Has Rickenbacker ever done a cheaper line of basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by William Sargent, Apr 20, 2021.

  1. William Sargent

    William Sargent

    Apr 20, 2021
    A Rickenbacker 4003 is the only bass I've ever really wanted, and I was wondering if Rickenbacker had a cheaper sub-brand, like Epiphone or Squeir.

  2. These were made sometime during the mid 70's i believe and don't know much about them or how much cheaper they were. They are some people here who know them and have owned them though. Rickenbacker 3001 and 3000.

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  3. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    If you mean outsourced one of their models, I don't think so.
  4. I believe the 4000 was "cheaper", one pickup and a glued-in neck.

    There has never been a Ric sub-brand and I suspect as long as John Hall is alive there never will be.
  5. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    No. All the Ricks ever made have come from the same place in California. And those 3000 series basses might have been a little cheaper once, but they ain’t no mo...
  6. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    John Hall has been retired for a couple of years now . There’s no need to continue bashing him .
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  7. Harper


    Nov 10, 2001
    It's weird to me when people (not specifically looking at you, OP) knock Rickenbacker for not doing a sub-brand or licensing their name. Is it not their business to run how they see fit? I think it's great that a Rick is a Rick is a Rick.
    Vinny_G, DTRN, Rip Van Dan and 10 others like this.
  8. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Not only have they never made junior basses like Fender/Squier, MusicMan/Sterling, Gibson/Epiphone, but they have gone after all the unethical companies daring to use the iconic Ric shape to produce cheap copies that might look like Rics, but in no way sound like Rics.
    Know in your heart that your hard-earned money is well-spent when you buy a Rickenbacker, even if you have to sell two or three of your current basses to buy one.
    DTRN, Jeff Scott, MCF and 5 others like this.
  9. smtp4me


    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    I believe it has been in the past couple of years that Ric finally offered a different bridge and pickups, and a 5 string bass (with the new bridge and pickups being piloted on the 5 string). Hmm... coincidence?

    I don't know Mr. Hall personally, and his business model obviously worked because the company has no trouble selling instruments. I also believe they missed out on a lot of potential business and company growth by refusing to at least offer the options that customers complained were missing for years. Most of the big manufacturers and even smaller/boutique builders offer several options on their basses - Rickenbacker, not so much. Just my worthless $0.02 cents.
  10. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

    I did not know this - saw him @ NAMM a couple years ago. Who’s running the show now?
  11. sonic 7

    sonic 7 Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2011
    Queens, N.Y.C.
    Rickenbacker is a relatively small , unique company. Every instrument that they make is pretty much sold before it’s even manufactured. They don’t even really maintain a website or even advertise. I for one like that there’s nothing confusing about buying a Ric, every single one is made by the same people in the same factory. Yeah of course I’d like to see them kind of “evolve “ a little quicker, it took them 50 years to redesign that crappy bridge/tailpiece and it still isn’t perfect. And while I’m at it what’s with the string spacing on the new 5 strings, I mean they designed them from scratch, and couldn’t make it just a little wider ? Lol but I bought one anyway and I do love it. I just have to play it a little differently.
    Iristone likes this.
  12. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Commercial User

    Jan 27, 2012
    Rickenbacker has offered several lower-priced bass models over the decades, and a couple higher-priced models, too. None have ever sold in the numbers that approach that of the classic twin-pickup 4001/4003. The 3000/3001 were followed by the 2030/2050, which morphed into the 2020/2060. On the higher end were the 4005, 4002, and 4004 models. Much more in the book.
  13. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    I believe Ben Hall is running the day to day operations .
  14. OptimalOptimus


    Jan 4, 2019
    Making less expensive instruments put the instrument in more hands but it dilutes the appeals of the top of the line.
    Jeff Scott, JoshS, bobyoung53 and 3 others like this.
  15. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    I’ve worked for two Rick dealers and while the company can be EXTREMELY stubborn about some things, they do what they do, you get what you get, and they’ve never been in the slightest danger of going out of business. Rarely one stupid move. They are literally the last 100% American guitar company left, no BS budget import line...and you gotta respect that.
    Harper, metron, Vinny_G and 19 others like this.
  16. What was the deal with Elecro / Ricky guitars? When I first started in about 1972 as a kid another kid had an Electro guitar like this:

    Sorry I haven't had my usual vast quantities of strong coffee yet but there's this:

    PulseBeat Guitars - 1966 Electro Rickenbacker
    The Electro brand was Rickenbacker's equivalent to Fender's Squier of the 1950's, 60's and 70's. This 1966 Electro ES-16 model was marketed primarily for kids. But there's nothing kid-like about the tone of this guitar! This lovely pint-size 3/4 scale Electro model was sold exclusively to small mom & pop shops that couldn't afford to bring-in a full line of Rickenbacker guitars.

    The only difference from this Electro branded Rickenbacker (beside the name) was a thinner finish. This ES-16 model essentially has the same features as the Electro ES-17, Rickenbacker's 425, 950 and 1000 models except... for the ES-16's short-scale size. The actual scale length of this Electro "Extreme Cutaway" model is 21 1/8 inches.

    The body, neck and electronics were identical to Rickenbacker's more expensive counterparts. Everything on this Electro ES-16, from the original Kluson deluxe tuners, aluminum bridge and its Fireglo finish, are "MINT". Making this ES-16 a real "closet classic" for anyone's vintage guitar collections.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  17. Iristone


    Jul 8, 2017
    Maybe 4003S?
    I don't tend to think of "not affordable" itself as a plus point.. Of course Rick is a small business and their basses are well worth their asking price. Maybe they just feel it's not really worth it to build a subsidiary overseas.
  18. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    My Ric 4003 is my main bass and it just feels and sounds like "home". Love scene over. There are some small issues with it and with alot of Rics, but I respect that they never went the overseas route. The next gen Halls are taking over, if they havent already, and seem to be a little more open (finally offered an updated bridge on the 4003!) but I doubt there will be a "cheap Ric" produced anytime soon. I will say this though, there is a lot of myth around Rics from what people have either read, or heard from famous recordings that havent been true with either of the two Rics ive owned. For example, "nothing sounds like a Ric"....not IMHO. My jazz basses have gotten pretty close without trying very hard. "Rics are all clang with no bottom"...again, nope. Is it the deepest bass you can get? No, but Ive had other bass players ask me how I get a good bottom end out of my Ric at gigs. I say "the secret is to plug it in" and I ask them if their Ric's are different and they say "oh no, ive never played a Ric or saw one in person". OP, if you are looking for a Ric that is cheap (i.e. under $1300-$1500) look for a copy from the 70s that were made in Japan. Those have really increased in price too though and are only slightly cheaper (from ones ive seen, $700 - $1000). If thats still out of your price, get a good growly jazz bass.
    Emrah Ozgoren and Buster Brown like this.
  19. dangevans


    Mar 26, 2014
    I personally love it that Ricks were never outsourced. They stayed in the USA, still make (in my opinion) a great product, and still have done very well.
  20. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Yup. People who couldn't run a kid's lemonade stand telling the guy running a successful multi-million dollar business what he's doing wrong. :rollno:
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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