Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

General Rickenbacker discussion

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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (admin) » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:12 pm

Kiddwad57 wrote:Most useful mods for a Rick bass:
1) Finding your favored strings and having a new nut cut to fit those strings.
2) Replacing the treble pickup cover with a Tube Ampology bezel!


Thanks Nathan. Very practical tips. I had a close look at the Tube Ampology bezel and I could well have used it during my bass playing days.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (Dom) » Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:45 pm

Mods? I’m in. Out of phase is my go to mod.

I wire my 2 pickup ricks out of phase...you can stay in the middle position and use the 5th knob as a sweepable EQ/selector. You could always use a push pull.

I wire my 3 pickup ones with the mid pickup out of phase. Skip the tone controls & go direct to the jack with the volume controlled by the 5th knob. The mid pickup ends up having the highest output out of all three but since it’s out of phase it doesn’t drop the volume quite as much in combo as it would if it still had the tone stack. Again you get the EQ but it gives a bit more of a wah effect. Didn’t find enough use or tonal justification for having both the neck & mid oop, just the mid and it is easier to switch sounds.

Other useful mods: Corian nut, oiled fretboard, jumbo frets....with...roundwounds. Kerrang.
Have a muddy neck pickup? Add a push pull to remove the neck tone circuit...wakes up the neck pup.
How about a master volume? I really enjoy that...get a clean or heavy sound depending on the volume knob. My next rewire and build will get that.

Piezo Buzzer under the bridge with volume on the 5th knob & wired to the Ric-O-Sound jack & a separate amp. Acoustic sounding with a bit of a resonator like tone and nothing fake plastic like & horrid, like an Ovation.

Mods that I did not care for were 3 HB1’s in humbucker mode...just ended up liking them best as singles. I went overboard on the 370wb with 3 coil taps and every out of phase option plus the piezo. Too much. Ended up preferring a HiGain at the bridge anyhow. Piezo is still a winner.

My first rewire on the 370wb I had master vol, master tone, push pull for the mid On & 3coil faders...I forget the other technical name for the coil faders but that setup was a pain.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (admin) » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:49 am

Dom wrote:Mods? I’m in. Out of phase is my go to mod.

I wire my 2 pickup ricks out of phase...you can stay in the middle position and use the 5th knob as a sweepable EQ/selector. You could always use a push pull.

I wire my 3 pickup ones with the mid pickup out of phase. Skip the tone controls & go direct to the jack with the volume controlled by the 5th knob. The mid pickup ends up having the highest output out of all three but since it’s out of phase it doesn’t drop the volume quite as much in combo as it would if it still had the tone stack. Again you get the EQ but it gives a bit more of a wah effect. Didn’t find enough use or tonal justification for having both the neck & mid oop, just the mid and it is easier to switch sounds.

Other useful mods: Corian nut, oiled fretboard, jumbo frets....with...roundwounds. Kerrang.
Have a muddy neck pickup? Add a push pull to remove the neck tone circuit...wakes up the neck pup.
How about a master volume? I really enjoy that...get a clean or heavy sound depending on the volume knob. My next rewire and build will get that.

Piezo Buzzer under the bridge with volume on the 5th knob & wired to the Ric-O-Sound jack & a separate amp. Acoustic sounding with a bit of a resonator like tone and nothing fake plastic like & horrid, like an Ovation.

Mods that I did not care for were 3 HB1’s in humbucker mode...just ended up liking them best as singles. I went overboard on the 370wb with 3 coil taps and every out of phase option plus the piezo. Too much. Ended up preferring a HiGain at the bridge anyhow. Piezo is still a winner.

My first rewire on the 370wb I had master vol, master tone, push pull for the mid On & 3coil faders...I forget the other technical name for the coil faders but that setup was a pain.


Dominic, what a fountain of Rickenbacker modifications. Thanks for these comments.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (aceonbass) » Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:41 am

[quote="Dom"] I went overboard on the 370wb with 3 coil taps and every out of phase option plus the piezo. Too much. Ended up preferring a HiGain at the bridge anyhow. Piezo is still a winner.
My first rewire on the 370wb I had master vol, master tone, push pull for the mid On & 3coil faders.[quote]

If memory serves me, I did that wiring for you several years ago based on your very specific requirements, and you seemed very pleased with it.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (Dom) » Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:37 am

That's the one Dane! Dane did an amazing job on that harness. It was a very tall order, I wanted 3 coil taps, 2 out of phases, mid volume, piezo volume, 2 tones and a master volume and still look stock. And it did but it was HB1 overkill from the inception. I knew I was going into it in the name of R&D and eventually there would be features and tones I'd find my self using more and ones that I'd rarely go for. Using mid out of phase all the time and neck out of phase never of the time? Wasn't expecting that. Not really using any of them in humbucker mode when that was the initial basis of the entire thing? Who'd a thunk it?

