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Rickenbacker 4003, MusicMan Stingray or Gibson thunderbird IV?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by danzecc, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. danzecc


    Jan 20, 2006
    Hi guys, I mostly play rock n'roll and pop. I use two basses: an Ibanez RB 850 w/ 2 humbucks and active circuit and a Fender Jazz Bass Geddy Lee signature. I want to buy a third bass, and I wonder which one (the Rick, the MM or the TB) could be better to complete the other 2 I already have, with different tones and approaches. Thanks!
  2. Stingray by far. No contest.
  3. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I disagree with baba. Since you have a bass with humbuckers already, I wouldn't get the Tbird nor the Musicman. A Rickenbacker would be a different tone to go with what you have. :)
  4. Subculture13

    Subculture13 Jamming Econo

    Apr 9, 2003
    Toronto, Ont. Canada
    Get the Stingray, that is your best bet there, then sell me the RB850 and put the money towards a Rickie.
  5. i have both a rick and a ray. I love them both and they really get totally different sounds. I use my ray when i want to tune lower or need a high end punch, but rics just growl like no other. i dont know, try em both really.. and its its any help, rics are much sexier.
    there also alot thinner bodys.

    i only played tbirds in the stores and never liked them. muddy
  6. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA

  7. Yes they do!:D

    +1 ....and they have some awesome "'burst" finishes, too...


    I've played Stingrays, and they just can't compete with the raw growl that a Rick can make....but they sound good to my ears too, and are probably a bit more versatile too..it's just not the sound I hear in my head......

    ..Ricks just have more natural highs, and harmonics(not a boosted hi-mid sound), which can make them more difficult to tame in some situations(why I like them) ...one of the most raw sounds I've ever heard in rock....
  8. Thunderbirds arent muddy, etc...

    Even though you already have a bass with humbuckers. NO OTHER BASS sounds like a Thunderbird. They sound great in rock. I used to own a 4001 and man I loved it (I sold it because I wasnt playing it as much as my Ibanez and Tbird and I had no real reason for having three fretteds).

    If I were you I'd avoiv the Stingray altogether. Don't get me wrong, I love the sound they produce, but I've found myself to be a Sterling Man now...

    IMO, Rics and Thunderbirds are like night and day...
  9. Ric or Ray.

    Try them both out. They're both very different animals, but they both are top notch.
  10. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    how close is the ricky and the jazz??? im in the opposite situation..i have a stingray4 but am seriously auditioning the rick4003 and jazz deluxe. I love them both but its all about spread and trying to keep the basses from overlapping too much..otherwise you end up with guitars that never get played.
  11. My Rick sounds closer to an ash-bodied, maple-boarded P bass than a J bass....more of a raw, unrefined tone..

    I own a newer Rick 4003 and a newer Fender J bass.....besides having two single coils, the simillarities end there....

    My Jazz bass has a smoother sound, with more of a nasal type of brightness...more *focused*.

    The Rick has more of a raw edge to the sound, with clanky highs when digging in with a pick...

    I can get great harmonics from either bass, but they also sound noticeably different - one's a bolt-on, and the other's a neck-through...hope that helps:)
  12. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Bingo. Or get the Rick, sell your Ibanez and put the money toward a 'Ray. A Geddy Lee Jazz, a Rickenbacker and a Stingray. Now that's the ticket... :)

  13. .....by the way Danzecc,

    T-Birds, Ricks, and Stingrays are all great basses for rock music.

    I suggest trying them all out.....that's the only way to really know what you're looking for....I found out what I liked that way, and it was really an accident, because I thought I was happy with what I already had....:eyebrow:
  14. BIG +1 on this.

    Sometimes you can have a logical plan for "the next bass" and then you play some and the plan goes out the window.

    None of the basses you suggested are are really my particular brand of beer -- I'm not a R&R bassist, my tastes are more aimed at Gospel/Funk/R&B -- but if I WAS a R&R bassist, I'd consider a TBird to be an essential acquisition!

    P.S. Yes, I know lots of Gospel/Funk/R&B bassists play 'Rays but again, not my deal.
  15. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    I own an example (two in the case of the Rickenbacker) of each bass you refer to. I'll describe each and hopefully that will provide you another frame of reference.

