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Rickenbacker Dilemma

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by hybridmoments21, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. hybridmoments21


    Apr 7, 2009
    I have been playing bass for about half a decade now and I'm looking to upgrade from my fender j bass to a rickenbacker. Im only 14 so I have a price range of about $1000. It would be really helpful and greatly appreciated if someone could answer the following questions:

    1. What is the best model for my particular price range?
    2.About how much will it cost?
  2. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    The Rickenbacker 4003 (the typical Rickenbacker everyone loves) is the standard. They cost, brand new, around 2000 dollars. There is also a long wait period to get one. The factory only produces so many at a time and there is long list of back orders. Your best bet is to buy one used. Rickenbacker used basses can be found from 1400-2000+ pretty consistently.
  3. There's probably not one in your price range. Not even close.

    You are looking at probably spending at least $1,500 or more for a 4003 that isn't beat all to heck.

    Have you played one? Are you sure it's what you want? There are lots of spectacular basses available that are in your price range or even far less.
  4. KingCrimson


    Oct 6, 2008
  5. mrtn400


    Dec 6, 2008
    Carmichael, CA
    Go talk to a few luthiers and see if they'd make you a Ric clone, or at least something that sounds like one, for that grand.
  6. uaudio


    Apr 11, 2008
    $1,000 is a good budget to have, especially at this point in your career. But it won't get you a Ric, unfortunately. If you're dead set, save your money and buy used (always buy used!). Otherwise, have someone drop you off for the day at a music store that stocks a few basses, bring your amp, and figure it out.

    Best of luck!
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Agreed with the above. "Everybody" wants a Ric, but they are expensive, and getting more expensive all the time. Recent price hikes have even made Ric fanatics shy away from buying new ones. Expect to pay $1400 minimum for a decent one, used.

    That said, there is one that looks alright on Ebay right now for $1100; I expect at that price it will be gone within a day, so if you don't have the money now then fuggettaboutit. Deals like that are very uncommon.

    There is a good-looking Ric copy on Ebay right now too, and it's only like $550. Search on "Matsumoku" as that's the maker of that particular one, or "stereo bass" as that's a common code-word for fake Ric.

    As others have indicated though, with $1K you can get a lot more quality and versatility per dollar buying something other than a Ric. Don't get hung up on brands and fads. Just look through the TB classifieds for a while, there are some amazing quality basses in there for under $1K.

    Buy a Ric when you're middle-aged and have a good income.
  8. mndean


    Mar 20, 2009
    I wouldn't even consider a bass that expensive unless I tried one before buying. I did try a Rickenbacker many years ago (1982 and they weren't cheap then, either) and found I didn't like it at all. All I'm saying is don't just go by looks and rep, make sure the bass is one you'll be comfortable playing before you actually buy one. I have guitarist friends who have lots of money and lots of equipment, much of it never used. Just stays in cases because they buy whenever the fancy hits them. They usually play very few of their guitars/amps, and the others are really only for show. You don't have that luxury right now, so get whatever feels and sounds the best for you. If it's a Rickenbacker, so be it, you'll just have to wait.
  9. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    If you can save up for a little bit more time, you could get a Ric, but like the others have said, I would try to find one to play first in a store to make sure its worth it to you. I bought mine sight unseen (and never played a Ric before either) but my old Guild was shaped similarly so I had a feeling it would be good for me. I was right.

    The other thing to think about though is at 14, if you keep playing through your teen years, there are going to be alot of crappy gigs in crappy places and I wouldnt want to subject a $2000 Ric to that. Good news it holds their values well.
  10. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Good luck in your quest. Good advice in this thread, so far. Save, save, save, but in the meantime, try to find one you can try out, before you drop a load of cash on a very different sort of bass, like a Ric. And, buying something else that you can afford, is also a good idea. Go play everything, and get a feel for what's out there.
  11. toomanybasses


    Feb 20, 2009


    Hey, you are only 14... Your day will come!
  12. FWIW, a guy on here posted a thread about a 70's 4001 JG he saw for 1100 bucks just yesterday. Sounded as if it was in good shape and playable, only missing the pup cover. Don't give up. It won't get you new, but if you offer 1000 and your J in trade to someone with a used run of the mill Ric (not a COTY finish or a limited edition or some such) you can probably make a deal if the J is in good enough shape. Not saying you should or shouldn't but I for one believe you can if you so desire. It'll just take some shopping. That being said, I will agree with the save save sentiment. I have a Ric now, but I am a die hard J man and I have no fretted 4 string Jazz at this time and it's driving me bonkers. You will be much better off to have both than to try and decide between the two. They are rather diffferent instruments, but they make a hell of a duo (Or so Geddy Lee thinks). I could get by with just a Jazz and a Ric.
  13. doctorus


    Apr 24, 2004
    Berkeley, CA
    I have a 4003 Ric, and I like it a lot, but they are not the greatest basses in the world. There's a whole lot of hype about these instruments! The stock pickups are noisy and have a low output. The bridge has a terrible design! In order to set intonation, you have to loosen all the strings, pull out the metal bridge piece that balances on 2 screws, make your adjustments, return it, tune your strings back up to pitch, and repeat until you get it right. Since the bridge balances on two screws, it may fall one way or the other when you change strings, so if you're not careful your intonation will be totally screwed! Lastly, it's shaped like a plank; it doesn't have that comfortable curvature where your plucking hand falls across the body (like a fender body does).

    But it does look cool, has a great tone, and the neck is very slim and playable, and with two truss rods you can really dial it in. But I believe they are overpriced and under-engineered. I'm excited to see the new line of rics, but that will probably never happen, since they make maybe three per year!

    With $1,000 at your disposal, you could get something very cool, especially if you get it used.

    I got my ric for $400.

  14. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    You'll need to save a bit more money if you want one that's in decent condition, even used. Supply is low and demand is high.

    Also, you might want to think about trying a 4004L or 4004Cii instead. The 4003/4001 isn't the only bass they make.
  15. lawsonman


    Dec 19, 2005
    NW IL
    Not sure about your Ric but mine certainly doesn't have low output pickups and it's quiet as a church mouse. And if you're going through all that stuff to adjust intonation you're going about it all wrong my friend.
  16. You'll be needing to save up about $1300- $1500.

    Make sure do a heap of research before you buy either. Play as many as you can so you know exactly what you're after- how you like them set up and which neck profiles you prefer. Let's face it people either love or hate Ric's and if you're about to blow your entire life savings then you'll be much happier if it's an instrument you're going to love.

    That said- I bought mine online from a guy in Japan and couldn't be happier with my 4001.
  17. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    Indeed, Rickenbackers are more well known for being quite high output for passive basses.

    And to the OP: There's plenty of time to upgrade. You are only 14. I didn't buy a Rickenbacker until I was almost 20, and even then, I basically drained my bank account purchasing it and then getting it restored (since it was stripped to bare wood and no hardware when I bought it). I've had to make some sacrifices, too. I could have bought a car, but instead I spent all my money upgrading my bass and my rig.
  18. mobis.fr


    Jun 2, 2005
    :scowl: you only need to lose one string, pull it aside and use a thin screwdriver...
    btw have ever setup a spector? :eek: this bridge sucks and blows at the same time!
  19. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Did the op give up?
  20. Mr. Mig

    Mr. Mig

    Sep 7, 2008
    I just bought a new 4003 recently and it cost me two grand.

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