Other Guitars

Another unfairly pigeonholed guitar

1

If you have a Gretsch, you must either play Rockabilly or Chet, right? If you have a Rickenbacker...Tom Petty. People seem to have forgotten about Pete Townsend, John Fogerty, John Kay... So, I recently took a Ric 335 (they couldn't pick another number?!) in trade out of curiosity. I've only ever played one other, and briefly. I'm really shocked at how cool and versatile it is. Big, juicy neck and blend tones (the blend knob is the MONEY) and a bridge pickup tone that will make you wonder if Chuck Berry was playing one on a lot of his cuts. The neck is small...narrow nut...and the fretboard is the same width over it's entire length; like a...dare I say...Harmony. And the frets...tiny like a mandolin. Mine were shot and I replaced them with some medium/jumbos. I perceive a SLIGHT change in tone toward the dark side. And it looks BADASS! Now that the frets are "regular" I would imagine that only a small percentage of guitarists would consider it quirky, or a one-trick pony. I'm digging it!!

3

I've had a 330 since 1995. I agree they are pigeonholed.
I think the Gretsch is more versatile and less pigeonholed.

4

They really appeal to me soundwise and whenever I tried them they also struck me as very versatile. But the necks are too skinny for me.

5

I recently took a Ric 335 (they couldn't pick another number?!)

To be fair, both the Rickenbacker 335 and Gibson ES-335 came out in 1958.

I think the Gretsch is more versatile and less pigeonholed.

Agreed. I've owned various Rickenbackers off and on for over 25 years. The "one trick pony" reputation is undeserved, but I do think they're decidedly more limited than Gretsches.

6

You only need to look at Fugazi to dispel the myth that the only thing Rics are good for is jangle.

7

One can pretty much play anything to good effect on a Ric 6-string. Aside from the issues with the necks (narrow, heavily finished, and small frets), I think the deficiencies people claim that lend themselves to the one-trick-pony label, are by and large, a matter of taste and/or guilt by association (or desirability by association) based on genre . . . just like any guitar, really.

8

I've got two Rics - a 360/6 and a 360/12 - and I guess the 12-string might be considered somewhat limited - if you want to call it that - like all 12-strings. But when you need a 12, nothing else will do.

However, the 6-string 360 is VERY versatile. I'm really surprised by all the different tones I can get out of mine - It's definitely not a one-trick pony..

And regarding a Rickenbacker 12-string - if you want that unique Rickenbacker 12-string "jangle and chime", then a Rickenbacker 12 is the only way to achieve that sound, in my opinion. Other 12-strings can get you close, but nothing sounds quite like a Ric.

9

Teles used be pigeonholed at least by rock people as thin sounding guitars, maybe one step up from Danelectro -- essentially not worth a damn. This was in the early 70s

And of course if you want 'not your father's Rickenbacker" be like me and use a 650 -- wide-ass neck, kool maple board, and much larger frets. And I say Rickenbuckers ARE the sweet spot between single coil and bucker. Got one in red used all the time and one coming in CAR sparkle can ya relate.

As most know my 650/12 (one of 3 in this or any universe) is going to be up for sale because of a new entirely crazed 12 string project that will be unveiled before end of the year. It's gonna have a 2" wide neck, just like the old Gibson B-45 and B-25-12s did.

10

Preach it, baby!!!!

I have two 330’s, a 350v63, a 350/12v63, a 660, a 1993 PLUS, along with a 660/12 on order. Just like Gretsches, Ricks are their own thing. What’s also fascinating to me is the different characters of tone from amp to amp. All somewhat less-than-usual but extremely valid and with unique character if you’re used to hearing Fenders, Les Pauls, or even Gretsches. (That said, Gretsches having their own very valid and useful sonic and playing experiences, yet unique to themselves, are what drew me to them from the git.)

Far as Ricks are concerned, it also doesn’t hurt that some of my favorite tones on records are available for one’s own use, if deezired.

“Vive le deferance!”