Like you warned me and as I expected 5 push pulls is a lot to handle especially with heavy use. Very heavy. I roll the controls constantly and I finally busted the mid volume pot during our last recording. Ease of use and the fragility of push pulls were the trade off for looking stock. The list of needs got a concise honing after this one...every demo video I've tried to do for this guitar takes forever.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (admin) » Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:09 am

Dom wrote:That's the one Dane! Dane did an amazing job on that harness. It was a very tall order, I wanted 3 coil taps, 2 out of phases, mid volume, piezo volume, 2 tones and a master volume and still look stock. And it did but it was HB1 overkill from the inception. I knew I was going into it in the name of R&D and eventually there would be features and tones I'd find my self using more and ones that I'd rarely go for. Using mid out of phase all the time and neck out of phase never of the time? Wasn't expecting that. Not really using any of them in humbucker mode when that was the initial basis of the entire thing? Who'd a thunk it?

Like you warned me and as I expected 5 push pulls is a lot to handle especially with heavy use. Very heavy. I roll the controls constantly and I finally busted the mid volume pot during our last recording. Ease of use and the fragility of push pulls were the trade off for looking stock. The list of needs got a concise honing after this one...every demo video I've tried to do for this guitar takes forever.


Dom: Sometimes less is more. :shock: But full marks for taking on the challenge.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (electrofaro) » Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:29 pm

Hah, amazing story! I can recommend Dane's wiring looms too. Made my 360 with HB1s a lot more fun to play. Only 2 push pulls but enough if you ask me :lol:
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (espidog) » Sat May 02, 2020 11:59 am

On my 4003 JetGlo (which dates from 2004, so does not have the "vintage" cap and pull-switch):

I re-wired the harness to incorporate a DPDT switch that offers the option of having both pups in series. It's a useful fella: switched in series, the instrument loses a wee bit of treble sparkle/clank but gains a significant amount of bottom end "meat". Nice. 8)

The way I've wired it, when it's switched in parallel, everything works as normal. Switched into series, the neck pup volume pot acts as a master volume for both pups (the treble volume pot does nothing). However, BOTH tone pots still wield an influence. If I roll them both back, I get a super rolled-off effect - almost pure fundamental - that comes in very useful for reggae/ska/dub etc.

I should record a few sound clips to demonstrate these effects, shouldn't I? Watch this space and I'll get back to you... :)
2004 4003 JetGlo
Epiphone Jack Casady
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Mania VTB-4BS
Dean Stylist w/ John Birch Magnum II pups
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (espidog) » Sat May 02, 2020 1:52 pm

OK... soundclips. Recorded from the line output of my Roland Bass Cube 100 with everything set flat and no compression.

Chorus bassline from "Eton Rifles":

Both pups parallel

Both pups series


...and, to demo the "super rolled-off" thing, a snatch of the bassline from "Johnny Too Bad" by The Slickers:

Series - both tones rolled off
2004 4003 JetGlo
Epiphone Jack Casady
Ovation Magnum 1
Mania VTB-4BS
Dean Stylist w/ John Birch Magnum II pups
Yamaha BB414
Trace Elliot VA350/GP11 Mk1
Peavey TB-Raxx
2 BFM Omni 10.5 crossfire cabs
Roland Bass Cube 100
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (drumbob) » Sun May 03, 2020 4:26 pm

It has never made sense to me to have the tone knobs on top and the volume knobs on the bottom, so I had my tech reverse the order on my MapleGlo 330-12 a while back, and I'm going to have him do it on all my other Ricks going forward. That way, the volume knob is easy to grab quickly, instead of fumbling for it on the bottom. I see this as just another quirk of Rickenbacker guitars that is easily reversed. Next, will be a wider spaced nut and maybe 12 saddle bridges on both 12 strings.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (jdogric12) » Mon May 04, 2020 11:08 am

drumbob wrote:It has never made sense to me to have the tone knobs on top and the volume knobs on the bottom, so I had my tech reverse the order on my MapleGlo 330-12 a while back, and I'm going to have him do it on all my other Ricks going forward. That way, the volume knob is easy to grab quickly, instead of fumbling for it on the bottom. I see this as just another quirk of Rickenbacker guitars that is easily reversed. Next, will be a wider spaced nut and maybe 12 saddle bridges on both 12 strings.


