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The Rickenbacker Electric Bass: 50 Years as Rock's Bottom Paperback – June 1, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

PAUL S. BOYER is a veteran editor and writer who served in the U.S. Air Force as a photographer. He has collected, played, and studied Rickenbacker instruments for decades.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Books (June 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476886806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476886800
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. A. Doser on June 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. I received it yesterday (6/26/13) - so I haven't read the text completely, yet. I gave this product a five star rating having not read it completely for the following reasons:

1 - Full color pics on every page.
2. - comprehensive - I believe every Rick bass (an variations) are represented since their first model.
3. - Includes pics of ads and musicians using Rickenbacker basses are though out the book.
4. - Chapter with color pics of the standard and special finishes available on all models.
5. - Chapter on Customs, Mods, and One-offs.
6 - The final page of the book has a picture of the author standing next to Rick James gravestone (with photo engraving of James with his Rickenbacker 4001).

Etc, Etc.

This book makes me sick...
...because, while in college in 1986 I sold my 70s 4001 Azureglo (blue) to a music store in Charleston, IL, since I wasn't playing at the time and wanted (not NEEDED) the money. (I kept the other bass I owned - a Kramer 4000 aluminum neck bass because I preferred its tone. Still have that one. Looking back I wish I still had both.) Every page of this book makes me sick with regret.

Thanks for the read - now put this book in your shopping cart.
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Format: Paperback
Just got this yesterday via Amazon.com (my wife's account), but after a quick flip through last night and a more leisurely look this morning, I have no problem recommending this book enthusiastically for any Rickenbacker bass player/owner/fan. It's loaded with great photos of just about every variation of every bass Rickenbacker has produced and comprehensive documentation of their features and variations.

If you're reading this review, you need to buy this book.
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If you like Rickenbacker basses, you probably know how inconsistent they have been over the years with regard to certain features varying both within and between models. There was never a good reference to keep it all straight in one place before -- the Boyer book is a huge leap forward in this respect, with a nod to the well researched Smith book that also covered guitars and came before it. The Boyer book is more thorough and yet also simpler in keeping track of the various models. The photography and color print quality is superb, and interestingly was a collaborative effort from the Rickenbacker player community in addition the Boyer himself and archived materials. With the color photos, it is easy to get a better understanding of all the disparate Rickenbacker basses. I suspect this book will convert many previous "non-believers" who were only familiar with the 4001.

Apparently some people have commented that this book is "shallow" in the 1950s and 60s era instruments, which seems like a rather stupid complaint since we had little else to go off of prior to this and these are the hardest instruments to find in decent shape.

Also: I was fortunate enough to meet the author in Colorado shortly after buying this, and got him to sign my copy. Thanks Paul! If you do a 2nd edition, let me know if you want to put my "oddities" in the appendix of your book. (I have modified mutt Rickenbacker basses, not true collectibles.)
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Best reference on the Rick Bass - Brought back many many fond memories, and educated me on many things I was not aware of.

I bought my first Rick 4001 back in 1977 at Terminal Music on 48th Street in NYC when I was 16.
I was all set to get a Fireglo model, when the sales guy showed me, my drummer & lead singer a walnut color - It was unanimous that was the color to get - I bought it for $450,00 out the door - I still remember the serial number - "QJ4446" October 1977 build.

A few years later when we revisited 48th street in NYC (This was a once every other month trip by bus - when 48th street was the Mecca), I came across a 1957 Rickenbacker 4000 at "We Buy Guitars" Price was $700.00 - Being a youth I didn't have the money, but I will never, never forget how well it played & how well it sounded, (That Bass now sells for $30,000.00 Dollars)
Someone once said that "Youth is wasted on the young"

Nonetheless, this book is the DeFacto standard on Rickenbacker Bass Information - None Better anywhere else.
A reference I will keep for eternity, or, until I come across that elusive 1957 4000, or until my 1977 Walnut 4001 Serial QJ4446 re-appears, but even after that happens, I'll still keep this book - It is one that you will read through and through & still reference for many years,
A job very, very well done by author Paul D. Boyer
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I've loved the sound of Rickenbacker basses since I first heard Chris Squire in about 1970. Didn't get my own 1st one (a '71 4001 MG, w/"toaster", checkerboard binding and skunk stripe - damn, I sure I wish I could get that one back!) until 1981. But to my knowledge, there's never before been a one-stop source for the complete story regarding their history, development, evolution, etc. For anyone who is interested in what is beyond doubt one of the most iconic instruments in the history of rock music, this is the book for you. It's all here, in detail - the various model families; their similarities and differences; the incremental improvements (incl. production dates - invaluable if you're looking for one that has certain characteristics.) Even has a guide to deciphering the various serial #/dating systems Rickenbacker has used over the years - very valuable if you're hunting for a used one on eBay or wherever. Written with a sense of humor, and featuring excellent photography, this is a "must-have" for every happy owner, past, present, or future, of one of these most excellent electric basses.
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