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Rickenbacker

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nanook, Mar 20, 2000.


  1. nanook

    nanook

    Feb 9, 2000
    Alaska
    Since the Rick 4003 is the finest production 4 string ever built, does that mean the 4003/5 is the finest production 5 string ever built? Anyone have one of these instruments from hell? How about a report.
     
  2. I don't know about the 5 string. I've never seen one in person.

    It's funny how things change. I remember when I first started playing bass (around 1980), the pro bassists all either had a Fender or a Rickenbacker (maybe the odd Gibson). Now you hardly ever see a Rickenbacker played. I teach bass at a high school 2 days a week, and I ask the young bassists there about Rickenbacker, and almost none of them have even heard of them. It's a shame. Maybe Ric needs to advertise more.

    I have a '73 4001. I love it but I must admit I prefer to use it for certain things only. I find it works best for me either with flatwound strings (a la Paul McCartney) or with roundwounds and pick ( a la Mike Rutherford or Chris Squire). One of my current projects is an early Genesis tribute band, and the 4001 is beautiful for that stuff. Unfortunately, I find the Ric a little muddy and unfocused when played with the fingers for straight ahead rock and roll. My Fenders and G&L's are better for that IMO.

    I do have to say, I truly admire Rickenbacker for making some of the most beautiful and well crafted guitars around. The neck on my 4001 is a work of art.

    I'd like to see a 5 string Ric, but I suspect it wouldn't be tight enough sounding for my taste. It's actually rare enough to see a new 4003 in Toronto shops: I'd be surprised to see the 5 string.
     
  3. CancerMerchant

    CancerMerchant

    Mar 24, 2000
    Well, I have yet to see a five string Rick. My Rickenbacher is supposedly a limited edtion made soley for export to the U.K. According to the owner of a semi-local music shop, it's one of about 15 or 20 in the U.S. I really don't know if this is true or not. All I was able to find out was that it was made in June of 1981, here in the states. If anyone can tell me how I can get some solid info I would appreciate it.

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  4. nanook

    nanook

    Feb 9, 2000
    Alaska
    They advertise a 5 string at their website but maybe it is a limited production model.
    and, Yes the Rick is a great instrument with unmatched sound, durability and style and above all CLASS. They have never cheapened their line with economy models which is why you don't see garage bands playing them. As far as professional musicians are concerned, they are still very popular.
     
  5. Just saw a Rick 5-string at Guitar Center in Minnesota. I'll give it a test drive and report next time I'm there, which has been pretty often 'cuz I've grown to hate my current bass (Alembic Epic 5). My first bass was an early 70's 4001. Bought it used in '77 for $300 - served me well for 10 years. Then the neck started turning up to see me. I started trying to figure out how to adjust it and discovered one of the nuts is kinda twisted (stripped) and bent down. That's when I bought the Alembic. Started to get sick of "that tone". I'm looking seriously at either a Warwick Thumb-Thru or MM Stingray 5 or anything else that strokes my funk. Later...
     
  6. RickenbackeR

    RickenbackeR

    Mar 28, 2000
    I just bought my first RIC not too long ago (im still pretty excited as you can notice from my nickname [​IMG] ) and i find it just marvellous.

    Of course, i haven't played it for long enough to say that its 'the best in the world', but my Fireglo RIC 4003 indeed has really awesome sound, and great playability with the left hand.

    Ive found, however, that its not as good when it comes to your fingering hand (in comparison to the gibson i had before), but it might be just that i need to get used to it still.

    The neck is just incredible. Now i slide up and down and do all kinds of stuff with my left hand faster than ever before!

    Even if it's not the best bass out there, it is for sure a collector's piece.

    I know for instance that i'll always take my older bass to any gig where there is the chance that i get drunk [​IMG]

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  7. nanook

    nanook

    Feb 9, 2000
    Alaska
    8 String Rick. They also show an 8 string at their website. Anyone know anything about them?

    I researched for 34 years before I bought my Rick 4003 and believe it, it is the sweetest bass I have ever played. By comparison everything else is second string.
     
