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Early Rickenbacker 4000 pickup

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  • Early Rickenbacker 4000 pickup

    When the Rickenbacker 4000 was launched, what was the spec/design/construction of the pickup? I have a friend who called me to ask (he's building a replica bass) and I said I don't know. There are a few look-alike pickups he's seen but these are not true horseshoe pickups and he'd like to get as close to the original design as he can. It's not that I'm intending to build one for him - he just wants to know so that he can look out for the correct spec.
    Last edited by Mick Bailey; 11-11-2020, 08:41 AM.

  • #2
    ive made those since 2004 or so and had a huge court battle over it with rickenbacker and I am the only one with license to build them- real horseshoe magnet pickups. Making the magnets are alot of work- its not easy to bend, when you do bend they dont remain flat so you have to grind them down and then mirror polish and plate. Then when you harden the shoes they tend to warp at different rates so in order for them to line up in the middle where they meet you have to make 16 or 20 pieces and you go through and match them up into sets. Because they are hardened and not tempered you cant bend them to match height or they will snap off and break at the elbow. Alternate- look for a pickups from a silver hawaiian or one of the cheap pressed steel lap steels with the 1-1/4" magnets and use that pickup for the shoes- same size shoes the bass used.

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    • #3
      Over here in the UK those Hawaiian pickups aren't so easy to get hold of and are expensive on shipping and import/tax costs. When taking into account rebuilding for bass and possibly re-magnetizing then buying a brand-new pickup makes perhaps the better choice.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lollar Jason View Post
        ive made those since 2004 or so and had a huge court battle over it with rickenbacker and I am the only one with license to build them- real horseshoe magnet pickups. Making the magnets are alot of work- its not easy to bend, when you do bend they dont remain flat so you have to grind them down and then mirror polish and plate. Then when you harden the shoes they tend to warp at different rates so in order for them to line up in the middle where they meet you have to make 16 or 20 pieces and you go through and match them up into sets. Because they are hardened and not tempered you cant bend them to match height or they will snap off and break at the elbow. Alternate- look for a pickups from a silver hawaiian or one of the cheap pressed steel lap steels with the 1-1/4" magnets and use that pickup for the shoes- same size shoes the bass used.
        Buy the ones that Jason makes. They're fantastic and as close as you can get to an original without buying an original. Plus I think yours don't de-magnetize like the originals, correct Jason?

        Greg

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        • #5
          I just checked and the import costs push the price up for a single pickup to over $850 even with the lowest priced shipping. Insured it's even more. Maybe my friend will need to think that over.

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