From nostalgic vintage sounds to modern heavy bombastic sounds, the timeless RICKENBACKER continues to be a favorite of bassists of all genres!
Now, THE used music store's BASS section is offering a close-up look at the RICKENBACKER! We are currently offering a strong high price for the RICKENBACKER.
In addition, in this "Rickenbacker Laboratory," which is updated once a month, I would like to research and report on the RICKENBACKER from various angles, for my own study as well.
The first one is "I didn't know that! The origin of the name RICKENBACKER".
Haneda Airport opened in 1931
The story begins in 1931 in Los Angeles with a small company called "Ropat in Corporation. George Beecham, Paul Barth, and Adolph Rickenbacker, a hardware manufacturer, were the first in the world to bring electric guitars to the public market, and they consistently worked to increase the volume of guitars. The electric guitars they created overturned the conventional concept of musical instruments and revolutionized the music scene itself. In 1932, Beecham developed the "Flying Pan," an electric steel guitar equipped with horseshoe pickups.
With the popularity of Hawaiian music in the early 1900s, slide guitars became all the rage. In the beginning, the slide guitar was used in place of a live guitar (the guitar was laid on the lap, tuned open, and slid using the back of a knife, etc.), but steel strings were used to gain sustain, and the neck was developed to be thicker to withstand the strong tension of the steel strings. However, the slide technique has the problem that the volume is lower than the normal chord playing, and it was always difficult for players to hear their own playing.
The acoustic steel guitar, with its neck made acoustic like the body, was developed, but in an ensemble, it was still outclassed by other instruments and did not solve the fundamental problem.
The steel guitar was not the solution, and the dissatisfaction with the conventional steel guitar gradually increased, leading Rickenbacker to develop the electric steel guitar. It was surprising that the starting point for this now world-famous, long-established instrument maker was an increase in volume.
In 1934, the company was renamed "Electro String Instrument Corporation" and the instruments were branded "Rickenbacker Electro. The name "Rickenbacker Electro" was chosen because Adolph Rickenbacker had operated a successful tool and die factory prior to founding the company, and it appears that he was the financial backer of the company, making a significant contribution to its production. He also wanted to capitalize on the fame of the Rickenbacker name, which had already been made famous by Adolph's cousin, Eddie Rickenbacker, who was a hero in World War I as a shot-down king. After that, everyone started calling Electro-String "Rickenbacker".
The bass guitar is introduced.
The weather is getting warmer and the pollen season is almost here. How is everyone doing? Normally, I would have a runny nose too, but miraculously, it is not so bad this year! Actually, I have an idea, and I have been drinking beet tea since very early this year. It's called lemongrass beet tea, and it tastes just like lemon tea. It also tastes slightly sweet without sugar! But does it still become soggy when the season is at its peak?
Last time we talked about the history of RICKENBACKER and the origin of its name.
This time, we will continue the story and research Ricken's first BASS appearance.This time, we would like to continue the story and research the appearance of Ricken's first BASS.
In the late 1930s, many professional musicians were already using Rickenbacker, and under the influence of these musicians, many instruments were sold to amateurs. Unfortunately, in 1942, the company was forced to abandon the production of musical instruments. It was World War II. While other instrument makers were turning to the munitions industry one after another, Electro String continued to manufacture instruments and amplifiers. At that time, it was already very difficult to procure the parts and materials needed to manufacture musical instruments. They worked hard to secure parts and managed to continue manufacturing instruments until June 1942, when they were finally forced to turn to the munitions industry in July.
At the end of the war, in early 1946, they were able to concentrate on making instruments again. However, Adolph Rickenbacker began to feel that the popularity of guitars was declining, and he began to think about selling the rights to the instrument business. Rickenbacker, who had quickly risen to prominence in the instrument industry with the invention of the electric steel guitar, entered a period of stagnation until the arrival of F.C. Hall, a businessman who purchased the business rights from Adolph in 1953.
By the early 50s, the Hawaiian boom had died down, and steel guitar sales were declining. By the time Hall purchased Electro-String, steel guitars were already becoming obsolete. (Hall was well aware of this.) However, Hall saw the popularity of Spanish guitars and took up the challenge of developing a new Rickenbacker. He brought in German-born instrument maker Roger Rosmiles to create a series of new solid guitars, including the Capri and the Combo 600, 800, and 400. Hall also began to market his own company, Radio and Television Equipment, through a nationwide sales network. Hall's work in this area was to set a new direction for Rickenbacker and the roots of the company's recent successes.
