1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:29 pm

bdawson7 wrote: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:


Cheers! How's your 350 treating you?

I had ground issues when I had a stereo plug on mine with the passive system so I need to revisit that at some point. I don't want piezo in my regular path, maybe if it also split signals when using a stereo cord.

I'd prefer passive piezo too and I'm pretty sure you can do that. Winfield produces a Tune-o-matic adapter Ric bridge plate that will work with a Ric. I think you can find a Piezo tune o matic that can go passive & you're there.

I've been looking into the Graph Tech Ghost system. Does use batteries, but a Ric pickguard is just 4 screws. On my 350 rebuild I'll have a 9v box on the back so I can change 'em. I spent forever looking for piezo saddles that I could adapt to a Ric bridge, nothin'. With the Ghost I can add the full midi setup too. Gonna be a while before this thing is finished so there is time to save up.

I also had considered the thumbwheels under the pg. I love that idea! May try to figure out this neck adapter with my dad tomorrow. I'll take pics if we do.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:33 pm

My Dad is a terrific woodworker and problem solver. I'd only told him that I had a neck that I wanted to put on a guitar & wanted help figuring it out, as in help me with a plan for it. In a couple hours we had added the maple block to the neck. My Dad has turned into something of a boutique ukulele builder. Makau is his "brand" a Makau is the Hawai'ian fishhook the demigod Maui used to pull up an island from the bottom of the sea...probably why they named the island after him. Anyhow I have my dad's 3rd, uke ever a very humble instrument & now four years & 15 or so ukes he's got one that is killer with figured maple to die for & a soundport on the side, just way more advanced stuff now. So yeah he dove right in...

First we cut a maple strip that will fit in the neck pocket behind the pickups. It is a tight fit. Usually the wood tongue of the neck ends at about the mid pickup spot. I'm running it under the bridge pickup too. In my situation I figure I want to distribute the stresses of the neck joint further to make as solid a fit as possible & more wood under the bridge pickup couldn't hurt. Image

He cut the tail flush so we can add a block. Added maple block at the 24th fret.
Image

Image
The factory surface on the bottom of the neck was uneven & required skilled planing.

Stay tuned, next step is reshaping the neck & headstock & shaping the heel.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:09 am

For those with 3 pickups...I found a fun trick. I simply wired up the bridge pickup out of phase (reversed) on my Red 350. A neat little mod that pays off with a double tone sweep at the blend knob and you give yourself the out of phase sound without ever adding a switch.

For the out of phase sound first go middle position on the toggle so all 3 pickups are on. The out of phase "setting" is now in the center of the blend pot sweep so it takes very little movement from 0 or 10 (1/4turn) to get you too the out of phase peak. A full sweep or panning creates a nice rotovibe sound. If you usually dislike the all on center position you can morph it to your liking & get a very vintage early rock sound. This would be great if the blend pot had a center detent position so you could dial it in. Of course Ric-O-Sound would be fun with some stereo panning and this new phase shift right in the center...too cool.
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1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (8mileshigher) » Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:51 am

Dom, its enjoyable to read your updates on this project, and to see the pictures, as you and your Dad rebuild this 350.

Going back in time, didn't you, at one stage, get a 330, so you could salvage the 330 neck for this 350 ? What happened to that 330 neck idea, that made you have to switch and get this other one, (that you now have to construct the heel and tongue for) ?
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:28 am

Thanks for reading! That's right, I do have a Jetglo 330 that I traded Kenny for from the same year, 1991. The JG 330 is now set up as my synth guitar until I get this 350 going with a built in unit for better tracking. I got the body for this 350 thinking I was going to swap necks & make a bari or a short scale bass 330...a Bajo Sexto 12 string had also crossed my mind. Just huge deep tone machine. Brrrraaaannnnnngggggg! I honestly think a long scale 330 with the pickups where they are and the bridge set further back still needs to happen. Like the Acoustic Black Widow (Paul Barth again) which had a 27 inch scale. I'd love to tune down to C.

