Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mapleglo, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Now that the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, I thought I'd start a new thread for my next build. My working title for this project is the "leafenbacker", though that's not set in stone at this point. First, a little background.

    My favorite bass of all time, before I finished the Reformer, was my mid 70's Mapleglo Rickenbacker 4001. I had it for a few years, and did much of my gigging with it. For some reason I can't remember, I traded it for a Fireglo Ric, which I subsequently traded for some kind of an effects box. Ah, the follies of youth. Anyway, I really miss it, and knew some day I'd replace it. That time has come.

    While working on the Reformer, I came across a set of templates for a 4001. So I ordered it, and it arrived in about 2 weeks.


    The templates sat around for a month or two while I made some decisions about the build. Since I like the Carvin neck I used in the Reformer so well, I'm going to order another for this build. Same as before, 24 frets, and a maple fret board, fixing 2 of the main issues I have with Rickenbackers in general. I've amassed a bit of maple wood, which I'm using for the body wings. I also picked up a piece of mahogany.


    I'll use that for the headstock wings and as a strip of contrast between the neck through and body wings.

    Searching around the net, I came across a picture of Lemmy's Ric.


    What a work of art! I'm not really familiar with Lemmy, or his band, but I really love the bass. In a real sense, it's quite radical with carved inlays and three pickups. So armed with the template and the pictures, I went to work. First, I made a template for the body wings.


    I've subsequently decided to cut off the control panel from the template, and add that on after, as I'd like to use neither a pick guard or a rear control cavity cover. I'd like to make the control cover front mounted, for a cleaner look front and back. I may have to be creative with the pickup wiring routing.

    Since I don't know that I can carve oak leaves or acorns, I searched the net for something pre-made, and came across these:


    They're a little pricy at $20.00 each (so that's $60.00 of onlay), but I ordered a set to see how they might work. I'm thinking I'll need 2 more sets of three to complete the look.

    I cut out the body wings from the maple, and sanded them to shape.


    I had to route in the onlay locations, so I started by marking it out, and doing some work with a forstner bit.



    After routing it, I laid in the onlays.


    So that's where I am now. I'm going to have to pay down the credit card after my Reformer build and the holidays before I can order the neck and more onlays.

    I'm thinking of going with 3 Classic Amplification pickups, wired to 3 volume controls - no tone controls or pickup selection switch. I may look at the humbucker Rick pickups, but the availability seems to be spotty.

    Oh, and for the bridge, I'm thinking of using one of the Kahler Tremolo bridges - I think it matches the radical nature of the bass. There's a few issues that I'll have to work out before that's set in stone.

    I still have to route out the other body wing, and cut the mahogany strips, but short of that, I'll have to wait for fund availability before moving forward again.
  2. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    AWESOME!! :hyper: Subscribed!!
  3. This is going to be AMAZING!
  4. Skarsoul


    Aug 3, 2013
    love, Love, LOVE the concept! Subbed
  5. Looks really cool mapleglo, I will watch this with interest. I'm building a Ric 330 style semi hollow bass with a 33.25 scale length myself at the moment.
  6. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Wow, thanks for all the interest and support! :)

    I did a little more work today on the lower wing. First I traced the inset portion with the template and went at it with the forstner bit.


    Then I clamped the template to the wing in preparation for routing. I knew this was going to be a multi-step process as the clamps block the router, so I had to route up to the clamp, then move it to complete the route. And of course I only shaved off about an 1/8" on each pass, so there was a lot of moving of clamps. Additionally, unlike the upper wing, the base of the router was smaller than the routing area, so I had to try and keep the router level on the thinner portion of the template while routing the lower area.


    About halfway there.


    And done.


    I'm not sure you can see it in the picture, but the router did wobble at one point, so I have yet to sand that flat. And I need to go over both wings with some sanding to make everything smooth. But I had a productive day. Now to have some holiday treats :p
    Nino Valenti likes this.
  7. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    deviated prevert
    Definitely got the vibe from the first pic in the other thread... Watching this for sure.
  8. Yep, this is gonna be great. Subscribed.
    Don't let the rick police cease and desist scare you into stopping. As long as you keep it for personal use and don't pass it off as a rickenbacker, you're good. (Or so I've heard...read that multiple times from different sources)
  9. tdogg


    Jan 17, 2001
    Brooklyn Park, MN
  10. randyripoff


    Jul 12, 2008
    Subbed. Looks like an interesting build.
  11. Gunnerhea86


    Jul 29, 2009
  12. Zwieke


    Oct 21, 2005
    Subscribing for this one!
  13. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    Very, very cool.
  14. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    I have three of the Kahler Tremolo bridges. They are fantastic.