The first Rickenbacker bass was launched in 1957. In Japan, the construction of the Tokyo Tower had begun, and in the US, Elvis was topping the charts. The solid body electric bass 4000 was released.
Solid maple body, mahogany through neck, 20 frets. The body was quite thick and the neck grip was quite thick shaped. The pickguard was anodized aluminum. (Anodized means "corrosion-resistant finish," and the aluminum industry was rapidly developing at that time.) One volume and one tone. The knob was a flying saucer knob, which was used on steel guitars. Large Crewdson pegs and a single horseshoe pickup. The horn on the 4th string side is quite short.
In 1958, the neck was made of walnut, the truss rod was increased to two, the pickguard was made of gold-back lucite (acrylic), metal knobs and finger rests were added, and the bridge cover slid down to mute the guitar.
COMBO400, a solid guitar released in 1956, was bolted with a screw through the side of the body to strengthen the bond between the body and neck. The strap was made for a saxophone and was used to hang it from the neck.
Introducing the lineup
In the last issue, I mentioned the appearance of RICKENBACKER's BASS. When we think of Ricken basses, 4001, 4003...these are probably the ones that come to mind immediately. However, since its launch in 1957, numerous models have appeared, and their designs have remained almost unchanged. In this article, we would like to introduce you to a few of them.I will introduce the various lineups in order.in order of the various lineups.
BODY: Maple, NECK: Maple/Walnut, Fingerboard: Rosewood, Fret count: 20, PU: Toaster top (front), High gain (rear), Controls: 2Vol, 2Tone, PU selector
The most major Rickenbacker model since its introduction in 1961, it reigned as the face of Rickenbacher basses for 25 years until its discontinuation in 1986. The general characteristics of this model are the triangular position markings and the checker binding. Compared to the previous 4000, the horn on the 4th string side was extended to the 12th fret (in 1962), the pickguard design was changed to white acrylic, the position mark was changed to a crash pearl in 1964 (through 1973), and a volute was added to the back of the head in 1966. In 1964, the position mark was changed to Crush Pearl (until 1973), and in 1966, a volute was added to the back of the head (a reinforcing knob at the base of the head and neck, which was not strong enough to hold the truss-rod adjustment).
BODY: Maple, NECK: Maple, Fingerboard: Rosewood, Fret count: 20, PU: High gain (front and rear), Controls: 2Vol, 2Tone, PU selector
This model is also the successor to the 4001, which has long been and still is a super standard for Ricken basses.
The 4003 was released in 1979 as a model with a reinforced truss rod for the 4001, and in 1984, the specifications were changed to a new type truss rod. The reason for this change was that at that time, the use of flat wound strings was shifting to round wound strings, which have stronger tension.
The models before 1984 had the fingerboard directly on the truss rod groove, so the fingerboard would peel off if the truss rod was forced to be tightened too much.
I didn't know that! (4001, 4001S, 4003, 4003S)
At the same time as the 4001 was released, a model called 4001S was also released. This was a standard version of the 4001, with no binding on the body and dot position marks. BODY, NECK: maple, head wing: mahogany.
It is also famous for Paul McCartney and Chris Squire's specifications. Also, 4003S was released in 1980 as a standard version of 4003. It is basically similar to the 4001S, but with a through-neck construction.
BODY: Maple, NECK: Maple/Walnut (3P), Walnut (head and wing), Fingerboard: Ebony, Fret count: 21, PU: 2 hum cancel pickups, Controls: 2Vol, 2Tone, PU selector
Released in 1981 as a deluxe version of the 4001. Bird's eye maple body with black checkered binding (black outside, checkered inside) on the top. Maple 3-piece neck, walnut head and wings. The neck and head are bound in black, and the fingerboard is ebony with triangle markers. The fingerboard is ebony with triangle markers, the nameplate is black with a white logo, and the pickguard is black 4-ply. The pickguard was black 4-ply, and the guitar was equipped with a cannon out jack, which was quite rare.
In 1982, the PU was changed to a low-noise type, and the position of the PU was changed from front and rear to center and rear, and the position mark was changed to a dot. (The photo is after the minor change.)
