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Rickenbacker and Jazz Tone

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Oct 9, 2019.


  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis



    I always thought that Ric’s and Jazzes sounded similar. I had this 4003S/5 set on the traditional Rickenbacker sound and I can hear the difference.

    On a side note, I will finally take the American Geddy home around the holidays, but I think I may sell it and put the money towards a Sadowsky MetrolineExpress or a Sandberg VM5. The Geddy is super nice, but I do love a great five and I seriously have my last higher end bass purchase because between my kids going to college and thereafter transitioning towards retirement, GAS is likely going to end whether I want it to or not.
     
  2. Craig T Vector

    Craig T Vector Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    Liberty Hill, TX
    While I am still feeling out my US Geddy I do find myself drawn to the differences. For example, for whatever reason I am not wanting to use a pick on the Jazz. I feel like I can get the attack I want without it. Still, there are some songs that absolutely need the pick, so my Ric is called in. This will be explored more as I continue to bring the Jazz to rehearsal.

    I am deliberately keeping different strings on both: Roto 66's on the Ric and Fender 7250's on the Jazz. I tried the Roto's on the Jazz but they did not feel right to me. This adds another facet to the tonal difference, at least to my ears.

    Having both basses available allows me to experiment more. Throw in the Precision strung with flats and it can get downright wacky, which is right where I like it!
     
    Rilence and Dr. Cheese like this.
  3. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    All things being equal (like strings, set up, playing style and amp), I find Rics to have a deeper fundamental tone to them. Must be from both pickups shifted towards the neck vs the J's locations. Both basses get that two pickup scoop tone, but as these videos show (which supports my personal experience), the Ric has a little more depth.
    I have certainly been tricked into thinking I was hearing a Ric, but it was a Jazz (Geddy) and vice versa (interwebs) due to amp settings, string choices, etc... Seems a lot of players like to set up and dial in Rics aggressively, whereas I find them to be great for thicker tones and let my J's be aggressive.
     
  4. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    Ric 4003s and Jazz basses have similar tone. 4003s have a 'throatier' and 'smokier' sound to my ear. To me it makes sense that Geddy Lee went from a Ric to a Jazz bass; they sound similar enough.
     
    cataract and Dr. Cheese like this.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The Ric does sound deeper.
     
    woodyng2 and Wisebass like this.
  6. lowdownthump

    lowdownthump

    Jul 17, 2004
    The Geddy is nice . I know how it is to be drawn to basses from a certain era especially with those bound and blocked 70’s Fenders . I’m secretly hoping you get the Sadowsky . Something tells me you won’t be satisfied until you do.
    The Pedulla and Sadowsky would make a great pair of end of gas basses.
     
    HolmeBass and Dr. Cheese like this.
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Sadowsky Basses do haunt me (it’s October!) The irony is that I think that the electronics of a Sandberg VM5 are really special and nobody else does quite what they do while lots of people make nice active Jazz Basses. I can see me always wanting a Sadowsky and it would make sense to sell stuff and get one so I can move on.
     
    btmpancake and lowdownthump like this.
  8. UntitledUser

    UntitledUser

    Sep 18, 2019
    Experiment idea:
    For circa 100$ you can ask to have a ric pu hole routed on the jazz at the neck position.
    Then +50$ for a custom cutted pickguard that includes the new hole.
    +100 for a new pickup.
    So then you have 3 pickups J-Bridge, J-Middle, Ric-Neck.
    Add a push/pull pot that switches the bridge pu to the new neck pu, at your choice.
     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  9. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I have always thought that it would work out to put both Ric and Jazz pickups in a bass. They wouldn't overlap (like P/MM in their respective spots) and would offer some cool tones. Found this pic here on TB that shows the layout, though I would put the J bridge in 70s position as I like the tone and it would look more evenly spaced out with the other pickups. Add 3 concentric pots to do VV/VV/TT and away you go!
    [​IMG]
     
    Vinny_G, basmansam, Kaplan and 3 others like this.
  10. UntitledUser

    UntitledUser

    Sep 18, 2019
    mmm... then... I would make it like this:

    --2X 3-Way switch of round shape, like the one Gibson uses on Les Paul, SG, Explorer etc, but a model that is shorter in height {some builders have the short version}
    --One switch is for the Ric pickups {Ric1,Ric2,Both}
    --The other is for Jazz pickups {J1,J2,Both}
    --Then a concetric Tone+Volume for Ric department
    --And another Tone+Volume concentric for the Jazz department.
    --I would move the jack plug to the side of the body {drilling a hole on the side and then putting the jack plate}

    Everything should fit in the body. And the final result is 9 combinations of sound available.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Finding myself somewhat drawn to the 'new Ric' sound with the Dorito pickups...
     
    woodyng2 and Dr. Cheese like this.
  12. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    “Dorito Pickups” is a good one! Rics are sweet. I just don’t why Rickenbacker does not wire their pickups to be humcanceling like Fender.
     
  13. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    I had a USA Geddy and a 4003s 4...your demo shows a Geddy that sounds thin, like many jazz basses do IMHO, the Ric definitely has more balls in your demo. I got rid of both because neither was my thing.
    You like what you like.
    Rock on.
     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The Ric certainly had a deeper sound, but I did play the B string too and the Geddy is a four.
     
    woodyng2 and bass40hz like this.
  15. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    I hear ya, but like I said, I had both (my Ric was a 4 though) and I had the same results, the J was always thin, the RIc was always...well...a Ric ;-)
    Rock on.
     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  16. To me, the beautiful/terrible thing about Rickenbacker basses is the natural inclination to distort when you dig-in and play hard. It's that very audible tonal transition that really does it for me. Of course, played gently the Ric is absolutely a full-range, clean instrument. Pickup placement, in this case, imho, has less to do with it than the relatively narrow magnetic field characteristics of the Ric pickups.

    When I saw this thread, it reminded me of seeing Dave Brubeck on the Tonight Show decades ago and his bassist playing a fretless 4001 that sounded simply incredible.



    John
     
    woodyng2, basmansam, Spectrum and 2 others like this.
  17. UntitledUser

    UntitledUser

    Sep 18, 2019
    Bass heavy frequencies distort the amplifier section.
    If you have a graphic or parametric EQ pedal before the amp and roll a bit something in the first octave of low frequencies {es. under 100 hz} or try to roll something in the low mids like 160/200/250hz you will find that the signal will clean up and you will get more clarity from your bass.
     
  18. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    The Rickenbacker 4003 is deeper sounding but the 4001 models are brighter sounding.
     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  19. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    earth
    I see you have in your signature some nice 5 string basses. Is the Geddy only fulfilling a desire for a 4 string Jazz?
     
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Yes.
     
    Glenn Johnson and Clark Dark like this.

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