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Cliff Burton Rickenbacker Wiring

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by FelixS, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. FelixS


    Apr 5, 2018
    I'm thinking about building a replica of Cliff Burtons Rickenbacker bass from the early days. I have looked around at kits and pickups, the only thing i need to know is how he wires it. The bass has Three pickups, a Gibson Mudbucker in the neck (for a fat low end), a maroon colored splitcoil (that would be a Seymour Duncan Hotstack today) in the bridge for a sharp top end and a Seymour Duncan stacked single coil guitar pickup in the bridge (where the mute foam would be) that was activated with a push/pull switch, for a hot output. I havn't seen any wiring diagrams of this arrangement but i attempted to make my own. Would like to hear if this wiring diagram could work or if i should change anything, i modelled it after the Seymour Duncan SRB wiring.

    Attached Files:

  2. cliff-rickenbacker-wiring-diagram-png.png
    A couple of things:

    the ground connections are backwards
    This is how a pot is wired internally:
    Now imagine if the knob were on top of that.
    If you twist it fully clockwise, it will bring the wiper into contact with terminal 3
    You don't want terminal 3 to be your ground.
    You want terminal 1 to be ground.

    The switch won't work the way you're intending either.
    Here's how they're built:
    You won't be able to use the middle pickup w/o having the push/pull turned on.

    Wire the bridge pickup from the pot straight to the jack.
    TBH you don't really need a push/pull, if you don't mind rolling the volume all the way back when you're not using the bridge pickup.

    If you plan on blending the pickups & varying the treble cut on them as well, then you've set that up right.
    However, if you're planning on running the pickups wide open all time, then you could get by with just one treble cut pot.
    I don't see a connection from the push/pull section to the center lug of that volume pot...

    If you decide on only one treble cut pot, then you could put in a volume for each pickup.

    It's also not a good idea to suspend the capacitor between pots like that.
    This is a better way to wire a treble cut pot:
    This way the cap is contained to the pot, in case any of the pots spin, which could break the connection if the cap is suspended between them.
  3. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Holy crap KBD.

    You'd better start charging by the hour if you keep going the whole 9 yards. This is the most comprehensive response I believe I have seen.

    Of course I am electronically illiterate so I can only assume it works haha
    merseymale and Killed_by_Death like this.
  4. You should have seen the one where I told a guy in Thailand what shops to buy pots in & translated the words like "non-polarized" & some other things, so he could ask for the components.
    The guy ended up taking it to a shop & just paying some guy to do it, but of course since it's cheaper that way in Thailand.

    I even had map screenshots & explained about the parking situations.
    ObsessiveArcher, Mr.Ace and lifer_ like this.
  5. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY

    That's truly insider knowledge
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  6. For some reason it just occurred to me that the second volume pot would work as is for the middle pickup.
    If you're using 500K Ohm treble cut pots why not use 500K Ohm volume pots?
  7. FelixS


    Apr 5, 2018
    Thanks for the feedback KBD! I really appreciate it. I changed the diagram to sort of match a les paul, is this better or have i messed up?

    Attached Files:

    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  8. cliff-rickenbacker-wiring-diagram-2-png.png

    The trouble with taking the output from the center lug of the volume pots is that you can't blend.
    Each volume knob acts like a overall volume. IOW, turning down either volume when both pickups are selected will lower the volume for both pickups.
    If you want to be able to blend you'll want to send the pickup lead to the middle lug & take the output from lug 3.
    terminals B & E are not connected on the push/pull, so you'd need a jumper between those
    You also won't have any volume control for the bridge pickup.
    This is how a push/pull operates:

    I'd use 500K Ohm pots all around, otherwise that mudbucker will be extra muddy.
  9. FelixS


    Apr 5, 2018
    Allright i'm back. Done the changes you suggested, just wanted to make sure i didn't mess anything up. Also i don't need a volume knob for the bridge pickup, Cliff refered to this as his "secret weapon" and activated it for a high output. Again thank you so much for the feedback!

    Attached Files:

    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  10. Only one last thing, the lead to the treble cut pots is on the wrong side.
    Ha, and TBH you could just run a wire from B on the push/pull to the output jack
    no need to jumper over to E since you're not using the right side of the switch.

    Not sure why I didn't think of that the last time...
  11. FelixS


    Apr 5, 2018
    Maybe stupid question but what do you mean with wrong side, is it supposed to go to the first lug or what?
  12. Mr.Ace

    Mr.Ace Bass players rule!

    Sep 8, 2015
    Pompano Beach FL
    Endorsed by Fusion ( maker of killer gig bags)
    KBD rocks!
  13. Yeah, the way it is in the diagram you'd have all the treble rolled off in the fully clockwise position.

    I forgot to add that if you intend on blending the pickups in that configuration you should use linear taper volume pots.

    Finding a linear taper 500K Ohm push/pull might not be so easy, so an alternative would be using the push/pull on a treble cut pot.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  14. FelixS


    Apr 5, 2018
    Allright thanks man! You really rock!
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  15. FelixS


    Apr 5, 2018
    Btw here's the final wiring diagram

    Attached Files:

  16. I just looked on Mouser.com & they only have two versions of a push/pull 500K Ohm linear taper pot & both of them are Metric (6mm shafts).
    So if you want to get linear taper (better for blending in this setup, IMHO) volume pots, you might want to move the push/pull to one of the treble cut pots.

    If you're fine with audio taper volumes, nevermind, but...
    with audio taper volume pots the volume drops off pretty fast.

    Here's a comparison:


    When wiring the pickup to the center lug it makes the taper act backwards, so you get a steep roll-off (right-hand side of graph).
    With a linear taper pot, being reversed makes no difference.
  17. rushkid2112


    Sep 27, 2018
    Castro valley
    sorry im new at this... where does ground go?? as in, all the components say ground but where does that go?
  18. Ground is actually chassis ground, so anywhere that is connected to the shield side of the output jack.
  19. rushkid2112


    Sep 27, 2018
    Castro valley
    i see. that would be the contact on the inner part of the jack right?
  20. Oops, I should have said "sleeve" side of the jack:


    There should be many points in your bass that are connected to the sleeve side of the jack.
    You can check with a multimeter set to the lowest Ohms (Ω) reading, checking for zero Ohms between a point & the sleeve.

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