(Plez fergiv mye spelin)

14

330 w/ a factory prototype one-off finish they wound up callin’, “Matte Tobacco”, oiled fretboard and all...

15

But...except for 660s, they're ugly.

And I think I've bent over backwards to meet 660s more than halfway, so's I had my head practically up me fundament, and they just won't make friends with me.

They're that drop-dead gorgeous girl who has a personality quirk that disqualifies her from your companionship - if not your admiration.

But in deference to y'all's experience, I'll believe the 6-strings are ponies of multiple tricks (if not every trick, but then what is?).

16

Tim, for one thing, yer head bent backwards to the ol’ tradesman’s entrance woulda been selfie-of-the-year.

Also, I understand what you mean about Ricks not being readily appreciable to some on certain levels. The course of my acquisitions has certainly been an education, partially about which ones to avoid if you have certain preferences. So I s’pose the couple that have less-than-ideal necks (and for me, necks have always been the sole sticky point) still sound great enough to me that I can temporarily don my rose-colored specs, revel in what I’m hearing, and blame my drummer’s guitar chops for the slop I’m hearing and feeling.

I’d LUV to hear you on mine through the Gretsch ampliminos, though. T’would be an experience, indeed.

17

But...except for 660s, they're ugly.

Oh, wow, really? Each their own of course, but I think they're great looking guitars. Sadly, Rickenbacker doesn't make their 50's models anymore (some of those are the best looking electric guitars ever IMO), but I've always liked the whole Rickenbacker look. Roger Rossmeisl had the eye for design, I think.

18

But...except for 660s, they're ugly.

Oh, wow, really? Each their own of course, but I think they're great looking guitars. Sadly, Rickenbacker doesn't make their 50's models anymore (some of those are the best looking electric guitars ever IMO), but I've always liked the whole Rickenbacker look. Roger Rossmeisl had the eye for design, I think.

– WB
19

It's easy man get a 650, and put decent finish on it. Black, natural, etc which most of them were don't cut it w/ me

Big frets, maple board, and 660 neck width (thanks to Tom Petty insisting on it).

But yeah, traditional Ricks are unforgiving and hard to play (for many) --

20

Well, we can agree to differ, Walter. I think guitar design would have been better served all-round if Roger Rossmeisl had pursued a different career path. I really badly dislike the "German carve," and if he's responsible for Ric's ungainly cutaways (except the breaking wave), there's another demerit. (And, of course, I like the bass shape, though that may be conditioning via player association.)

These are, of course, pointless and meaningless aesthetic judgments, with no objective standards in sight.

Anyway, it's not my intent to denigrate Rics. I'm mostly making fun of my own petty and probably groundless pet Ric peeves. I feel like I've painted myself into a curmudgeon's corner here, and whenever Rics come up I'm expected to offer some form of my rant. (As with Duesenberg.)

It's probably a shtick that's gotten old, and I should give it up and let Ric lovers celebrate them without distraction. I do know they're fine guitars.

21

But...except for 660s, they're ugly.

And I think I've bent over backwards to meet 660s more than halfway, so's I had my head practically up me fundament, and they just won't make friends with me.

They're that drop-dead gorgeous girl who has a personality quirk that disqualifies her from your companionship - if not your admiration.

But in deference to y'all's experience, I'll believe the 6-strings are ponies of multiple tricks (if not every trick, but then what is?).

– Proteus

"Ugly"??... I think Rickenbackers are actually the most beautiful guitars ever made.

22

These are, of course, pointless and meaningless aesthetic judgments, with no objective standards in sight.

Making the world go round, etc.

23

These are, of course, pointless and meaningless aesthetic judgments, with no objective standards in sight.

Making the world go round, etc.

– Proteus

I getcha bud.

I gotta admit that when I first put on the jetglo 330’s gold pickguard and shark fin, at times it vaguely reminded me of the Batman symbol. Then I realized I didn’t have a problem with that. Haha

25

"Ugly"??... I think Rickenbackers are actually the most beautiful guitars ever made.

– same_guy

Hmmm. Then aren't 'cha' on the wrong website? Gotta' ask.


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