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Kids and Rics [Rickenbacker 4001/4003]

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Stev187, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Stev187

    Stev187 Peavey MegaBass Club!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toledo, OH
    What is it with young kids and Rickenbacker basses?

    After putting the bass away for a couple of decades, two young kids inspired me to start playing again. One of them is my son. Both of these kids dream of playing a Rickenbacker 4001/4003. But when you're 11 and 14, how in the world is that gonna happen? I drove them to the nearest store that had an actual Ric (about an hour away) and they played it until we had to leave and could not stop talking about it.

    So I decided to repay these kids for inspiring me to play again by getting a Ric that I can "loan" them for long periods; I let them use it on shows and recordings; the one who isn't my son can check it out like a library book for several days at a time. With the help of two fantastic TB members (one helped me shop for the bass and the other sold it to me), I picked up a 2004 Jetglo 4003 without breaking the bank. Now three bass players share it the way some pilots share small aircraft.

    I used it on a gig last weekend, and while it's super cool, it's not really my thing. But the kids love it. I get to be a hero and expose them to a nice bass without spoiling anybody.



    If one of them falls in love with it, I may work out some scheme where they can buy it from me for what I paid over a long period of time.

    Just thought I'd share and start a conversation about the strong appeal that Rics have for kids. Is it the shape? The players they admire? I've talked to so many kids who want one even though they've never even seen one in person.

  2. pcon


    Nov 8, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    This is great. I first learned to play the bass on my buddy's uncle's 4001. I still want to get a Rickenbacker for nostalgia sakes.

    That being said, I have found the kids with a good music upbringing appreciate the classics. My son is a drummer, and although his drumset is modern, it looks vintage . He even set it up like John Bonham (his favorite drummer btw).
  3. Well, 14 is about the age I was when I started thinking about learning to play something, and Geddy Lee's Ric was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever seen or heard. Took me over 20 years before I finally got around to getting one.

    It's both classy and underground badass, it's both old school and high tech (in a 50s jet fighter kind of way). The headstock shape and that classic logo. And of course there is a mystique associated with it since it's not as widely available as Fenders or other popular brands. Nothing else I've played sounds like it. Lots of reasons to love them. Even if you grow to dislike the feel or the tone, you'll always remember how cool it looks.

    Cool photos, BTW. I bet they'll appreciate those later.
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    My Grandfather was a musician... he was given an early 70s 4001 to hold onto for safe keeping by the alcoholic son of my Grandmother's best friend. He was going through a divorce and coping with his addiction (he ended up sobering up and eventually got back into playing years later). Anyway, EVERY visit to my Grandparents house included many hours of making noises on it (or even just wearing it unplugged and dreaming of rocking out). I guess I was 10ish when it caught my attention first (circa 1978), I started actually learning to play a couple years later and by 1987 (age 19), I finally got my own... Mapleglo with black trim. It was stolen and never replaced, but I miss it more than any other bass I've let go.

    Oh and you rock! I hope the kids dig what's been done for them.
  5. Stev187

    Stev187 Peavey MegaBass Club!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toledo, OH
    The kids are awesome and super appreciative... and I seriously think I am getting more out of it than they are!


    P.S. I couldn't have done it without TB; thanks Lukas & Gerrard!
  6. Anaughtybear

    Anaughtybear Guest

    Apr 3, 2012
    Fargo, ND
    I wanted one for years, but I eventually found out they aren't for me. You never know what is right for you when you are young, whether it's women or instruments.

    I think they draw people because they have that mystique. They are beautiful, have a distinctive sound, and we probably all have a hero that used one at some point. However, they are uncomfortable and their quality/sound/playability varies a lot.
  7. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Wow, a super Dad.
    Man that's is cool.
    I got a RIC 4003 when I was 20. Chris Squire was the influence.
    Nowadays Geddy Lee is a huge influence.
    Well, when their playing the RIC you know where they are.
    Rock on Dad.
  8. spiritbass


    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    I haven't asked them exactly why, but my son and his slightly older cousin both think that my Mapleglo 4003 is the absolute coolest. My son only thought my Afterburner one was cool because it sort of resembled a Ric. I just have anecdotal reinforcing info, no explaination... :confused:
  9. Fuzzbassian


    Jan 12, 2012
    I was named after Lemmy
    'nough said?
  10. jazzmanb


    May 29, 2010
    i'm the opposite always had fenders,tried a 2nd hand rick in a shop with ancient strings through a cheap amp back in the 80s and it was awful...picked a 1980 4001 up off ebay in 2009 as a flight of fancy and i love it..its a bit slower to get round the fingerboard than my jazz's but otherwise great...also quite versatile sound wise in the right hands
  11. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    My son, who's now 4, with my 4001CS-LH.
  12. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Yep... I know the Ric had great appeal to me when I was a kid.
    Seeing Macca play his psychedelic painted one on "All You Need Is Love" and the "Hello,Goodbye" clip really got it rolling for me. Squire too in the early Yes years.
    After decades of dreaming, I was finally able to get one this June. It was a long time coming.
    Very cool of you to do this for them.
  13. Drop-D


    Mar 23, 2009
    Kansas City
    Keep telling yourself that!