5-string, 8-string, double neck
Last time we introduced the lineup of Ricken basses, and this time we will introduce the second part: 5-string, 8-string, and double neck...not so rare nowadays, but...
In the 60's, RICKENBACKER was particularly innovative in commercializing their ideas, such as string converters attached to 12-string guitars (shown right: a device that hooks and holds the secondary strings to make a 6-string guitar), nuts, slant frets with the frets slanted to the right, etc. (see the neck and fret board). (It was said to be easier to play when playing chords with a grip on the neck, but it was not generally distributed.
BODY: Maple, NECK: Maple/Walnut 3P, Fingerboard: Rosewood, Fret: 20, PU: 2 Toaster Top, Controls: 2Vol, 2Tone, PU Selector, Balancer
1965 Hollow body type 4005 is released. This body is based on the round-edge body of the Semi-Aco Guitar 360, but sized for basses. The hollow body is made of maple with checker binding on the back. The neck is 3-piece maple with walnut sandwiched in between, and the head is 5-piece with walnut wings (maple wings since 1973). The R tailpiece is a playful touch.
BODY: Maple, NECK: Maple/Walnut 3P, Fingerboard: Rosewood, Fretboard: 20, PU: 2 Toaster Tops, Controls: 2Vol, 2Tone, PU Selector, Balancer
This is a double-binding version with binding on both the top and back of the body. 4005WB basically does not have checker binding. 4005WB has a balancer, which can be used to increase the output of one of the pickups when the two pickups are fully opened. This can be used to make one of the pickups output more when the two pickups are fully open. This is supposed to compensate for the weak output due to the low-cut capacitor in the rear pickup.
BODY: Maple, NECK: Maple/Walnut 3P, Head and Wings: Walnut, Fingerboard: Rosewood, Fretboard: 20, PU: Toaster Top x 2, Controls: 2Vol, 2Tone, PU Selector, Balancer
This is an 8-string version of the 4005 introduced in 1966. Both the body top and back are bound. The unique shape of the head is the most distinctive feature of this instrument. In fact, it is designed to fit 8 pegs in a minimum space. The main string pegs are for basses, and the secondary string pegs are for guitars. Also, the 4005 series is usually equipped with two out jacks, one for the lick-o-sound and the other for the standard, but this model has only the standard out jack.
The 4005 series also included the 4005/6 and 4005L models. 4005/6 is literally a 6-string bass, but it is a long scale Varitone bass. 4005L is a translucent plastic body with a shiny light-emitting object inside, as you often see in guitar literature. The 4005L is a "light show" model with a shiny light-emitting object built into the translucent plastic body. I would like to see this model at least once.
BODY: Maple, NECK: Maple, Fingerboard: Rosewood, Fret: 21, PU: Ham cancel pickup, Controls: 1Vol, 1Tone
RICKENBACKER's first short scale bass, released in 1971, 1P maple neck with bolt-on joint. Fingerboard was African rosewood, 21 frets, and position marks were dots. The head design was similar to that of the guitar.
BODY: Maple, NECK: Maple/Walnut 3P (BASS), Maple 1P (GUITAR), Frets: 20 (BASS), 24 (GUITAR), PU: High gain (front and rear, both BASS and GUITAR), Controls: neck selector, PU selector, 2Vol, 2Tone, balancer
Double neck model with 4-string BASS and 12-string GUITAR released in 1977. The joint was a bolt-on specification. Originally, two double-neck models were released in 1975: a 4-string BASS and 6-string GUITAR (4080) and a 12-string and 6-string GUITAR (326/12). 326/12 had a hollow body, checker binding, and cat's eye sound hole. It seems to be difficult to use.
Pickups this and that
This summer is said to be unusually hot. It is said to be due to the Nantoka phenomenon, but as I am not very good at heat, it was the worst news I have ever heard. Moreover, the new house we moved into the other day is on the top floor with great sunlight! I am already worried about the condition of my instruments in midsummer, as I have experienced warped necks on my bass and guitar during the heat wave a few years ago.
I can't keep the air conditioner on all the time.
Now, the 5thThis time, I would like to talk about pickups.I would like to discuss pickups.
