Rickenbacker copy questions. Please help

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by smokey713, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. smokey713


    Jun 28, 2006
    Cynthiana, Ky
    So a while back I picked this bass up for a little over 500. Not sure on the brand but the closest thing I saw online is a kasuga? I decided to swap the pickups for a bartolini rt6 in the neck and a Seymour Duncan srb-1b for the bridge. However, the neck pickup needs to be routed out more and the back pickup needs to be widened just a hair. Upon further inspection it looks to me that the wood that needs to be removed is part of the neck? Is that possible? (See first pic). Also, I noticed that the saddles are set weird. The E and A are facing one way and the D and G are facing another. Doesn’t seem right to me. And last question is about the knobs. Barely turning the volume knobs either cuts it off completely or cranks it. Is that a wiring problem or a pots problem. Any and all help regarding this bass is greatly appreciated. Thanks! FEC60F19-1C8E-4942-B2D8-92F06A038DAA.jpeg C550B2C0-7B6F-42F5-A8AF-384FD17793E8.jpeg 5F44A678-B255-44E3-B9E0-5EDF6063D93B.jpeg

    Attached Files:

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  2. Qlanq


    Jul 9, 2007
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  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    That's a very nice faker, not sure which brand, but only the better ones had checker binding. I can't tell from the photos if its neck through or set neck, looks like neck though on my scrappy little screen. It looks like they drilled holes for the magnet poles coming out the back of the pup, which was smart, they were trying to minimize the amount of wood removed at the pup. In either through neck or set neck design, that's an issue. DO NOT hog out any more wood there unless you absolutely have to, and then the absolute minimum required to fit the pup. That's a point of maximum stress at the neck body joint, if you weaken it further, the neck can start to fold inward, which is BAD. In short, don't mess with it. Try to find a different pup with similar pole magnets that will fit, or have the original re-wound.

    The saddles were probably reversed because they were having trouble intonating it, and flipping the saddles can give you more travel. Flip them back and see if it will intonate.

    Sounds like you have a bad pot, but it could just be a loose connection to a capacitor. Check all the connections for a cold solder joint, or just replace the pot with a CTS one of the same value, they are cheap on Amazon.

    Nice bass, that's pretty much the top of the line for "lawsuit" Ric copies.

    Edit: take the fake Rickenbacker TRC off it, that makes it a counterfeit instead of a copy, which tends to bring out the Troll is some genuine Ric owners. It's just a piece of white plastic, make your own and put your name on it, or make up a brand name. You can find blank ones on Aliexpress too.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  4. smokey713


    Jun 28, 2006
    Cynthiana, Ky
    It’s actually a bolt on neck. Does the same still apply for causing the neck to fold? And yes the holes were drilled for the magnets on the other pickup. And I don’t think the whole thing would have to be cleared out. Maybe where the holes are and probably not even a 1/4 inch on either side for the bart to fit.
  5. smokey713


    Jun 28, 2006
    Cynthiana, Ky
    It’s actually a bolt on neck. Does the same still apply for causing the neck to fold? And yes the holes were drilled for the magnets on the other pickup. And I don’t think the whole thing would have to be cleared out. Maybe where the holes are and probably not even a 1/4 inch on either side for the bart to fit.
  6. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    That's a mid-70's Japanese "lawsuit" copy, from the Matsumoku factory - looks most likely to be an Ibanez.

    They're very sought after, and collectable - I've seen them typically listed anywhere between £600 & $800.

    I would not do any irreversible modifications to it, such as routing out wood - and you definitely don't want to route any wood out of the neck heel, as there is a real danger of it weakening the joint to the point it folds.

    Personally, I'd try to keep it stock, or find pickups that fit the existing routes.

    Having two saddles reversed was common, but when I was intonating mine, I ended up with both saddles the same way around.

    Re. the volume issue - it's probably a dodgy pot, but which position was the pickup selector in?

    I'm toying with a couple of modifications to mine (in the past, I took off the chrome bridge pickup housing, and made a plastic pick guard, to remove that physical obstacle - the original chrome is now back in place).

