Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by ThatGuyOverThere » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:20 am

I’m curious about the Creamery pickups too. The Hi-Gains in my 360 are useable, but definitely lacking in clarity.

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by Gav Haus » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:55 am

I did a little A/B of mine today. Apologies for the slack playing; I was just trying to work out a riff to be honest!

https://youtu.be/tgMK-yvheFw
http://wearerichlist.com

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by kamillebidan » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:53 pm

Gav Haus wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:06 am
I can’t rid myself of 360 gas! How are the Creamery pickups? Am I correct in thinking you’ve basically chosen a toaster bridge and a hi-gain neck? My 330 sounds absolutely great, but as a consequence I’d maybe consider new pickups for the 620 as it doesn’t shine in quite the same way (despite sounding very nice in its own right)
The Creamery pickups are a definite upgrade to the stock hi-gains that my 360 came with, but there's a couple things that kinda irked me. First, the pickup leads do not match where the original pickup's leads are, so I had to have a separate small hole made to accommodate it (covered by the pickup rings luckily). Second, you have to buy separate foam rings that kinda fit on the bottom due to the same lead wire placement issue. I wish they would match the placement of the stock ones, but maybe this was an isolated issue for my set. Also it took almost two months to get them to the US, so there's that if you are in a hurry.

But sound-wise, they are way more balanced and clear across the strings. I found the hi-gains to be pretty sterile and even boomy, but the Creamery PUs were a perfect fit. My set was an alnico 2 rod Mid 63 neck, and an alnico 5 bar High 68 in the bridge. The middle position is IMO the best sound out of these, but both separate serve a purpose!

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by CivoLee » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:40 am

Years ago, I had two Rics, a Midnight Blue 360 and a 620 in Fireglo. They were the first "professional" level instruments I ever owned. They sounded great, and yes, they are more sonically versatile than they get credit for, though the 620 was a little too bright with the bridge hi-gain. I eventually had it replaced with a Ric humbucker (the pickups on the 650 models) and it gave it new life, plus the combination with the neck hi-gain made for a great rhythm tone, instilling in me an appreciation for HS guitars that still lasts to this day (though I haven't owned very many). I got them because at the time I was very into 80s/early 90s alternative-the Smiths, the Smithereens, REM, Ride's "Vapour Trail" and so on. And yes, Guy Picciotto with Fugazi (he also played one with Rites of Spring).

Here's the thing, though...

Rics look great. And they sound great. But they absolutely do NOT sound or play like 99% of the other electric guitars out there. As others have pointed out, they're not the "one-trick ponies" they have a reputation for being. But just as no other guitar can really sound like a Rickenbacker, a Rickenbacker cannot sound like any other guitar. One time I was riding with a guy in a previous band and he had an album by mewithoutYou playing on the car's stereo. I remarked that they sounded a lot like Fugazi, and sure enough, it turned out one of their guitarists played a Ric like Picciotto. Another thing about the Ric sound is that, if you listen closely to a song with rhythm played on a Ric, the guitar is very prominent, but so is the bass line. That's because the Ric sound occupies a very particular frequency range with the mix.

I wish I had realized the above at the time. I also wish I'd had a chance to play the 360 before buying it, because also like others have pointed out, the combination of a thickly lacquered fingerboard, small fretwire, and thick yet narrow neck makes for what can be an uncomfortable feel for anything but chording. It was very frustrating to read about how great they sounded for open string drones/arpeggios and to hear other bands prove it when the narrow string spacing meant I'd always be muting the strings unless I arched my fingers in a way that felt unnatural. I actually got the 620 because it looked like it had a wider neck. It did not, even though I tried to convince myself it did. In reality, the only Ric that would've suited me would have been one of the 650 models; they give you a better feel and more "modern" sound (plus their "heavy" tones are far more convincing, case in point, Kurt Ballou of Converge played a 650A for a while, though eventually it was routed for EMGs, blah) while retaining the Ric look. Which, in reality, was all that I wanted.

I eventually got other guitars that I enjoyed playing more, even if they didn't sound as good. I sold the Rics as it didn't make sense to have such expensive instruments laying about collecting dust while I played cheaper ones. Which brings me to one final, and kind of sobering, observation; it seems like any guitarist that broke using a Rickenbacker will inevitably switch to a different, more popular guitar. John Lennon and George Harrison switched to Epiphone Casinos and Fender Teles. Johnny Marr switched to Gibson ES-335s and ES-295s. Even Peter Buck started playing Les Pauls, Strats, and various other guitars.

So my advice to the Ric-curious: no matter how much you like the look/sound, play before you pay.