Even more than a girthy 330, I want my dream 350 to be a reality & I'm kinda impatient at this point. I'm sure everyone who checks in is too, lol! We want progress! I have no shop facilities of my own currently so building anything is logisticly difficult & prolonged as it is. I looked at the situation & got cold feet about sinking more money building the bari neck from the ground up and additionally refinishing two guitars two separate burst finishes at once. I'll never get anywhere with those prospects, but I can do smaller chunks. Thus, I was not ready to pull apart a perfectly fine 330 that may never work again or if it does simply take an additional forever to complete. That lead me to opt for a smaller investment in a pre-built neck to adapt seeing that (and this is a major factor) I've also never done a neck reset. I'm pretty confident it will work as long as I have a stable place to align everything.

I am definitely cheating with this neck. :oops: It has a cool volute. I am going to reshape the neck as close as I can to get the correct feel, but just a bit wider. I plan for some serious bending on this, nice and flat. The infamous wide neck Rickenbacker. I also am pleased that I'm going with a combo headstock.

The real confession is that I might have to cheat with pickups too... :shock: One of the main things I want is to wire this guitar in series & I have to isolate the pickup from the metal surround. I'm working on adapting an angry little beast that fits in a HiGain/HB1 cover. More on that later...
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HiGain Gold Foil

Postby (Dom) » Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:15 am

I want single coils wired in series so I can't have the metal surround part of the circuit or it will buzz whenever I touch it.
Image
I took a simple gold foil type soundhole pickup and stuffed it into a HiGain/HB1 surround. Image
Durn thing sounds better than I expected too. Starting with two dead HB1's. I pulled off the fiberboard plates with the solder pads which will be used metal side down to isolate the gold foils inside. You can see the magnet and the metal plate in the center on the finished pickup. Image

Cut the plastic gold foil's cover down all around the sides, notched the corners & painted it. I took the wings off, popped off the fasteners & I sectioned the metal ground plate so it not only didn't touch the metal cover but had plenty of room on all sides. I then resoldered the pickup to the plate. I installed the painted plastic pickup cover & foil then lined the metal surround with poster tack (blue tack for the UK) which is perfect for pushing the cover into place and secures and isolates the pickup completely. No need to pot this pickup, it's epoxied.

Image
Currently on the Turq paired with the ebay gold foilbucker which is of course a good deal louder. Next on the R&D docket is making the next one RWRP so they hum cancel. I'm purchasing parts for pickup #3 now.

Nice fat dirty tone & I'm going to try it paired with a HiGain at the bridge tomorrow. Cheers!
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (LenMinNJ) » Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:32 am

Neato!
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:03 pm

LenMinNJ wrote:Neato!

Hi Len, what's the story on the guitar in your sig? Turqoise 325, 350? I like what I see!

Oh man, I forget how expressive these things are! I built the RWRP one for the bridge so they cancel hum & I wired it out of phase which you dial in or out with the blend. How do I explain playing them, well my 330 sounds and feels like a pound lighter. You don't have to work for it, & it blooms at the lightest touch & the harder you play the fatter & more bark there is to the sound. Surf, Funk, blues blues blues blues blues. For those who don't know about gold foils they were Japan import guitar pickups that were intended to be like De'Armonds but they had their own thing going. I spent like $30 stuffing them into dead pickups and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE these, but LOVE always has a catch.

They emote better than almost any pickup I've played, but that love sure has limits being that they are microphonic. No booster needed with this guy...great for studio but too sensitive for my main live guitar...microphonic feedback isn't a good kind of feedback. Oh and if you don't like hearing your playing mistakes don't make any, on the flip side they are great for rough and tumble fightin' music. I've had a foil on my Harmony Archtone since '97 and it is great to have them in a more comfortable & useful guitar. Best part is now I can throw them in any Ric! They were instant soul for the Turq, however these won't work for the 350...that guitar really has to cut it in the loud.

Are HB1's really my only option If I want to wire a Rickenbacker in series?
Am I making too much out of this supposed buzz?
Has anyone wired HiGains or Toasters in series and can they attest how bad the buzz is if you touch them?
Looking at the HiGain there is just no way to keep the cover out of the picture, I assume the toaster has the same bottom plate issue.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (LenMinNJ) » Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:25 pm

Dom wrote:Hi Len, what's the story on the guitar in your sig? Turqoise 325, 350? I like what I see!


Hey Dom! See: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=408299

If I recall correctly, the body you're using came from the donor for this guitar.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:34 am

LenMinNJ wrote:
Dom wrote:Hi Len, what's the story on the guitar in your sig? Turqoise 325, 350? I like what I see!


Hey Dom! See: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=408299

If I recall correctly, the body you're using came from the donor for this guitar.