    But, seriously what you did is amazing. The idea that you don't need any expensive gear to become a dedicated and talented musician is very true. However, I think having that kind of "good gear" is a powerful driving force behind a lot of players to stay on their game and improve themselves.

    It looks like you're given these guys a reason to keep playing and practicing, and in doing so you've done something priceless. You rock, man.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
  15. Wouldn't it be nice to have a thread with the word "Ric" in it without sweeping judgments about the supposed "flaws" of the brand? This thread wasn't about quality issues, let's not take it there yet again.
  16. Man, I wish I had a mentor like you when I was that age, definitely an experience they'll hold on to forever
  17. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Kewl. If the kids parents had introduced them to Moterhead, Yes, early Rush (when geddy played ricks), and so on, then a rick bass would be one theyd relate to for more stand out tone and playing for bass.
  18. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    Dude, are you seriously wondering how they can be so appreciative of a Ric?

    It's your son, you are his hero regardless of what you do or get him, I'm assuming somewhere along the lines they've learned from you that a Ric is a good bass and as most kids do they set their hopes and dreams off of the light of your burning torch.

    Getting that Ric definitely made you a hero to them, or as they would think THE FREAKIN MAN!!!! ""DUDE YOUR DAD IS AWESOME. YOUR SO LUCKY"".

    That's great what you are doing for them.
  19. A very creative answer on how to get the best use of a rather expensive bass.
    Obviously you love playing- but now 2 kids can learn to play and see if it's something they want to pursue - I like the idea of checking the bass out like a library book.
    theres a lesson in responsibility and a reward sytem built in. also, since three people are sharining it, they probably appreciate the time they spend with it more.
  20. Stev187

    Stev187 Peavey MegaBass Club!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toledo, OH
    You've all been so nice in your comments. Honestly, this has been a cool project that has made me happy. All it took was some planning. I decided to do this a few months ago. I asked some members of the TB community for help. Either one of these kids will buy the bass, or I will sell it and get my money back. I'm no hero here. But I did benefit from bass mentors when I started out, so I am glad to "pay it forward."

    Here are my thoughts on the question I asked.

    Previous posters nailed it: there is a "rare/obscure" factor that plays into this. Around here, you can't just stroll into Guitar Center and play a Ric. You don't see many guys playing them, especially if you're a kid. Heroes like Cliff Burton, Chris Squire, and Geddy Lee fan the flames. I don't care how well off you are, $2,000 is too much to spend on a bass for a kid. Period.

    Before I became a Fender Jazz Bass guy, I wanted a Ric so badly. The first bass I ever saw was a Ric that was owned by a camp counselor I knew when I was 15 or so. I didn't start playing bass until age 18. I went off to college and borrowed a Ric from a guy down the hall in my dorm. It was really messed up: someone had ripped the frets to make it fretless and it was in bad shape.


    By then (circa 1986) I was into all these post-punk bands that "seemed" to play a Ric. Killing Joke, Joy Division, The Jam, etc. Turns out Peter Hook--the awesome bass player for Joy Division/New Order--never used a Ric at all, but a Hondo copy.

    Toward the end of college, I worked in a music store where we saw vintage Rics come through all the time. I played them all and used some on gigs. That piano-like tone was never for me. I was a big slapper, and preferred the Fender J and P sound for what I was doing.

    I used this Ric on a gig last weekend, and I could coax a passable P-bass sound out of the toaster neck pickup. It wasn't great for slap stuff, though.

    I really respect the guys who play Rics. A high school/college buddy still has the 1981 Ric he bought when we were kids. I'm glad the kids have the opprotunity to play this one. My son had a gig last night and chose his bass over this one for the performance. He was worried that I'd be sad. I love it that he likes his bass.

    So, in closing, don't think I am a saint or anything. Truth be told, I've done cooler things for these young bass players (like driving them to Ft. Wayne to hang out with Victor Wooten). I'm just being nice to them the way that older musicians were nice to me when I was getting started. Not sure if either of these youngin's will become Ric players, but they will find out sooner with this little intervention. And that is fun to watch.

    Savory likes this.

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