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by BoringPostcards » Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:12 am

CivoLee wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:40 am
..... Which brings me to one final, and kind of sobering, observation; it seems like any guitarist that broke using a Rickenbacker will inevitably switch to a different, more popular guitar. John Lennon and George Harrison switched to Epiphone Casinos and Fender Teles. Johnny Marr switched to Gibson ES-335s and ES-295s. Even Peter Buck started playing Les Pauls, Strats, and various other guitars.

So my advice to the Ric-curious: no matter how much you like the look/sound, play before you pay.
It's true that Paul Weller switched and never went back, due to his feeling that Gibsons were more versatile, however your examples aren't that great.
Harrison was always switching what he was using, and never really stuck to any regular guitar, besides his Strats. He still used Rics on record for 12 string parts.
John Lennon continued to use his 325 in studio to record some parts on his solo albums, and even used one live a few times after leaving the Beatles.
Johnny Marr mostly uses Jags now, however he still owns a couple Rics and has said in several interviews that he still loves them.
As for Peter Buck, he actually ordered some special 360s in the last year or so, which have no lacquer on the fretboard and larger frets, and he is using them. John Hall posted a few pics of them being completed at the factory, and I saw a post from Peter expressing how happy he is with these custom 360s. He didn't have any changes made to the electronics or neck profile, just the fretboard.
I agree that people really need to play them first, but that is true about any guitar over 1000 dollars.
Personally, I don't find the necks that strange at all, but I don't have really long fingers like a lot of guitar players do. I have what people call Piano hands. Not sure why, but that being said, every guitar I own has a completely different neck.
My 61 reissue styled 2013 SG has a slim taper neck, my Telecaster has a baseball bat, my Jazzmasters have all been very different from each other (I've had everything from MIJ to US), and one of my Mustangs has a huge neck, while the other has a skinny neck with a narrow nut.
Of course, it's odd sometimes going from one to another, especially the Tele, but it's not a big issue.
I know some people have arthritis or other issues that keep them to a single preferred neck profile, but I don't buy the idea that Rickenbackers are uniquely hard to get used to and stick with.
Disclaimer: I have yet to buy my own Ric, but I spent a lot of time with a friend's 330 when making my decision to actually pursue one, and it was super awkward for a few days, but after I got used to the feel, it was fine.
All that being said, I really wish they would release more modern designs, however every time they do, the Rickenbacker fan community kicks up a stink, they don't sell, and back to the original specs they go. RIP 481, 650, 480, and Hamburg models. They even discontinued the 4004L basses, which had modern hardware and humbuckers, and they were AWESOME.
650s are great. The neck is almost too wide though, honestly.
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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by CivoLee » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:51 am

BoringPostcards wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:12 am
All that being said, I really wish they would release more modern designs, however every time they do, the Rickenbacker fan community kicks up a stink, they don't sell, and back to the original specs they go. RIP 481, 650, 480, and Hamburg models. They even discontinued the 4004L basses, which had modern hardware and humbuckers, and they were AWESOME.
650s are great. The neck is almost too wide though, honestly.
I've been playing a PRS SE with a Wide-Thin neck for a few years, plus I've had some time with Wide-Fat models as well. So I think I could get used to a 650 neck pretty easily. I've tinkered with the idea of getting one over the years, but I don't really have the budget right now. Plus, I realized a few years ago that for me the holy trinity of electric guitars goes like this: Gibson Les Paul → PRS Custom 24 → Fender Jazzmaster, and all others just seem secondary.

I agree that the Ric fanbase is the company's worst enemy. They want Rics to be Rics and feel other sounds/feels can be covered by other guitars. They're a small company, so they have no choice but to kowtow to that crowd's wishes. They might've had a chance at modernizing if they'd come up with something like the the 650s in the late 60s, but by the 90s the preconceptions of certain electrics were pretty solidfied: Strats and Les Pauls were for dirty rock 'n' rollers, Teles were for country pickers, JMs and Jags were for alternative outsiders, PRSi for "modern rock", and Rics were for British Invasion revivalists and "jangle" music. And with guitar music beginning to fade into the background, they'll be in big trouble in the near future because it's unlikely they'll get some burst of popularity among younger musicians from the next "guitar hero" coming along playing a Ric. Their best bet is to start to go the route Gibson has gone with the Les Paul by offering Traditional and Standard models (or Classic and Modern as they call them now). Why not offer the 660 neck on the 330/360? How about a "Peter Buck" option for a non-lacquered fingerboard with larger frets? Maybe offer humbuckers on every model? Offering these as options instead of full models would be much cheaper, and if anyone complains about these options just for existing the company can tell them, "screw you, we're trying to stay in business here."

