New Rickenbacker 5 String Reviews

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ZiggyDude, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. ZiggyDude


    Jun 8, 2005

    I did a search and oddly this did not come up.

    Has anyone tried the new Rickenbacker 5? I can't find any decent reviews.

    Though I like the idea of one - it bugs me incredibly that it was the "S" version. Like Simple. No binding and just the DOT inlays. Why does it have to be a downgraded model?

    But tone is tone. I was wondering if anyone has tried it.


    - Ziggy -
    WillyW and Rich_Briere like this.
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Some of us don't consider it a downgrade. ;)
  3. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    A new Rick 5? The one with the little bitty nacho picukps?
    ed morgan and wizard65 like this.
  4. mapleglo

    mapleglo Ancient Astronaut Theorist Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    WillyW, gwangi, Vinny_G and 12 others like this.
  5. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    I have not played one … but from what I can tell they finally got the 5 string bass thing right … after 2 previous tries
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
  7. mapleglo

    mapleglo Ancient Astronaut Theorist Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I've had the Mapleglo for a few months, and the Walnut just arrived a couple of days ago. I prefer the Walnut as it's lighter, about 8.6 pounds (as opposed to over 9.5 pounds for the maple), and I prefer maple fingerboards. They both sound like Rics, despite the triangular pickups. I also prefer an unbound body with rounded edges - more comfortable. I added the Zero Mod thumb rest to both (no new pic on the Walnut just yet), and vintage knobs for both (knobs for the Walnut haven't arrived yet). These are the only mods I've planned.

    On the downside, they are both a little neck heavy. Let go of the neck, and it'll drop so that it's parallel to the floor. If I were more adventurous, I might swap out the tuners for Hipshot Ultralites, but it's not so bad that I'm compelled to do so. And that's really the only downside.

    I like the wider, flat backed neck, and I'm glad they kept the push/pull control on the tone. More versatile sound options. I play in a country band, and this bass fits in perfectly. It'll do a nice Chris Squire sound too. So in the tone department, it's just like any of the 4003s I've owned in the past. I've been used to tighter string spacings, like 15 mm on my other 5 string basses, but got used to this wider spacing fairly easily.

    I keep saying I'll do a video or audio sample, but haven't gotten to it yet. Someday...
    Riff Ranger, Rezdog, Giffro and 4 others like this.
  8. ZiggyDude


    Jun 8, 2005
    Well - mine should arrive today.
  9. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I just played a sunburst one an hour ago at the Hartke Bass lounge in NYC.

    First: I have to go on record that I despise 5-string bass guitars, I briefly owned "a very nice one" a couple of years ago and never will again. Just not for me.

    But this is the newest Rickenbacker, so I could not leave the store without giving it a playtest.

    I have to say, amazing bass.

    ** very comfortable neck - nice profile, and not too thick
    ** Nut width pretty small, and string spacing too- so overall, this is not the annoyingly WIDE 5-string neck that I personally find uncomfortable to navigate
    ** quality perfect, very nice hardware, perfect finish
    ** rather low playing action ( comfortable!)
    ** pickups HIGH OUTPUT and low noise - they must be humbuckers, cause there was zero audible hum no matter how I turned the bass
    ** PASSIVE BASS ( no friggin noisy hissy preamp to be annoyed by!)

    A very wide range of tones out of the VVTT, 3-position toggle, plus the pull-pot for the vintage tone control.
    I could not get a sound I didn't like out of this bass, if had been a 4-string I would certainly have purchased it (No body binding, so a lot more comfortable for me than most typical [bound] Rickenbackers...)

