Rickenbacker - are they overated and overpriced

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassmantam, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. bassmantam


    Apr 1, 2014
    For many years I've loved the Rickenbacker sound thanks to the bands Chou Pahrot and Yes. And to be fair, it is a pretty unique sound. Thing is I've never found one I really liked to play (sorry rick fans) and recently I was asked if I could take a look at one for a friend as the strings/action seemed a bit high.

    where to start?

    The bridge is an absolute pig to do anything with if your adjusting for intonation or height. the screws are impossible to get to and in the end I had to take the strings off to get to them. Not the best way to adjust for any setup and its a bit hit and miss. It is a pretty bizarre setup altogether though it does look good and chunky. part of its visual charm id say but hardly practical and I would guess if I was asked that it was designed by a motor mechanic and not a bass player.

    The neck also has two truss rods which are difficult to access and adjust and this is probably why the neck feels so thick/chunky for a 4 string. It would need to be slightly thicker with two cavities running through it or an exceptionally hardwood neck. I guess the thinking is with two, the neck can be bowed/adjusted more precisely, maybe to compensate for the joke that is the bridge adjustment.

    I will say this though, visually they look good and they have a great sound but as comparisons go, is it better sound than a precision through an old school Wem dominator bass stack?

    when I gave it back to my mate and told him about this stuff he just said "ah but its a rick" and Its a bass I kinda wanted myself but never found that one, so lets hear your pros and cons for the Ricky.

    Are they good or just desirable?
    Likes and dislikes?
    Why or why not get one?
    rickwebb likes this.
  2. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Here we go...
  3. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Another new day, another topic that has never ever been covered on TB...thank God, I get bored with the same old rehashed subjects.
  4. iTzPrime


    May 30, 2016
    They are a unique bass. If the price is worth it to you, everyone has to decide for themselves.
    They are not overrated, because some bands just sound incredible with them.
    In terms of price performance, they are definitely a bit overpriced compared to other products in that price range.
  5. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Hipshot makes a replacement bridge that brings them up to date. Many folks love the old school quirky bridge(myself included). Once you get a Ric set up, it pretty much stays that way. I do keep the Allen wrench in my case to "tweak" the action height. I can't ever see myself without owning at least one Rickenbacker bass.
    Novarocker, Mertle72, Tbone76 and 4 others like this.
  6. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
  7. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    For me, Rics never followed the rule of "form follows function." Although the main function of a bass is to produce a great sound (which the Ric does), it seems little thought went into playability. The Ric has always been one of my favorites. They look amazing, but I could never own one, because for me, it's non-functional for practical use. So, is it overrated and over-priced? Only if it is not the bass for you. Otherwise, they are awesome.
  8. Englishman


    Apr 26, 2017
    You can buy a brand new 4003 for $1600 ish. Looking around that's for sure in the ballpark for a USA made bass.
    Aesthetically, they rule.
    Sound? Great.
    Playabilty? Once you get used to the neck, it's fine.

    Kinda heavy.
    Bridge is annoying for a palm muter in particular.
    John Hall is a dick.

    Other than that, I love mine.
  9. I watched that last week and almost peed myself laughing. Can't really argue with the logic, but it is a unique sound that can't really be had anywhere else, so to each their own.
  10. B-line

    B-line Inactive

    The only bass guitar that is allowed for discussion of any sorts on TalkBass is the Precision Bass.

    I've asked the moderators to cut you some slack, but I can't hold them off forever...
  11. Boristhespyder

    Boristhespyder Guest

    Feb 12, 2016
    I say Rick
    And you say no
    You say P
    And I say no, no, no
  12. Jonithen


    Dec 3, 2012
    Seacoast NH
    I never noticed one feeling especially heavy, although the way something balances has a lot to do with perceived weight.

    They look and sound killer. Play-ability seemed ok. I never had much luck with their setups, and I've been to the best in my area. If I could have had one with the action where I wanted it and have it stay there I'd still be playing one.

    I really wanted one to work but we just never got there. I wanted to believe so hard.
    smogg, Planespotter and WillieB like this.
  13. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    True, for so many.
    BlueAliceOasis and pjbassist like this.
  14. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    Are they overrated and overpriced?
    Yes, but only for people who think they're not that good and they cost too much.
  15. Mister Boh

    Mister Boh

    Oct 23, 2016
    Annapolis, MD
    The great thing about rics is if you don't want one you don't have to have one!
    Joe Ty, interp, RedVee and 19 others like this.
  16. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    They look awesome...just not on me...they sound great...just not my cup o' tea...
    Ive always liked them ... but i would never own one.
    jd56hawk likes this.
  17. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar...

    Nov 23, 2010
    YMMV, but I wanted a Ric since I started playing bass. This dude in a local band I liked played a black one. It looked so awesome. I didn't know squat about tone though, I figured it sounded good, because I knew I could never afford one. My first bass was a MIJ Fender P. I thought it was cool, but I was a dumb kid and didn't know anything, so I always wanted more.

    Fast forward 3 years later. I work at the same place as the drummer of that band, and end up becoming fairly good friends with him. My poopy band ends up playing a lot with his poopy band, and I end up friends with all of the guys. The moment finally came. I got to talking with the bass player and I mention how cool that bass is, to which he goes "Wanna play it? Go ahead man, try it out". I was so excited. I'd never played a Ric. I pick it up and plug it into his rig (a Boogie Bass 400+ and a Boogie 2x15, one of the road ready series) and I'm stunned. It weighed a ton, played like absolute GARBAGE, and sounded so average. In defense of the bass, it could have been poorly setup, though I'm sure my own P bass was poorly set up at the time too. I didn't even know you had to get bass guitars set up. I thought the way they were, was the way they were and that was that.

    I talked some more to the guy and he mentioned that it was his first and only bass. Since then, my theory is that die hard Ric fans, probably started on a Ric and just got used to the overall poopiness of the things.

    Again, YMMV, but I think they're about a grand too much for what they are.
    pjbassist, BAG, 4dog and 1 other person like this.
  18. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    Despite their quirks, they do what they're supposed to do. Some things might be contrary to modern engineering and manufacturing practices, but in spite of that, or perhaps because of that, they do what they're supposed to do, and do it well.

    They can be a bit more sensitive to a proper setup than other basses, but once you get it right, there's nothing like it.

    As far as price, Ric gets them out the door to dealers for approx $1000 for a 4003, and $800 for a 4003S. Quite a feat today. And Ric is probably one of the few major guitar makers that is profitable today.

    They do seem to be plagued by intermittent QC issues, and we read about every single one of them here, and their customer service ranges from abrasive to almost non-existent, and JH is a dick.

    But I own two, and they are my keepers-for-life basses.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
    BAG, dxb, Tbone76 and 3 others like this.
  19. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Thank you Ric designers for saving me almost 2 grand.
  20. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Whatever they are, they're not for me.
    Then again, I could say the same about several other basses.
    Element Zero, 4dog and HaphAsSard like this.