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 Post subject: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 12:08 am 
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Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 11:00 pm
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Location: Portland/Vancouver
Hello,

First post... so I might as well make it a very noob type post! :^)

I'm thinking on a purchase. I really like the 330 (and 340). They appear to go for about $xxxxxxxxxxx.xx new. It also appears they have a pretty good back order with most shops... making selection a bit difficult... and making any "deal" on them difficult. I'm not going to buy without playing... I must find out if it "fits" me... so I'll be going to my local Rickenbacker dealer.

My history is simple. I play... I enjoy playing, but I'm not an "in a band" quality type. I have owned my MIJ Fender Strat since new from 1986. I take care of my gear... and it takes care of me. I'm also a believer in NOT having to be the "best" to appreciate finer points. Meaning, there is more to love about the Rickenbacker lineage... than being able to ROCK it out to it's fullest potential.

So, here's my questions:

1) Are there known issues or problems with the 330 models?
2) Are they more/less delicate than the working man's Strat or Telly? Are they known to be fragile or can they handle the bumps like the rest of the guitars can?
3) Are they enjoyable to grow old with... meaning... are they trouble-free long lasting guitars... or do they require special upkeep and periodic major tune-ups? I don't wish to own an exotic high maintenance guitar... just for it's pedigree... if you catch my drift. I need rock solid reliability and durability... and of coarse... that lovely Rickenbacker sound! :^)
4) Are shops able to "deal" on them... or do they relish the back order status and always charge full price? You'd think with the currant state of things they'd be willing to come down from that $1699 price some, but... who knows?
5) Has there been improvements made over the past 10 years that might make one year better to own... or another to stay away from? I keep hearing that Rickenbacker likes to keep things that work... the same... without trying to jump on the "let's put in the latest and greatest" bandwagon.

Any other helpful info. you lot can give would be appreciated. I've recently beat cancer and told myself I'd finally treat myself to a Rickenbacker... once all the smoke cleared and I was well. It's been a year... cancer free... now I want my Ricky! I'm a big fan of Marty Wilson-Piper, Paul Weller, and LEMMY... all of which insist on Rickenbacker... so I feel I'm in good company in this madness anyway. $1699 is a world of money to me... yeah, money's tight for most of us... so I just want to be sure I'm not looking at these guitars with rose glasses. I need the truth about them. I feel the Rickenbacker guitar speaking to me... about it's simple old school approach to life... about it's timelessness... about it's honest love for those who get to know them. Once I play one that fits, I guess I just want to make sure I understand what I'm getting into with ownership.

Sorry if these questions have been posted... I did look them up in a search, but got weary picking through the mire. :^)

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 1:10 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:14 pm
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Location: Ohio
OK, I'll pony up some answers.

1)Q: Are there known issues or problems with the 330 models? A: Not to my knowledge.
2)Q: Are they more/less delicate than the working man's Strat or Telly? A: Maple is a very strong and stable wood. RICs are at least as robust as a Fender.
3)Q: Are they enjoyable to grow old with... meaning... are they trouble-free long lasting guitars... or do they require special upkeep and periodic major tune-ups? A: My oldest RIC is a 1987 620. Issue free for 22 years.
4)Q: Are shops able to "deal" on them... or do they relish the back order status and always charge full price? A: That depends on the shop. There's always used.
5)Q: Has there been improvements made over the past 10 years that might make one year better to own... or another to stay away from? A: RIC often likes to say the model lines are subtilely updated through the years. Most recent changes have been to the finish and pickups. There are no "Dark Years" for RICs. Same ownership, same management. Apparently, in many cases, same workers.

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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 1:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:56 am
Posts: 183
Location: escondido CA
You could try the less expensive 620, they are great playing guitars.


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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 2:08 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:10 am
Posts: 618
Location: CT
Buy the 330! It is not as durable as a telecaster (if you throw it out a hotel window) but it is plenty durable enough to become an heirloom.

Some shops will deal (enough to surprise you).

Congrats...


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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 2:18 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:28 pm
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Location: kimberton PA
I agree with what is already posted. If you buy a Rickenbacker , you won't regret it! It is a guitar that just keeps giving. Congratulations on beating the disease.
Good luck to you!


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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 2:25 am 
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Location: Ohio
Quote:
Buy the 330! It is not as durable as a telecaster...


I think it's just as durable as a Tele, just not as easy to fix.

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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 12:37 pm 
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No, I have to disagree. Rickenbackers are not as durable as Fenders. There isn't any other standard wooden guitar as strong as a Tele, or even a Strat. Ricks don't have any particularly weak points (like Gibson headstocks) but they certainly aren't as damage-proof as a Fender. The semi-hollow construction and the angled headstock with the big truss rod access cavity in particular are weaker, and you do see broken ones sometimes.

But whether it really matters unless you're trying to do a Pete Townshend and cut your amp in half with it, I'm not sure! They're certainly tough enough for normal use, and as long as you don't throw it about you won't have any trouble - the same applies to most guitars. (Even Gibsons, although you do get the odd one where the wood grain pattern is such that the headstock snaps with little more than a light knock.)

The pickguards also quite commonly get broken, although of course they can be replaced.