Oh WOW, I wholeheartedly approve! I'm glad the neck went to such a stand out guitar. Quite a life this old 350's had, good to know some guitars keep giving. That prototype has also been one of my favorites since the Bacon Day book came out. I like the simple switching, and I bet that sucker jumps to life without a tone circuit. I never new there were 6 wiring schemes developed for that, I'd love to check those out. My former boss back in the late 90's had played with Jackson Brown a couple times, said he's a really nice & easygoing guy.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:50 am

More observations & wiring tests for possible control layouts. Though I prefer my volumes next to the switch the stock wiring is great and I have come to love the blend knob even though it was the first thing I removed all those years ago.

By retaining the stock wiring & simply wiring the neck pickup out of phase (OOP) on a 2 pickup guitar I got a huge range of tones. By balancing the volumes & using the blend you get two EQ peaks and a tone shift between each. This works even better on a 3 pickup guitar if the bridge is OOP & you get a 2 peak EQ on the blend but two tone shifts.

Since it is a simple option I had not yet done I am currently trying out the mid pickup volume 5th knob mod on my red 350. Useful, but I'm not sold yet. I first wired the mid pickup out of phase with no tone and the Torres Mid boost/cut tone control only on the neck pickup. Just pulling out the blend circuit opens up the neck pickup a lot & ditches some mud but I can add some growl in with the mid boost. A really wicked combo with the OOP mid. This leads me to some other options for the 5th volume mod on 3 pickup guitars.

Is your bridge pickup super bright? Run the bridge to the 5th knob, wire it OOP & use just the neck & mid on the 3 way. Mid pickup is in a good sweet spot for leads on a 24 fret because it is right below a harmonic. I used just a neck & mid once for recording because the bridge pickup died...EQ your amp up a bit to make the mid pickup brighter & you loose some mud from the neck pickup.

Neck pickup to muddy or never use it? Try wiring the neck pickup OOP to the 5th & run mid & bridge on the 3way as usual. No mud anywhere & lead tones galore. THIS is how I currently have my 350 wired. Some real attitude with this one.
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Back to the project 350. I tried to conceive of the simplest switching that included everything...& I mean everything with the limitation of not drilling another control or knob to the pickguard. Adding thumbwheels the project 350 controls could work like this:

1. Instead of the 3 way install a 6 way Freeway switch. Wired up N, N&B, B on the first bank then N&M, N&M&B, M&B on the second bank...only 6 pickup combos.
2. Master volume closest to bridge up top. Zero position switch for mid pickup alone*
3. Torres Mid boost master tone stack where bridge tone usually sits up top.
4. I'm looking into a 5 way rotary to select all pickups parallel in phase (position 1) each pickup OOP and in series with the others who are parallel (positions 2-4) and all in series in phase (5). Installed next to 6 way switch where neck volume usually resides for quicker switching with pickups.
5. *Mid pickup Volume/pull for Neck pickup Volume (adding the mid pickup OOP to either bridge or neck is a great effect that sounds like a rotovibe and I use it as an EQ & with a pull I can also use it for the neck)
6. MIDI Bank up down mini toggle switch where the blend was. This is the only way to tell the controls are different from stock. (Two white micro buttons placed in the center of the 4 main controls would be better & free up this control spot {re-install blend} but the pickguard is altered)
7. Hidden Piezo volume thumbwheel under upper pickguard. located on outside curve
8. Hidden Piezo tone thumbwheel. located on outside curve
9. Hidden MIDI volume thumbwheel...zero position MIDI off. located on inside curve next to master volume.

Yes it is completely overkill...but it makes ergonomic sense and is incredibly versitile. Now I just need to make a diagram & a schematic.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (LenMinNJ) » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:42 am

I really love the binding job you did on that body. Can't wait to see how the project turns out.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (LenMinNJ) » Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:34 pm

Hey Dom - time for another update!
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:32 am

I'll get there eventually but the next project on the bench is rebuilding my entire garage...I can't build my studio/shop because it has a failing roof. Glad I found out before I started...not glad it only dripped on my RECORDING HARD DRIVE which was being stored in there.
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Re: 1991 Rickenbacker 350 complete rebuild

Postby (Dom) » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:11 am

viewtopic.php?f=44&t=414382&p=854408#p854408

Here's what I'd been working on in the meantime. No paint needed, no shop needed.
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