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Should I Make a PrecisionBacker?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mrtn400, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. mrtn400


    Dec 6, 2008
    Carmichael, CA
    Ever since I first heard my dad's Ric 4000 I've wanted one. Not for the awesome looks, the weird neck profile, or the bragging rights, but for the sound. My problem is I don't want to spend a few thousand just for that sound. So I came up with an idea to mod a cheap P-bass (probably this SX) with a Ric bridge and a bridge pickup. I'd also swap out the pots to match what they put in a real 4000, and sand it down to the wood and coat it with a semi-gloss finish to get a WoodGlo look.

    Here's some pictures to help you out...


    After (sorry about my bad photoshop skills):

    Do you think that this would sound pretty damn close to a real Ric, or am I just kidding myself?

    I do realize that getting a genuine Ric pickup by itself for a semi-realistic price is going to be hard to do, but that's a whole other adventure in itself.
  2. This is the weirdest mod idea I have seen here I think.

    I am not sure if this would sound like a Ric or not but my gut says it would not and it is also an expensive mod to make to a budget bass like the SX.
  3. i think the neck pickup is pretty crucial to the ric sound.. as well as the neck and body wood, but moreso the pickup layout.
  4. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    And the fact that Rics (4001/3) are neck thru. That looks more like a Prickenbacker or a Riccision.
  5. Might not get the Ric sound Verbatim - but you surely will get a different sound and have a unique and unusual Bass - so weigh the cost and your desire - and then if you do it - keep us informed and post the build progress here.

  6. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    Not that expensive. I'm doing this to my Peavey P copy. Except I'm making it a P-rick-ray by digging an additional cavity out for a stingray pickup as well.

    It's not that expensive. Rickenbacker pickup, about $125, don't know how much the bridge is, you can get a hipshot one for like $120. If you pay someone else to do the work for you, that'll probably cost something. So you'll probably have $300 total plus the cost of the cheapo bass.

    It still won't sound exactly the same, though. The neck and body wood, as well as the construction, probably contribute a lot to the Rick sound.

    Also, not everybody who plays a Rickenbacker uses both pickups together. Some use them to get very different tones at the flip of a switch.

    If you do end up doing this mod, OP, please tell us how it goes.
  7. So you DON"T think that a $300 mod to a $120 bass is expensive?
  8. Lemoore-on


    May 11, 2008
    It sounds like an interesting mod, but I dont think it will sound like a ric. Like stated above, neckthru/maple body all that together with the pick ups, pots & bridge make a ric sound like a ric.
  9. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Subscribed b/c I'm curious to see how many times a 4000 is confused with a 4001/4003. :)


    To the OP, if you are inclined to take on such a project I think it would be very interesting to see how it ends up. Do you still have access to your dad's 4000 as to compare the end result?

    I would love to see an SX be able to compare to a vintage 4000, but then I'm one that is a little skeptical on absolutes regarding what "sounds like a ric". McCartney and Geddy and Squire all sound different and don't forget all the Jazz/Ric debates on what bass Geddy used for what song on Permanent Waves.

    My prediction is that the end result will be "close", but only you can decide if it's worth it to you to try it. :bassist:
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    If you do that to a p-bass then lose the pickguard ... and don't use the Ric tailpiece bridge assembly ...
  11. mrtn400


    Dec 6, 2008
    Carmichael, CA
    I'm modeling this off of a 4000, not a 4001/3.

    How a 4000 differs from a 4001/3:
    • Only the bridge pickup.
    • Some are through necks and some are glued, but my dad's is glued and that's what I'm trying to follow.

    I do still have access to my dad's 4000, and he has a nice little mini-studio that we could use.

    I also realize how much strings, playing style, and what you play through changes the sound, but when I say Ric sound I think of my Dad's sound, and I use the same strings and play pretty similar to him, so that's not really a problem.

    My problem is that I won't be putting the Ric pickup directly where the old P was, so I'd be leaving a big hole.

    If I were to do a sort of parts-Precisionbacker, I'd end up paying $225 for a rear-routed maple body to begin with, and that knocks me over $700 with everything else.
  12. i take it that bass-sucker cap is not wired into the 4000 then? ive never heard of such a thing and just read it quickly. the bridge pickup on every ric i ever played was GROSS by itself.
  13. why not have some fun with the PG?


    and if you were into painting it instead of going for maple, you could fill part of the old P cavity, and get closer to a ric PG.
  14. mrtn400


    Dec 6, 2008
    Carmichael, CA
    They use a 500k pot for the tone, so there's less bleed-over.

    I'm actually thinking about wiring it open, or using 1meg pots.

    Here's the wiring diagram.

    I was going to 'shop a Rickenbacker pickguard on there, but I actually like how it looks with a modified P pickguard.
  15. so, did i help? haha. im not going out until midnight, and ive got time to kill.. so i started photoshopping things
  16. xaxxat

    xaxxat Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2008
    4001 pickguard template:

    Just don't use the neck pup cutout.

    Attached Files:

  17. Don't forget-the Ric is slightly shorter scale, so you'll maybe want to take that into account regarding pickup routing. Not a huge difference, but it should be a little further from the bridge than on the Ric. I'm not even going to try to do the math on that one, any takers?
  18. Ok, I figure it's 2.2% shorter than a Fender. So half of that is 1.1%, meaning it should be placed 1/8" closer to the 12th fret than it is on the Fender(actually .183" to be exact). Probably splitting hairs, but hey.
    I think if you use a Ric pickup, with Ric-correct pots and wiring, it'll sound like a Ric.
  19. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    This is so cool!

    IF it happens, make a build thread. Please! :D
  20. mrtn400


    Dec 6, 2008
    Carmichael, CA
    I'd say so. I've come up with a new pickguard design that I like better.

    It's still mostly a P, but it has that Ric half-circle feel. I also moved the knobs to better resemble a 4000 and "put" the output jack on the bottom right side of the bass.


    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I'll get the exact measurements of off of my dad's 4000 and do the math.

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