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Making my cheap Epiphone Rivoli into a tone machine!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by scotch, Jun 2, 2011.


  1. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I've had this Epiphone Rivoli Reissue for a long time! It was the first instrument I ever got for free (endorsement relationship from long ago...), but I honestly never used it much. I actually gave it to my brother in-law who didn't care for it much either, so the bass ultimately languished in his closet untouched for years.

    I got the bass back a few years ago & decided to try & improve upon it. The biggest change was installing a Dimarzio Model 1 neck humbucker. It was an easy, drop-in replacement and made a HUGE difference! The Rivoli went from a wall decoration to a totally usable studio instrument. Strung it up with flats & used it like that for another year or two...

    Late last year I started more experiments - coil tapping, phase switch, different strings, etc... I ended up settling it in with a series/parallel switch for the neck pup, better pots and D'Addario Tapewounds (the tapewounds were another significant improvement!).

    In addition to studio use, I've started using the Rivoli with a surf-rock instrumental band. It sounded pretty great as is (check us out rehearsing - just the mono microphone on the $300 still camera: YouTube - ‪Crazy Aces Rehearse "Shake&Stomp"‬‏ ), but I was wanting more flexibility from the instrument.

    I got ahold of this cheap Allparts mini-humbucker. It might well be what Gibson & Epiphone use on their 2-pup EB's - not sure. Allparts was out of mounting rings, so I made my own out of a piece of scrap poplar. Here's the mod' pics:

    routing out the ring
    1.

    test fitting the ring
    2.

    sanding in the archtop contour
    3.

    watching the paint dry
    4.

    locating the pup, scoring the route
    5.

    Not exactly the choicest wood in the center block! Geez!
    6.

    test fitting & double checking alignment
    7.

    doesn't look bad!
    8.

    Finished up with standard 3-way pickup toggle:
    9.


    I'm very happy with the results! The new pickup matches well with the thumpy Dimarzio + has a pretty righteous and surprisingly strong 'burpy' tone on its' own! I might provide clips later, I wasted too much time working on this bass the last couple of days...

    ...and clips! Quick & dirty, bass > Line6 LowDown XLR out > ProTools

    Played the same line 3 times: first neck pickup solo'ed, second bridge pickup solo'ed, third both pickups.

    DivShare File - rivoli pickups.mp3
     
  2. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Pretty close to my Riv ...flats with the DiMarzio Model One. I didn't add the bridge pickup though. Highly underrated instruments, if you do a bit of work and like big, fat tone.

    Beautiful bass, Scotch !
     
  3. Nice looking bass!!!!
     
  4. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    clip added, see original post...
     
  5. bass_snake

    bass_snake Banned

    Aug 13, 2008
    Stouffville, Ontario
    I' ve always like these kind of body.

    Friedrich
     
  6. aquateen

    aquateen

    Apr 14, 2005
    maryland
    good job. I put a Model G in mine, same as the Model One but in a guitar humbucker size. makes a big difference as you pointed out. btw, the Allparts mini-bucker is not the same as the Gibson other than looks and size. might be more akin to the Epi mini, but I'm not really sure about that.

    rivoli-2.
    rivoli-1.
     
  7. Luckie

    Luckie

    Jan 1, 2010
    Northfield MN
    Thanks for the Rivoli GAS... :bassist:
     
  8. For a while now I've been wanting to have my currently-unusable reissue Rivoli refurbished into a lovely beast... I plan to have the stock Gotoh pickup replaced with a Curtis Novak EB-0 pickup, and the wiring redone to Harmnoy H22 specs. But life keeps on getting in the way....
     
  9. aquateen

    aquateen

    Apr 14, 2005
    maryland
    sounds like a plan, lp. the Novak pup is supposed to be quite nice.
     
  10. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    The Novak pup intrigues me, but I am very happy with the DiMarzio.... Honestly, the coolest neck humbucker I've played recently was a Wilkinson design. It was amazing! Less, "woofy" and a bit more balanced, but really inspiring! After adding the bridge pup, though, I really like the balance between the two - the DiMarzio is all "woof", with the Allparts bridge pup providing some treble, spank and burp.

    I am also thinking of getting a Hipshot Supertone Bridge & modifying it for the archtop. Either radiusing the bottom or maybe using dense cork as a compensating spacer. Hipshot recommended little felt pads, but I'm not digging that approach.
     
  11. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Beauty!
     
  12. Nice work Scotch..love those Rivoli Basses.
    Cheers.
     

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