  8. CancerMerchant

    CancerMerchant

    Mar 24, 2000
    Funny thing... I went and visited the Rickenbacher website and I decided to send an e-mail to the company to find out some details about my axe. All I know is that is was made in June of 1981. Well, guess what? The e-mail addresses to Rickenbacher are complete bull****. If there is anyone out there on the net that can tell me ANYTHING about this particular model of axe, well I'll look for the post. If you know what your talking about, i'll e-mail you and give you the serial number for a more accurate description. Thanks.
     
  9. mr2112

    mr2112

    Mar 31, 2000
  10. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto
    The problem with 4003S/5 string basses, is that they use the same neck as a standard 4003 four string. String spacing is very tight, but like most things you will get use to it over time. I've played a Rickenbacker 4001 for years, and i'd love to have bought a Ric 5-string, but for that kind of money I bought a much more practicle 5-string.
    And to Rob W. You will never find a new 4003S/5 in Toronto hanging from a wall. New 4003's are hard enough to find in T.O. as you must know. If you want to check out a new 4003S/5 unfortunately you'll have to order one from L&McQ. And you can expect to wait 6 months or longer before it arrives.
    Cheers
     
  11. nanook

    nanook

    Feb 9, 2000
    Alaska
    That 5 string rick sounds perfect for us small handed dudes......and dudetts.
     
  12. James Ellis

    James Ellis

    Mar 28, 2000
    PLayed a Ric 5 string brand new in Fireglo at Guitar Emporium in Louisville. Beautiful bass. Crisp trebly sound. But a flop of a fiver IMO.

    I have small hands, but the string spacing is so tight on this thing that it is tough to articulate. Truly these are four string necks with a five string bridge.

    Pity, cause it sure was pretty.

    I like Rics by-and-large, and hope to own one soon.

    James
     
  13. I'd always thought Ric's rocked the known earth and had always wanted one...I was a little surprised that when I finally shelled out for a '98 4003 and found the quality was closer to s*** than gold.

    Ever looked at the bridge piece on a new Ric? You might notice that ALL the intonation screws are bent, therefore you can end up breaking (as I did) the screws or stripping the saddle piece when adjusting. Ok, new bridge, same problem. I also had to grind off the edges of the bridge in order to make the damn thing fit completely in the cutout.

    The finish? Better'n most but still crummy compared to most basses out there now.

    Neck action? mmmm, nice, but a friend's cheap-ish Washburn plays faster.

    Hell, sounds like i'm bashing it to bits...actually, no, I wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China. Nothing sounds like it, I like!


    [This message has been edited by nil (edited April 06, 2000).]
     
  14. Saint

    Saint

    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    I agree completely with Nanook and others who correctly point out that Rickenbacker has maintained a consistently high standard for its instruments. I would feel just as confident buying a new 4003 today as I did when I bought mine years ago. I note the Fender and Tobias lovers, for example, who speak with sadness about the decline in those companies' products and the need to buy vintage instruments. What a contrast! Would I like a vintage 4001? Sure. Do I feel I need one instead of my 4003? No Way.

    I've been trying a lot of basses out lately and, while I think many of them have been outstanding instruments, it has made me appreciate my Ric even more: it is a very well made, beautiful instrument with a truly unique and beautiful sound. Sure, it's not Bo Jackson (can play many sports well) but it is certainly Michael Jordan (the best at one sport)IMHO.

    Nil, with regard to your problems, unless you are an experienced luthier, I highly advise you to have a pro do a tune-up on your bass. This is something that Jeff Berlin strongly recommends and has done. I recently experienced some of the problems and misgivings you described. However, I just spent $50 (including new Ken Smith strings)to have mine professionally adjusted (bridge, neck, pickups, intonation, etc.)and it was more than worth every penny. My action is low and fast, the sustain and tone are better, and the intonation is perfect. In fact, it's better now than the day I got it.

    Bottom line: I'm still getting another bass, but you'll get my Ric when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
     
  15. nanook

    nanook

    Feb 9, 2000
    Alaska
    nil - I looked over my Rick real close and the bridge screws are straight. Did you take the string tension off before you made the adjustments?

    Also looked at the finish again - yep, it's perfect and the neck is fast and buttery smooth, what a pleasure to play.

    Maybe you got one of those Russian clones???
     
