Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

Need advice on 650 versus 660
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Author:  kvc [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:37 am ]
Post subject:  Need advice on 650 versus 660

Am a novice acoustic player for 2 years and am getting intrigued with electrics. After trial and error, I have found "THE ONE" for me on the acoustic side, and would like to do the same with an electric guitar. I have learned the hard way that it is worth buying quality, and have also learned that I need a nut wider than 1-11/16".

Hence my interest in a Rickenbacker 650 or 660. But I cannot find any nearby to try, nor can I find comparative sound clips o the web. Can anyone offer insight on the sound of the 650 "single-coil sounding" humbuckers versus the vintage toaster pickups in the 660?

My musical tastes tend toward Byrds, Burritos, Dylan, Neil Young (clean, not grungy), old REM, Gin Blossoms, Chris Knight, etc. So the Ric jangle obviously appeals to me, but I would also like an electric that can do occasional Telecaster twang as well. Any thoughts on a 650 vs 660? Thanks for your help.

Author:  MapleRick [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

I don't have a 650 but it's sound is unique. One big difference is that for the price of a 660, you could get both a 650 and a USA Tele if Tele twang is something you really need. From what I've heard of 650's though, they are supposed to be pretty versatile.

Author:  antipodean [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

They are both great guitars. The 660 is a lot more expensive however and thus maybe not the best choice as a first electric. On ebay, second hand 650Ds seem to trade in the $700 to $900 range whilst 660s are around $500-$700 more.

The 650 has a strong following amongst many of the denizens of this forum. It represents great value and, as MapleRic says, reputed to be pretty versatile. I wish they'd been around when I was starting on electric!

Author:  GHenson60s [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

From the bands you named and the sound you seem to be looking for the 660 would be better suited for you. However, I have a 650D and I love it for it's wide range of tones and it's ability to adapt to many different musical styles. You will be very happy with either one.

Author:  F@C@ [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

A new 650 might be easier to get now, as there seem to have been a fair quantity shipped tecently.No 660 s shipped recently.
Any Ric is a good investment as the value holds, if not actually appreciates.As well as being first rate quality.

Author:  kvc [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

Thanks for the input. I have not found a Tele that is comfortable for me to play because of the nut width. And I was not very impressed with their quality control.

Just from reading the specs and posts on the forum, I would have guessed that the 660 might be closer to the traditional sound I am looking for. I would rather spend the $ to do this right than experiment with cheaper guitars. However, I gather there might be two issues with the 660 pickups:
- lower output (maybe not a problem for me as I'm not seeking heavy distortion); and
- noise or hum. I have no idea if that rears its head playing clean at lower volumes (i.e., background noise even with no strings vibrating), or only is audible at higher volumes (again, that wouldn't be a problem for me).

Why are these, but especially the 660s, so hard to find? Is production that limited that I would have to special order one?

Author:  Goofyfoot [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

My 650D can handle anything. The humbucking pickups are a guitarist's dream, the quietest 'buckers I've ever played that deliver a wide palette of sounds and tones. It's a keeper and just happens to be RIC's least expensive electric guitar.

Quality + value + efficacy.

Best regards.....Goofyfoot.

Author:  doctorno [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

The 650 can get closer to the "traditional" sound than most people think and the guitar is more versatile than the 660. What is more the rounded shape of the body is more ergonomic than the body of the 660 with its sharp edges and bindings.

Author:  mbrent [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

I have both. Actually 3 650's and a 660.

No way the 650 is going to get close to the soundscape you mention on your initial post. The 660 gets close.

Author:  kvc [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Need advice on 650 versus 660

OK, this is the part where your good advice goes astray. The idea of getting the cheaper 650 with enough $ left over for something else makes sense. So tell me if this is a dumb idea:
1. Find a 650C (cheaper, more available, possibly more comfortable).
2. Buy a pair of toaster pickups and have one installed. If I love the sound, install both. If not, preserve the option to switch between the humbucker and the toaster.

Any reason that would not work? And if went this route, which pickup makes sense in which position?

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