    I'm mainly debating getting the original neck pickup re-wound, as it's pretty much given up the ghost Vs buying a suitable replacement.

    The other mods I've been debating (for about 20 years :wideyed:) is whether to actually wire it's output socket (which is a TRS socket) in stereo, and fit a stereo / mono switch inside the bass. Also whether to fit a switchable cap to replicate the original Rickenbacker treble pickup.

    All of those mods are non-invasive / easily reversible, and to be honest, I've always treated this bass as it's own thing - that just happens to look, and sound a lot like a Rickenbacker.
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  7. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    4001 Body.JPG No, your bass will be fine. The "folding neck" thing is also known as "Negative Neck Angle" among Rick owners. It's only a problem for older 4001s with the neck pickup in this position. Under the pick guard of this '73 4001 (mine), is a stupidly large routed hole - what's known as a "Bathtub Rout". Not only is it almost twice as large as it needs to be, it's removed most of the wood right at the place where the neck starts to become the center body block.The "neck" is only attached to the rest of the bass by a thin strip of wood, about 2 1/2" wide by maybe 3/8" thick. Over time, the bass does, in fact, start to fold in half right at the thin spot. And, yes, mine is starting to do it, too. Somewhere around... 1978, IIRC, RIC finally wised up and started routing a proper sized hole for the neck pickup - that was moved back to the spot that it is today. Your bolt-neck Rick copy (nice one, by the way) can't - and won't - have this problem...:cool:
  8. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    If it's bolt on, that means you probably only have about 1/4- 1/2" max thickness of wood between bottom of pup route and the neck heel, so I still wouldn't touch it on the pup area. Can you take more photos of the bottom of pup route and the bolt on back? They drilled only minimal holes for the pole magnets and pup screws for a reason, the Japanese were not stupid. They recognized that giant pup route was a structural defect on real Rics and decided not to repeat it. BTW, there's a whole thread devoted to Ric clones, somebody may know the exact model and brand. Again, DON'T remove any wood there. If a Pro Luthier thinks you can get away with it, let him/her do it, but don't go breaking out the router, you could ruin this bass quick.
    Club RickenFaker / FakenBacker - Show Your Fake Rics!
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  9. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    Vail, CO
    0B84F54E-DF11-4E1A-963D-BF760522EFFF.jpeg I have to disagree with everybody on the routing. If this is indeed part of the neck , then ABSOLUTELY do not rout!!!i highlighted what I think looks like the neck contour. If that is the case , do not , I repeat , do not rout.
  10. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017

    I would be really cautious about that.

    It's not like a Fender neck, where the bolts are screwing into a big old hunk of wood below the fretboard.

    The first two bolts on these Matsumoku copies is right at the end of the fretboard, and the second set of bolts are beyond the pickup (my copy has the pickup in the modern position, and the bolts are right under the centre of the pickup).

    It's not a terribly thick piece of wood at that point.

    That said, I once saw someone (at least 6'5" tall) get tripped up by a missile thrown from the audience, and fall their full weight onto the tip of the headstock of their early 70's Rickenbacker 4001 - the neck look like it bowed significantly.

    He got right back up, and the bass wasn't even out of tune - no harm done.
  11. If you look at the adjacent grain in this cavity, it's perpendicular, indicating the body is either plywood, or a lumber core lamination abomination.
    When the neck does come off, you'll at least (hopefully) have a hand on each part, which will help prevent injury to yourself, or others nearby.
    Do not route.

