I play with a bassist who always loved the Ric growl.Are there any other bass guitars that can get that Ric tone on the cheap?
Jazz bass bridge pickup tone on 10. The Jazz bass originally came about so that Fender could compete with Rickenbacker since the Precision could not do it. And, well, the J bass growl is now about 10 times more famous than the Ric growl, but I'm a Geddy Lee fan so I love both growls (from A Farewell to Kings onward). And don't forget the Wal growl, although a Wal would run you about the price of three Rics so I don't necessarily recommend it.
I would say Jazz bass, but with the neck pickup wide open and the bridge all the way off.
Two of the sounds that were benchmarks of "that Rick sound" for me turned out to be Jazz basses. (McCartney's "Glass Onion" and "Helter Skelter" and Geddy Lee's Moving Pictures tones...)