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Rickenbacker 4001 copy to identify and restore

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fractal Potato, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Hello all, my first post to this forum, although I've been a lurker for a while.

    About 13 years ago, my Dad bought a Rickenbacker style bass from a friend of mine for £15. It was missing the bridge pickup, but was mostly intact. The guy it belonged to had drawn all over it with green marker pen and had scratched something all along the fretboard for some reason! Anyway, as my Dad had just built me my first bass guitar, he took it upon himself to try and restore it. This being pre-internet days, it was pretty difficult to find out about the bass other than it seemed that the price of the replacement pickup would be fairly high and I think he just lost interest. He managed to get rid of the marker and most of the damage to the fretboard, as well as re-lacquering the body and neck.

    Since my Dad died 5 years ago, the body's been sitting in a wardrobe and the rest of the bits in the garage. I've decided I'd quite like to have a go at putting it back together and turning it into a working bass again. I have no idea what it is, but it looks like a fairly good copy to me, although I have only seen real 4001s in photos and never played one. It doesn't look like the pictures I've seen of the more famous 70s law-suit copies like Ibanez and Univox.

    Anyone have a clue as to what this bass actually is? I've posted some photos below. The lacquer that my Dad used seems to have cracked. The only marking we could find originally were three letters - NAT (for natural I suppose) - marked in the well where the pots go. This can't be seen now due to the work my Dad did. It is stereo, which I gather is something not all copies were in the 70s. It also has a thru-neck and triangular inlays on the fretboard. Another aspect worth pointing out is the dual truss rods. So all in all it looks, to me, like a pretty faithful rendition of the real thing.

    I'm certainly no expert in guitar restoration, in fact I'm a complete beginner, but it looks like it wouldn't be too difficult to get up and running. Can anyone suggest a decent replacement pickup for the bridge that wouldn't cost too much? I'm pretty sure most of the other parts are present, so it should just be a case of putting it together.

    Any help, suggestions, ideas what it could be would be most appreciated.

    Here are the photos -


    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum.
  2. 8guy


    Jun 19, 2005
    Madison WI
    I cant be of much help except to tell you its not a mid 70s Ibanez, Unless they made 2 versions, But thats not like mine was at all. Hope You get that thing up and going though, Its got cool potential all over!!!!!:bassist:
  3. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    i am suprised at the lengths that companies would go to produce faithfull copies.
  4. Frac, what is the evidence that this wasn't a real Rick? I'm not versed in the subtleties of these so there might be more clues here than I can see but if all you have is the word of the person you got it from (the original owner - not your Dad), it might very well be an original. Someone with a lot more experience than me can probably tell in an instant.

    I agree that it's not an Ibby. As I recall, those used "checkerboard" binding.
  5. Well, I'm kind of assuming that it's not a real Rick based on the fact that there is no serial number on the jack plate. The knobs don't look like those I've seen on real Ricks too, plus the machine heads are different, although I realise these could have been replaced. I can't remember if it came with a truss rod cover for the head end, but if it did it certainly didn't say Rickenbacker on it. The guy we got it off didn't know anything about guitars at all, which is why he didn't mind letting us have it along with a 70s Kay Precision copy (which I'm going to de-fret sometime) for £15!

    On top of that, I just don't reckon I'm lucky enough to have gotten a genuine 4001 for £15. ;)
  6. I think that may be a real rick. I don't believe there were any copies made the two trussrods AND the neck thru (any only a small few had even one of those).

    But the guys at rickresource.com should be more help.
  7. 8guy


    Jun 19, 2005
    Madison WI
    IMO the neck pick up. tuners, and bridge are all wrong for a real Rick.
    But it does have the dual truss rod thing going, Interesting!!!
    Sink a few hundred dollars into this and you will hane quite a bass if the necks not twisted. This looks like a good candiate for Darkstars!!!!
  8. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    My guess that it's an Electra Rick copy. I have one myself, and there are many similarities. I can't recall if it has the 2 trussrods, but it did have the bridge with mutes, stereo jacks, and neck thru construction.

    It's not a Univox or Ibanez, and it's much too mice to be some of the other cheap copies like Stagg. So, I'm leaning toward it being an Electra.
  9. My Ibanez Rickenbacker had dual trussrods. But it was a bolt-on..
  10. Thanks for the replies.

