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Thinking of buying a used Rickenbacker, concerned about mods

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bygoneguy, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Hey guys,

    Got my eye on a used vintage 4001, only the guy had it modded with an EB-0 in the neck position and a DiMarzio Humbucker "Jazz" at the bridge. He said he had it professionally done but in the photo's the Jazz looks too wide for the strings to me. Otherwise the bass appears to be in A-1 shape. Normally I wouldn't consider it, but he's letting it go for a grand. Any luthier / electronics guru types out there who could give me the skinny on if this is a feasible mod, whether it can be reversed or not, and if so how much it would effect the basses original sound afterward, would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Attached Files:

  2. IronLung1986


    May 19, 2010
    Exeter, NH
    i don't think the width of the jazz pickup is a serious issue. on my p bass, the pole pieces under the E string don't exactly line up with the string, just like your problem. i don't think it affects the sound at all because the E string on my P is real strong sounding. on my rick, i have the same problem but on the G string (due to modding) and similarly i don't think it makes any difference with sound.

    i think those mods are reversible, but it would take a little work. just from the experience i have with modding ricks, i know that if the EB-0 pickup required body routing, you can make little maple blocks and glue them into the excess spaces when you put the normal rick pickup back in it.
  3. Maple block, eh? Hadn't thought of that. I'm no luthier but I think I could actually handle that. I was a little concerned about structural issues from the routing, but I suppose I could ask him which shop he had the mods done at just to be safe. I actually do have a Ricky bridge pickup I could swap the DiMarzio out for if need be.
  4. Oh and thanks, BTW.
  5. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    You needn't worry about that. I have a Rick that had the entire pickup boat-cavity routed out of it (before I owned it). I have had that bass for about 30 years, and it's as strong as any other bass I own, and stronger than a lot of them.
  6. RhynoRock


    Dec 19, 2012
    Fredonia, NY
    Looks like he was trying to mod it after Cliff Burton's Ric, only with a DiMarzio jazz pickup in the bridge instead of a stock Fender. That being said, and having never heard this thing in person, I can say it appears obvious that it won't sound anything like a Ric, but probably still sound really really nice.

    If it were me, I'd see it as a lot less valuable, and I'd try to haggle the living crap out of him for that.
  7. Yeah, the mods can be pretty tough, but I don't think they'll ban you just for owning a Ric

  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    The bridge tailpiece on that bass looks like an Allparts and not a Rickenbacker part.

    That could be a great bass for a Cliff Burton Sig bass ... it already has the correct pickups.
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    What's the little toggle switch for on mounted next to the standard toggle?

    Just to bring it back to Ric specs you're talking about spending a fair amount of money.
    $150 for a bridge pickup, or $200 for a horseshoe
    $75 for a neck pickup, or $150 for a toaster
    If you wanted a new tailpiece, that's another $150 or $170.

    After that, you'd be really close to the price of a new one.

    Me? I'd pass.
  10. FranF

    FranF Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Northeastern PA
    non original bridge for sure. that may need to be considered too.
  11. RhynoRock


    Dec 19, 2012
    Fredonia, NY
    Allparts.com does sell a convincing looking bridge copy, too hard to tell from the pic.
  12. Jaymi

    Jaymi Pink Bass Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Jaydee Basses
    I would buy it and then return it to original pickups...
  13. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I'd do it, get a new pickguard, a Hipshot bridge, new pickup covers, and some SGD pickups. Then you'd have a sweeter-than-a-Ric Ric for less than the cost of a new one.
  14. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    This would be my personal choice, and reversing the mods will just return the sound to stock.
    The mods have no permanent effect on tone, and with a new 'guard no one will ever know unless they look under the hood.
    They do in fact permanently reduce the 'collector value' of the bass, so keep that in mind.

    The Jazz pup fits in the original rout with ease.
    My '77 4001 had a Jackson J pup screwed to the original plastic bridge pup mounting plate when I got it.
    It just didn't sound right to me, but you may like the sound of what's already there.
    Who knows.

    If the bass is a good player, buy it and do whatever you feel is appropriate later.
    If the big mudbucker is not to your liking replace the 'guard and neck pup first, then change the bridge pup if you feel the need when you find one at a reasonable price.

    I caught a deal on ebay for a pup for mine for $25.
    Figuring the pup was in need of a rewind, it's still a deal, but it still works great.
    If you need a rewind there are folks around specializing in Ricks and their prices are usually quite reasonable.

    Of course, a whole new set of pups and wiring harness (if required) would be nice, but just do what you can afford or actually want.

    Mainly, it's a worthwhile bass if it plays well.
    Try it first.
  15. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    After those mods you'd be right at the cost of a new Ric. And that's if you ever get the pickups :bag:
  16. Hell, the Cliff fanboy in me REALLY wants it!
  17. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The mods here don't seem to have any control issues. They would never tell you which bass to buy.

  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    It is an allparts bridge.

    Hey ... if you buy it ... play it before you put it back stock ... you might like it that way ...

    Also try to get it for a discount price due to the mods.

    Also before you but it verify it is a real Rick.
  19. Which is exactly why you get him to knock a couple hundred off the pirce, not an unreasonable request. If he doesn't, then walk away.
  20. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses

    Exactly! Whereas the cost to buy a new Ric and make those same mods would put you into boutique/custom bass territory, so you're ultimately saving money and getting the same end-product.

    I guess you could sell the stock Ric hardware and electronic to offset the costs of upgrading, though.