1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (8mileshigher) » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:47 pm

Dom wrote:I have tried to straighten out the back a couple times now but they keep warping back so I've been looking for some tight grain fiddleback maple to bookmatch.


That's a shame with the back-warping problem continuing to surface repeatedly. Hope you find some replacement, book-matched fiddleback maple panels that will do the trick.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (LenMinNJ) » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:08 pm

How did this turn out, Dom?
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:32 pm

Hey everyone, sorry I have not been on in ages. I have missed this place but it has been a challenging year, well two years actually. My mother passed away in May after a long battle with cancer. We lost both of our dogs as well. I also made the stupid mistake of buying a reliable car which means I now have a car payment for the first time ever. My studio/shop where I was going to do all my woodwork and recording is on hold due to this. As a result I'm trying to save up to build a couple instruments/divices so I can still record at home. One being a midi capable set of arduino based e-drums based on the Robertsonics wav trigger and a midi breakout box and another is a collapseable isolation box so I can sing or record amps & not wake the kids & neighbors. I am also going back to good old tape having now lost the two hard drives which contained everything I had recorded in the last 8 years.

The good stuff is I still have the 350 body, and I did find some decent fiddle back maple for the back. My father is building 5 ukuleles at once so I don't want to invade his shop with another project. I have been tuning one of my 330's down an octave but I still want to build that 30 inch bass neck for the 330. Oh, and I dressed up like Lemmy for Halloween.

I'll be on more often. :)
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (8mileshigher) » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:43 pm

Dom wrote: I'll be on more often. :)

Hi Dom... we've missed you. Hope you can get to our next Southern Calif Ricken Jam too ! :)
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (LenMinNJ) » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:35 pm

Any news on this project, Dom?
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:34 pm

I may have found a suitable ebay special neck. Or I just lost $60, we'll see. It is not from a ric and it will take modification to work. Bummer. On the plus side maple with rosewood fretboard 24 3/4" scale, 24 fret, no markers so I can do whatever like sharks...gonna be a bit wider than a standard Ric so I'll have to keep it away from my normal sized friends. It has a fender style heel so I'll glue a block of maple to it to create the tongue that anchors the neck behind the pickups. I'd like to reshape the heel to something akin to the 650 but that all hinges on stability. Modding this is far cheaper than making my own neck. Since all that remains of the original guitar is the body, pickups and pickguard with no serial # it is no longer in my opinion a Rickenbacker but a Dominickenbacker? Ugh, to see that typed out looks both horrible and self serving. Rebuilding this back to 100% Rickenbacker was not looking possible & I want to build MY own guitar. Again like everything else...we will see.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (LenMinNJ) » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:49 am

Can't wait to see how it turns out!
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:00 am

Waiting on neck...planning stages. I think a hardwood dowel or pin would help strengthen the added block at the neck joint & look cool. i measured my red 350 and it looks like I'll be able to make a stable albeit unusual neck joint.

Going with a combo 600-800 style headstock shape & am considering an MG headstock & oil-rubbed & buffed neck finish with the AFG body & white guards. Although a check-bound combo AFG headstock is sure a tantalizing possibility.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:43 pm

Neck has arrived! It will take some skills to make a maple neck adapter but it will work. The fretboard hangs off after the 24th & the heel is rounded at the rear ala strat. I'll sand the round end flat & glue a block of maple under the fretboard so it is flush. Another block of maple will be glued to the bottom of the neck then shaped for the new heel & tongue for the neck pocket. I'm going to use small white markers laid out like the 50's combos did with three dots on 12 & 24, two on 5 & 17.

I have no idea who made this... Looks like an Eastwood Airline reissue neck, single truss but no zero fret & it is a 24. The headstock looks very close to the Ric combo style and only slight massaging will be needed to make it look just right. Slightly wider than a standard Ric...feel compares with the neck on my '98. Pics later...
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:27 am

Here is the headstock next to my '87 350. As a way to further set this guitar apart as custom I am going with a Combo headstock & binding it. I can't recall ever seeing a combo headstock bound. Neck will be AFG like the rest of the guitar. If you are familiar with the Combo 600-850 headstock, then you'll notice that the bass & trebble sides need to be slimmed in closer to the first tuners...a trait which carried over to the modern headstock. Also, the sides need to be straighter with less hips. Once those first changes are made that pompadoor hairdo is going to need a bit of taming & re-raking. Otherwise not too far out of the ballpark. I'll swap out the nut for a Ric style corian one.

Image

Wait, Ric's are set neck & I thought you said earlier this neck has a strat style heel? Now, how the heck is that going to attach? A maple adapter will act as the tongue of the neck & will slide in behind the pickups as shown in this highly technical rendering with, dare I say it, life-like details and stunning accuracy.

Image

I've been keeping the body warm in this coffin case...I...can't wait.

