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Fender MIA Jazz or Ric 4003?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by afroman, Nov 8, 2003.

  1. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I bought a Stingray 5 a couple of months ago, and I love it. But I think It's about time I get a quality 4-string bass. Even though I play 5's, my first bass is an Epi T-bird and I want to own a great 4-stringer to play live.
    I've played a friends' MIM Jazz, but they're not suppossed to be as good as the MIA Standard Jazz. No store around here (Puerto Rico) sell American Fenders only MIM jazzes. On the other hand, I've listened to Rics on live shows and on recordings and I love the sound. The problem is that no store here sell Rics. So I can't try the MIA Jazz nor the 4003 before buying.

    If you were offered these two basses for the same price, which would you pick. I want to know which bass (in your opinion) is better in terms of quality of construction, sound and versatility.
    I play all types of music, but mainly rock, punk and blues.

    I like a punchy growly sound with good amounts of bass (without getting boomy) and glassy highs that are not too "twangy".

    I know it's a hard question, but just for the fun of it, give me all the info.,advice and help you can. It'll be a couple of months until I get the $$ to purchase any of them, but I like to start my search early.
    Thanks in advance...
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think you'll hear from most people here to get the Rick.
  3. I would chose the MIA Jazz bass.

    I have owned many 4003 ricks and, I just can't get used to the thin sound of those pickups.

    My 4000 however is a different bass unto itself!

  4. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Ric all the way!!!

    Since when are 4003 pickups "thin"??
  5. I stated everyone I have owned has been sold because of the thin sounding pickups.

    I've been playing for 33 years and, I have plenty of experience in the studio and, live with these basses.

    The Fender Jazz is a better bass IMHO.

    What experience do you have that can shed some light on my experience?

  6. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Well my rick is punchy yet extremely thumpy and bassy, i wouldn't describe it as "thin" at all! I rumble stuff off the wall all the time! its a very "bassy" bass. But, as everyone will say "Play both, and see which one fits you best."
  7. Personally id go with the RIC mainly for its uniqueness, i love mine, and i know can get a pretty deep tone out of it when i crank the bass on my amp and on my distortion pedal.
    However i do believe Treena is correct...or at least my experience is slightly varied...i find my it seem to be quite heavy with the treble, which i dont mind...thats part of 'my sound' anyway.
    RIC's arent the fattest sounding bass (and i have played on alot of basses)...but you can always change that by adding a humbucker into the RIC :D
  8. Id like to make a correction, i just re-read what you listed as the sound you want. (punchy, growly)
    Then i would suggest the MIA Jazz, but mainely cause you said that is the sound you are looking for and it is done best with the Jazz IMO.

    Im still a RIC fan though, and RIC is still MY weapon of choice for what i do ;)
  9. This thread looks difficultly fun. I'll take MIA Jazz Bass for $1000 Alex.

    I've owned both and prefer the MIA jazz immensely, but that's just because it fits me tonally and physically. My fingers would bleed when I slapped on my Ric, from the neck pickup metal. I've heard some amazing sounds come out a Ric, but not from me!!

    The jazz is more versatile in my opinion. If I want a Geddy Lee throwback sort of tone, I just use the neck J pickup and dig in. Or put both pickups on and go into Marcus mode, it's a great bass to have. Plus I like the slimmer string spacing on the J neck. I've played a 70s Ric that sounded better than my 90s model, but I'm still going to say rock and funk out with the J.

  10. Joseph12


    Jul 5, 2002
    I've got both a MIA Jazz and a 4003, couldn't imagine being without a Rickenbacker. The Fender is lighter in weight, easier on the back, I like it too.

    For construction, fit and finish, I think the Rick is the deal I think it compares with more expensive basses.

    But the Jazz fits the moment often.
    If money is an issue (and when is it not) keep your eye open, deals can be found on Fenders.
    I got my Fender MIA Jazz because it was 'last year's color' for $600.

    My vote though is for a Rick.
  11. pmkelly

    pmkelly Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    It's no secret that I am a pretty big fan of J basses.... nor is it any secret that I think Rics sound a little to distinct, along the lines of a one-trick-pony. My j basses are all punchy... mine are all growly.... And I can get tons of sounds out of 'em... I would get the jazz now, and later on get the Ric!

    BTW, I think a j bass looks so much better than a Ric!

  12. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Jazz Bass :bassist:
  13. Armchair Thief

    Armchair Thief Guest

    Aug 18, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Old Rick 4001/4003 models have that thinner twangy sound, due to the way the pickups were wound and the inclusion of a capacitor in the bridge pickup wiring that attenuated bass frequencies. Newer Ricks (late '80s on) have a much bassier sound (hotter pickups, no bridge cap.)

    (I prefer the vintage twangy sound, though the newer sound ain't so bad. :D)
  14. I remember reading a recent interview with Lemmy saying almost the identical thing. He touched on the fact that all his old RIC's had crap for PU's so he would always change them with EB-O or Thunderbird humbuckers. He also commented on how much better RIC's PU's have gotten in the past several years.

    It was an interesting read actually...he talked alot about his RIC's.
  15. DannyG


    Feb 23, 2002
    I own a Rick 4003 and a 62 RI Jazz. For what I do (mostly rock) the Rick works out a lot better, especially live. It has a much thicker sound to my ears (and to my band too) and nice full sounding highs without being too harsh or shrill. However, (IMO) a Jazz bass just kills a Rick in the studio. That is where a Jazz bass really shines.
  16. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm gonna go to Ft. Lauderdale,Florida in two weeks, so I think I can find a store to try the MIA JAzz and the RIC for myself.

    But, just to get more of your opinions,
    Is the Geddy Lee jazz bass in the same "league" as the MIA Jazz in terms of construction and sound???
    Is the MIA worth the $300+ ??

    Just like to know how the Geeddy bass compares.

    Any help and info. is welcome.
  17. Rock&Roll


    Jul 21, 2002
    I believe the Geddy Lee Jazz sig bass is different from normal J's in Pickups and the bridge. The bridge is a BadassII, and I do think I've read that the pickups are the 1962 custom shop jazz bass set.

    I bought an 2001 MIA Jazz, and later added those same custom shop pickups (about $120). I can tell you that this is a freaking versatile bass now.

    Adjustable tone varities with the new pickups include:
    -Earth shaking (not really that useful)
    -Smooth low and sexy like real thick chocolate milk
    -John Paul jones tones (like ZepII, or even live concert sounds)
    -rolls Great on blues
    -Runs great on Rock&Roll
    -Even jazz groves is refreshing on this bass.

    I don't slap so I can't help you there. I know I prefer the thiner neck, compared to the P-bass. I have so much fun playing my Jazz.

    I will note--I think the Geddy bass has a maple fretboard, whereas my Jazz has rosewood. From what I've seen, maple necks will give you more twang. Which might be what you're looking for.

    I wish I could give input on the Ric. I am currently doing my best to track one down and test drive it. Being that I am mostly into straight up Rock&Roll, I'm really interested in a Ric. But, from what I've read everywhere, I better play one before I buy. That is, a Ric's uniqueness might be a little to much for my taste, I don't know.

    Really, I think you'd have a hard time being disappointed with the properly tuned MIA Jazz bass.
  18. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    When some a$$h0le(s) stole both my MIA Fender and my Ric, I got another Fender.
  19. I'd say the Jazz can reach a wider variety of tones. You can't go wrong. I'm still craving a Rick though! Get both! :D
  20. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Both great basses with firmly established reputations. Given your playing/music preferences, either would do the job nicely. It's hard to imagine you being disappointed with either unless you happen to get a lemon. I recommend you order the one whose looks you prefer! :D
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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