Funny, I had a gig back in the mid-00's where I played a 4003 for about 6 hours, 3-4 nights a week, and developed muscle memory for throwing the switch to the floor (treble) and turning down the knob nearest the jackplate (treble volume) so the instrument would be muted during breaks.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (iiipopes) » Sun May 10, 2020 10:01 am

I've talked about modifications to the body, hardware, and electronics to a Rickenbacker instrument, but in perusing this thread again, even though it has been mentioned, I don't think the most important modification has been explored: strings.

Rickenbackers are incredibly versatile instruments. On my 4002, for example, while I'm patiently waiting for all of us to get back up and running, including GHS to get back up and running and get the Progressives 2.0 balanced sets out later this year, which I have had Progressives on this bass since the Progs were the "new" string by GHS in the early 90's and are my favorite strings for this bass, I have privileged myself with a string safari to see what the bass sounds like otherwise with different strings. No, I'm not going to go through the litany of all the string sets I've tried and bore the forum. But because the inherent nature of the moderately wound end-to-end humbuckers that have a clear tone, not favoring any particular part of the sonic spectrum, combined with the inherent clarity of a maple body, I have been surprised at how I can change the overall tone and character of the bass just by changing strings, from the mellowest of mellow to the brightest of bright, to the growliest of growl, to the clankiness of clank, and everything in between, just by changing the strings.
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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (indianation65) » Sun May 24, 2020 1:51 am

I'm perplexed!

I've been in enough Rickenbacker forums, and in them long enough, to believe it was against "Rick-Law" to change or modify a Rickenbacker.

I'm shocked this topic has any legs...pleasantly shocked.

Addendum: I see guitars as "tools," not "idols," therefore, if I want to change something, I do it.
Addendum: I did not purposely "change/modify" my 330 truss rod cover, but I did buy a "used Rick 330" that did not have one. Therefore, I made a truss cover of my own, with my own wording. I like it!

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Re: Most Useful Rickenbacker Modification

Postby (iiipopes) » Mon May 25, 2020 4:57 pm

indianation65 wrote:I see guitars as "tools," not "idols," therefore, if I want to change something, I do it.

Yes, for example, I have:

1) re-wound (or rather un-wound) the overwound pickup in the neck position of my 360-12 from @ 14 kohms (as was the RIC manufacturing at the time) down to @ 8.5 kohms for clarity;
2) put a push-pull on the neck pickup of my 4002 to bypass the inline cap/resistor pair to get straight tone;
3) put mandolin bushings on the slot tuners of my 360-12;
4) had a high-gain pickup repaired and re-wound that there was a speck of glue between the studs and the magnet, compromising response and tone;
5) trimmed the bridge position pickup pocket on my 320, since it was a 1981 model with the 21-inch scale instead of the "vintage" 20 3/4-inch scale to get the "bite" of the bridge pickup back;
6) put my fifth knob push-pull mods into both my 320 and 360-12 ( http://www.rickenbacker.com/forum/viewt ... f=2&t=7928 )
7) cut an offset bridge saddle for the low E string pair on my 360-12 so both the unison string and the wound octave string would intonate correctly on a 6-saddle bridge and not incur the expense of a 12-saddle bridge;
8 ) working on a nickel plate to put at the end of the fret board on my 320 where the neck pickup butts right up against the fingerboard so I can have a 22nd fret;
9) Updated the "vintage" locknut intonation screws on my 320 and 360-12 to the modern spring-loaded adjustment screws to make life much easier.

I think that's all -- so far.

Now, here is the catch: all mods must, as far as possible, meet two criteria:

1) pass the "five-foot" test, which means from five feet away, you can't tell the mod has been made; and
2) as much as possible (well, this doesn't work on trimming the pickup rout on the 320) the mods are reversible (although I don't know anyone who would want to put the other @ 6 kohms' worth of wire back on the overwound neck position 70's and early 80's pickups)
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