    I don't think I've seen any photos of an Electra copy. That would be interesting. Could be a potential answer. Anyone got any pics?

    I haven't seen anything that looks exactly like mine. Maybe I never will, especially if it has been modded in some way in the past. It doesn't look like it has though. God knows what happened to the bridge pickup. I might hook it up without it just to see what it sounds like.
  11. I looked over the pics again and concur with 8guy about it not being Ric. While the tuners didn't bother me, I looked at the headstock shot and saw that these are the only tuners this bass has had on it. That's enough for me to be confident that it isn't authentic.


    I also agree with Jive about the Electra lineage. I forgot that they made these too. I think the only ones I've seen though are black and a Cherry-Glo finish. But I do remember they had a TR cover that said "Electra" in the Rickenbacher font - Very authentic from 20 paces! This is a cool bass and deserves every bit of attention you can pay to it. Darkstars are a good suggestion, if somewhat pricey, but you won't do better in the pickup department. I think a nice John East Retro preamp with those would be the ticket to making this a real BEAST!
  12. CWK


    Jun 9, 2005
    South Centeral Pa.
    I saw this posted on the Ric forum lastnight.IIRC they were rather fast to pick out many questionable issues.They are very knowlegeable to say the least.When I looked at the pic's the first
    thing that came to mind was the routing.I don't mean anything bad by this but yours is a little too clean;most of the Ric's I've seen including mine have a rough drill like routing from the neck pup to the control cavity.I guess it's like a router bit cut.
    Anyway,for the little bit you spent on it I agree with Hambone.
    I wouldn't even think about trying a Rickenbacker TRC.
    Have Fun!
  13. Thanks for bringing the thread on rickresource to my attention, CWK. They're a bit disturbingly obsessive over there, aren't they? Burn it and smash it? Haha.

    I've never thought this thing was anything other than a 1970s copy. I'm not fussed about who made it (other than a general curiosity), it just looks like it could be an interesting instrument to mess about with, and a fun project.

    I wouldn't even spend the cash on a Rick TRC! I'll probably just make one myself and make up a name for it. I reckon there's a good chance this could make a nice bass in its own right.

    Can anyone recommend a decent UK based supplier of pickups and parts?
  14. CWK


    Jun 9, 2005
    South Centeral Pa.
    I guess it depends upon what you want.Some parts (harness,pots
    ect)can be had from the Rickenbacker factory direct.Pups on the otherhand might be found cheaper on craigslist or some equivelnt
    site in your area (E-Bay).I'm not sure but I think a search may find better info than what I could do_OTOH look through the Ric fourm under
    'Rickenbackers For Sale' from time to time and don't be offended by some remarks from forum members,they really are great people and have helped me not only learn but save a buck(pound) or two in my searches.
  15. MAGUS®


    Dec 23, 2004
    Can we assume that someone sanded the headstock down at some point and removed the makers logo ?

    If so, then theres a couple of other makes it could be. Gherson, is one. I've seen a Gherson Rick on Ebay in the last 6 months - and i remember a pal of mine in the 70's who had a Gherson les Paul 6 string and the workmanship was awesome.
    Shaftsbury were another Japanese maker who built Rick copies in the 70's and likewise, i've seen one of those on Ebay in the last 6 months.
  16. Ah, thanks for the info, MAGUS®. I'll keep an eye out on ebay for those names to see if it can shed any light on what I've got. I assumed there must have been a truss rod cover on it originally that would have had the maker's name on it.

    I've got a feeling I'm going to have to re-fret the thing as well, because the lower frets do look really shallow. Still, I reckon it should be worth the effort.
  17. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    My guess is that it is a Greco.
  18. Hemitom


    Oct 12, 2005
    Its definetly not a Univox as I own two of them.GRECO would be my choice.
    The Univox IMO was as close to a early 4001 as you could get.
    Neck thru,dual truss rods,toaster neck cover,finned "Grover USA" knockoff tuners,plus an exact copy of the Ric bridge.Suprisingly though an aftermarket 4001 PG by WD would not fit the Univox correctly and if you look close at a Uni PG it has small reference dots for your knob position.
  19. Thanks Hemitom. I'm as sure as I can be now that it's a Greco. There doesn't seem to be a great deal of info about the Greco 4001 copies on the net though. Anyone played one?

    Still haven't got anywhere with getting it back into a playing condition yet. The re-fretting thing is putting me off.

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