    Rickenbacker: Both of mine are 4001s from the 70's. Nothing else on God's green earth sounds like one. I can't even get my $5K plus Alembics to sound like it. It is a very unique tone, and one I personally don't think is for every genre (though it's great for rock). It is a very beautiful instrument (to me, anyway), well built, and has the best neck I've ever played (thin, thin, thin). If you're looking for something completely different from your other basses, you need look no further. I like the 4001s better than the 4003s - the necks on 4003s are a bit chunkier, and their headstocks are larger, which I don't prefer. They sound a bit different to me than my 4001s, but they still have that unique Rickenbacker tone you simply can't find anywhere else.

    Thunderbird: The older ones (early 60's, and the '76-'79 models) are, IMHO, far superior to the newer ones in terms of tone. I think it's the pickups - I can't stand the TB Plus pickups. They just sound dead to me. However, a lot of guys like them, so maybe it's just me. Anyway, it's a fairly well built instrument, though they are notorious for two things. The first is neckdive. The headstock is huge, and it behooves anyone who plays it to have a good strap that grips your clothing, and to make sure that the strap button is in the right place (on the heel of the neck). The neck is great - very Jazz-bassish in overall dimensions and thin at the nut. The tone - well, it's made of mahogany, so it will be a bit darker than most, particularly since it's a neck through. I'm trying to figure out how to cram a Bart preamp in mine to go along with the Bart replacement pickups I dropped in it. If you're looking for something with a lot of high end, the T-Bird isn't your bass. If you want something with punch in mids and lows, this bass is for you. And I just love the way it looks. It looks really cool to me. One other thing - you will have difficulty reaching the upper frets, say after the 16th-17th fret. The cutaway doesn't allow easy access to the upper frets, so if you're playing a lot in those registers, you may want to consider something else.

    Stingray - Mine is an original Leo Fender made model, a '79. I can't speak to the newer ones, but I can tell you I bought this one because I didn't like the tones from the newer, Ernie Ball made models. Doesn't make them bad, I just didn't prefer them. Mine has a three bolt neck, and also the strings through body. It also has the two band active electronics, so I'm sure that also contributes to the tone that I like. It is a very punchy bass - lots of mids, but stilll great lows and highs. It's absolutely outstanding for slap styles - think Flea earlier in his career. The short headstock is also great for cramped stages, unlike the Thunderbird where I find myself planning every move in advance. Neck is a cross between a J and P bass, and I like it quite a bit. I've used mine in lieu of my '73 Jazz Bass, and it's performed quite well in several different genres.

    Based on this, if I were you I'd go for the Rick since it is so unique and tonally different from what you already have. Second choice would be the Musicman, and the last the Thunderbird. All of them would give you something different, but the Rick stands out in my mind as most different.
  16. xparis001

    xparis001 Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Worcester, ma
    Product Manager, Akai Professional
    Do not - I repeat - DO NOT consider a Thunderbird until you try the Epiphone Elite Thunderbird. THe set neck one, not the bolt on. I've hated every thunderbird Ive ever tried in stores, gibson and epiphone, until I tried the epiphone elite. I literally played it and bought it within 15 minutes of playing it.

    It sounds clear, which was my main complaint with tbirds - mud. yet it has that agressive, mean tone and vibe people want from a t-bird.

    the old style pickups and the one piece mahogany neck is what I think sets it apart from the gibson versions. totally changes the tone, in a great way.

    plus, its less money. giggity giggity!
  17. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
  18. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    +1 on bongo. :p
  19. danzecc


    Jan 20, 2006
    Thank you very much, guys.
  20. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    You can't lose with any of the three. I've owned all three.

    Here's my take:

    Thunderbird: THE (along with a Fender Jazz), classic rock bass.
    They look great, and sound great. They definitely ARE NOT muddy. The high end sounds a bit different than Fenders, but there is still plenty of it there. A plus is they look really cool on stage. I'd only avoid a T bird if you are a really small guy. They can be a bit unweildy.

    Stingray: Another absolute classic. If you are doing any sort of
    funk/rock or any slapping at all, this is the way you want to go.
    They have an absolutely killer top end, that will cut through anything.

    Rick: These sound absolutely unique, and that's a good thing!
    My only problems with Rics, which by the way, are probably the coolest looking basses on the planet, are that they don't work very well ergonomically for me. The necks on the newer 4003 are too thick for me, and I cannot find a comfortable spot for my right hand, with the pickup cover removed or on.

    Again, play all three, choose which fits you best. They are three great basses.