#1
I've played bass for about three years now and I'm beginning to get desperate for a new bass, my old Squier P-bass needs a rest. The one I have my eye on is the Rickenbacker 4003, (mainly for the timelessly cool looks), but someone suggested that a Fender Jazz bass (even a Squier) would be a better idea. My musical tastes are sort of centered around late 60's through to the late 70's and are mainly experimental and progressive.

Can anyone help steer me in a direction that will give me a new bass?

Oh yes, and it's not urgent so I can save money; therefore larger budget.
#2
Both great basses with very different character. Play both and see which one seems like home to you.
#3
Well, the Rick is the signature bass of progressive rock(Geddy and Chris Squire). It has a very unique sound to it, but supposedly it is not very versatile(BS I think).

When it comes down to it you have to test both basses to figure this one out.

The Fender is a great bass that can do everything(jack of all trades, master of about one), and it is far cheaper to repair if something happened to it. The Rickenbacker is far more unique and makes the Jazz Bass look(and sound) a bit bland.
#4
The Rick is a very expensive one trick pony. If you mostly just like the way it looks, think long and hard about how bad you really want one. Then find one to play and try it out. Then preferably try several more. But never never ever ever buy a Rickenbacker blind because you will either love it or it could be one of the most expensive mistakes you make. Only even consider it if you've had one in your hands before and you know without a doubt that it is 100% what you want and nothing else will do.

The Jazz on the other hand is the Swiss Army Knife of the bass world. A good Fender American Standard Jazz will do just about anything you could ever need it to and can last you a lifetime if you take care of it. If budget isn't an issue (and it doesn't look like it if you're considering a Rick) look beyond Fender at other high end Jazz clones, there's a wealth of them out there.

And I'd encourage you to take a look at basses beyond just Jazz's and 4003's. There's a million and one flavors of bass out there, take your time and do some research, go out and try as many as you can (location and availability depending of course).
#5
I love the sound of a Ricky, but its very, very distinct and doesn't work well everywhere as others have stated. I've played a couple as well and was surprised that I didn't like the feel of the neck, esp going up towards the headstock.

They are expensive and I'd make damn sure that this was the bass for me before I'd lay down that kind of money. Tostitos is right; play a bunch of basses in your price range before making a decision . You never know what will strike you and become your bass.
#6
I feel like my Rics have a wider variety of tones than my Jazz basses. My jazz basses have a wider variety of usable tones, however. I wouldn't say it's by much, and it takes a lot of experimentation with the knobs and strings.

The typical Ric sound is to turn all knobs to 10 and put steel Rotosound strings on it, if you don't do that then most of the world tends to have no idea you're playing a Ric.

The string spacing at the nut is superior on a Jazz, in my opinion, with the higher frets being more friendly on a Ric. I find Rics to be very comfortable for the right hand, but most others seem to find them just the opposite.
Last edited by Vlasco at Nov 10, 2014,
#7
The Rik has traditionally been a very bright bass and the Jazz was introduced, in part, to compete with the Rik for those players who wanted a bass that was more toward the Rik than the Precision. The original Jazz basses were narrower at the nut as well, which was supposed to be more welcoming to guitar players transitioning to bass.

These days, there are a LOT of basses that have both Precision and Jazz pickups onboard.

My first two basses were (are) a Squier P&J bass (four-string) and a Carvin 5-string with active preamp, blend knob, boost switches (the neck pickup has a "dark" boost, the treble pickup a "brightness" switch for "more of the same" in each direction.

My next bass (if I can find one in great condition) is the Variax 705, which is a piezo-based 5-string that models a wide variety of basses including early Precision and Jazz basses, as well as Rickenbacker, Danelectros and others.
#8
Hmm... As gorgeous as the Rick looks, more thinking and reading is turning me away from it and towards the Jazz. Anyway I don't think how I look fits a Rick anyway. I'll get Jazz Bass (or a good copy) for now and get the Rick when I have more money (the budget was more a matter of time than money, the rick would've taken several years).

However, I have one last question. As the internet has failed me a little bit (probably through my laziness), can any one give me some details and dimensions of the necks of these basses?
#9
Rickenbacker 4003:

Scale = 33 1/4 inches
Width at Nut = 1 11/16 inches
Width at 12th Fret = 2 1/8 inches
Fretboard Radius = 10 inches

Fender Jazz (American Standard):

Scale = 34 inches
Width at Nut = 1 1/2 inches
Width at 12th Fret = Unknown
Fretboard Radius = 9 1/2 inches
#10
A guitar tech's take on Rickenbacker.

The Rickenbacker 4003 is nearly a grand more expensive than an AS Fender Jazz but does not include any custom options. G&L and Sandberg are both cheaper than Fender and come with actual options, if you're just going with a production model then you might as well get a Squier.
#11
If you're just looking at basses to look, check out the Carvin basses. I was surprised at how many people are playing those things; they're apparently highly respected in the bass community.

