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Thread: Rickenbacker 4001 build : need advise

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    Rickenbacker 4001 build : need advise

    Hello,
    i'm building a Rickenbacker 4001 style bass , and i want to use the ricken pickguard, but use a DIY dual rail humbucker for bridge pickup and a bridge which is not rickenbacker, already purchased.
    But now i'm facing a problem i did not think before, i will have to drill a hole from the bridge PU cavity to electronic cavity and a hole for the ground wire from the bridge to the electronic cavity. The guitar body is not very thick, it's 34mm thick only.
    The problem is that the original bridge PU is very wide, wider than a humbucker, so my hole has to be quite long and almost horizontal. Do you get me ?
    I ordered 30 cm long drill bits, but i wonder if i will be able to do it...
    So maybe i have to buy a ricken style bridge PU
    What do you think ?
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    How do i remove this thread ? I'm screwed, the neck is not wide enough, shit, i'm sick these days, and i made a big mistake. This build is a fail, aaarghhhhh!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    How do i remove this thread ? I'm screwed, the neck is not wide enough, shit, i'm sick these days, and i made a big mistake. This build is a fail, aaarghhhhh!!!
    Nothing's a fail until you give up. This is an unexpected challenge, not a defeat.

    It's a set neck that's harder but possible. Add wood to the sides and refret. It'll go with the neck-thru construction.

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    or find a narrow bridge, but i don't know if it exists. It's my first bass build, to be honest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    or find a narrow bridge, but i don't know if it exists. It's my first bass build, to be honest.
    It's possible to make bridges of different widths and spacings. What is your neck width?

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    Quote Originally Posted by glebert View Post
    It's possible to make bridges of different widths and spacings. What is your neck width?
    There is a big difference! I don't anderstand how i could do it! It's 53,5 mm instead of 57!!! Damned! I saw that some archtop bridges have a string spacing of 15mm, the one i've got is 20 mm between each string. 15 is not enough, but 20 is too much...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    There is a big difference! I don't anderstand how i could do it! It's 53,5 mm instead of 57!!! Damned! I saw that some archtop bridges have a string spacing of 15mm, the one i've got is 20 mm between each string. 15 is not enough, but 20 is too much...
    You could do individual saddles. Something like this. https://www.bitterrootguitars.com/Ba...p/122010bk.htm These are 16mm wide, so that would be your minimum spacing (I think). There are other models available, that was just the first ones that came up in google.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glebert View Post
    You could do individual saddles. Something like this. https://www.bitterrootguitars.com/Ba...p/122010bk.htm These are 16mm wide, so that would be your minimum spacing (I think). There are other models available, that was just the first ones that came up in google.
    Yeah great ! I'm gonna look for this, so, More work to do but it saves my build i think...

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    Salut tepsamp,
    Une belle aventure! Hipshot makes a Ric replacement bridge with 17mm saddle width. https://hipshotproducts.com/collecti...acement-bridge which should work for a neck as narrow as 51mm at the heel. Let me know if this is a good solution for you and I can order one for you.

    Regarding drilling long holes for your wiring you need to drill "blind" holes. Basically you start the holes from somewhere around the edge of the body, say from the side preferably under the jack plate to under the bridge and then drill down from the top under the bridge to meet the side hole. To guide you in this process you will stick down two long strips of masking tape 3-4 mm apart on the top over where the long hole is supposed to go to the edge. Line up your 30cm drill bit with the tape lines and start drilling. Stop when you have drilled far enough (which you marked on the drill bit with masking tape wrapped around the drill). When you drill the short top hole make it angle towards your exit hole so that your ground wire doesn't have to make a 90 bend!

