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I'm Looking For A Hired Gun for a "Rickish" 4001-type body or build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Josh Thatguy, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. Josh Thatguy

    Josh Thatguy Registered abUser

    Rickenbacker Police, please don't shoot: I'm not trying to do a replica, I'm trying to do a loosely-based tribute...

    Long story short: a local (one-hour drive) guy who claims to have built a couple of Cheap Trick guitars and, more recently around Halloween, an axe for Johnny Depp ("he called me a couple weeks ago and wanted a build", he said) flaked out on me so many times in the past three months that yesterday I made the drive (again) to go pick up my stuff from him. He claimed "dude, your body is on the belt sander out in the shop right now for another couple passes, but I just lost the key to the shop a while ago..."

    In very early October over a beer after I drove to his house, he promised me a 2-week turnaround time on a Ric 4001 body shape slab, and told me he would gladly do a build for me, "three weeks tops", etc etc ... he showed me his template and his "custom shop," which is the size of the storage building in my yard that I keep a lawnmower and weedeater in. He seemed to be one of "those guys" who wanted to talk a lot about his days in L.A., being a roadie for Queensryche, working the Viper Room, hanging out with (insert used-to-be-famous-metal-player-here) and so on. Now here I am in late December with all the parts I gave him way back when, with nothing to show from his end.

    So here's my thing:
    I don't need an artisan custom... hell, I don't even need binding on the bass body, or even a pickguard! It will be a single-pickup, no-front-routing design, with one Vol/one Tone knob and a kill switch, 34" scale, in the shape of a 4001. I have a single active pickup (EMG MMTW) brand new in the box with all electronics and instructions, I have a high-mass bridge, I have a low-end Ebay complete neck that I've sanded some dings out of, I have pretty much everything needed for a body guy/builder to complete it. The neck I bought is a bolt-on; I do NOT need a neck-through like a real 4001. All I need is the basic sexy-shaped (and accurate 4001, not the latest 4003s with skinny horns) body, and a build with my parts. I will be doing all the painting on the body and neck after it's completed, so I don't expect it to be a beauty queen when I get it back from whoever builds it. Obviously, it needs to be a relatively ready-to-prep-and-paint deal, and if you want to seal the wood/body before sending it back to me, that's great.
    I have pictures of what it needs to look like, as it's intended to be a tribute bass to a friend who died in 2010, and I've got photos (and even a DVD).

    I'm hoping this is the right place to get some response, if anybody with 4001-replica experience has a template and/or desire to make some relatively easy cash. The local guy gave me a discounted price of $60 on a body versus the $75 he advertised on two standard 4001 bodies he already had (with top routing, two pickup routs, etc), which I thought was a great bargain. The grain in the wood or even a small ding or two or three on the back doesn't matter to me, because again, I'll be doing the painting on it, and it's going to be a rattlecan flat black player, not a museum piece. My signal chain for this bass, as a backup to my primary bass, has layers of distortion, so the EMG will do most of the work anyway, and the wood doesn't have to be high-end $500-per-blank stone-solid and rock-heavy museum quality. Alder, ash, mahogany, whatever, just nothing exotically expensive.

    The local guy never priced the completed build (neck mounted, wiring soldered, etc), but assured me "no problem dude, this will be easy since there's nothing complicated." Which is true: a body with three holes in the front, MM-size pickup mounted, electronics cavity in the back, and the EMG even uses a solderless plug-in connector... couldn't be easier, in concept.
    I would have let him do it IF he had not continuously ignored every call and text message I sent adter he mentioned the Depp thing, and NO, I didn't hound him. I called him a couple times per week starting in mid-November and sent a few texts, just to see if there was anything he needed from me ($, beer, strings, whatever) to keep the project going. I would've gladly accepted my place behind a Johhny Depp build if he had told me that was the delay, or whatever reason. But I started getting visions of him moving out of state with my pickup, neck and stuff, so I stopped by to get it back. He was pretty stoned, so he couldn't argue with my point. "Lost the key", he said...

