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Rickenbacker bass

Hi Fletcher et all,

I am recording a ricky to 2" tape, countryman DI and amp sound blended. Amp is GK, cab is ? sounds a bit dull in the room. Mics I already tried - d112, 451 (cardioid and for the hell of it omni), 421, 57, RE20. Summit pres into 1178 to tape. Having a bitch of a time getting it to sound good. Its like there is no low end, and the high end is sort of brittle, which has never happened to me with this chain before. 300Hz mud, but I don't really want to eq to tape. Moveing mics around I get plenty of different options but damn if they all don't suck. Eventually I'll get it, but I have that "maybe I've overthought this" feeling, and just want some other folks starting points to break the mood.

Hard rock track, with doubled guitars and loud face. The player is OK, has the right attitude for the song, and is attached to his instrument...though I am not. Would like to get it to work before going and getting a Fender, if I can.

Any thoughts? thanks in advance.
Julian M


drumsound Tue, 10/02/2001 - 21:49
Originally posted by Bear's Gone Fission:

I never did get the Rick thing, they always sounded unlike a bass. Maybe that worked for bassists back when bass was deemed lame and they wanted to be more like wanker guitarists. I can't think of any bass sound I've liked that came from a Rick, in fact. Any classics I'm overlooking? (Rush, Yes, and Motorhead aren't gonna win me over.)


How about Paul McCartney? He used a Ricky on a lot of the mid to late Beatles.

MadMoose Tue, 10/02/2001 - 22:28
I suppose you've already checked to make sure that everything was in-phase? The next step from there would be ditching the GK head. Hopefully it's not attached to a Harkte cab. If it is then your fucked right from the start. Replace those and try again as they are some of the brightest sounding bass rigs I've ever heard.

I've had good luck with all the mics you mentioned (except the 451) and I can't imagine the Summit or 1178 hurting things. Don't be afraid to crank the low end on the amp or the bass if it needs it. BTW, what pickup is he using? I've gotten the best results from Ricks when it's either a blend or both pickups together. Also, some basses have two outputs. One is a mono and the other is called stereo or "Rick-O-Sound". Avoid that one like the plague and use the mono output. Iv'e had no problems getting enough low end from Ricks. Maybe you should have him put older strings or flatwounds on. The basses I have the hardest time dealing with are usually Music Mans.

Member Wed, 10/03/2001 - 06:10
Clutching for straws here...

The Rick is known to be pretty bright, and I'm with Jay on the GKs being bright to begin with (I have one). GKs are kind of a pain when the bass player is a "physical" player, you hear a lot of what's going on on the fretboard (string noise, fret noise, ringing, and such which is great if they know how to use it). Otherwise that stuff just gets in the way and invariably, we end up taking a lot of the top off the GK settings, losing a great deal of the punch in doing so. To get it back, we compress & eq. :(

Now the only reason I mention this is that you said "it sounds dull in the room"--that's exactly how the GK sounds when I compensate.

Might not be your situation at all, but I thought I'd offer a guess.


Member Wed, 10/03/2001 - 22:39
Thanks guys - keep it comin. Yes the phase is OK, as always *something* changes when I flip one of em, but not anything big. Yeah - its a frickin stereo one, I'm staying away from that jack. The 4050 idea I'll try, but I tend not to like that wierd AT high end spike... though I guess I may be rolling that off anyway. Since its analog I won't be rolling it off *to* tape - I can just use that rolloff in mix to cut down on any hissy fits. As for good Rick sounds (other than the Yes, Rush etc) I hear that it was on many a Tom Petty tune.

Julian M

osmuir Thu, 10/04/2001 - 10:33
come on...stop bustin' on the ric.

possible solution: ditch the DI, use a sans amp, crank the "buzz" and the low end EQ on the rack mount version [haven't played with the pedal]. those things can make anything sound bassy. also: ampeg. loud. very loud. ric will have balls, and stand out in the track besides, cause of that tasty top end.


alphajerk Fri, 10/05/2001 - 00:05
i dont get rick's in very often but the last one i did had NO problem giving up the bottom end for me. split direct into an API and to a kustom amp [10", real low] mic'd with a LD condensor.

but then again, the guy had massive bone factor. played lefty with a righty rick upside down still strung for a righty.

Member Fri, 10/05/2001 - 07:19
Ricks can actually sound pretty decent (not just rick-o-sound) using the front pick up and round wound strings. They don't have the "thump" in the attack that a P bass has which tends to make a rhyhm section kick. But they can sound warm this way. Bob Dylan's bass player during the past four years or so (forget his name) uses a rick in the "warm" setting with nice results.

MadMoose Sat, 10/06/2001 - 15:14
Most of the Ricks I've worked with have been muddy rather then bright. Maybe it has to do with the fact that most of the guys I know who play Ricks don't change their strings very often. The last Rick I had here had new strings on it and it sounded great but the player was very aggresive and the E kept wacking the pole pieces and I couldn't get a piece of tape over them. We ended up switching to an EBO.