    Personally, I'd grab either a Retrovibe and/or a lawsuit bass, and with some luck one day I'll actually have both. :)
  15. The reason they look nice is that they use photos of actual Rics. What you get will most likely be something else entirely.
    catcauphonic likes this.
  16. NealBass

    NealBass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2014
    I have a Logical (Chinabacker) fake Ric, It doesn't sound like a Ric, feel or play like a Ric. I may change out the pickups and pots, but it'll never be close to the real thing (I have a 4001 Chris Squire signature Rickenbacker to compare to). I needed a double neck for a Prog project, and I went cheap. On the other hand, I have minimal complaints about the construction. It's very well put together, better wiring and finish than the real thing. The binding, pickguard and hardware are good. For the $$$ it's not bad, but it's NOT a Ric. If I didn't need a doubleneck every once in a while, I'd ship its fat a$$ back to China. :D

    All IMHO, YMMV, etc.

    [EDIT] - to add fat pics.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  17. I bought a double neck bass from the site DHGate.com, it plays extremely well, but the pickups are really cheap, and it was not anywhere near setup out of the box. Only buy if you know how to set up instruments or are willing to pay a luthier/tech to do it. Make sure to read the reviews and ratings of the seller and be very detailed in what you want for the custom options.
    NealBass and blindrabbit like this.
  18. me likes :thumbsup:
    blindrabbit and NealBass like this.
  19. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    That neck through blank would be a fun project bass, all the most difficult woodwork is done, and the rest is a blank slate as far as electronics and hardware. You could introduce enough variation to make It clearly not a genuine Ric. All the finished ones I've seen on Aliexpress and Logical look identical in construction and hardware to the red one posted by Angst178. Most have glued in set necks, but you can find finished neck through too. Most of the chinese basses are basswood bodies, so the finish is a little fragile. They do occasionally use genuine Rick photos to try to scam you, what you'll get is one just like Angst's bass. I've only ordered one item from Aliexpress, and got burned on a $10 item. It was a guitar shielding kit that just never showed up, and the vendor evaporated. Aliexpress CS did NOTHING to help me out. No response to emails, phone # given obviously an unmonitored answering machine somewhere in China. $10 lesson learned, no biggie. Care to risk $300? They make a lot of noise about buyer protection, escrow, etc, but if a deal goes south your chances of a full refund are slim and none. The most common scam is that you ask for "A", and they send you "B" because that's what they have in stock. If you want to return the bass, shipping is on you, usually exceeds the value of the bass. If it all goes right, you get at least a playable instrument that needs some work. There's a YouTube series by Chinaguitarsceptic that goes through all the potential pitfalls of Chinese basses.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    BassHappy likes this.
  20. you may check
    They sell a model BRBB which has the look of a Ricky. It seems that they are made in Korea. They presently only have a 5 strings model in store but you can contact them to know when they will receive a batch of 4 stringers. I have no idea of the quality or of the sound.
    /\/\3phist0 and Qlanq like this.

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