do you know an alternative way to get the rickenbacker sound?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by jonathanrodhes, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. jonathanrodhes

    jonathanrodhes Kapellmeister

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    hehehehe, thank you Lois for your help!
     
  2. Nicolas Sarkozy

    Nicolas Sarkozy Noisemaker

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    I've got 3 Rickenbackers at home, and I can safely say I've learnt quite a lot about these guitars, having toured for the five past years with Ricks. It's important to know what "sound", as what "era" of Ricks you're after.
    Early 60's Rick sound is clunky, no sustain, very low output, with a fairly dry attack. To me, that sound can be easily replicated with almost any shortscale with low output. It's been mentionned before, but Danelectros are a good alternative in this case.
    If it's the classic 12-strings sound you're after, you should buy a 12-strings Danelectro. I've got one of these, it's just amazing. Most of the time, I'm taking it on stage instead of a Rick, and trust me, these definitely can do the Rick-12-strings jangle. That's pure jangle.

    Most Ricks readily available brand new or second hand are 330 and 360, 6 strings versions. I've got both, and these are definitely not the jangliest guitars I own. The Hi-gain pickups are quite dark and loose pickups. Output is really high for a single coil, and I wouldn't recommend these pickups to anyone. What makes the Rick sound is in the architecture of the guitar : semi hollowbody, with poor sustain (combination of skinny frets and the bridge), almost banjo-like unplugged. If you're after that sound, an Epiphone Casino is the closest, in terms of voicing. The modern Casino reissues sound much fatter due to the stupidly high output pickups, but with low ouput p90, these are in the same ballpark. A thick and yet jangly clean sounding guitar. YOu can also have a look a Jaguar. These guitars are regarded as surf things, but really, they outjangle any Rickenbacker any day. I used to own a nice Squier Jaguar, very nice, bright and jangly guitar.

    Also bear in mind that early ricks have a cap wired in line the bridge pickup. These act as a low cut, giving the characteristic trebly sound that everybody identifies as the beatles / uk invasion sound. You can install this cap on ANY guitar really, say a danelectro or a Casino, and you get that early sixties classic jangly sound. Also bear in mind that Jaguar have that "bass cut" switch implemented stock.

    I'll finish saying that the Rickenbacker sound is very often misrepresented. People tend to associate Rick with Beatles. Yet, when you have a close look at what guitar was used on which record, you realise that past 65 / 66, the Beatles didn't use Ricks very long. Same thing for The Smiths sound. The jangly Johnny Marr sound didn't come from his Rick, but from Les Pauls and telecaster. It all comes down to the way you mic guitars :

    - Play clean, into a fairly mid-scooped amp (Fender, Roland Jazz Chorus)
    - COMPRESS before the amp. Use Several stages, don't hesitate to overdo it. I tend to use a bass-cutting comp, like the Dynacomp. Brings out the jangle thing.
    - Use light chorus AFTER the amp (the TAL Chorus is free and FANTASTIC for that sound)

    The only thing you'll miss is the build quality and the looks of a real Rickenbacker, which is dream-like. The 3 guitars I own are simply amazing, there's something "more" about them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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  3. jonathanrodhes

    jonathanrodhes Kapellmeister

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    thank you for your detailed information, i am impressed, you certainly know your guitars!
    i will take notes of what you wrote, will definitely use some of it (the audio engineering advice) but i already decided to go fake 100% (vox ac30 pedal amp sim/ harley benton rb-600/ roland vg8x) because of practical reasons. i wish i could breath guitar knowledge like you do!
     
  4. Moogerfooger

    Moogerfooger Audiosexual

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    Dont forget you gotta play with a sixpence coin in order to nail May's tone lol. On a side note - May's "pick" sound always reminded me a little of Jimmy Page's. Page used Herco Flex 75 (the kind w/little raised bumps for grip - which have been reissued by Dunlop). Some of the early Zep stuff (68-69) I swear he played his Tele with his pick backwards to get that over aggressive attack/bite. Plus the almighty cocked-wah lol.
     
  5. jonathanrodhes

    jonathanrodhes Kapellmeister

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    hehehe i will not use the 6 pence coins! when i lived in the U.K i used to play in a queen tribute and i think bought on ebay 25 of those coins and i could not stand them between my fingers :)
     
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  6. jonathanrodhes

    jonathanrodhes Kapellmeister

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    of gosh, have to sleep, tomorrow have to work :(
    it was nice sharing time and knowledge with you, good night!
     
  7. Nicolas Sarkozy

    Nicolas Sarkozy Noisemaker

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    Careful, 99% of the time so-called Vox sim aim at the Brian May sound. The glorified "sixties sound" is MAINLY due to the cap that cuts bass in your guitar. Or to the low cut on the recording console. I insist, for when I play my 1964 Rick into my 1969 Vox, it doesn't sounds like sixties AT ALL. A brand new Danelectro into a Fender deluxe definitely does.
    Funny thing.
     
  8. JMOUTTON

    JMOUTTON Rock Star

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    I was wondering about because a lot of the country guys were on Gretch's and Tele's are still are for the most part.

    I mean even G. Harrison ended up with a telecaster at the end.

    https://beatlesdaily.com/2018/08/14/george-harrisons-guitars/
     
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