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Rickenbacker neck/headstock joint

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sanderic, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. sanderic


    Jun 3, 2011
    While recently looking at photos of a new 4003 online, I noticed how smoothly the back of the neck flowed into the headstock.
    On my old 4001 (1978), the back of the neck, coming down from the headstock, is flat almost half way to the first fret.
    Somewhere along the way, Rickenbacker must have changed their tooling, or method of manufacture of the neck. Does anyone have information on when the change would have occured? Or do I just happen to have a neck where the employee pulled the wood away from the neck shaper about a 1/2 inch too soon? Seems unlikely, as both sides of the neck are shaped the same.
    This is not a complaint or jab at Rickenbacker, as I have loved these basses for over 35 years, just a question about subtle changes in construction over the years. Thank you for your input.
  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The body and neck shapes have had dozens of changes through the years.

    Currently Rickenbacker and most other basses are made by cnc machines.
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Back in '78, they were still done by hand. And, as Ric5 pointed out, there have been many many changes over the years. Usually subtle, but comparing a '78 to an '08, the differences can seem more extreme.
  4. A-Step-Towards

    A-Step-Towards Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Los Angeles California
    I had a 91 and compared to my 2011 its very different. The 2011 is a smooth round neck all the way up and down , the 91 had a blocky area behind the nut, I like the newer shaping.
  5. rockinrayduke

    rockinrayduke Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Henderson, NV
    My '79 also quite thick around the first fret.
  6. jbiscuti


    Dec 22, 2007
    NYC / LA
    Endorsing Artist: Grolsch Strap Locks
    That is a volute.
  7. sanderic


    Jun 3, 2011
    That is not a volute, in the Gibson style: a deliberate thickening of the wood to strengthen the neckjoint. On my 78, the shape of the neck does not begin until almost at the first fret. From a woodworking standpoint, I believe that the carving pattern was designed to pull the neck blank away from the cutter at around the first fret.