Rickenbacker Baritone?

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Rickenbacker Baritone?

Postby (cmuk) » Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:21 am

Would it be possible to build a Rickenbacker baritone guitar? Has one ever been produced before?

I currently use an Epiphone Les Paul loaded with Gibson PAFs (which sounds fantastic) for studio use, but given my similar 'fierce brand loyalty', I am interested in enquiring if a Rickenbacker guitar could be adopted (obviously a new neck) to produce a baritone.

Scale length-wise, I would want it tuned B-B or maybe A-A but not a Bass VI.

Any thoughts on which models would be suitable and estimate of cost would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Postby (melibreits) » Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:29 am

Ooooh, that's a cool idea, Clive! There's a local musician who plays here at Fisherman's Picnic, who has a custom hand-made baritone acoustic and the sound is incredible.... A Ric acoustic baritone would be cool!
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Postby (jeff_ulmer) » Sun Aug 06, 2006 6:40 pm

All of the current Rics are through body necks, so doing a conversion would be a pretty major undertaking if you were swapping necks. You might be able to do it with a 480 if you could find one, and didn't mind altering an out of production guitar.

As for Ric building baritones, while they could build them, I would think it highly unlikely, as the longer scale length would require a lot of manufacturing setups that don't exist (at least I don't think they do). I also wonder whether there would be a big enough market to justify the investment.

I'm looking for a good acoustic baritone myself, and if I had the money, I'd be comissioning as 12 string acoustic baritone.
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Postby (dale_fortune) » Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:34 pm

Jeff..what you could do is change the fingerboard to a 27 1/2 inch scale, move the bridge back to the exact location for the longer scale and you will have a Baritone Rick. A 400 or 600 series neck thru would be ideal for this set up.
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Postby (aceonbass) » Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:49 pm

An even less expensive alternative would be a Hamburg 200 series guitar.
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Postby (cmuk) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 1:40 am

Dale, would the pickups then be in a strange place or are these easily moved?

I was thinking of taking an existing body (probably a 300 series) and having a new neck built and fitted. The body could remain fairly untouched. I'm sure it's not that simple, e.g. custom sized truss rods, etc.

Keep the suggestions coming please.

Thanks!
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Postby (randyz) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:44 am

Jeff said, "mind altering", heh heh...
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Postby (dale_fortune) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:57 am

Find where the harmonics on the body area would be for the Baritone scale and place the P-ups at that point.
On the 400 series a larger pickguard would cover the existing holes, the other models would require filling the holes and routing new ones.
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Postby (35012) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:20 am

On a 400 series, wouldn't the bridge be harder to move because a new hole would have to be made in the pickguard?
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Postby (cmuk) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:50 am

I have in mind, something like this...

Image
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Postby (aceonbass) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:38 am

Cutting the neck out of one of these and building another one would be way more work than it's worth. You may as well build another guitar from scratch. The thing to do is move the bridge back and build a support for it that keeps it at the correct heighth as it moves down that "ramp" at the rear, shave off the fingerboard and build and fret a new one. If you need 24 frets, then you can extend the fretboard onto the body further. A piece of maple will have to be added under it to extend the neck and support the fretboard.
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Postby (cmuk) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:52 am

Dane, thanks for your comments. It's difficult to say if it would be 'more than its worth' since I don't know what it would cost yet.

Although I'm not a luthier by any means, I would think that moving the bridge, building supports, moving the pickups, replacing the fingerboard, changing the pickguards, possibly replacing the tailpiece etc. sounds like a lot more work than building and fitting a new neck.

What would the playing position be like if you shifted the bridge? Would you be hitting the control knobs if strumming near the bridge? I don't think the guitar would feel or look balanced at all.

I wouldn't want to alter anything about the beautiful look of a Rickenbacker instrument. I think that as soon as you change one of the lines in the design, you would lose the style and the magic.

I'd go with the new neck option. I think the neck may need to be thicker/stronger anyway.

Anyone have an idea how much this would cost?
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Postby (jeff_ulmer) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:00 am

I wouldn't be surprised if it cost as much as or more than the guitar you were altering unless you are using a premade neck (ie Warmoth or similar) and weren't planning on having it finished to match the guitar. You would have to basically cut the existing neck off, route a pocket and install a custom built set neck.

Moving the bridge could work, but it would throw the balance off, the pickups would need to be moved, etc. Not worth it IMO.
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Postby (dale_fortune) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:57 pm

You can change the fingerboard on any guitar so as to make it a Baritone instrument. Relocate the bridge to compensate for the intonation. You don't have to move the pickups, they will work in their standard position. The 330 and 360 series will work fine, you could even extend the fingerboard over the body several inches and move the neck pickup back. This is the most economical way to do this to a Rick and not even tell it's been modified.
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Postby (jingle_jangle) » Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:11 pm

Dale and I agree on many (possibly most) things having to do with Rickenbackers.

But on this topic, my own opinion is that the visual of a Rick with the bridge set way back and neck extended into the body, would be strange and quite obvious to a guitarist.

If I only had the time! I'd do a Photoshop mockup on this just to prove out my mental picture. But it's a bit busy around SF these days with projects for RIC 75, so maybe after the big weekend...

Dale, I assume you're going? And if so, we will have to sit down for a brief rest and conversation about mutual interests!
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