Rickenbacker Bass from Reverb.com Looks Great But Doesn’t Play Fair

Craig found this incredible Ric bass on Reverb, and thought he could flip it. When he unboxed it, he discovered several electrical problems that needed to be fixed to protect HIS reputation as a seller. Could The Unbrokenstring track down the electrical issues?

.

Can anyone tell me what the model number is?

.

I never get to see the tuners up close on cool instruments like this.

.

The bound and sealed fret board is just outstanding on this instrument.

.

Rickenbacker calls the neck pickup “Bass” and the bridge pickup “Treble.”

.

This model comes with a built-in thumb rest. Not.

.

The bridge and saddles are just massive.

.

Each pickup is wired to separate outputs e.g. The Rick-O-Sound system. We will fix the issue of the jacks extending past the nuts like this. Anyone who has played out knows that the extended jacks makes it much more difficult to plug the cable from the amp into the instrument when you go on-stage. And it’s dark. And you are nervous. And the jacks are on the other side of the instrument where you can’t see them. This is a pet peeve of mine.

.

One pickup is completely dead, and one of these controls will not rotate at all, and these controls are all out of order. What’s up with that?

.

The pots have been changed from the original 330k units, but these are the Correct tone caps.

.

The pick guard and bass pickup are from your favorite parts vendor, located right here in Houston, Texas.

.

Inside the control cavity, we see some signs of human presence. The 4001 is the model number. The rest of it…?

.

Well, this explains a lot. The wires are literally tied in a knot, and shrink-tubed together.

.

Here is more Boy Scout knot-tying merit badge material.

.

The connection to the switch is wrapped, not soldered, and it also appears to be glued with a clear adhesive.

.

I detached one end of each of the tone caps to check them for value and leakage at stated working voltage. These are in perfect shape.

.

Here is more of that clear glue. It’s not Super Glue, but some sort of crystal clear hard plastic adhesive, I guess.

.

Here is more glue. Now, it just hit me. The reason that the pot doesn’t turn is that some of the glue leaked inside the control and locked it in place. Oh boy.

.

Here is another connection made with glue. If it were silver rather than clear, I’d say that someone used Liquid Solder. Which has actually happened, but that’s a long story involving a Heathkit home stereo from the 1970s that is best saved for another day.

.

The output jacks are mercifully unmolested. These were cleaned and checked OK.

.

The blue material is the automotive heat shrink tubing that can be shrunk with a cigarette lighter. The presence of soot on the blue tubing confirms this.

.

Our Boy Scout was here too, wiring up the bass pickup to the rest of the electronics.

.

The treble pickup (next to the bridge) had a broken wire. The small wires were broken from the stress from moving the larger wires.

.

While we’re here, let’s see what happened to the bridge ground. No, I’m not taking the strings off, just leaving them slack. Nobody changes bass strings.

.

This takes the cake. Duct tape. Or is it Duck Tape?

.

A dab of non-conductive hot glue secured the ground wire and the duct tape removed. We’re about done with our exploratory surgery, so the bridge can be reinstalled.

.

500k pots are ‘pretty close’ to the original 330k pots, which are only available on the used market for Big Money. All the wiring is soldered correctly. The location of the controls is marked as shown. You can see, from the earlier picture, that this layout is different.

.

A marker was used to clearly identify which jack goes with which pickup. The output jacks are ready to be installed. The blue heat shrink in the foreground is some of mine, properly shrank with hot air, not a cigarette lighter.

.

Note that the output jacks are flush with the nuts. This makes it a lot easier to plug in when you walk on stage.

.

The wiring is done and the bass is set up. It’s actually a lot of fun to play!

.

Here is the correct knob layout, in case you don’t download the Users Manual.

.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!

CONTACT – David Latchaw EE
281-636-8626