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Building a Rickenbacker 4003. Help please!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Peterevid, May 20, 2011.

  1. Peterevid


    May 20, 2011

    At my university we have this project called the "Free Assignment" You can basically do whatever you want, as long as it adds something to your knowledge and/or skills. (I study industrial design, so I figured making my own bass allows me to develop woodworking skill and so on.)

    I decided I wanted to build a Rickenbacker 4003 duplicate.

    My question is: Could you please send any information regarding the dimensions of the bass, maybe even an accurate drawing of the body, anything to me? Anything can help. Also, measurements of the bass will help me a lot. (I already raided the Rickenbacker website, so you don't have to send me anything from there)

    I'll post some pictures of the end result when the project is over.

  2. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Expect a message from John Hall...

  3. DasBassDude


    Apr 15, 2011
    If he's just building it for himself and doesn't sell it, there ain't a dang thing they can do about it!
    Hoochie Coochie Man likes this.
  4. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    All you need is the proper length and width of the body, once you have a proper enlargement to fit, you can easilly figure everything else from there.
  5. kvnjcbsn93


    May 21, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
  6. Peterevid


    May 20, 2011
    Thanks guys!
    Some good links you gave me.


    Can anyone give me some body/head dimensions please?
  7. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Peter, I know the body is 13.25" wide if it helps
  8. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Why merely copy? If your class is that free and open, maybe one item the teacher is looking for is innovation. Try and "inspired by..." body shape, different pickups, etc., like I did when I designed my fanned fret P-style bass with a different take on the fanning.
  9. Peterevid


    May 20, 2011
    I decided to copy because I've wanted a 4003 for as long as I play bass :)
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    The 4000/4001/4003/4004 shape has varied through the years. The body wings and the headstock shape have varied. Also you need to decide if you want to do a neck through or a bolt on. If you don't want to build a neck you can get neck with a paddle shaped headstock for bolt on or neck through.
  11. Peterevid


    May 20, 2011
    I've already decided I want to do a neck-through. I think it's about time to order the wood. Rosewood for the fretboard and maple for the rest.
  12. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    just an FYI, their fingerboard is bubinga (african rosewood). it's much more red and figured than the more common indian rosewood
    Hoochie Coochie Man likes this.
  13. Peterevid


    May 20, 2011
  14. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Banned Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    I have to agree with this. If you are studying industrial design, and you want to have a job after graduation, its best to use the Rick as a jumping off point. I can already see some great possibilities and still you can have something people will think on stage is a Rick.

    Another point is that if you come up with a really cool, better, Rick based design, you will almost IMMEDIATELY have a resume and portfolio piece, and you can not only show someone your regular skills but also your ability to work for a brand, take something they are recognized for and update it in a good way. If you can do that then Fender, Gibson, and probably even Rickenbacker will be inclined to hire you when the college is done.

    Also, even though you designed and made it yourself, unless its plated in gold, everyone who knows will ask you about your Rick, and when you tell them you made the copy they'll go, "cool. Are you going to get a real one when you graduate?"

    Have fun either way!

  15. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
  16. Peterevid


    May 20, 2011
    Does anyone have the dimensions of the neck binding?

    I already found the body binding, which is 1/16 " by 1/4 " according to my sources.
  17. DavesnothereCA


    Aug 21, 2017

    I wonder how the project turned out.

    I found this thread while doing a search for dimensions for a Rick 4001 - Too lazy to go get and measure my own just now, and you will see why my laziness might not matter next.

    My reason is that I'm shopping for a new case for it.

    The original case was lost when the bass way back was once stolen and later recovered, and the case which I have used since is a bit tight at the body width, and has also sustained some damage, so it's overdue to replace.

    I found a thread here which states the dimensions of a Fender P :

    Measurements of Precision Bass?

    and partials for a Jazz :

    Jazz Bass Body Dimensions

    Perhaps a better way would be to ask whether a Rick 4001/4003 will fit in an aftermarket rectangular case with a generic rectangular area inside for the body.

    How do the dimensions of a Rick compare with those quoted in the above-linked thread about the Fender P ?

    It's strange how many music stores cannot answer these questions over the phone, and websites which do not specify for sure on the product detail pages, which common basses will fit into the cases that they sell.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  18. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I had a hard time finding a case for my Ric build, ended up buying a Roadrunner case from GC. As you said, most vendors don't list interior case dimensions. I took the bass in with me and tried a stack of cases to find the best fit, not perfect, but pretty good. The case is slightly long, so The bass can shift left/right about 1", but its tight side to side. I may make a custom insert to kill that small movement. Standard Fender style cases won't work, so its a bit of trial and error. There are NO aftermarket vendors for fitted Ric style cases, presumably to avoid pissing off the notoriously litigious Great and Powerful John Hall, at least none I could find after months of trying. The ABS Ric logo cases they are providing with new basses are crap, the feet break through the bottom, fragile latches, etc. The silver tolex ones are very nice, better be for $300!
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
    DavesnothereCA likes this.
  19. DavesnothereCA


    Aug 21, 2017
    And that's $300 USD, right ?

    And the stores, they ALL say "Bring in your bass and try out what we have."

    I wish it didn't come down to that.

    Surely there must be a place online where there is a table of common bass models and their main measurements, but maybe not.

    I would likely be satisfied to have a moderately priced case which fits similarly to how you said that yours does. - Up to an inch of slack in either or both direction(s), I can fill with something.

    There have been Fender-branded ABS cases with the same issue (saw a used one for sale online last month with pics like that - ABS caved in around the feet - it was the 'machine-gun' model), and even some SKBs which have done it too, I've heard.

    Thanks for commenting.

    BTW, are the Fender style cases which you mentioned too long, short, narrow, wide, or just that the Fender body shape has been molded in ?

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