In the early 1930s, the world's first electric guitar, the "Flying Pan" (see Part 1), was equipped with a horseshoe pickup, so named because its U-shaped bent plate resembled a horse's shoe. The name "Horseshoe Pickup" is derived from the U-shaped bent plate that resembles a horse shoe.
The plate-like object that looks like a pickup cover is actually a magnet, and when the iron string vibrates in the magnetic field, the magnetic flux flow changes, causing vibrations that are transmitted to the hole piece and flow electric current to the coil. The coil itself is covered with a magnet from above and below, which cuts noise from the top and bottom of the pickup, and the coil has a lead wire wrapped around its circumference, which also cuts noise from the sides. The magnetic field of the magnet is generated above and below the strings passing through the pickup, so the strings themselves are not easily affected by the magnetic field. In other words, the loss of string vibration is minimized, which increases the sustain. The pole piece is made of cylindrical steel and is gradually raised from the 6th string to the 1st string. This is not to balance the strings, but to change the tone from soft to sharp from the 6th to the 1st string. Later, Fender achieved the same effect by mounting the pickup body at an angle to the strings.
In 1968, the pickups were replaced by high-gain pickups, but the horseshoe-shaped plate was replaced by a simple pickup cover (the pole piece became a magnet). Nowadays, such U-shaped magnets are almost no longer used for pickups. This is because more powerful magnets are now being made.
Toaster Top Pickup
This pickup is called "Toaster Top Pickup" because it looks like the mouth of a toaster.
There are six pole pieces inside, and pickups for guitars are also used on basses. It is characterized by its clear and crisp sound. The sustain is a little more restrained than later high-gain pickups. It is my favorite in terms of looks.
High Gain Pickups
This pickup can be seen as a contrast compared to the Toaster Top pickup. The pole piece of the High Gain pickup has a magnet, whereas the pole piece of the Toaster Top pickup has no magnet and a magnet is attached under the bobbin. The pickup was developed as the successor to the Horseshoe pickup in 1968 for the rear of the bass guitar, and was introduced as a guitar pickup in 1969 due to its good sustain.
A pickup developed in the 90's. The humbucker pickup has a humbucking structure. The humbucking structure reduces noise, and the inside of the pickup is solidified with resin to eliminate sound degradation caused by the vibration of the pole piece.
Pickup Comparison Research Report
Hello! The hot and humid days are continuing. Beer is indispensable every night. Moreover, my stomach seems to be getting bigger because I drank and ate a lot during our company trip last month, and my wife has been staring at me because I'm feeling a little metabolic these days.
I went through my toolbox to see what I should pick up this time...
What? There it was, the Ricken PU I had been storing for replacement! Okay, I'll use it this time...
So, with the theme of "Pick Up", I changed the direction of the project...Pick-Up Comparison Study ReportThis is a comparative research report on pickups.
This time, we use Seymour Duncan RICKENBACKER pickups: SRB-1n (front) and SRB-1b (rear).
The front one has a ceramic magnet and the rear one has an alnico magnet.
And this time, I will use RICKENBACKER 2002 4003 FG. The current models are getting hard to find these days.
Now let's open the inside and remove the original. Both front and rear high gain pickups are installed.
As a reminder, the pole piece itself is not magnetic, but there is a magnet under the bobbin.
Here is the problem!
The original Ricken pick-up screws don't match Duncan's! What do you mean the length doesn't match the diameter? (The special screws are included.) The screws for the rear were included, so they went on with no problem, but there are no screws for the front.
Oops! The original screws fit the front! But the length is not long enough! I feel like a fool.
Somehow, it went on without a hitch.
Now let's check the sound... Oh! No! No! You can clearly hear the difference! (Of course!) (Of course!) I haven't changed the tone or anything, but my first impression is that the sound is huge. The sound is warmer and more defined. This one has more power and a wider dynamic range. I think this one is easier to express when creating sounds.
The Duncan has a kind of high-fidelity sound (which is good, of course). Duncan is comfortable to play. Ricken has a taste. That's the impression I got. I thought it would be interesting to use them differently for recording and live performance.
By the way, the Duncan pickups I tried this time are unique in that they use different magnets for the front and the rear.
The front side is a ceramic magnet with a special coil turn that emphasizes the entire range of sound universally. It also reduces hum noise. The rear side, on the other hand, uses alnico magnets, which are arranged in a humbucker-like arrangement to provide more power and sustain than the original.
See you soon...