LOTS of names that you don't see anywhere else (like Dingwall and ACG) and certainly not on any GC wall. A vast number of active preamp designs (very unlike the few that we see on guitars) as well.
#12
Quote by FatalGear41
Fender Jazz (American Standard):

Scale = 34 inches
Width at Nut = 1 1/2 inches
Width at 12th Fret = Unknown
Fretboard Radius = 9 1/2 inches

That sold it, Fender Jazz it is. Thank you all.
#13
Quote by Pastafarian96

However, I have one last question. As the internet has failed me a little bit (probably through my laziness), can any one give me some details and dimensions of the necks of these basses?


Fender Modern C "types"

Type A(Squier)
Scale-864mm
Nut Width-42mm
Width 12th Fret-63.5mm
Radius-240mm

Type B(Mexico/Japan)
Scale-864mm
Nut Width-43mm
Width 12th Fret-64mm
Radius-240mm

Type C(American Standard/Deluxe pre-2006)
Scale-34 inch
Nut Width-1-5/8 inch
Width at 12th Fret-2¼inch
Radius-9 Inch

Type D(American Deluxe/Standard current)
Scale-34 inch
Nut Width-1-6/8 inch
Width at 12th Fret-2½
Radius-9.44 inches

Type A5(All American Deluxe 5 string models)
Scale-34 inch
Nut Width-1-5/8 inch
Width at 12 Fret-2¾ inch
Radius-10-14 inch

Type B5 (American Standard 5 string models)
Scale-34 inch
Nut Width-1-11/16 inch
Width at 12 Fret-2-5/8 inch
Radius-9-1/2 inch

Type C5(All Standard 5 Models)
Scale-864mm
Nut Width-43mm
Width 12th Fret-70mm
Radius-241mm
#14
Hi - I've owned both. I had a Rickenbacker 4003 purchased new in ~1985. Loved the unique tone, but the wider, thicker neck near the nut/headstock took some time to adjust to. My only complaint is that the fretwire was too soft and wore quickly - maybe Rickenbacker has improved this but if not, it would be enough of a concern for me not to buy one. Getting a bass re-fretted can be expensive.

I currently have a Fender Jazz and it is great - no complaints. Like several others here I would recommend that you play both before you make a decision.
#15
Rickenbacker make basses that are far superior to the 4001 and 4003 but they don't have the same glamour or fanbase as the existing models. Much as I genuinely like their new products, a company run by such feeble minded assholes won't see penny one from me.

Unless they rerelease the 4005. Hyuck Hyuck.
#16
Quote by Spaz91
Rickenbacker make basses that are far superior to the 4001 and 4003 but they don't have the same glamour or fanbase as the existing models.

Are you talking about the 4004cii? Because I wouldn't really say it's far superior to the 4003 or 4001, just kind of a different flavor of marmite.
#17
Quote by Spaz91
Rickenbacker make basses that are far superior to the 4001 and 4003 but they don't have the same glamour or fanbase as the existing models. Much as I genuinely like their new products, a company run by such feeble minded assholes won't see penny one from me.

Unless they re-release the 4005. Hyuck Hyuck.


When you die, your children will spend their inheritance on Rickenbacker basses!

No one truly escapes the spell of the Rick bass!!! Not even in death!!!
#18
Quote by Tostitos
Are you talking about the 4004cii? Because I wouldn't really say it's far superior to the 4003 or 4001, just kind of a different flavor of marmite.


It's got higher output and more useable toned, I.e it isn't just a neutered jazz bass. Sadly, most of the demos try to make it sound like a 4003.
#19
Quote by Tostitos
Are you talking about the 4004cii? Because I wouldn't really say it's far superior to the 4003 or 4001, just kind of a different flavor of marmite.

I agree. in my search for a new bass I tried one of these and it actually wasn't much better than the 4003 I tried (I didn't enjoy playing them much, however the 4003 had a non-stock, custom neck and I felt really rigid and mechanical playing it).

Edit:
Quote by smtp4me
My only complaint is that the fretwire was too soft and wore quickly - maybe Rickenbacker has improved this but if not, it would be enough of a concern for me not to buy one. Getting a bass re-fretted can be expensive.

this was the biggest fear I had, while I have a reasonable budget for buying, I'd rather the bass last me a LONG time, what I've heard about Riks is that they have serious fret-ware issues.
Last edited by Pastafarian96 at Nov 18, 2014,
#20
Quote by Pastafarian96
This was the biggest fear I had, while I have a reasonable budget for buying, I'd rather the bass last me a LONG time, what I've heard about Ricks is that they have serious fret-ware issues.


Rickenbacker 4001 basses were notorious for massive fret wear due to the use of Rotosound's then-new Stainless Steel Roundwounds. One of the reasons they replaced the 4001 with the 4003 was the use of much harder fret wire that holds up well under prolonged use of hard roundwounds.

One complaint that many have made about the Rickenbacker 4001 and 4003 is that in order to get a "good" tone, you need to employ a pretty high action. This is the reason that Geddy Lee dropped his Rickenbackers in favor of other basses; finally coming home to Fender and the Jazz Bass.