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Rickenbacker 4004 five-string conversion

Discussion in 'For Sale: Bass Guitars' started by PaulBoyer, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Supporting Member

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    While preparing my book over the last eight years or so, I accumulated quite a few Rickenbacker basses. I'm no longer an active player, and I'd like to see the collection distributed to folks who want/need/appreciate a good Rick!

    This was once a 2003 4004Cii Cheyenne II and is the most heavily modified bass in the collection. It has quite a history and likely is responsible for Rickenbacker changing the pickup layout on the 4004 line in 2004. This bass has passed through the collections of at least three others, including Jeff Scott. Here's the story: I think while Jeff had it, he discovered that one of the truss rods had broken. With the pickups in the lowered position (1999-2004), there is no routed cavity against the body end of the fingerboard to allow access to the acorn nuts of the rods. Typically, removing a truss rod is easy; just remove the adjustment nut from the head end, push the rod down the neck, and grab it at the body end and pull it out. Not so easy on the midlife 4004 design. To remove a truss rod, either you'd have to make an access route in the body or remove the fingerboard. The bass was sent to RIC who carved two nicely coved routes in the top of the body, fixed the truss rod problem, and refinished the body. After this repair, RIC returned to building the 4004 basses with the pickups in the original position with the bass (neck) pickup and its route adjacent to the fingerboard.

    While Jeff had this bass, he replaced the gold-plated hardware with chrome and had a volume/volume/tone mod done with custom dome-top chrome knobs. Jeff sold the bass, and another owner started to convert it to a five-stringer, but sold it mid-project to another owner who sold it to me disassembled. I had a local guitar guy put it together. The five-string bridge is basic and has no manufacturer's label. The tuners are Hipshot Ultralites (?) and have the club-shaped keys. The truss rod cover was replaced with a back-painted clear acrylic one similar to those on the 4001V63.

    The body is the typical maple/walnut/maple sandwich construction and exhibits gorgeous flaming. I have a set of TI Jass Rounds on it, and they are very comfortable. For those who may find a typical five-string neck too wide, or the hard-to-find 4003S/5 necks too narrow, you may find, as others have, that a conversion of the slightly wider necks of the pre-2010 4004 ideal. The pickups are the standard HB-1 Humbuckers; I notice some falloff of volume from the B and G strings on the treble (bridge) pickup, but the bass (neck) pickups performs fine.

    Price is $1200 firm, with case plus shipping.

    Attached Files:

  2. satchelbaglio

    satchelbaglio Supporting Member

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    That is cool, GLWS
  3. Philibuster

    Philibuster Supporting Member

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    I agree, a very good looking Ric, indeed. GLWTS!
  4. solderjunkie

    solderjunkie

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    What is the string spacing?
  5. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Supporting Member

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    Here's a shot near the bridge: 2 1/2 inches.

    Attached Files:

  6. solderjunkie

    solderjunkie

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    So approximately 16mm spaced at the bridge. If it were 17mm or 17.5 I'd be all over it... my clubby fingers won't fit :crying:

    GLWTS!
  7. Thunder_Fingers

    Thunder_Fingers Supporting Member

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    This I Like! How does the 4004's sound compared to 4003's? I never got the difference.. I'm possibly very intrested.. (I love my Rick and I love my Carvin 5ers, and 1.5mm aint that much tighter, but I prefer the Rick's sound, so if i can put all that in one bass I'd be very happy.)
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    The 4004 stock sounds a lot like the Yes Album 90125. But with a simple rewire mod like this one has it will sound brighter. Some have described the 4004 tone as a pissed off p-bass, because it has 2 15k ohm series humbuckers. The 4004 with the stock wiring will be a polite sounding bass without the high mid bark and aggressive tone of the 4001/4003.

    This bass here would benefit from the Classic Amplification toaster pickups. Those pickups cover a wider string spacing and are also single coil. Then if you wire it toggle, and 2 stacked pots with a volume and tone for each pickup then you will be very close to a 4001/4003 tone.

    I have a 4004 with 2 single coil pickups and wired as described above. It totally has the 4001/4003 tone down. >>>> http://www.3dentourage.com/425/4004cii-5-mb-2.htm
  9. rickomania1970

    rickomania1970

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    i love the sound of 1993 4004L JG with 4 band audere preamp with 1kohm pots Jeff , good work :smug:
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    That bass was first wired volume, volume, tone with 1000k ohm pots, then I swaped out the volume pots for 500k ohm pots and lrft the tone pot 1000k ohms. And then I put in a 4 band audere preamp. The Audere like most preamps has 25k ohm pots. At that point I put a jazz bass pickup in the bridge and a 3001 pickup in the neck and covered with a toaster cover.

    Actually there were more intermediate experimental steps in the evoution of that bass.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    I got that bass off of ebay. It was actually converted by someone else, and it was a semi-successful conversion. The bridge was put on crooked, the nut was done slightly wrong which ended up making the G string prone to sliding off the edge of the fretboard. and the strings were too wide for the stock bridge pickup so the B string was weak. I fixed all of those issues. I put in a new nut and a new Rick high gain single coil pickup in the neck and a Sergio single coil high gain pickup in the bridge. Now it is a good player. A 5 string bass with a classic 4001/4003 tone and a 2 1/2" string spacing at the bridge.
  12. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Supporting Member

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    Just to keep it clear, Ric5 is talking about one of his basses (or former basses), not the subject of this For Sale post.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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    Ya ... I was talking about my monty brown 4004
  14. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Supporting Member

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    Still available, still a deal!
  15. PaulBoyer

    PaulBoyer Supporting Member

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    Sold! Thanks, Kevin!

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