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rickenbacker crooked pickup?!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thrasher, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    Well, I'll bet that third company repairs dings, small cracks and chips in the rough products coming from the milling company . Certainly there is a point past which something is determined to be unacceptable and they'd reject it and follow up. That's interesting thet Lakland contracts it out.
    Look, Ric isn't perfect and all of us who worked there had our criticisms of how things were done but over time my respect for that company has gone UP for many reasons.
    First of all, Rick has never sold out. It's the same company since the 60's (maybe before). Rick has never issued low grade Squire versions of their product. When you see a Rick you don't have to ask is this a Japanese, Korean, Singapore, Mexican, Tex-Mex, USA, Custom Shop, Private Reserve, Secret Stash or any BS like that. It's a Rick. Made in USA. They don't contract out their manufacturing either. They do it all in their factory. They don't have different grades of components. They're all top grade. They have their OWN products. Their own designs. They didn't copy Leo Fender's brilliant designs. They came up with their own unique, brilliant, high quality designs. They've been in style and out of style but they hung in there with their own stuff and didn't chase every fad and trend (at least not too much). They've also resisted the temptation to screw up their own classic designs. Fender isn't Fender and Gibson isn't Gibson and Ampeg isn't Ampeg but amazingly, Ric is still Ric.
    I also respect Ric for beating back the clones with lawsuits back in the 80's. Right on! They had every right to do that and I think more companies should. Fender and Gibson changed hands so many times and ran themselves on the rocks and made crummy stuff and let clones proliferate to the point that they just suck.
    Also, Ric has many EXTREMELY high quality features. The Ric finish is probably the best there is. I know this process first hand and it is done right in many layers.
    Also, the neck thru design and hard maple give the Ric bass unusually good note balance. Unlike Fender-derived designs, the high notes come out just as strong as the low ones. Also, unlike Fender-derived basses, the high frets don't tend to buzz more due to neck relief ending before the high frets (like Fender types).
    There are goofy things on the Ric (like the treble pickup mount and its derivation from the old steel guitar horseshoe) but every attempt I've seen to "fix" them just ruins the classic Ric design so I say leave it in and thankfully, the Ric powers that be agree. That's where the issue with the treble pickup angle comes from. If they just rounted out a hole in the wood or mounted it on a pickguard, it would always be perfectly straight, look like ass and nobody would like it (including me). So they've kept the old assembly with all its production vulnerabilities.

  2. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Employee
    Just because a manufacturer offers a cheaper line or a custom shop doesn't men they are selling out. Ric could learn quite a bit from the business practices of folks like Lakland, Musicman, and G&L. Sure they have bass lines that are made overseas, but that also allows them to deliver a product in under 2 years, update their product line and make improvements. You custom order a G&L with your specs and it's in your hands in 4 months and it isn't due to hasty builds.

    I think they should contract out some things, like finishing. It would not only improve quality IMO, it would probably speed up delivery times.

    Really? I have yet to see a Ric without finish flaws. My last one had started to bubble up underneath the bridge and it was a few months old. Ric's finish is probably their biggest shortfall, and that's saying something considering the bridge they use:p

    Well not really. They actually had a well known problem of weak string balance, E string I believe, which was why they added the adjustable pole pieces. Now I'd say they are on par with other companies but in no way do they surpass anyone. They sound great and they are certainly unique but that's about it.

    I'm confused by this statement? What do you mean?

    No kidding, like routing out a square foot of wood for their pickups, a horrendous bridge design, poor control layout, and no shielding:D

    Why would very few people like a straight pickup:confused:
    Honestly the pickup thing is minor as far as flaws go, but its the simple fact that people accept Rickenbacker's inability or unwillingness to bring their basses up to the two thousand dollar standard. They refuse to change anything, some people admire that, I'm not one of those people.

    I don't have a problem with Ric having flaws I have a problem with people making excuses for those flaws because they are a Rickenbacker. Ric5 came in on page 5 and said "get used to it, that's how they build them".

