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Rickenbacker versatile?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mind Eroded, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. I dont want to start any religious wars here on TB but would most of you consider the rickenbacker 4001-4003 a versatile bass in terms of different sounds it can produce or more of a "one trick pony"? I know the rick has a distinct tone to it that no other bass can sound like, but is that it?
  2. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I have a 4003, and I have a 4001 that's being lent to me.. for a long time... Both basses have a distinct Ric tone, but that's all they're really good for. Great rock basses, not too hot for slap, and the 4003's hum like no tomorrow.
  3. I personally dont see how threads like these accomplish anything. Everyone will say something different as its a matter of personal experience and preferance.

    Personally i dont agree with Whafrodamus at all. But there is no point in arguing the matter cause i wont change his mind or his ears. As he wont change mine.

    For a question like this its best to see what you can do or hear on the bass in question for yourself.

    I notice you live in NY. It should be easy i would think to find a Ric in such a big city?
  4. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I have a 4001 Ric and love it. (mind you it is the ONLY Ric I have ever liked) It is in the shop right now getting it's fingerboard/frets redone.

    I have used it in a variety of contexts from Major label albums to live shows and I have always been able to get a lot of different tones out of it. Though it would not be the first bass I would grab for a funk gig.....

    That being said, each to their own.
  5. meh....i dont think they're versatile at all.....they're rock basses....and uncomfortable as well...i really dislike them..sound rather light and hollow-ish tinny to me
  6. B'aces high, you think youd be able to play alot of rics around here but in recent years they have been pulling the displays from stores. I asked one of the guys at mannys music in the city how come there were no rics, he caid not alot of people are buying them nowadays and usually if a person is interested they just pre order them. I just wanted to know people's opinions on their versatility since ive never tried one in a band environment or in a mix.
  7. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles

    Go to Guitar Center on 14th(off Union Sqr) or the one in LI City, or try Chelsea Guitars or Matt Umanov Guitars. You should be able to find at least one Ric between all those. Rudy's or 48th $t Custom are good bets too. (Though their prices generally suck)
  8. I dunno if this will help you..but i thought id give it a shot.


    That link is the Ric forums where there are a huge number of Ric bassists, all in different band settings and styles. Although they may be a bit biased you might find some interesting info there about music styles and Ric basses if you look around/ask. :)

    Good luck.
  9. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I like 4003's. I love the tone , and i view them as essentially a one trick pony, BUT, in a good way. You can get multi tricks out of the one trick, the sound is decently versatile, and the treble controls make a big difference, but i love rolling the treble down a little, having mostly a bassy tone with a little treble bite. I go to my local shop weekly to play a 4003 there (they have two, a fireglo and a jetglo, i like the jetglo but man the fireglo is pretty..so i play that one a lot).

    I kind of view the Rick in the same category as a precision bass. I know many would disagree with me, but basically for my uses, they fall near each other. I dont really like the slap tone on either, yet i love the fingerstyle tones. The 4003 kinda sounds like a precision as well, except a little smoother, less punchy, but with more bite. If it werent for slapping, id love to own a 4003, but i dont see a rick being used in my funk band at all.

    I love them for what they , but they are what they are.
    (and damn i love the fingerboards, so pretty)
  10. well, from my experiences, the ric is good, but i don't find it very versatile. i really liked them (in fact roger glover's ric playing on Deep Purple's Machine Head is what really got me started in bass!) and i still do like them, but to me, i have been unable to get a lot of low end out of them, and i can't get them to really stand out in a mix, without just cranking the amp really loud (which is still a good sound in its own right). I was also at a county fair last summer and there was a country band, with 3 guitar players, and a ric...i think the one he had was called a cheyanne ric, which sports a natural finish, it looks pretty cool, but you couldn't hear him! so anyways, i don't find them very versatile.
  11. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    "The Rick has one classic sound" - ah, that tired old chestnut.