  16. willy

    willy

    Apr 7, 2000
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by nanook:
    Since the Rick 4003 is the finest production 4 string ever built, does that mean the 4003/5 is the finest production 5 string ever built? Anyone have one of these instruments from hell? How about a report.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    i personally dislike the more than basic string option. first of all after playing a bass for many years i am use to playing the average sized neck and am happy with the range and options you can get with a four string bass. if you want to play a five or six string bass you should just pick up a guitar instead, i mean what is a more than average strings on a bass really for? show or maybe just a new gimmick for the industry to make more money from us. oh, i played the five string and i never even hit the g string once, i didn't need to. so bottom line if you want to play more than four strings like stated before just pick up a conventional guitar, the four string rickey kicks butt, and in my opinion is the best bass on the market and i don't think that any time soon anyone could match nor surpass it... just an opinion.
     
  17. Biski2Dope

    Biski2Dope

    Mar 26, 2000
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by nanook:
    Since the Rick 4003 is the finest production 4 string ever built.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    'Cordin to who...



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    DISCLAIMER: Views shown by Biski2Dope in this post are entirely cynical and should not be taken as offense to anyone...and now that that's done, WANT SOME NUTS? Mooah...

     
  18. nanook: all strings were fully slack before i removed the bridge...i have no idea how the screws ended up bent (it seems almost impossible to set them this way) - also i was a little disappointed to find that the screws didn't actually run all the way through the bridge to sit in the holes on the other side (um, i hope that wasn't too layman sounding...).

    it's a USA ric, no copy here, so i (and a number of friends and bass techs here) was pretty surprised when i found it like that. the store promptly ordered a new replacement bridge for me (3 weeks to get from Australia to NZ!) that had exactly the same fault. EXACTLY. at least this one fitted in the bridge cavity without any filing necessary.

    another bummer i found recently was after getting a service done on it, i've lost sustain on the high B (fr.9, 2nd str), probably due to a slightly high fret on the 10th or something...damn, more servicing! ;-)

    BUT, at least everyone who sees the bass wants to be my baby, and ho ho ho the SOUND! the CLANK! the GROWL!

    btw, does anyone have any amp suggestions that would really bring out the character of a 4003? my swr wm15 is a bit pussy and hi-fi...
     
  19. I've used my Ricky a few ways, but by far the best was when I used it as intended: with 2 amps. That "Rickosound" feauture is fantastic.

    I got THE most killer sound this way:

    first you need to get yourself a stereo 1/4" cable (there are lots made for use with PA systems). Then built yourself a splitter box with one stereo 1/4" jack and two mono 1/4" jacks and a mount them in a little plastic project box. I got all the necessary parts for less than 5 bucks which is WAY cheaper than buying the actual "Rickosound" box at like a hundred bucks or something. The idea is to split that stereo signal into 2 separate outputs (one for each pickup).

    Once this was accomplished I sent the signal from my neck pickup into my ultra clean David Eden Traveler Plus head and 410XLT cab. The bridge pickup went through my vintage Ampeg V4-B tube head and 210 cab. The V4-B is a nice match, since it's only 100W, it's starts to get nice and dirty sounding at a lower volume than an SVT head. It's also surprisingly capable of a tremendous amount of high treble which puts a beautiful sizzle on the top of the sound.

    The combination of the ultra clean low end, and the slighty grungy treble gives one of the most huge 3 dimensional sounds I have ever heard. When you back off, you get a very full and rich tone: when you lay into it, the paint will start peeling off the walls. Of course, this is very close to Chris Squire's legendary tone, but he is one of the few guys who ever took advantage of the "Rickosound" feature. (Mike Rutherford also recorded the bass parts on "Selling England By The Pound" this way)

    I strongly urge any Rickenbacker owners who haven't tried this : it is a must! It might not be practical for every day, but it's really something!
     
  20. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I used a Ric throughout the '70s and early '80s, then sold it (ARRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHH). During that time a played with a standard 3-piece rock band, so to 'fill out' the sound, I also used Ric-O-Sound feature. Neck pickup into a clean amp with 4x12 and 2x15 cab, bridge pickup into a bunch of effects (phaser, flanger, chorus etc), and then into a 200W Valve amp (an old Kelly Marshall clone) and a 4x12 cab.

    It sounded like two instruments, especially when playing with a pick and two fingers at the same time. Anyone having a Ric should try this kind of approach, even on a single amp with two inputs. Effects don't affect the main, deep, clean bass sound, and if each input has a volume control, you can define your sound in a very fine way.