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The Rickenbacker "Sound"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Usul, Mar 5, 2001.

  1. I have heard numerous mention of their signiture sound.Some like it,some don`t.Some say it limits this bass to certain musical types(i.e.rock,metal,alt.).

    Please give me some song titles and artists that used rics on the said tunes.I know Chris Squire in Yes used on for a while.Also everyone`s favorite british basser,Paul McCartney(ok tis a tie between him and Entwistle! lol).

    I have gotten to play a ric once at GC,but only unplugged as there were too many wannabes/showoffs on the amps.It felt nice but I have yet to hear how they sound....OH THE HUMANITY!!!!.....

    Vielen Dank fuer euere Hilfe!
  2. maybe someone can post a lil wav or mp3 comparing regular bass tone to ric tone. that'd be nice =)
  3. Well, just looking at the huge difference in tone McCartney got from his Ric and the tone Chris Squire gets (he still uses his most of the time) it may be hard to generalize.

    The McCartney tone, on one end, is very warm and smooth. He used flatwound strings on his and alwmost always plucked near the fingerboard.

    Chris Squire used stainless steel roundwound strings and often played very agressively, with lots of treble in his tone - he also played near the bridge quite often. The other consideration is that Squire ran the Ric in stereo with each pickup being routed to a separate amp. People always think of his sound as being very bright, but he also has a very huge bottom to his sound coming from the neck pickup.

    My general thoughts on Ric's are that I find the midrange to be fairly light. I have one myself, by the way. Lots of top end, lots of bottom but not much mid. I find they have a bit of trouble in the mix sometimes because of that.
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Dolt!;):D There is no "regular" bass tone!:)
  5. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    Go to mp3.com and at the search engine type in "that rickenbacker sound" This will lead you to a station by that same name. Scroll down, and there is a song by an artist named Keifer called "it's just the two of us" and it features a RIC 4001 bass, according to the description. There is also an Australian band right now named Powderfinger and their bass player uses a 4003, a midnight blue one, which sounds better than the other colors.
  6. Yesh. I know. Lets compare it to a few basses then. How about a fender p, jazz, one of jt's conklins, and then he can use that old rick that's been laying around picking up dust for us =) hehe
  7. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Others who have used the Ric would be Geddy Lee (duh), and Roger Glover during the first round with Deep Purple (Machine Head may have been done with the Ric, although the album cover features the Fender).
  8. cliff burton used a rick back then too. =)
  9. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Personally, I think that the Ric is something of a one sound bass - like you say, it sounds good when it's used to it's strengths, but when people try and make it sound different (i.e. less treble, more middle) it doesn't sound as good. Some of the best bass tones I've heard have come from Rics, as have some of the worst. Nice bass as the Rickenbacker is, I prefer the sound and versatiltity of my Fender.
  10. I just found an album by Ned's Atomic Dustbin ("are You Normal?") going cheap- two bass players, one with a stingray, one with a Rick 4001 playing twangy lead lines.
    another Rick 4001 user was Bruce Foxton of The Jam eg. "Going Underground", but he later switched to maple-neck P-basses, as he thought the Rick was always missing something- and I'd tend to agree- a P-bass has a chunkier sound eg. The Who's "Live At Leeds" or The Stranglers' "Black&White" and "The Raven" that I prefer.
    even when Paul McCartney used a Rick (eg. "Abbey Road") it had a bit of that "fretbuzzy" rasping sound.
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    The guy from Spacehog is a Rick player also.

    Will C.:cool:
  12. Wowsers!

    Finally heard it,the "sound" I mean...Downloaded a few tunes form mp3.com that featured rickenbacker basses.I must confess,I really liked the sound/tone of them....it was bass,but with almost a piano like tone to it....not sure how to describe it.Will definately have to investigate a bit more!

    Thanks to everyone for their input and especially Mr.Max,who turned me on to the "rickenbacker sound" channel on mp3.com!