Then again, that idea that everyone can afford a whole stable of other guitars to cover all the bases if you're not totally in love with the traditional Ric sound/feel does speak to a certain mentality, prone to "screw you, I got mine" thinking, so perhaps they wouldn't care if the company went under so long as they had theirs. And all that would mean to them if the world's supply of Rics became even more finite than it is already is their guitar(s) just became even more valuable if/when they had to turn them over :-/ :fp:

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by BoringPostcards » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:42 pm

CivoLee wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:51 am
BoringPostcards wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:12 am
All that being said, I really wish they would release more modern designs, however every time they do, the Rickenbacker fan community kicks up a stink, they don't sell, and back to the original specs they go. RIP 481, 650, 480, and Hamburg models. They even discontinued the 4004L basses, which had modern hardware and humbuckers, and they were AWESOME.
650s are great. The neck is almost too wide though, honestly.
I've been playing a PRS SE with a Wide-Thin neck for a few years, plus I've had some time with Wide-Fat models as well. So I think I could get used to a 650 neck pretty easily. I've tinkered with the idea of getting one over the years, but I don't really have the budget right now. Plus, I realized a few years ago that for me the holy trinity of electric guitars goes like this: Gibson Les Paul → PRS Custom 24 → Fender Jazzmaster, and all others just seem secondary.

I agree that the Ric fanbase is the company's worst enemy. They want Rics to be Rics and feel other sounds/feels can be covered by other guitars. They're a small company, so they have no choice but to kowtow to that crowd's wishes. They might've had a chance at modernizing if they'd come up with something like the the 650s in the late 60s, but by the 90s the preconceptions of certain electrics were pretty solidfied: Strats and Les Pauls were for dirty rock 'n' rollers, Teles were for country pickers, JMs and Jags were for alternative outsiders, PRSi for "modern rock", and Rics were for British Invasion revivalists and "jangle" music. And with guitar music beginning to fade into the background, they'll be in big trouble in the near future because it's unlikely they'll get some burst of popularity among younger musicians from the next "guitar hero" coming along playing a Ric. Their best bet is to start to go the route Gibson has gone with the Les Paul by offering Traditional and Standard models (or Classic and Modern as they call them now). Why not offer the 660 neck on the 330/360? How about a "Peter Buck" option for a non-lacquered fingerboard with larger frets? Maybe offer humbuckers on every model? Offering these as options instead of full models would be much cheaper, and if anyone complains about these options just for existing the company can tell them, "screw you, we're trying to stay in business here."

Then again, that idea that everyone can afford a whole stable of other guitars to cover all the bases if you're not totally in love with the traditional Ric sound/feel does speak to a certain mentality, prone to "screw you, I got mine" thinking, so perhaps they wouldn't care if the company went under so long as they had theirs. And all that would mean to them if the world's supply of Rics became even more finite than it is already is their guitar(s) just became even more valuable if/when they had to turn them over :-/ :fp:
I agree with most of this assessment. Not the bit about Les Pauls and PRS. Always preferred SGs and have not spent enough time with a PRS to form an opinion. For me the trifecta is Jazzmaster, SG, and RIC330(I have played enough of these to know I need one. It fits certain aspects of my playstyle).
This is different for everybody. If I added a fourth to that list, it would be a semihollow of some sort.
I have seen a few popular math rock players using RIC 620s in the past few years. Not sure, if this is noticed in their sales.
Another thing they do, which really bothers me, is discontinuing non standard finishes.
I suspect this was also due to the conservative nature of Ric fans. They want Mapleglo, Jetglo, and Fireglo, and everything else can go away.
Ruby Red and Midnight Blue were late 70s/80s colours, and they have both been shelved in the last five years.

Edit: grammar
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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by CivoLee » Thu Nov 26, 2020 5:52 pm

BoringPostcards wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:42 pm

I have seen a few popular math rock players using RIC 620s in the past few years. Not sure, if this is noticed in their sales.
Another thing they do, which really bothers me, is discontinuing non standard finishes.
I suspect this was also due to the conservative nature of Ric fans. They want Mapleglo, Jetglo, and Fireglo, and everything else can go away.
Ruby Red and Midnight Blue were late 70s/80s colours, and they have both been shelved in the last five years.
Midnight Blue is gone? It's still listed on their website; then again, it seems that the only thing that ever gets updated on RIC's website is the copyright date, though this year they have a 90th Anniversary banner added for next year. Maybe they'll celebrate their Anniversary by taking my suggestion ;)

Anyone who can play math rock on a 620 is a far better musician than I am...

Another option that RIC dropped because the purists said "that wasn't on 60s Rics" and therefore it was axed was the matte black hardware/pickguard option. If I could get a 660 with a non-lacquered fingerboard, bigger frets, matte black hardware, and a humbucker in the bridge (the neck toaster can stay to maintain some of the Ric uniqueness), I'd look into it.

