McCartney's 4001

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ric5, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I disclose nothing
    Paul McCartney got a fireglo 4001s from Rickenbacker in the mid 60s. About the time of Magical Mystery Tour it got a hippie paint job.


    Then in the 70s it got sanded down and it got a new bridge pickup from Rickenbacker.


    I have heard many stories about how rough the sanding job was on the Rickenbacker.

    Well here is a photo captured from a 1984 video of Paul playing the 4001 in a music video. Look at how rough the fretboard is. I looks like a cave man took of the finish.

  2. chef wong

    chef wong Inactive

    Sep 15, 2012
    He's the king of bass tone.
  3. The first picture just became my iPad wallpaper.

    The fretboard photo. How could that happen? Must've been sanded during a sugar cube get together.
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I disclose nothing
    Ya I hear the whole bass was sanded down that way ... The sanding strokes were in all directions without reguard to the direction of the wood grain.
  5. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    There's a couple of stories about the psychedelic paint job, some say he and George got together and painted their axes up under the influence, others say it was done by a professional group of cutting edge Dutch designers called "The Fool".
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.
  6. TDSLaBassiste

    TDSLaBassiste Bass drops and breakdowns since 2009

    Jul 8, 2011
    Southwest Florida
    Any good shots of this crazy paint job he did? I'm curious.
  7. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Paul painted it himself. He also sanded it down himself, deforming the upper horn in the process. Rickenbacker replaced his horseshoe ( which was dead and unused for years), fixed some electrical issues and cleaned it for him. They were given specific instructions not to touch the action, which was very high. I got this information from 2 of the people working at Ric who were involved with the repair.
  8. interesting

    Attached Files:

    nixdad likes this.
  9. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Paul painted the Rickenbacker during the Sgt. Pepper's sessions.
    He didn't sanded it on his own, he asked a luthier to do it. The luthier first sanded just the paint. Later on he asked for some modifications on his bass: add a 0-fret to correct intonation problems, replacement of the horseshoe pickup and get the horns and the upper side of the body sanded down for a more ergonomic feel.

    Paul during the Sgt. Pepper's session:

    Here you can see that the paint was off, but the horns and the pickups are still there and no 0-fret:

    The bass, now with all the modifications (posted only the link because the picture is too big):
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I disclose nothing
    Here's a shot of his 4001 with the fireglo finish gone but not all rounded


    Here's another shot of the hippie paint job.

  11. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Where did you get the information that a luthier did the sanding?
  12. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    I read somewhere a long time ago, but aparently he really did the first strip-off on his own.
    Thank you for the correction.
  13. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    Man, he should have kept the psychedelic paint job! It was cool.
  14. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Not long after he got the bass, he already broke the pickguard:
  15. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Another look on the Ric before any mod:
  16. king_biscuit


    May 21, 2006
    So much prettier before all of the unnecessary refins...
  17. From

    "Around the time that the group recorded Magical Mystery Tour (April-December 1967), Paul's Rickenbacker got a psychedelic paint job take a close look in the film and you'll see the hippy-dippy colors. "Yep, I got out the old aerosols, Paul confirms. "We were all doing that: George did his guitar, and we did the cars. If you did the cars, you might as well do your guitars. It looked great. It was just 'cause we were tripping that what it was, man. Look at your guitar and you trip even more."

    Arnquist is a friend, he's in Seattle and I'm north of. He's got great stories about his years at Rickenbacker; it was cool to hear first hand his recollections of working on Paul's 4001S, along with many other tales. Mark's a great guy and incredibly talented luthier. People from all around the world send their Rick's to him for repairs and mods. Mark has worked on a couple of my Rick basses.
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Rob that's some cool info I would love to talk to Mark I'm back and forth about pulling the trigger on a Ric I know it's a bass I will eventually own
  19. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Mark is a hell of a nice guy and has a lot of great stories. He built the original 2 string bass for Chris from POTUSA incidentally. He also has some cool stories about Cobain, Jerry Cantrell and other notable Seattle guys. He is also very willing to give valuable information regarding set-ups and other stuff. Just an all around nice guy.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 25, 2021

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