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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 1:24 pm 
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Location: Mission Viejo, CA
Quote:
No, I have to disagree. Rickenbackers are not as durable as Fenders. There isn't any other standard wooden guitar as strong as a Tele, or even a Strat. Ricks don't have any particularly weak points (like Gibson headstocks) but they certainly aren't as damage-proof as a Fender. The semi-hollow construction and the angled headstock with the big truss rod access cavity in particular are weaker, and you do see broken ones sometimes.

But whether it really matters unless you're trying to do a Pete Townshend and cut your amp in half with it, I'm not sure! They're certainly tough enough for normal use, and as long as you don't throw it about you won't have any trouble - the same applies to most guitars. (Even Gibsons, although you do get the odd one where the wood grain pattern is such that the headstock snaps with little more than a light knock.)

The pickguards also quite commonly get broken, although of course they can be replaced.



Yeah, I definitly agree. Even Townshend stated that he switched to Fenders because of their durability and strength (and ability to piece back together following destruction).
Then again...you're buying a Ric for the quality and sound, not for expendability, right?

Ric hollowbodies have been time-tested for over 50 years, you have nothing to worry about except figuring out what to play on it.

Have fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 8:07 pm 
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I think we are suffering from a misunderstanding of terms. Fender necks break. Fender bodies split. No more or less than most other types of guitars. They are just much easier and less expensive to fix. As an example, if you are at a gig and the headstock of your Strat gets sheared off, it's broke. Now you can put a new neck on easy enough but you probably don't carry a spare neck in your gig bag, so as far as that gig goes, it's broke.

I suppose we could also debate on whether a Fender with a replacement neck is really the same guitar. You could certainly argue that a comparison between a guitar with a myriad of replacement parts against one having the original parts repaired, would be invalid.

What I am saying, as far as durability goes, is that if you take care of your gear, a Rickenbacker will last you just as long as a Fender.

I know my 620's headstock has taken knocks that would have snapped my Strat's.

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 Post subject: Re: Noob... with questions... wonderful eh?
 Post Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:35 pm 
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Location: Scotland
Quote:
I think we are suffering from a misunderstanding of terms. Fender necks break. Fender bodies split. No more or less than most other types of guitars. They are just much easier and less expensive to fix. As an example, if you are at a gig and the headstock of your Strat gets sheared off, it's broke. Now you can put a new neck on easy enough but you probably don't carry a spare neck in your gig bag, so as far as that gig goes, it's broke.

I suppose we could also debate on whether a Fender with a replacement neck is really the same guitar. You could certainly argue that a comparison between a guitar with a myriad of replacement parts against one having the original parts repaired, would be invalid.

What I am saying, as far as durability goes, is that if you take care of your gear, a Rickenbacker will last you just as long as a Fender.

I know my 620's headstock has taken knocks that would have snapped my Strat's.
I seriously doubt that. You can put a Fender neck across two chairs and stand on it and it won't break. (Probably not a good idea to try this with your favorite Strat, just in case!) No way would I try that with a Rick.

I don't think we're suffering from any misunderstanding. Fenders ARE stronger than Ricks. They're also really no more easy to repair if they do actually get broken - unless you mean simply replacing the neck, which most people with a Fender they really like wouldn't want either.

Speaking as a shop repairer who sees dozens of broken headstocks a year, there is no way a Rickenbacker headstock is as strong as a Fender. It may not be particularly weak, but it simply isn't as tough as a Telecaster (and a Strat very close). Ask any pro repairer about it, you'll get the same answer.

A Fender neck is almost (not quite) unbreakable because there is no back angle at the nut, so the wood grain is straight through the area immediately behind the nut, how it's strongest, and down the length of the headstock. It also doesn't have a cavity routed behind the nut for the truss rod access which takes away a substantial amount of the cross-section and weakens the neck. I've never seen a Tele with a broken headstock, ever. Not one. And only about three Strats I think - they're slightly weaker because the larger headstock gives a bit more leverage if it gets stood on or something similar. A Rickenbacker does have both a small back angle (not much, but enough) and a large truss rod cavity.

Likewise, if you drop or stand on your Rick's hollow body, the chances of a split are much larger than on a solid Fender - OK, this doesn't apply to a 620. And finally, even though it's a single piece on the 620 and with a very long tenon on the 300 series, the Rick neck joint is slightly weaker because the fingerboard is up so high that there is 'short grain' roughly parallel with the top surface of the body, and they CAN break off here. The Fender bolt-on neck is astonishingly strong, contrary to what you might expect - it's actually more common for the steel bolts to snap than for the wood to split.

No, I've not seen many broken Rickenbackers - and yes, Fenders can (very rarely) get broken too. But in twenty-plus years as a repairer I have seen about the same number of broken Ricks as broken Fenders (including their offshore products), and comparing the relative numbers of both there is simply no comparison! There must be literally fifty to a hundred Fenders out there for every Rick.

Whether you should choose a musical instrument based on it's total indestructibility or its tonal properties is another question! Mostly, I wouldn't - but I have to say that for playing rough bar gigs where gear is likely to get bashed or knocked over (or even have to get used to "fend" ;-) off punters) or travelling by air, I would pick a Fender over any other style of guitar just because it's less likely to get broken.


By the way, Gibsons with broken headstocks outnumber not just any other brand, but probably all the others put together (certainly of the 'quality' brands).


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