    I'm fine with that. No excuses, no trying to deflect Rics inability to correct small problems onto other manufacturers, just a straightforward answer.
  3. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    Not sure what you mean by under the bridge. A big weird spaceage cast steel chrome tailpiece thingy sits under the bridge. Are you talking about plating? I'm talking about wood finish. I have no idea what's going on under my tailpiece thingy and don't care.
    My Ric has never had a problem with string balance and I've never played or heard one that did. High notes come out strong adn beefy on a Ric. They get kind of thin and weak on a Fender style, that is if you can even get to those frets. I got into Fenders after my Ric and it always annoyed me how the high notes didn't bite like they do on my Ric. A few luthiers said it was an inherent issue with the bolt-on.
    What I mean is it is EXTREMELY common for p-basses and jazzes to buzz out high on the neck. It's been that way on ones I've owned and it's that way on basses I play at stores.
  4. mndean


    Mar 20, 2009
    I don't know. I think one can admire Rickenbacker for the consistency of their business, and maybe the sound their basses produce (if one wants that sound). However, if their quality is variable, that's another thing altogether. For the cost and the very long wait, their equipment should be high quality and subject to rigorous QC. I'd hate to buy an expensive car only to find it had fit and finish problems that made it look shabbily built compared to a Corolla.

    When I bought my first bass ('81-'82), I seriously considered a Rickenbacker (I don't remember the model, too many years gone by) to the point where I played it side by side with a few others multiple times. It sounded great, but my small hands and its big neck were never, ever going to get along. I went for a Fender Jazz instead.
  5. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Employee
    I should say right at the edge of the bridge on the bass side. I never took the bridge off to see what was going on.

    It was a well known problem with Ric's to have a weak E string. I'm glad yours doesn't have that going on.

    I am able to access all frets on both P and J basses, not that I do much above about the 16th fret anyway.

    Those few luthiers are misinformed I think. I've played bolt ons that are just as biting as any Ric. G&L L2K comes to mind immediately. Nothing is going to sound exactly like a Ric though. Some of the tone comes from the wood, some from the neck through construction, and some comes from the lacquered board. But a properly made bolt on bass is no lesser an instrument in the upper register than a Ric IMO.

    Well how many have you played to say its extremely common. Considering the amount of guitars out thereI've encountered some that I couldn't get to play where I wanted but it had nothing to do with the relief rather to do with high frets that needed to be leveled and crowned. There's nothing inherent to Ric's design that lends it to more or less fret buzz. They either do good fretwork or they don't.

  6. pringlw


    Nov 22, 2008
    Seattle Area
    Wow. I consider the finish to be one of the finest things about a Rick. My 30 year old 4001 still looks brand new. That's typical of many many cared for Ricks. I'm willing to admit flaws on Ricks from time to time - but finish isn't one (nor is neck dive per a previous poster). Strange criticisms those.
  7. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Sweetwater Employee
    I hear stories of old Ric's having great finishes but every Ric I've encountered has had apparent finish flaws. I was actually surprised because of the way they tout their labor intensive finishing. I've read quite a few criticisms of the finishes on their newer basses, from the midnight blue bleed through to chipping, and bubbling. I've also read some complaints about how thin their finishes seem to be.

    Never encountered neck dive though. It does have a heavy neck and large headstock but the ones I've played never had issues.

  8. I saw the crookedest pickups ever in a Rickenbacker bass on Saturday night.... A Japanese band at a show I was at had a bass player with a Ric that had two Music Man type humbuckers instead of the stock pickups. Of course they needed to be crooked because of the string spacing and the pole piece spacing. It was really bizarre looking.
  9. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    Well, Fender types commonly buzz a lot more on the high frets. The neck relief (forward bow) doesn't run as far up the neck as on a Ric. I think it's so common that it's just accepted but I owned a Ric before I ever got a Fender or Fender type so when I got my first p-bass and jazz it was weird and it's that way (to varying degrees of severity) on every one I've owned and played.
    There really is no "neck" (rounded and thumb accessible) behind the higher 5 or 6 frets of a Jazz - the maple behind those frets is squared off to fit in the neck pocket. There's zero relief higher up so when you play in the higher registers (even up around the 12 to 14th fret), the vibrating strings often don't adequately clear the highest frets and the notes buzz out.
    That doesn't happen on a Rick. The neck relief continues higher up the neck. Then there's the fact that you actually have a rounded neck all the way up to the last fret on a Rick.
    As for weak E strings on a Ric, mine certainly doesn't have that problem and I've never heard of it. Ric's have awesome string balance.
    Another beef I have with Fender style basses is the relative weakness of the higher register (higher fret) notes. Ric's don't have that problem. Those notes come out strong.
    From what I've seen, the best Jazz you can get for good balance between low and high notes is one-piece maple neck and a harder wood body (alder?) - it's not as balanced as a Ric but it's pretty good. I think that's what the Geddy Lee Jazz is. The rosewood fretboard and softer/lighter bodies like Ash are awful for having weak higher notes and overall lack of bite.

  10. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I've never had any of those problems with Fender style instruments, espcially the buzzing up high, and I play with low action. And they've all had perfect note to note balance, once set up propperly.

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