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by zhivago » Fri Nov 27, 2020 12:25 am

I loved the sound of the 660 I used to have...it was such a beautiful guitar...sometimes I would just pop the case open and just look at it. :-*

The lacquer + the frets eventually killed it for me and I moved it on...it was also a small guitar and I am 6' 3", so it would sit a bit too far to the right for me to get comfortable with it. It was a bummer as the vintage toasters sounded, so great through my Matchless Lightning.

One day I will own another Ric...maybe a 381 (unlikely due to price/availability) or a 360 (likely due to price/availability)...but I will definitely factor in a refret and taking off the lacquer of the board. Peter buck is on the right track.
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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by MrFingers » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:21 am

The trouble with Rickenbacker is also that they change their neck dimensions every 14 days it appears (okay, that is exaggerated, but still, nearly every year or every other year, they change the neck profiles ever so slightly), meaning you have thick necks, thin necks, wide necks, narrow necks, chunky necks, flat necks,... for all models across all years. They'll all feel like Rickenbacker necks, but they also all feel vastly different. That means you have to test a guitar before you buy, just to make sure the neck profile suits you. I've played a 1998, 1999 & 2001 Rickenbacker 360 side to side, and they all had different neck profiles, noticeably so!

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by BoringPostcards » Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:47 pm

MrFingers wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:21 am
The trouble with Rickenbacker is also that they change their neck dimensions every 14 days it appears (okay, that is exaggerated, but still, nearly every year or every other year, they change the neck profiles ever so slightly), meaning you have thick necks, thin necks, wide necks, narrow necks, chunky necks, flat necks,... for all models across all years. They'll all feel like Rickenbacker necks, but they also all feel vastly different. That means you have to test a guitar before you buy, just to make sure the neck profile suits you. I've played a 1998, 1999 & 2001 Rickenbacker 360 side to side, and they all had different neck profiles, noticeably so!
It's probably less common, now that they have gone to CNC. All the newer 300 series seem to be consistent.
Fun fact: Grover Jackson was hired to convert them to CNC. He programmed the machines and trained the staff. I don't remember what year it was.
They have a Matte Black finish now, that has a thin matte finish on the fretboard, but not on the frets, unlike the thick coat of lacquer they use on the standard finishes.
They also still make the Walnut versions, which started in 2015 or so, which have maple fretboards with no lacquer.
I haven't seen a Matte Black in person, but I played a 330W and a 4003sW bass, and they felt wonderful, and did not get sticky.
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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by CivoLee » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:15 am

BoringPostcards wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:47 pm
They have a Matte Black finish now, that has a thin matte finish on the fretboard, but not on the frets, unlike the thick coat of lacquer they use on the standard finishes.
They also still make the Walnut versions, which started in 2015 or so, which have maple fretboards with no lacquer.
I haven't seen a Matte Black in person, but I played a 330W and a 4003sW bass, and they felt wonderful, and did not get sticky.
I've seen the Matte Black Ric 330s and 4003 "Noir" editions, but nothing else. I didn't know they had a thinner finish on the fingerboard, so maybe if they offered that on the 660 I'd be interested.

The price on Rics has flown through the roof in recent years. Hard to believe neither of mine were over $1000.

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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by BoringPostcards » Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:53 am

CivoLee wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:15 am
BoringPostcards wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:47 pm
They have a Matte Black finish now, that has a thin matte finish on the fretboard, but not on the frets, unlike the thick coat of lacquer they use on the standard finishes.
They also still make the Walnut versions, which started in 2015 or so, which have maple fretboards with no lacquer.
I haven't seen a Matte Black in person, but I played a 330W and a 4003sW bass, and they felt wonderful, and did not get sticky.
I've seen the Matte Black Ric 330s and 4003 "Noir" editions, but nothing else. I didn't know they had a thinner finish on the fingerboard, so maybe if they offered that on the 660 I'd be interested.

The price on Rics has flown through the roof in recent years. Hard to believe neither of mine were over $1000.
Yea, it's hard to get them cheap nowadays. A 330 is only 1999 though, which is not overly expensive for a US made semi-hollow with two pickups.
Compare them against Gibson or others, and the price seems not so steep, eh?
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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:36 am

I liked my 330 a lot but had a hard time dialing in a sound I ever found inspiring. It had the Hi-Gains, though, and I was pretty sure that I would have responded better to the toasters.

But I traded it on. I might try another one some day. I thought it was a beautiful guitar and it played very well.
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Re: Anyone own a Rickenbacker?

Post by Joey Ace » Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:01 am

Probably not what you have in mind, but I have a 1949/50 Rickenbacker B-6 lap steel.
It's made of Bakelite like old telephones. Sustains forever!
Here's a video of me using it with some distortion in the studio. (That's also me on Tele)

https://youtu.be/7HiPlIbvjlc

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