    You've been warned ;)

    Your bass does look pretty nice though :woot:
  12. smokey713


    Jun 28, 2006
    Cynthiana, Ky
    Got some more pictures of the bass. Really really appreciate all the help so far. 84D575D5-DBAD-4206-9752-8032652F7BA0.jpeg 746D8569-AB1D-4859-912C-56F4E8111983.jpeg 12489717-ED3E-4E81-8EF4-1FFB88A2D025.jpeg 944FDD93-7E22-4B09-A4C5-EEB4BD391057.jpeg 7063022D-6B10-4D90-B6C7-FDA3B1EEA4FD.jpeg 8105A45A-F0D9-41B2-A9D9-628A09501595.jpeg FE60B731-F2EB-4764-B3B6-0B33EA9E56F7.jpeg
  13. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I've only seen a couple of the Lawsuit basses in person, and both were full neck through. That's funky, it looks like they have a tenon on the neck which sockets into the body, but instead of being glued like a set neck, they bolted it. No difference, ultimately. It's still a thin piece of wood under the pup, so the "don't touch it" stands. I just watched a video on an SG repair where it broke right at the neck pup, same reason, not much wood under the pup and a thin tenon taking all the neck torque. It's just not a great design on a thin body. Most Ric clones are true to the original, only 1-1/4" thick, instead of 1 -1/2" like a Fender. If you really want to swap out the neck pup, check out the Joe Bardens, Nordenbockers, and Classic Amplification to see if one of them is drop-in.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  14. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.
    I'm not a fan of copy basses with all the copied names on. AKA like Rickenbacker name plate on a copy. At least when folks like Electra and Ibanez did it, they made sure it was labeled as an Ibanez or and Electra.

    Sorry, I see this is becoming a problem in the world market. Just go on Ebay, and see if you can find an add for a Ric and see if it is a comfortable deal that it is a real Ric. Sad, the far east is making it real easy for people to get ripped off.

    Sorry, just my $0.02......... All the best in your work to change the pup.
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  15. It looks like they set those necks, similar to Ricks non-thru method at the time, but also used a neck plate for some extra strength.
    Even on Ricks with similar construction, as long as there is not a neck pick-up route in that location, it should be fine, but with that wood missing there, it's really anybodies guess what might happen.
    It appears that the neck plate screw holes are just barely visible, which looks like a disaster just waiting to happen. I'm curious if that neck is actually removable, or if it's glued in. Side grain glued to end grain is not the most ideal joint.

    Also, I think the common solid body thickness is closer to 1 3/4".

    OP, like others have suggested, hunt down another pick-up that will fit, without removing any wood...if you like this bass ;)
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  16. After looking at the close-ups, I think that perpendicular grain is actually the sub veneer layer of the backside, and that would mean there is only about an 1/8" of material left there, before your out the backside!
    Man, that's a scary looking situation there. I would be trying to glue some more wood in there somehow.
    If it's holding so far, I'd leave it be...and never let it fall over :woot:
  17. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Electra was one brand name for these basses, and I think possibly Greco and a couple more, in addition to Ibanez. Yes, you will f*** up the neck if you try to take any more wood out. Consider just using the neck pickup you have. The "toaster" look is preferred. Please post a picture of the underside of the neck pickup. By looking at the holes drilled for the alnico slugs, those of us familiar are going, "Hmmm...."
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  18. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    Just to answer a few other questions that have been thrown up here :

    Ibanez released a ton of variations on this model - not just neck through, and bolt-on - but also versions with mud-buckers, chrome topped pickups in the modern position, toaster top neck pickup, full width bridge pickup housing, narrow width pickup housing, mono output, separate mono + stereo outputs, mother of pearl fret markers, fish scale fret markers.

    Several of the different brands manufactured at Matsumoku released high quality Rickenbacker copies during this period.

    The fireglow finish on the bass pictured, looks to be a separate top / veneer, over whatever the body is made out of.

    Obviously, the Rickenbacker truss rod cover isn't original, but the neck plate appears to have been replaced too, to remove the serial number, and "Made in Japan" stamp.

    My jetglow Ibanez, for example, has a mahogany body, with a bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fretboard, fish scale fret markers, chrome top pickups in the modern position, narrow chrome bridge pickup housing, and mono output (through a TRS socket).
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  19. Mine is 43 years old.
    When do you reckon the disaster will happen ?
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  20. eddy b reckons it will be at the same moment of;

    the unexpected, dreaded, strap slot reversal phenomenon, with no hands on it

    of course, my dear Peavey brother ;)

    EDIT-It looks like you still got most of your neck wood, luckily.
    You might be OK ;)
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020