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    You can source the original ABM version of the single string saddles in Germany https://www.thomann.de/fr/abm_3710b_...ass_bridge.htm but the Korean copies are probably 90% as good and available on eBay or Alibaba.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David King View Post
    You can source the original ABM version of the single string saddles in Germany https://www.thomann.de/fr/abm_3710b_...ass_bridge.htm but the Korean copies are probably 90% as good and available on eBay or Alibaba.
    But it means individual grounding... no ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by David King View Post
    Salut tepsamp,
    Une belle aventure! Hipshot makes a Ric replacement bridge with 17mm saddle width. https://hipshotproducts.com/collecti...acement-bridge which should work for a neck as narrow as 51mm at the heel. Let me know if this is a good solution for you and I can order one for you.

    Regarding drilling long holes for your wiring you need to drill "blind" holes. Basically you start the holes from somewhere around the edge of the body, say from the side preferably under the jack plate to under the bridge and then drill down from the top under the bridge to meet the side hole. To guide you in this process you will stick down two long strips of masking tape 3-4 mm apart on the top over where the long hole is supposed to go to the edge. Line up your 30cm drill bit with the tape lines and start drilling. Stop when you have drilled far enough (which you marked on the drill bit with masking tape wrapped around the drill). When you drill the short top hole make it angle towards your exit hole so that your ground wire doesn't have to make a 90 bend!
    OK, i got it, smart!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    But it means individual grounding... no ?
    NO....the individual saddles are still metal on metal with the tailpiece, so all of the bridge pieces are at same ground potential. Just need the one ground wire to contact the tail piece.

    Nice build so far! Are you using a stock Rickenbacker pickguard for mounting the pots, switch, etc?

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    There is no tailpiece so saddles must be individually grounded or you can use a brass nut or a zero fret.

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    [QUOTE= you can use a brass nut or a zero fret.[/QUOTE]

    So the ground wire would be inside the neck ? Along the truss rod ? I did not know !

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    So the ground wire would be inside the neck ? Along the truss rod ? I did not know !
    If you use a brass nut or zero fret the strings will have a metal connection to each other, so only one ground wire (to one of the saddles) needed. Could also put a metal plate underneath the saddles.

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    Last edited by glebert; 09-11-2019 at 08:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glebert View Post
    If you use a brass nut or zero fret the strings will have a metal connection to each other, so only one ground wire (to one of the saddles) needed. Could also put a metal plate underneath the saddles.
    Yes of course, i vote for the brass nut. Great !!

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    Quote Originally Posted by David King View Post
    There is no tailpiece so saddles must be individually grounded or you can use a brass nut or a zero fret.
    Sorry....I hadn't looked at the website link, and missed the discrete bridge saddle solution.

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    So i started over, i follow a plan that i bought, and now i'm facing different problems.
    The main one, is that the action is too high, more than 3 mm, almost 4 at the 12th, though i used a rickenbacker bridge and the bridge nut is at the lowest.
    I used a 7 mm thick fretboard while on the schematic they use a 6mm one. The neck through does that the fretboard is at the same level than the body and the rick bridge is a little deep inside the body, so the bridge nut is lower than in other guitars, but it's too high. Should i make a notch into the saddles ?
    Second, it's the first time i use a 4 knobs configuration with 2 pickups. It's not clear, but it seems that with the selector in the middle, when i turn off the volume of the bridge PU, the sound is off, while it should remain the neck PU. And the bridge tonality at the min cuts the sound too. Weird...
    I followed this schematic : https://guitarelectronics.com/2-humb...ries-parallel/
    though i have a single coil for the neck and a humbucker for the bridge.

