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Rickenbacker neck repair

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by I Jam Econo, Mar 14, 2019.


  1. I Jam Econo

    I Jam Econo

    Mar 14, 2019
    Ok first off, I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum. I have a Japanese Rickenbacker copy with a bolt on neck, and the neck is bending upward due to the string tension in the same way it did on some of the actual Rickenbackers early on. It's bent so far that it makes getting normal string height impossible. The neck heel has bent, so I want to cut off that part and add some meat to it in hopes that it will make the neck more solid. I have the tools and a piece of maple that should work, now I just need to figure out how to make the neck/body joint the most solid. Here's some pictures of the neck. The heel begins to bend upward just after the cut out for the pickup which is the weakest part of the neck. I intend to fill that part with as much wood as I can:
    IMG_6934. IMG_6936.

    Here's a quick sketch showing the issue at hand and where the end of the neck heel should actually be:
    IMG_6978.
    And here's a quick sketch of one course of action I'm considering:
    IMG_6979.
    How much of the original neck heel can I cut off and still expect the new piece of maple to stick once clamped and glued? Should I attempt to straighten the existing piece of the heel, plane it flat and then just glue a flat piece of maple to the top of it, or cut the heel all the way back to before the bend and try to glue the maple to that piece? I planned on using Titebond 2 for gluing, but let me know if there's something that would work better for this application.

    When all is said and done, I think I'm going re drill the holes for the neck screws and put them further apart to add some stability. I appreciate any and all advice. Thanks!
     
  2. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    If the wood is stable now that it's bent there is no real need to cut any off. Looking at your middle image - the first drawing - I would just glue a wedge of maple to the bottom to fill in your dotted line, then machine the entire end of the neck to the correct shape (true up your wedge and cut the top of the original maple down so it's the right shape).

    Cutting the entire end of the neck off - which is what it sounds like you're suggesting after your second drawing - will be hard to recover from. There won't be an easy way to get a strong joint to the new neck heel end.
     
  3. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    Wait a minute...
    You just joined today and want expert free help with what is the bane of musical instrument manufacturing companies- counterfeits??
     
    Gizmot likes this.
  4. If you're cutting the heel off and gluing a new piece on you'll be gluing end grain to end grain which is a difficult glue joint to make strong. I had a body that I tried to extend the neck pocket a little. I even doweled the joint and it still ended up flexing quite a bit. I finally routed out and epoxied in a steel bar in the body.

    As suggested above, gluing in a wedge, flattening the tounge part out then reinforcing that with metal or CF might be your best bet. I'm interested to see what other suggestions you get.
     
    RobertUI, EatS1stBassist and Bobro like this.
  5. Bobro

    Bobro

    Feb 22, 2018
    Maribor, Slovnia
    From a "wood technology" point of view, this is your only real option. Wedges are easy to make nice- with matching angles, you can make the wedge a touch oversized then trim it down perfectly.
     
    EatS1stBassist and Matt Liebenau like this.
  6. Yes. Probably cut the wedge, flatten the end of the tounge to match the wedge, glue, then flatten the top of the neck tounge.
     
    Bobro likes this.
  7. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    A perfect illustration of the inherent structural problem all Rics ( and clones) share to a greater or lesser extent: big pup route right at the point of maximum stress= bad. A Ric neck through joint looks nearly identical in cross section, they bend in the same place, the rest of the neck beam beyond that joint is structurally irrelevant. I'd try to steam or otherwise bend that "tongue" flat then infill the pup route solid with a maple block to hold it there. Then re-route the absolute minimum pup route necessary AT 1" SPACING!
     
  8. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    There may also be a way to screw it down differently so that it gets a better connection - can you put up a pic of the body and the neck pocket front/back as well? You may get better advice.

    Also, you might want to take the word "Rickenbacker" out of your thread title. It's not relevant here as it's not a Ric, and it will just draw a billion Ric enthusiasts out to check out this thread, and be angered by the counterfeit content... :D
     
  9. Really?
     
  10. Take a picture of the back of the neck heel area. maybe carbon fiber is the way to go here. Let's see the back.
     
  11. Take a pic of the neck pocket too, please. i think i would straighten that heel with heat and clamps, epoxy in a support block on top to build up the weak heel, reinforcing it against the rest of the neck, and put 2 carbon fiber bars in the back of that neck heel area with epoxy. then route the most minimal route i had to for the pickup.
     
  12. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015


    I'd probably undercut the back side of the neck and put a plate there.
     
  13. I Jam Econo

    I Jam Econo

    Mar 14, 2019
    WOW! Huge thanks to everybody for their responses! I never considered putting a shim under the heel, but it sounds like that might be the best course of action because that part of the neck is in fact pretty stiff and I'd rather not get into steaming it. I have considered some sort of reinforcement plate under the heel, but that would probably bring the neck up too far from the pickups (unless it was something very thin?) I may also try putting in 6 screws instead of the stock 4, like on a Spector or Musicman.

    From what I've read, newer Rickenbackers have the neck pickup routed further toward the bridge to combat the problem I'm having (as someone suggested). Does this change the sound much? If I do that I'd need a new pick guard. Do they make Rick style pick guard blanks? Here's a picture of the neck pocket:

    IMG_6937.
     
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I build and modify basses
    add a shim wedge and add 2 extra screws

    [​IMG]
     
    pudge, RobertUI, Novarocker and 3 others like this.
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I build and modify basses
    many basses 4 screws is not enough to get the bolt on neck stable
     
    AlexanderB likes this.
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I build and modify basses
    Don't criticize what you don't understand

    watch this video and think about it

     
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I build and modify basses
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  18. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    What you're considering take a lot of effort and skill.

    It's too late now, but if I were in your position I would make the neck, closest to the body, fretless then plain that part of the neck to be level. I would then be able to straighten out the neck using the truss rod but without choking the strings. Something like this but without those two frets next to the body.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    All the Chinese Ric clone kits I’ve seen for sale have the same neck pocket, it’s just a terrible design, unfortunately, and really not much better on a genuine Ric. The wedge idea might correct it temporarily, but wood that bends once usually bends again, the carbon fiber TOW idea has some merit, @Bruce Johnson has had some luck fixing Ski Jump with it, similar problem of wood fibers bending. I’m wondering if a larger wedge could be glued onto the tongue permanently, cut back for a longer scarf joint.
     
    bobdabilder likes this.
  20. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I build and modify basses
    [​IMG]
     

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