    Anyway, if anyone is interested, feel free to PM me and give me a round $ figure on a body and/or a build (preferably a build), or let me know if you need pictures of what I want done. I will want to do this with a paper trail (or email-printed trail) showing an estimate, your receipt of my parts and money as a deposit at the beginning, and a general time frame. That'll cover both our butts. Any references or photos of your previous work would obviously be great too.
    Thanks in advance for the info and interest! I work overnights and sleep days, so I can touch base in the evening.
  2. SaintMez

    SaintMez Commercial User

    Jan 3, 2010
    Meridian, idaho
    Blood Brothers Guitars - Luthier, Porter Guitars - Contractor
    Wow...that guy is full of it. The 2 week turnaround is almost as laughable as the Johnny Depp story. I think you'll find somebody willing to help you out here and have much better luck actually getting a completed build.
  3. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Frankly I'd avoid any Ric related project out of course. I think they've made a pact with the NSA and they're probably tapping your computer right .... no - no, (arg!) I'm not even thinking about Rickenbackers (BANG!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~--------------------------------------------------------------------
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    There are a lot of guys who sell bass bodies on ebay. Some of them can make a Rick style body for you. When you have it made don't say the name of who did so the Ric police can't hassle them.

    There are guys on Talkbass here who have already made Ric style basses.
  5. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    yah but they're all dead or in hiding. :ninja:
  6. Josh Thatguy

    Josh Thatguy Registered abUser

    Yep, and the guy I was referring to is one of those guys who sells on Ebay. The 4001 body that I first saw locally on CL was a Rick reject with a nasty knot in the wood so he was selling it locally for dirt cheap, and that's what got me talking to him on the phone and then in person. He told me that my request wouldn't be a problem, and, well, you know the rest from my thread.
    Unfortunately for me, he also does guitar bodies, and probably also does a lot of laziness-inducing recreational drugs.
    So, in the meantime as I search amongst the Talkbass pages and posts for those guys who have done Ric-style basses, I'm hoping that one of them might happen to be out here and stumble upon this thread...

    And of course, they will remain anonymous in the end. Like I said, I'm not looking to replicate a real-deal 4001, I just need that shaped body and someone with the right tools. Hopefully someone motivated here in the YuuEssanDay (as Borat said) so that I don't have to get in touch with one of those damn Chinese Ric-clone companies to send me a body blank with no holes!
  7. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland

    I would love to know how he was able to get Rickenbacker factory seconds and be in a position whereby he could legally sell them. :eyebrow:
  8. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    That's actually not a perfectly simple build if you want it to look good. The Rick as you know is a neck through. In the design, the neck joins the body at the end of the fretboard. The best way to do it would again be a neck through design, or at least a set through with a long tongue. I think if I was cutting this body to work with a bolt on neck design, I'd make a long "neck pocket" that juts out of the body to allow the neck to bolt onto it. It would probably look kinda funky though and would be difficult to make a smooth, seamless transition from neck to body. Doable, but not gorgeous to my eyes...
  9. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Yeah, but [DEL]we're[/DEL] they're around. :p
  10. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    ssshhhhh.... :bag:

  11. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    Meanwhile on RickResource....

  12. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
  13. Josh Thatguy

    Josh Thatguy Registered abUser

    Just to be clear, I meant that it was his OWN Rick-ish reject that he was selling. I didn't mean it was a factory body. It was one that he cut that ended up with a nasty bullseye in the grain, and he didn't think he could get his usual price on Ebay for it, so he was trying locally. Had it not been carved&routed for all the usual 4001 hardware including pickups and pots, I would've taken it, because again to be clear, I'm going to be spraying mine in Krylon flat back.

    When I went in to his "Custom Shop" (a storage building with a radio and ashtray in it), I saw that body, a bunch of mahogany blanks, some Cadillac-style guitar bodies, a '51 P-bass body he was routing with a Humbucker for his brother, a Firebird body, and a few more. Seemed legit enough to just cut a 4001 shape for me and not do all the routing in the front, then match the pocket for my cheapo Ebay neck, and mount the hardware. And again, he seemed stoked to have such a simple project, plus he told me he was a big fan of the friend of mine who died in '10, so he was glad to help me do a tribute.
    I didn't have a problem with his price (obviously) or the fact that he had other things going on. I figured it might be a $200-$300 finished product in the end, Krylon included haha, which is fine for a backup bass for me with the same pickup as my Esh Stinger.
    What I had a problem with is being ignored for two months straight with no contact on a "2 to 3 week" project, wondering if he: was in jail, sold my parts, or had packed up and moved back to L.A. due to his lusty-eyed look every time he talked about that city.

    Anyway, sorry about any confusion.
    Thanks for the PMs so far.
  14. A-Step-Towards

    A-Step-Towards Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Los Angeles California
    John Kallas isnt from from the LA area and could easily do it. He does great work but great doesnt mean cheap.