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How do you tell if a Rickenbacker is Fake or Not??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by markjazzbassist, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. I'm interested in Ricks these days (vintage 4001 mostly), and have heard about these fake Rickenbackers. How can you tell if the bass is a real Ric or not?

    What things do I need to look for?
  2. no1likesme


    Dec 26, 2006
    Shepherd, MI
    it will have something other than rickenbaker on the headstock. All rick copys that I have seen are branded by the company that made them.
  3. You can tell if its fake because it will probably play pretty good.
    bolophonic likes this.
  4. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    i usually ask it to turn its head and cough.
  5. jakeox


    Feb 15, 2007
    The biggest giveaways:

    - Fretboards are too dark on most fakers
    - Skunk stripe is too wide on many fakers
    - the binding continues under the tailpiece on most fakers (on a real Ric the binding does not go all the way around the body)

    ... those are the big ones. Of course, a lot of fakers have bolt-on necks and a single truss rod, but that's easier to spot.
  6. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    :D :bag:
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    hallmarks of Ric fakers

    Bolt on necks
    Dark Fretboards
    Single trussrod

    There are quite a few subtle traits as well ... like the strap buttons, pickups, tailpiece, tuners, body shape, headstock shape ...

    Some of Ric owners can spot a faker almost immediately ...
  8. is there something with the Rick-O-Sound too?

    thanks for the help so far
  9. jakeox


    Feb 15, 2007
    Right, a lot of fakers will have dual jacks, but they'll be marked "Stereo" and "Standard" instead of Ric-o-Sound (for stereo).
  10. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    It says "SX" on the headstock.
  11. If I can afford it, it's probably a fake:eek:
  12. Oh thanks guys now i know how to build a harder-to-spot fake Rics ;):bag:
  13. grace & groove

    grace & groove

    Nov 30, 2005
    Self-Appointed Ambassador to the Dragonfly
    And you should try to take a picture and post it here before you buy it. Lots of Rick experts on here.
  14. hills1234


    May 6, 2007
    I went through this recently when looking at a second hand Rick 4001 ... turned out to be genuine, thankfully. But I sure wished I could have found all the spot-the-faker tips in one spot. You might like to do a search through the Forums at the Rickenbacker.com website, too. Some good advice here already, but another good tip is to look carefully at the string holes on the tailpiece/bridge: check whether they are round or oval. If round, most probably a fake.

    ... also for a vintage 4001 check the routing under the pickguard between the neck p/up and the control cavity. It should look like a series of small circular routs rather than a smooth, straight sided channel.

    (And remember that genuine truss rod covers and rick-o-sound jack plates can be transplanted on to a faker ... Or equally, they may be missing from a genuine Rick :confused: )

    Good luck.
  15. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    The word "Ric-o-Sound" stamped in the input jack plate. Most of the early fakes have "Stereo" stamped instead. Most early fakes did not have the double truss rod system. Early Rics have slot screws for pickguard and name plate.

  16. hills1234


    May 6, 2007
  17. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Banned

    Nov 23, 2015
    Are they easier or harder to recognise, 8 years later?
    Have Rick added anything that authenticates? Have the fakers got better?

    Asking for a friend, who isn't even thinking of buy one. Nope. No way.
  18. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The current crop of Chinese fakes are stupid easy to spot:
    Wrong bridge
    Dark fb with partial width inlays with sharp corners
    Set neck, heel not flush with back of body
    Beveling/elbow relief along the top horn
    Smaller headstock with greater string break angle
    Non standard colors
    Les Paul style wiring setup with cheap thin guage wire
    Usually mono only output
    Ox Boris likes this.
  19. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Spotting a Faker from "the real thing" is a lot easier these days than it was 20-30 years ago.

    Read Paul Boyer's book, gen up on what a genuine Ric should have/should look like. In other words, do you research. Most Fakers are reasonably easy to spot, however, if you haven't done your research, then buyer beware.

    I would also say that there will be fewer people about trying to pass off a Faker as the genuine article, as there is more information readily available out there on Rickenbacker's in general.
    Ox Boris and PaulBoyer like this.

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