    I didn't think to take any photos in the shop, but below is a recent picture of it (or another identical bass - pic lifted off of Hartke facebook page...)
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
  11. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    So I played one of these in a store today and was disappointed. I was sure I was going to buy it until I heard those pickups. I don't know what they were smoking when they came up with those. The tone changes markedly as you go from the low strings to the high strings, like the D and G strings sound like they are from a completely different bass than the B and E strings. And.... it doesn't really sound like a Ric anymore, even with the vintage pot engaged. I think if I ever bought one I would immediately change the pickups to get something more Ricky in tone and you know, a uniform tone across the strings. Ugh. What a bummer.
    ScottsTheLimit likes this.
  12. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Central Texas
    You’re the first I’ve heard this from. I wonder if the one you tried needed a major setup?
  13. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    The only one I've played, so far, was set up great. Not sure if it came that way or the folks at SA did a set up, but my one experience was a very positive one.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
  14. mapleglo

    mapleglo Ancient Astronaut Theorist Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Hmmm, both of mine sound like Ric's and have pretty even volume and tone across the strings. Perhaps that one was a bad one?
  15. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    Very intrigued with the 5s. Considering trading my 4 string 4003s FG for one...not so sure about the B string on the sub 34" scale neck though...
    Rock on
  16. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Am I right in thinking that the pickups in the five-string are what they look like: they get wider for the lower strings and thinner for the high strings? If that's the case, there's no way the tone wouldn't change as you go from low strings to high strings, because the pickup is picking up a different ratio of the strings' vibrations.
    R Briere likes this.
  17. mapleglo

    mapleglo Ancient Astronaut Theorist Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Don't know what the internal construction is like. They sound very Ric-like and even to me. No complaints here. In fact, I bought two.
  18. ZiggyDude


    Jun 8, 2005
    I got mine in a few months ago. I should have replied sooner. Sorry.

    I do have positive and negative. I will do the positive first.

    This has the best looking redwood on the neck I have EVER seen. It is a piece of art.

    The bass plays well. Ric did get it right with the back of the neck profile.

    95% of the finish was perfect. (There were some issues about the edges of the bass. Not enough layers of clear to buff out correctly) But I am nit picking as only I can see it. It is what Neal M calls "Stage Ready".

    The nut spacing is now the minimal amount acceptable for extended range players.

    The bridge is much too small. It doesn't allow the strings to spread out. This is a serious fail. I already have plans to replace it. Even if I only get an 1/8 to 3/16 increase.

    The style of the pickups is simply stupid.

    I would have been willing to pay much more to get a "Deluxe" version with the bindings, real inlays, stereo sound.

    Basically - Ric does not understand extended range players. They act like guitar players.
    - Extended range players embrace wide string spacing
    - Extended range players are willing to pay for quality and features

    Thus don't build a 5 string that the 4 string guys want. They already don't want it just because it is a 5. Build a 5 string bass that is an extended range players dream of and they will come - and yes - they will pay. Your bass is actually at the bottom of the price range we are buying. Price points would be about where Bongos are if you need a guess.
  19. RealJeffJenkins


    Feb 11, 2013
    I have one and I love it! It solved all of my past Ric problems. Every time I got one and took it to a gig, I would wish the whole time that I had brought my 5 string bass. Also I don’t enjoy tearing my hands up playing over that horseshoe pickup mess after it’s been removed. To me the extra mass of the 5 string gives it more oomph too, but the tone is 100 % Ric 4003. I don’t need shark fins and binding, but then again, I’m not a purist for Ric anyway. Don’t hesitate to buy one if you
    A. Don’t mind tight spacing
    B. Prefer Passive 5 string bass
    C. Want as many tonal options on one bass as possible along with cool styling and looks.

    Pass on it if:
    A. You’re a Ric Purist
    B. Need Wide Spacing
    C. The pickup design turns you off. (It shouldn’t, it’s actually way better than the original)

    One final note, I find that even tho it’s hard to do, keeping the original string gauges Ric ships these Basses with, is key to keeping it playing and sounding great! 45-55-75-105-115. Caveat, Rickenbacker doesn’t sell 5 string sets nor do they sell B strings and customer service was extremely rude to me when I expressed my frustration on this.
  20. User458468

    User458468 Guest

    Jul 31, 2003
    I own one. One of the Nicest Basses I've ever Owned. It's so Comforting to see RIC move into the Future. New Shapes (Pups), New Colors, etc. This Bass is NOTHING like their previous attempt.