    I can tell you, the forward-saddle design has a lot more range than the rearward-saddle. The rearward-saddle is usable for small pitch shifts, vibrato, and so on, but if you're going to do dive bombs and radical bends you will want the forward-saddle model.

    IME bass tremolo is used differently than guitar. I find I do dive bombs more than anything else. I have found that knob placement is important. You don't want to be hitting your knuckle on the volume knob while you're dive bombing.

    Also a volume pedal is useful in conjunction with a dive bomb as the string tends to lose volume as the tension goes down.

    Talk to Gary Kahler, he's a great guy and helped me a bunch with implementation details on my basses.
  15. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az

    If I may quote a post from a Rickenbacker related post elsewhere:


    I haven't received any policing notes, and since this is for personal use only, I don't see a problem. But thanks for the heads up, I know some Rickenbacker purists can be a little, ummm, pushy.

    Thanks for the suggestions. Is the 7410 model a forward-saddle model?

    I posted a thread in the setup/hardware forum and received some great feedback. One of my concerns is that the tremolo systems seem to prefer a straight string path between the nut and tuners. The Rickenbacker design has them taking a pretty radical turn past the nut. I'll have to do some work with mixing tuner types and adjusting tuner positions on the headstock for optimal placement. Still in the works.
  16. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    I don't know the model numbers offhand but they're pretty clear on the website:
    Kahler 4-string Bass Tremolo Bridges

    Yes, straight string paths on the headstock are important for staying in tune. If I were in your shoes I would go for a modified headstock shape to allow straight paths, at least as straight as possible. Another bit help is to get a nut with teflon built in, like the GraphTech Tusq XL.

    I wish somebody made a tuner with an extended shaft so we could set the A & D string posts deeper into the middle of a rectangular headstock for straighter string paths.

    And try to save the really crazy whammy stuff for the end of the set so you can tune up right after.

    The whole reason for the rearward saddle design was that some basses have the bridge saddles very close to the tail of the bass, not leaving enough room for a forward-saddle tremolo bridge. rearward saddle trems fit in a tighter space, but they sacrifice some leverage compared to the forwards and you can't get as much of a big crazy pitch bend out of them. The forward-saddle trems I have stick out a bit from the end of the basses (Ibanez SRs) about 1/4" at the furthest point but you can hardly see it.

    Looking at the saddle positions on typical Rics on google images, I would guesstimate there's enough wood for the forward-saddle trem bridge. Looks like there's more room than on my SRs.

    In the worst case since you're building from scratch you could stretch the body a little bit if you wanted to, but I don't think you'll need to.
  17. Love that eye of sauron (I think that{s what it{s called) post.
    I kind of let that "rickresource" attitude affect me for a bit, I was all anti-copy pro rickenbacker and all. I specifically remember this time I just ranted at some guy for some reason or the other...I was totally wrong, still feel bad about that.
    The thing that showed me how ridiculous the attitude was over there was when they ripped a guys head off for switching the pickguards on a guitar...

    So yeah, I digress. Don{t let the imperial attitudes bring your awesome build to a halt, keep going and it{s bound to be sweet. (I actually ordered rick blueprints off ebay before the rick police took them down, plan to make a nice shortscale 4001s sooner or later)
  18. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I've been looking into that, and it looks like the vintage Fender tuners have longer stems. Gotoh makes a set:


    On these, the stem is 12.75 mm. On the GB2 model:


    the stem is 7.3 mm. The only problem that remains is the mounting plates don't match, and the clover leaf handles are slightly different. I may be able to remove the stem on 2 of the tuners from one set and install them on the other. Unfortunately, some of these tuners sets run upwards of $200.00. I'm still searching for a more affordable alternative, and a better match.
  19. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    This style has removable handles, so I may be able to remove them, add a spacer, and use a longer screw to remount them, effectively extending the stem.

    pudge likes this.
  20. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    I think they look sharp too.