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Frankenbass With Rick Body

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mark1542, Mar 6, 2018.


  1. mark1542

    mark1542

    Dec 28, 2012
    Hey guys! I thought this may be a good place to start. I am looking to branch out and design a bass from scratch. I definitely don't have the carpentry expertise, so I was looking to buy a body and neck, and then install nice electronics and hardware than what comes with the kit.

    I really like the Rickenbacker style bodies, so I'm pretty sure I want to start with one of those. Here's the problem though. I really want to build a 5 string bass, and I know those are few and far between for a real Rick, so there really aren't any kits out there to build one.

    So, I thought about buying one of the kits, or seeing if I can just buy the body from somewhere and finding a neck that would accommodate 5 string spacing, but would bolt onto the body securely.

    What advice can you all give me? Do you think that would even work? My other thoughts would be to buy a different kit that is set up for a 5 string, or maybe buy the Ric kit and string it BEAD.

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. Straining an available kit BEAD would, obviously, be the easiest, but what fun is easy?:D

    If you want to use a 5 string neck on an existing 4 string kit my concern would be that the neck is going to be out of proportion to the body unless you can find a very narrow spaced neck. Maybe scan over some of @mapleglo threads. She has built some fantastic 5 string Rick tributes. I don’t remember if she made the bodies bigger or by how much.
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  3. mark1542

    mark1542

    Dec 28, 2012
    Yeah good call there, I followed that Leafenbacker she built. I'll reach out and see what her thoughts are.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    There is this option if you can stomach the copyright violation issues:
    Wholesale Unfinished Ricken.5 string 4003 electric bass guitar Through Neck In Black Price Inluded Bridge 171123-in Guitar from Sports & Entertainment on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

    It's not a kit per se, but unfinished as far as final assembly. The electronics and hardware on these are generally crap, but this one is neck-through, and painted, so 90% of the difficult work is done. You would probably have to do a fret leveling and polish too. What's left is basically upgrading parts or installing the stuff that comes with it. The bridge is functional, but the wiring is usually some kind of weird Les Paul style setup with cheap wire and mini-pots. I've seen some neck-through bare wood versions of this with no hardware or electronics at all, but doing a good paint job is a very steep learning curve.

    Edit:
    I just noticed it's not drilled for tuners either. These companies are pretty flexible, if you can find reputable dealer (a challenge in itself) you can order these thing a-la-carte, with or without this or that.
     
    Zane DeBord likes this.
  5. mark1542

    mark1542

    Dec 28, 2012
    Thanks for that! I actually hadn't seen that one. I have been looking at ash bodies, I haven't ever seen a mahogany body, that is interesting. I may reach out and see what options they have as far as customizing. I would most likely rip the electronics out anyway and put my own stuff in anyway, so I'm not too worried about the wiring.

    I also reached out to Pit Bull Guitars in Australia. I really like their options, but if I ordered a 5 string version of their Ric it won't be shipped until June. I'm just way too impatient for that lol, I'm ready to get started now.

    Thanks for the link though!
     
  6. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Just an FYI, the Pitbull kits use a set neck design with a short tenon that gets glued into the body. That only leaves around 1/4" of wood under the neck, and the top of the tenon is partially hogged out for the neck pup. I have read on the Pitbull builders forum that a minority of people had trouble with that joint failing, i'd worry about the extra tension from 5 strings. If you go Pitbull, I'd do a 4 string and tune it BEAD. Good luck with it!
     
  7. mark1542

    mark1542

    Dec 28, 2012
    Ah, ok. Didn't know that, thanks for the heads up!

    I can't decide what to do lol. I may just go another route with the body and get something designed for a 5 string.
     
  8. mark1542

    mark1542

    Dec 28, 2012
    LOVE THIS! I'm going to go back and see if you created a thread on this. I would love to know where you got the parts, issues you had putting it together, electronics you used, etc. I'll go back and see what I can find.

    Thank you!
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  9. seamus bass

    seamus bass

    Oct 23, 2007
    my house
    need a pedulla body kit :D
     
  10. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Thanks! Build Thread.
     
  11. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    @mapleglo is the FrankenRic Master, but you have to have mad carpentry skills to pull off a build like that! PM'd you.
     
    Duder and mapleglo like this.
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Aliexpress has some unfinished 5 string Ric-ish basses
     
  13. Not for nuthin', but here's a lefty Tele copy my son and a friend did recently. Bought an ash body blank and pre-fretted/nutted neck with an undrilled/uncut headstock. And yes, that's a tort pickguard...

    20180302_202214[1].
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
    Axstar likes this.
  14. mark1542

    mark1542

    Dec 28, 2012
    Yeah I just started conversations with a flies sellers on there. We’ll see how it goes.
     
  15. otp57

    otp57

    Oct 10, 2016
    Try the Warmoth site you can get almost anything you want.
    You can buy a blank and build just about anything you can think of.
    Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts - Custom Bass Body Wizard
    Hope this will help you.
     
  16. ThuzzleFump

    ThuzzleFump All your bass... Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2015
    California
  17. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA

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