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I'm beginning to wonder about Rickenbacker.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Navybass, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. Not to put more fuel on the fire, and this is just my opinion/s but, I think Rickenbacker is more the mystique then anything else for some. Owning one is like owning the Holy Grail or Excalibur. I've had conversation over the years with many who have drooled and gassed over these, yet have never held one in their hands; something that has alway raised an eyebrow.

    A year or so ago, the music store I frequent had a black and white 4003 come in. I was told that it had been ordered almost two years ago and just received. The sales rep said this was normal for Rik, and the reason that they keep only one if that in stock. He also mentioned that if you order a semi custom piece, you're looking at 3 1/2 years minimum to receive the product. The rep stated Rik is one of the worst companies to deal with when attempting to get delivery dates, or estimated time of arrivals. The staff at Rik can be quite a pain in the glutes.

    I'm North American service manager for a company who manufactures medical equipment for a specialized field. We are the leader in a field that has very few companies to compete with. If you order a system from us, it is not built and delivered at the end of the week. Depending on location, facility, and the doctors needs; the process can take up to 2 years. Calls to our service center are placed by doctors (who when in a specialized field, think their above the rest), or managment coordinators for a major research facility (imagine all the big name hospitals and universities you've heard on tv and the movies); these people are "snotty" with us. None of my team would ever reply to a client with the same attituded. I agree with some of the earlier posts, what is said to you on the phone will opinionate most about the companies attitude and how they do business with clients. Word of mouth is a very powerful sword.

    Lastly. I played the 4003 for a solid hour and a half through as many amps and settings I could. The feel and tone for me was not my thing. I'm still one of these fools that will purchase an insturment because it feels and sounds good in my hands, not because the masses tell me it's the best. It's always amazed me when I hear someone is gassing over a signature or specialty bass, and then when they have it, their dissapointed because it doesn't sound the way they though it would.
  2. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
    They're hand sanded and hand assembled, not 100% hand made. They do use CNC machines to cut out the bodies, necks, and cavities. They even show this on their web site. That's NOT hand made. Many companies do this, so where's the difference?
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    They used to be completely hand made but these days a cnc machine cuts and mills all the wood ... the frets are put in by hand and a few other operations that machines don't do.

    I haven't personally had a bad problem with Ric customer service because I never bought a new Ric. Actually one of the Ric employees was quite friendly to me when I was ordering parts and he found out I lived on Horseshoe Circle. But a friend of mine bought a 4004cii5 and it had the infamous pickup problem where the pickups were 2 1/4" and the strings were 2 3/4". Ric claimed the problem was a phasing problem. The owner finally had to replace the pickups. Rickenbacker considered the problem his and not theirs.
  4. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    Post CBS-Fender is putting out better basses now than ever before primarily because it has not protected its brand image in the way that Ric has. By allowing anyone in the world to make Fender-like products, Fender has effectively expanded its "R & D department" nearly world wide for free.
    Ric is clearly at the opposite end of the spectrum from Fender here.
    As far as customer service, I've dealt with them in-person a few times now and they have always been very nice, and very helpful, but you do get a sense that they are extremely protective and somewhat secretive about their production facility. They seem to go to great lengths to keep their cards tight against their chest and they don't give virtually any 'tells'.
  5. Rickengeezer


    Feb 25, 2005
    Central Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Steve Clayton Accessories
    I can understand that Rics don't appeal to everyone, and I've had some uneven service from them--some quite good, some indifferent, never really rude--but I don't really see them as "overpriced" relative to boutique basses that cost twice as much that are basically Fenders with better quality control. The price scale on instruments isn't exactly rational, as I've got a $120 SX J-bass that sounds and plays better than a 1982 USA Fender Jazz that I have. I also have a 2000 USA Fender Jazz that's a great instrument, way better than either. On the other hand, I have multiple Ric's that span 30 years, and every one of them is a great instrument. I don't think USA Fender or Gibson have been putting out anywhere near the consistent quality that you'll find from Rickenbacker over the years.

    Rics have a distinctive look, a distinctive sound, and a distinctive feel in your hands, and if that's what you want, there is no substitute. One analogy might be a Corvette--another icon with a rabid following. Certainly a Ford Mustang is cheaper, but they're a dime a dozen. Corvette enthusiasts would be offended by the comparison and point out that a Corvette is less expensive than a Ferrari.
  6. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Rickebacker are like a bass coelacanth. Unique, unevolved, rare and mystical, but hardly top of the food chain type stuff.
  7. :smug:

  8. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    it kinda puzzles me, though, that nobody's tried emulating, so to speak, the other aspects of the bass besides the body shape, such as the electronics and construction.
  9. Jjango


    Nov 16, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Oh joy, it's the weekly Rickenbacker-trashing thread!

    Can the "Sadowsky/too expensive/parts–bass" thread be far behind?

  10. At its heart, it's really a customer service thread with people relaying different experiences, some good, some not. That shouldn't upset anyone, should it?

  11. Jjango


    Nov 16, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah, I know... but, still! :help:
  12. funkifiedsoul

    funkifiedsoul Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2007
  13. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Employee
    Nope, better basses period. Better finish, better hardware, better, more logical (AKA useful) bridge, less noisy, easier to work on, more available colors, et-cetera.

    The only reason my statement would sound subjective is if you are unable to look at a Ricenbacker objectively; which for some reason seems to be a side effect of owning one for a lot of people:D

    I'm not trying to say they aren't great basses, they are. They have some improvements to do before they nudge out the competition in the 2K range.

  14. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Employee
    +1, How does a bass fall apart:confused:
  15. I for one had Ric gas for a long time, but I find that threads like this, plus their recentish price jump have given them a kind of midlly insulting flavour for me, and the gas has moved on to companies like Lakland, where the customer service is actually pretty good. A Skyline's not made in the USA, that's true, but they break down to the same ratio of CNC/hand-tooling as the Rics do, and honestly, the 'Made in the USA' thing hasn't really meant anything, quality-wise in years. There are real craftspeople working overseas these days, so that part of the Ric mystique means nothing to me.
  16. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Though I like Ricks (and own one), I don't think they're in the league of $2000+ instruments. I've always lumped them in with MIA Fenders and Music Man basses: that range. I paid $800 for mine back in '92... I never realized it would turn into an investment piece! Maybe when the factory catches up, they'll drop that artificially high price tag. Or - god forbid - expand the factory? (Or open another supplemental factory if the current one is "maxed out" on its plot of real estate?)

    Oh well, what do I know... John Hall seems like a very shrewd businessman and I'm sure he's considered all the options.
  17. Five Ricks in six years! How did you get through the waiting period for them? Seriously, though, what did they do when you brought up the quality problems? I assume they were under warranty.
  18. Surely you speak of a different Gibson?
  19. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Demand has far surpassed their ability to produce. Most companies would look into expanding staff and facilities because more money could be made. But I guess Rickenbacker values its status and perception over making and selling basses.

    I would love to own a rickenbacker. I just can't for the life of me find one in stock anywhere around me. I won't buy one before playing it... so that's one less buyer for them.
  20. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    If I was serious about wanting a Ric I'd buy one used from one of the many people who wait forever to get one and realize quickly that they don't like it.

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