1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Rickenbacker -- whats the deal?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IotaNet, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. :bag: To the Group -

    I'm not trolling here (honest!) -- I am just trying to learn some things. (I also used the "Search" feature before making this post.)

    That said, What is the Deal with Rickenbackers?

    Let me start by saying that I'm not a professional bassist - calling me a "Weekend warrior" would be generous, at best. I'm also no youngster -- I'm well into my 40's and have been around music/musicians for a long time.

    I have seen Rics here and there and obviously, they have their fans here on TB. I am curious about the attraction of this particular bass.

    I realize that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and while thy aren't particularly attractive to me, it's obvious that somebody -- actually a whole lot of somebodys! -- think they are the dogs bollocks. (That's a nod to my British buds - look it up.)

    Seriously, I'd like to hear from Ric owners/lovers to learn more about what makes this axe so special to you.
  2. Jonki

    Jonki I will not slap my Bee!

    Oct 14, 2003
    Arendal, Norway
    great sound and good vintage looking
  3. Never did, but I like them. That's why I like them. :rolleyes:
  4. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Fair question, well put...

    Lots of people like the looks - obviously a personal thing. I love 'em. Rics defininitely have their own sound. Try listening to Geddy Lee (say, "Red Barchetta", when he's playing Ric rather than a Jazz), Chris Squire, or Bruce Foxton (The Jam). My own favourite CLASSIC Ric sound is Glenn Hughes on the live Deep Purple album "Made In Europe". Check my avatar!

    They're great to play (although they can take a bit of getting used to in that respect), I find I come up with different stuff on my Ric to what I play on my other basses, sort of more fluid, musical lines, dunno why. And the quality is excellent. That said, they're not (to me at least) a great all round bass like a Jazz. My own Ric is a bit too light on the bottom end for that compared to my J basses. You can slap and funk on a Ric, regardless of what some people may tell you, but it's not really what they're best at. But for what they do well, as in the examples above, they're great.

    Why not try and find one to have a go for yourself and see what you think? :)
  5. FireBug


    Sep 18, 2005
    I've played a '73 Rick. It's a very warm sounding bass. Not punchy and certainly not suited for slap. Fingerstyle, it is just warm and very smooth sounding. The sound of a Rick to me is addicting. It sounds very good through 15s.
  6. FireBug


    Sep 18, 2005
    Bassybill, I was typing my post while you were typing yours and now that I think about it, the stuff I came up with when I played that bass was very different also. Ricks seem to have a very soothing effect on me.
  7. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    :D Soothing - I like that! But most Rics I've heard/played don't lack punch if you dig in a bit. Again, I'd refer you to the examples above ^^
  8. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    My personal favorite Ric bass sound is Geddy Lee on the live album "Exit Stage Left." Listen to the song "Freewill" and you'll know why the sound is so addictive.

    It's one of the most amazing growl tones I've ever heard. :D
    "Soothing" is not a word I normally associate with the Ric tone, but to each his own.

    Gotta love the Ric! :hyper:
  9. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    I'll just echo the remarks others have made...here, and in the past. Nothing I have heard or played sounds like a Ric. I don't play mine a lot, but when I need "that sound" it's the only place I know to get it.
  10. Bob the Bass

    Bob the Bass

    Aug 13, 2004
    They sound fantastic, are a dream to play & look "The Dogs Bollocks"
    We did a gig a couple of weeks back & this guy came up to me afterwards & said my bass (ric 4003) was the most beautiful guitar he had ever seen ! :bassist:
  11. Rickenbackers are very unique beasts and that's why I love mine. The sound and look cannot be imitated.
  12. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    They're classic, yet different. Nothing else looks or sounds like them.
  13. The tone, feel, and the aesthetic.

    They are incredibly unique sounding, and looking instruments.

    Basically, you can tell when someone is both playing, and holding a Ric.
  14. To the Group -

    Thanks for the replies -- I "get it" a little better now. I suppose my next move is to go and play one!
  15. Go and buy TOOL's "Undertow" for some mind blowing Ric tone, One of the best bass tones I've ever heard. The bassist is Paul D'Amour, Their first bassist('92-'94).

    (Just a note, For those who see this post and dont know, Paul did not use a Ric on Opiate, He was using an Ovation Magnum then aqquired the Ric.)
  16. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    Rics look great, play like butter and make the best sounds I've ever heard come out of a bass. I've had the pleasure of playing a 77 4001 and it just gorgeous looking and plays like a dream. Ric necks are very very nice.
  17. I love the old Ric necks, like the ones on 4001s. Beautiful to play. The sound that these things make is just great, pickstyle and fingerstyle. Real grunty tone. Listen to Chris Squire of Yes.
  18. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    +1, very cool sounding and playing bass.
    They may not do the RB/Funk thing as well as a Jazz, though.

    -Unless you're Rick James, B****h!!!! :D
  19. i dont like em either..the tone is ok..but i cant stand the neck joint...nor the feel of them..they sit awkwardly on my lap..and poke into my ribs when using a strap....but i guess thats just me....well, i am a kubicki lover..so i guess i am a little crazy by some standards this board has :p
  20. Fawkes007


    Sep 13, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    Rics are one of the "Big 3," which of course includes the Precision and Jazz. Before 1977, before imports, before boutique really took off, before Music Man, those were generally the basses of choice (with a nod to the Gibson and Guild Starfire factions). Of course, I am talking about here in the states. You weren't a "serious" bass player unless you had one of "the three." Gibson players were few and far between (like Jack Bruce and Gene Simmons are *ahem* far between). Guild players (Phile Lesh and Jack Cassidy) had their Starfires modded by Alembic (I saw one of Jack's at a guitar show here once) but ultimately switched to Alembic basses (of course, Alembic, the Dead and the Airplane were within miles of each other in SF Bay).

    In those days you RARELY saw a bass player who did not play one of the three or all three. You also rarely saw other basses. Of, course that would all change in the late '70's.

    The Ric, to me, offered a more aesthetically interesting look, and the sound, compared to the Fenders, "over the top." Much more aggressive in the upper mids and top end, but still packed a wallop. I wanted a Ric more than anything in those days (I was playing a Kay). I thought the Fenders were boring. I didn't like the way Gibsons looked or sounded. Then, in 1977, I bought a Music Man. I thought it offered the best of both the Ric and Fender worlds in a much more playable package.

    After all this time, I have owned several Fenders, Music Mans, Spector, Ibanez, Pedulla, Warmoth...but never a Ric. And now I must go buy one. There is a certain mystique to Rickenbacker basses and guitars. There is a reason why they have endured. To me, it is because they are exceedingly well made, sound great (yes, like, Music Man, different than anything else, but great all the same), and look cool as hell. Oh, and they are reasonably priced, too. A made in America neck thru for under $1500 is a good value. Rickenbacker is (believe it or not) a company that is family owned and believes in presenting their best instruments for a fair price. Compared to the price hikes Gibson and Fender have shoved at the consumer, it's nice to see a company like Rickenbacker (and for the matter Ernie Ball/Music Man) still believe in delivering great product and great customer service at a fair price.