    Have a great weekend all!

  13. When I bought a 4001 back in the 70s, it was to get the stereo wiring so I could run each pickup into its own channel of a Sunn Beta Bass combo. That gave me the crisp, hi-fi sound I craved as much as those times would allow without springing for a stereo Alembic. Squire sure sounds like he was running his this way. McCartney, on the other hand, sounds like he's running mono, a totally different sound signature.

    There's still some awareness of having different sounds on different pickups, even running mono, but not much. I would always prefer a stack-knob J to a 3-knob for this reason.

    Bartolini knows that most folks run with 3 knobs, so they make an interesting combination, a classic clean/bright neck J paired with a dark bridge J which they find optimizes growl. If darkness is the child of overwinding (it appears to be), then this has the side benefit of boosting signal slightly in the weaker-sounding bridge position. Someone, maybe here, commented that his 5% overwound Lindy Fralin bridge J pickup gave him super growl. So I guess Fralin's aware of this, too.

    But back on the subject of darkness at the bridge for its own sake, I'd rather get my highs from the neck pickup than the bridge. The bridge pumps out mids to die for, but I don't much care for the quality of lows or highs there compared to the lows and highs that come off the neck pickup.

    I bought my 4001 for its stereo capabilities, but I wish I'd spent lots of time exploring its mono sound palette. There are all kinds of great sounds lurking in any decent bass that has separate tone controls for each pickup.
  14. Kurosawa:

    I'm retrofitting my '72 4001 (had fender pups and BAD wiring) with a set of Bartolinis + passive electronics. Electronics + pots will be all new, + new scratchplate.

    1. What is meant by "darkness"?

    2. Do you have any recommendations on wiring / setting up the pots? Please explain your recommendations. Thanks a lot.
  15. Hi, by "darkness" I meant treble attenuation with heavier bottom and low mids. It's been a long time since I fooled with that bass and I never got into the guts of it, so I won't give you any wiring advice.

    Official Ric schematics are at http://www.rickenbacker.com/us/gschematics.htm

    EMG's wiring help page is http://www.emginc.com/EMGFAQ.html

    I would e Bill at Bartolini (you can get his e address at http://www.bartolini.net ) and ask him to fax any schematics and suggestions he has for wiring Ric bass in a neat way.

    Stewart-Macdonald's Wiring 101 page has recently moved elsewhere on their site to http://www.stewmac.com/wiring101/

    If things are totally messed up, I see complete harnesses for $70 at http://www.the-music-connection.com/ricpart.htm (this is just the first one I ran across, may be better deals out there).
  16. Thanks for the valuable advice, Kurosawa. I think i'll drop Bill a line ...
  17. Chris Squire and Sir Paul's Ricks were not stereo, or more appropriately Ric-O-Sound basses. I have a 4001V63, it's mono and just like theirs, technically. Also, I confirmed this by looking it up in my book, The Complete History of Rickenbacker Guitars.

    In these recent years, Squire (live anyway) still plays his original Ric, and runs it thru Marshall and Ampeg amp and cabs.

    I love my Ric, and this is the second Ric I've owned; I had a Fireglo 4003S back in 1990 that now resides with my brother. I find there's nothing I can't do on one, but I agree that there's always a "right tool for the job". For real rolling thunder type stuff, I like my P, and for certain other things, I like my RB5...but I like to use my Ric for funky stuff, blues, and driving rock.
  18. Hope this comes out right :)
  19. Thanks, Slaphappy, after I read your post, I thought about how dead my Ric sounded running mono and how I could only get the Squire sound stereo, so I ended up at http://chrissquire.com/equipment.html (what a great page, belongs to Squire himself) and it says his bass had been shaved down to 2/3 its original weight by the time he recorded it.
  20. That's a cool page, Kurosawa, thanks!

    Looks like he's playing in stereo...he must be splitting his signal somewhere, cuz it's a mono bass and you can see that he only has one jack there coming out.


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