    I always found at least two sounds that I liked to use - both pickups, or neck pickup only. To me, these were analogous to a P pup versus both J pups full on. The neck pickup by itself has a little more bite, more pronounced mids, while both pickups produce a rounder, fuller sound. I generally never used just the bridge pup, but that was just my personal taste - you can imagine what it would sound like. So there's three right there, plus add in tone controls and the ability to adjust the volume of both pickups independently. And don't forget, pick vs. fingers. I never slapped on mine...

    HOWEVER, I did get complaints from my soundman that I wasn't cutting through the mix. He and a guy in the audience kept begging me to switch back to my Fender Japan '62 Jazz RI. And when I did, I had to agree the difference was night and day. Something about the Jazz, it was so clear and deep and trebly at the same time. I was just sick of that sound! But I recognize that for live maybe it was the best sound.

    Didn't Rick James use a Ric?
  12. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Rick just liked how the Ric's looked!

    But I can get very different tones out of mine by switching around the settings and method of attack. My Ric's bridge pickup really cuts through with a pronounced bite while the neck one is mellow.
  13. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I don't play my Rics much. You probably work a lot more with your rics than I do with mine. I'm just talking about personal experience. Still, I love the harmonic quality of the Rics. Crisp and clear, like apple pie... transparent apple pie.
  14. Deaj


    Aug 15, 2004
    Kingston, WA
    I'll throw in my $0.02...

    I found the dual P/U each with it's own volume and treble control to offer alot of variety - a variety of Rickenbacker 4003 tones that is. As others have noted here it did seem to get lost in the mix live and wasn't very versatile in a live setting. For recording, however, I found that it worked well for a variety of styles of music and didn't have to sound aggressive. The variety of tones available in a Ric 4001/4003 are definitely easier to distinguish recorded and with positive results. Those subtleties aren't evident live. I also found it to be very uncomfortable to play and the neck was much less stable than any other bass I've ever owned. I was adjusting the truss rods way too often just to maintain reasonable playability.

    That was my experience when I owned a 4003 a while back. It would be nice to have one available for recording if that sound was desired but I'd rather have the money available for something I'd make more use of.
  15. rick also used an ibanez soundgear.....an sr400 by the looks of it
  16. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Personally I love my Ric, I'd happily take to any gig that I play on (Except classical but that's only because I need Low C)

    To me there are plenty of tones in this, I can get for example a convincing Jaco tone which is amazing for harmonics infact ot's possibly my best bass for harmonics, Nice jamerson P thum with the pickup in the centre of the body solo'd and the tone turned right down, and similar setting with a pick and a harder attack I can get a very very convincing JJ tone from the Stranglers. I bought a Jazz Bass after my ric because I thought it got a similar tone of my ric. After a year of not using it at all I strung it with flats so it then got the only tone my Ric didn't. But of course string the Ric with flats a BOOM there you go.

    I find the Ric is a little difficult to slap on but a quick alteration in technique and you soon get over that pickup being in the way, and it sounds amazing with a new set of rounds.

    Hope this helps
  17. Walbassman


    Nov 27, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    I have to agree. I am using all 5 of my Ricks right now and I can get any sound I want to out of them. Each of them sound different so I can go from rock to jazz to funk and even slap. I used my blue 4003 on sunday and it was killer. If you need more tone adjustment, get a preamp...Most of the new basses (aside from the vintage ones) have some kind of preamp so it is hard to compare certain brands that a lot of people are "ooooo-ing" over to Rick.
  18. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Cordell "Boogie" Monson played a Ric. Hmmm.....now who did he play for? Oh yeah, Parliament Funkadelic! That ain't exactly rock.
  19. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
    Who Says A Funk Band Can't Play Rock? ;)
  20. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France

    Though, versatility (tonewise) is directly dependent on the tone capabilities of the bass. On this point, IME, the 4003 will be more "versatile" than the 4001, since the 4003 delivers more bottom-end.