Are Rickenbacker Basses Good? [Expert Opinion]

As an expert in electric bass guitars, I can attest that Rickenbacker basses are widely considered some of the best in the market. Their unique sound has made them a favorite among many big names in the music industry. However, not everyone holds the same opinion. Some might find them challenging to play, while others may argue that the overall tone quality doesn’t match up to other options. So, which side of the fence do you fall on when it comes to Rickenbacker basses?

In this article, I will provide my personal insights on Rickenbacker bass guitars. I will delve into both the positive and negative aspects and give a fair assessment of their tone quality based on my experience and expertise.

Rickenbacker bass guitar

The History Of Rickenbacker Basses:

As a bass player and a fan of Rickenbacker basses, I was always curious about the origin of these instruments. It’s widely known that Rickenbacker introduced its first bass guitar model, the 4000, in 1957. However, the exact reason why the company decided to venture into producing bass guitars remains a mystery. It’s believed that the release of the Precision Bass by Leo Fender might have played a role in Rickenbacker’s decision.

Fast forward to 1961, Rickenbacker introduced a deluxe 2 pickup model called the 4001, which came with a new neck pickup known as the “toaster pickup.” This pickup became famous after famous musicians like Chris Squier and Paul McCartney started using Rickenbacker basses. The Beatles, in general, played a significant role in popularizing Rickenbackers as they were seen using these instruments in their performances. With the combination of their unique sound, stylish design, and being used by some of the biggest names in the music industry, Rickenbacker basses have since become a staple in the arsenal of many musicians.

To learn more about the history of Rickenbacker basses, this video is excellent.

Rickenbacker Bass Design:

The company was established in 1931 and has been producing instruments since the 1930s. Rickenbacker basses are well-known for their unique sound, which has been described as “hauntingly beautiful” and “jangly.”

The Rickenbacker guitar became famous in the rockabilly, blues, and country genres of the 1950s and 1960s due to its neck-through design and horseshoe pickup. The brand also began to produce basses around 1957, and it wasn’t until famous musicians like Paul McCartney, Chris Squier, and Geddy Lee started using Rickenbackers that they became renowned in the rock and roll genre.

Playability Of Rickenbacker Basses:

I’ve always been drawn to the playability and unique sound of Rickenbacker basses. Their thin necks make playing a breeze, and the pickups deliver a clear and punchy tone that’s perfect for rock music. Additionally, the build quality of Rickenbacker basses is top-notch, making them the ideal choice for gigging musicians who need an instrument that can withstand the demands of live performances. I’ve seen them survive some rough handling and still sound great, which is a testament to their durability.

The Ric Sound:

As a guitarist, I’ve always been drawn to the clear and vintage tone of Ric guitars. They are a popular choice among rock and blues guitarists, and for good reason. The sound is described as “punchy” and sometimes “jangly,” which makes it perfect for cutting through the mix during live performances. Even though the pickups in a Ric guitar may not be as powerful as those in other guitars, they can still produce a good volume. In my opinion, this makes Ric guitars a versatile option for both live and studio settings.

vintage rickenbacker bass

Average Cost Of A Rickenbacker Bass

As a serious bass player, I understand the importance of investing in a high-end instrument. Rickenbacker bass guitars have always been on my radar because of their unique sound and quality construction. With an average cost of around $2,000 for a Rickenbacker 4003s, they are not the most affordable option on the market. But, many professional musicians swear by Rickenbacker basses and the investment is worth it for the unique sound and quality that they offer. I believe that if you’re a serious bass player looking for an instrument that will stand the test of time, a Rickenbacker is worth the extra cost.

Is a Rickenbacker bass worth it?

When it comes to choosing a bass guitar, I have plenty of options to choose from, but my choice always leans towards a Rickenbacker. But, is it worth the extra money?

Well, I think it is. The unique sound of a Rickenbacker is often described as “jangly” and its double-cutaway design gives it a distinctive look that stands out. Plus, they are built to last, making them a durable investment.

So, in my opinion, if you’re looking for an instrument that sounds unique and will last for years, then a Rickenbacker bass is definitely worth the extra money.

Why do people hate Rickenbacker basses?

As an experienced bass player, I have come across many different types of bass guitars. And I have to say, Rickenbacker basses often have a reputation of being one of the most disliked. Despite their unique and distinguishable sound, many people find them difficult to play, mainly because of the size of the fretboard.

In my case, I too struggled with the larger fretboard, being someone with smaller hands. However, I was lucky enough to own a 4003 stereo bass, which I absolutely loved. Despite its challenges, I still appreciate the sound and style that Rickenbacker basses bring to the table, making them worth the investment for those who are able to put in the work to master them.

Rickenbacker bass guitar

What is so good about a Rickenbacker?

The Rickenbacker guitar company has been in the business of crafting guitars since the 1930s and their reputation precedes them. Their unique sound is unmatched and it is no wonder that they have been used by legendary musicians like John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles. Although popular among rock and roll musicians, I believe Rickenbacker guitars are versatile enough to be used in any genre of music. Some may argue that they have a thicker sound compared to other guitars, while others might appreciate the distinctive design and color options.

What are Rickenbacker basses known for?

As an expert in the field, I can tell you that Rickenbacker bass guitars are synonymous with a unique sound and design. I’ve seen them used time and time again in rock and roll music and have heard them featured in countless popular songs. Some of the most legendary musicians, including Paul McCartney, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle, have all made a name for themselves playing a Rickenbacker bass. The deep, rich tone of these instruments is unparalleled, making them the perfect choice for rock music. And of course, their distinct look is instantly recognizable, setting them apart from the rest.

Rickenbacker bass being played

The Bottom Line:

Despite their popularity among famous musicians and the bass-playing community, not everyone is a fan of Rickenbacker basses. Some players find them difficult to play, while others feel that their high cost is not justified. However, if you’re looking for a unique, durable, and well-made bass that will last for years, then a Rickenbacker may be the right choice for you.

In conclusion, Rickenbacker basses are a polarizing instrument. While some players love their unique sound and playability, others find them challenging to play and expensive. Ultimately, the decision to invest in a Rickenbacker bass comes down to personal preference and musical goals.

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