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    The main one, is that the action is too high, more than 3 mm, almost 4 at the 12th, though i used a rickenbacker bridge and the bridge nut is at the lowest.
    Is your neck straight? What is the relief?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    Second, it's the first time i use a 4 knobs configuration with 2 pickups. It's not clear, but it seems that with the selector in the middle, when i turn off the volume of the bridge PU, the sound is off, while it should remain the neck PU.
    This is normal with a standard Les Paul wiring scheme. It confused the heck out of me the first time I got a guitar that had hat, as my previous 2 pickup 4 knob guitar was different and didn't have this issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Is your neck straight? What is the relief?
    Yes the neck is straight, i think that i have to berry the entire bridge 3 mm deep, but it's not easy to do it clean, very risky!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    Yes the neck is straight, i think that i have to berry the entire bridge 3 mm deep, but it's not easy to do it clean, very risky!!!
    Before you start digging a hole for the bridge ,can you still tilt the neck ?? Maybe the relief is good, but the neck angle is set wrong. Just a thought
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    can you still tilt the neck ?
    Probably not: Neck through body construction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Probably not: Neck through body construction.
    It still would be worth checking , as it does sound like that may be part of the problem . Agree probably to late for this build, but a lesson learned for build #2, if in fact it's off.

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    I played with my router and the result is very clean, i'm surprised.
    The bass is almost ok, i had forgotten how bassy it is, only one octave lower but it's low!
    The pickups are powerfull, i had to lower the gain on the clean channel (i use a guitar amp) to have a clean tone.
    I post a pic as soon as i get my phone back.
    Very instructive built, but neck through is too tricky for me, and the pickguard seems mandatory, with my tools at least.

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    Did you lower the bridge? I was having a bit of trouble following some of the description and understanding if the action was high everywhere (like up at the 1st fret) or if it was OK there and got higher as you went towards the bridge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glebert View Post
    Did you lower the bridge? I was having a bit of trouble following some of the description and understanding if the action was high everywhere (like up at the 1st fret) or if it was OK there and got higher as you went towards the bridge.
    Yes i lowered the bridge 3mm deep in the wood. Now i've got to tweak the nut because at the first fret it's too high...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    .
    I used a 7 mm thick fretboard while on the schematic they use a 6mm one. The neck through does that the fretboard is at the same level than the body
    I might be misunderstanding but it seems like this is is not right. The fretboard should sit up higher than the body. Here is a picture of a 4001 neck joint that I borrowed off Reverb. If your fretboard is down at the level of the body this is why you had to sink the bridge.

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    Nut height is always cut down to make the action at the 1st fret acceptable, so that sounds like a normal thing.

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    Last edited by glebert; 11-04-2019 at 02:56 PM.

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    OK, but that's harder to realize than what i did, i think.

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    I wonder if the 6mm thick fingerboard on the plan is a misprint. Real Rickenbacker bass fingerboards (that I have experienced anyway) are much thicker, around 8mm. I don't have any around right now to check though I do have most of a decent probably Japanese copy here which is also 8mm. I wonder if that is where some of the problems are coming from. You could potentially remove the fingerboard and glue a 1mm veneer under it, but it sounds like you have already recessed the bridge. Hopefully you can get the geometry sorted out and have it playing how you like.

    bonne chance,

    andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    OK, but that's harder to realize than what i did, i think.
    Possibly. I am just wondering if the design that you bought led you astray on the fretboard height.

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    the schematic is ok with the neck joint picture that glebert showed, i did not see it, but the fretboard is 6 mm, value that i read on the schematic, not written, but for me it's 6mm. And about thick fretboards, say 8 or 9 mm, it makes the neck be 2mm thicker, You have to keep wood beneath the truss rod cavity no ?
    OK, my bad, but hopefully the guitar is now playable and has a good bass tone.

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    Here is my rick, every thing is not perfect, i can lower the action now, but not too much to avoid the fret buzz. I don't find a good nut for bass, like in bone, as i find for guitars, they are too low, i use 1mm wood binding to put it higher, but the slot are too thin, the strings get stuck in, and it's too high now. I don't have all the files for each string, it's expensive and out of stock. So the action is not tip not, too high for my taste (closer to 3 mm than 2) but i have fun with it. I odered raw bone blocks to see if i can do better...
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    Wow, that's pretty. Don't some Rick basses have an indentation for the bridge to sit in? Also you can use a feeler gauge with the edge roughed up on a grinder for a nut file. It's not a great file, but it works good enough for a one off.

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