Image
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:58 pm

Before I get going too much further I'm going to need to figure out where I want to take this build. Looks are settled, but what is under the hood? In theory & with ingenuity one can have everything you'd ever need in one guitar these days, Sustainer, MIDI, piezo, every pickup option, OOP, series/parallel you name it. Trick is what will you actually use, what is a waste & what can't you live without and how do you make it user friendly while not looking like a cluttered mess inside our out. I've got one Rick already that does all kinds of pickup combos & piezo. Should I choose to refine that, or go elsewhere?

Scaterwounds or HiGains this time? I have experience with HiGains & HB1's but I end up with the HB1's tapped all the time. The price keeps me from trying the toast. Worth it?

1. I need to make a long term tech decision in regards to MIDI guitar. Should I go with just one MIDI guitar & fork it out for a built in Graph Tech Ghost system which works with my current floor unit or switch to the Fishman triple play for MIDI going forward? Prices are similar for the units themselves but Ghost will be more 'cause I'd need to use their tune-o-matic bridge & adapter plate. Ghost adds 3 switches & I dedicate 2 (possibly 3) knobs to midi & piezo but I'd have everything built in to one guitar. Problem is it is only one guitar...Triple Play may not track well with Ric spacing (same with GK) but it is removable & wireless but looks as much like a parasite as the Roland GK's do. Ghost will track best so that is a biggie and the triple play has no piezo. Thoughts?

2. What about a Sustainer guitar idea? I actually spoke to Dweezil Zappa about a sustainer on my 370WB when I met him. This would work with any three pickup Rickenbacker & would be great with MIDI... Sustainers use a driver in the neck pup location & a battery powered amp to take feed from the bridge pickup and send it through the driver to magnetically act on the strings in the way it would with a speaker cone. Disguise one as a toaster or hi gain & put at the neck position for string driver and have just mid & bridge pickups. Get a freeway 6 way switch & wire the mid & bridge pickups to positions 1,2 & 3 like a normal N-NB-B guitar...take positions 4, 5 & 6 and wire them as Sustainer 1, Sustainer harmonic (reverse polarity) mode & position 6 both pickups on, out of phase & in series. Everything looks stock, the knobs still do what they did before & one control handles all those separate modes. Hmmmmm?
Last edited by Dom on Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (LenMinNJ) » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:51 pm

Sounds like you're having a lot of fun on this project!
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:25 am

LenMinNJ wrote:Sounds like you're having a lot of fun on this project!


Oh yeah, I'm in hog heaven! Dane can attest, I go nuts with wiring ideas. I put a lot of thought in how I use controls but I don't want to have them look modded so we'll see what I keep. I just watched a video on the Adrian Belew Parker Fly...great thing...I want that but without the variax, it doesn't sound right to me. They do get a remarkable amount of abilities in just a few controls. Midi with sustainer & a vibrato alone would be the bees knees.

Looks like diy'ers have had success building 3mm sustainer drivers inside regular strat pickups. They add a thin partition creating two bobbins & rewind the pickup underneath the driver. Someone I know has to know a decent pickup guy in town to wind that. I hear you want the driver close to the strings so I figure a toaster form factor may work...or I could remove the domed pole pieces from a high gain. To start out I'll build a clip on transducer sustainer first & clip it to the headstock. It may just do the trick & I can forget about adding it or down the road I can use the circuit for a built in. I also want to see if a transducer inside the guitar is possible without horrid interactions with pickups...
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:12 am

I'd been trying to price out what I needed for building a sustainer & driver. I Bought a couple cheap toaster gold foils thinking I may be able to build a sustainer driver in one. I did not want to wreck or have to pay for a Ric pickup...I'll try 'em & see what's up. They may sound good as is, if not maybe I'll learn to wind a pickup...who knows. Anyhow while waiting for them to arrive I've spent the last few days reading hundreds of pages on DIY sustainer builds & I'm not encouraged. No one will share their exact builds or leave out major details...such a crazy mess over there. I don't know if it is worth all the trouble. I do think midi & piezo are the priority but I have not yet found a control solution that doesn't add three switches.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (bdawson7) » Sat Mar 05, 2016 12:39 am

I've been thinking about using a stereo jack, with the piezo output on the ring, magnetic on the tip.
Piezo controls are mini thumb wheels ala jazz-box, stuck under pickguard, on the edge. Can use a Y-splitter into separate amps, or an adapter to combine signals to one amp.
But I can't figure a good piezo system. Best one I've played so far is Duesenberg's Starplayer TV + model. It uses a tune-o-matic style piezo-equipped bridge, with an on/off switch that outputs into the main signal path, and its passive - no battery. Its great because it is integrated into the signal path, sounds good, is invisible, and doesn't need a battery. Except I want piezo in a RIC/Mastery style bridge, and separate volume and tone controls.
Seems like all the other aftermarket piezos need extra circuitry & power.
Maybe I should buy a Duesy just for the bridge! :lol:
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