Guarding Your Rickenbackers

General Rickenbacker discussion

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Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (admin) » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:33 am

No, not a thread on Rickenbacker security. I would be interested in seeing photos and ideas about modifications that you may have made with regard to the pick-guards on your Rickenbacker guitars and basses. I have seen some deviations to the stock installation from the Factory, but this in not a common practice. So let's see your unusual!
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (iiipopes) » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:21 pm

1) During the transition years, the upper guards were still made on the 21-fret pattern instead of the narrowed pickup spacing of the 24-fret pattern. My 360-12WB FG ckbd had this, and the upper guard had clearance on the bridge pickup, but was tight against the neck pickup. So I studied the proportions of how much clearance on a 21-fret guitar, then got out my Dremel and ground the upper guard to match.

2) During the time Rickenbacker 320's had the slightly longer 21-inch scale instead of the 20 3/4-inch scale, this was accomplished by moving the bridge back 1/4 inch. But the pickup routs stayed the same. When I finally figured this out, and by extension figured out why the bridge pickup of my 1981 320 JG did not have the "bite" of the early Beatles records, I took all the hardware off the guitar, routed out the pickup rout 1/4 inch closer to the bridge on the bridge pickup, split the difference for the middle pickup rout, and re-mounted everything. Since the guitar has foam rings under the pickups instead of individual grommets, most of the work was covered up. With the bridge pickup now in the same relative position to the bridge as on the 20 3/4-inch scale guitars, I got the "bite" back out of the bridge pickup.
Scott&Rick12.jpg
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (admin) » Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:11 pm

iiipopes wrote:1) During the transition years, the upper guards were still made on the 21-fret pattern instead of the narrowed pickup spacing of the 24-fret pattern. My 360-12WB FG ckbd had this, and the upper guard had clearance on the bridge pickup, but was tight against the neck pickup. So I studied the proportions of how much clearance on a 21-fret guitar, then got out my Dremel and ground the upper guard to match.

2) During the time Rickenbacker 320's had the slightly longer 21-inch scale instead of the 20 3/4-inch scale, this was accomplished by moving the bridge back 1/4 inch. But the pickup routs stayed the same. When I finally figured this out, and by extension figured out why the bridge pickup of my 1981 320 JG did not have the "bite" of the early Beatles records, I took all the hardware off the guitar, routed out the pickup rout 1/4 inch closer to the bridge on the bridge pickup, split the difference for the middle pickup rout, and re-mounted everything. Since the guitar has foam rings under the pickups instead of individual grommets, most of the work was covered up. With the bridge pickup now in the same relative position to the bridge as on the 20 3/4-inch scale guitars, I got the "bite" back out of the bridge pickup.
Scott&Rick12.jpg


Scott very adaptive changes. I am sure the bite from the treble pickup got you closer to the Beatles. A novel fix. Were you ever tempted to go with a Fogerty humbucker arrangement? By the way a very nice photo. Thanks for sharing it.
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (teb) » Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:14 pm

I like polishing (and often also beveling) the edges on mine. They look neater and in case you ever happen to drag your hand across one, they are no longer sharp. On the back-painted plexiglass guards I make I also like the optics, as it kind of makes the edges glow. Plexi TRCs also get polished edges, though not with any bevel or rounding. This is strictly hand work, done standing at the kitchen sink, wet-sanding using Micromesh disk sandpaper which goes all the way up to 12,000 grit and a final hand buff with polishing compound. It can take maybe half an hour to edge polish a big guard, but it's not particularly hard or difficult work. For the stock white acrylic guards, I usually round them. For back-painted clear guards the beveling creates more interesting optics.

I made the guards for my 2030 bass from clear plexi, back-painted black and polished the edges square. Then I painted the edges white, so from some angles they show and from others they don't, which seemed more interesting.
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (admin) » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:11 pm

teb wrote:I like polishing (and often also beveling) the edges on mine. They look neater and in case you ever happen to drag your hand across one, they are no longer sharp. On the back-painted plexiglass guards I make I also like the optics, as it kind of makes the edges glow. Plexi TRCs also get polished edges, though not with any bevel or rounding. This is strictly hand work, done standing at the kitchen sink, wet-sanding using Micromesh disk sandpaper which goes all the way up to 12,000 grit and a final hand buff with polishing compound. It can take maybe half an hour to edge polish a big guard, but it's not particularly hard or difficult work. For the stock white acrylic guards, I usually round them. For back-painted clear guards the beveling creates more interesting optics.

I made the guards for my 2030 bass from clear plexi, back-painted black and polished the edges square. Then I painted the edges white, so from some angles they show and from others they don't, which seemed more interesting.


Todd, as always a polished presentation.These guards really stand out and are great finishing touches to your instruments.
My guards seem to be undressed after seeing your exquisite work. Thanks for passing it the description of your work along with these nice photos.
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (iiipopes) » Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:56 pm

admin wrote:Scott very adaptive changes. I am sure the bite from the treble pickup got you closer to the Beatles. A novel fix. Were you ever tempted to go with a Fogerty humbucker arrangement? By the way a very nice photo. Thanks for sharing it.

Nah, even vintage wind humbuckers have a little too much mids for a Rickenbacker vibe. So I just bug John Hall every couple of years to make a "toasterbucker."
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (admin) » Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:25 am

iiipopes wrote:
admin wrote:Scott very adaptive changes. I am sure the bite from the treble pickup got you closer to the Beatles. A novel fix. Were you ever tempted to go with a Fogerty humbucker arrangement? By the way a very nice photo. Thanks for sharing it.

Nah, even vintage wind humbuckers have a little too much mids for a Rickenbacker vibe. So I just bug John Hall every couple of years to make a "toasterbucker."


Scott: Why not post on Sergio Silva's Winding Up With The Best Forum and see what he can do for you?
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (thisismusicinc) » Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:54 pm

I broke the pickguard on my old and trusted 4003 (Yes, we were rocking out in those days), and spares were hard to get in Norway. So my drummer's dad made one out of solid iron. I had already put on a brass hipshot bridge, so we're talking a really heavy (metal) bass. I've found I plastic replacement since then, but let me see if I find a picture somewhere.
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (admin) » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:22 am

thisismusicinc wrote:I broke the pickguard on my old and trusted 4003 (Yes, we were rocking out in those days), and spares were hard to get in Norway. So my drummer's dad made one out of solid iron. I had already put on a brass hipshot bridge, so we're talking a really heavy (metal) bass. I've found I plastic replacement since then, but let me see if I find a picture somewhere.


Jon, I would love to see a photo.
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (pauleway) » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:17 pm

I made the guards for my 2030 bass from clear plexi, back-painted black and polished the edges square. Then I painted the edges white, so from some angles they show and from others they don't, which seemed more interesting.[/quote]


Man, every time I see that black bass, I just think-WOW! That is one sweet axe!! :shock:
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (admin) » Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:39 am

pauleway wrote:I made the guards for my 2030 bass from clear plexi, back-painted black and polished the edges square. Then I painted the edges white, so from some angles they show and from others they don't, which seemed more interesting.



Man, every time I see that black bass, I just think-WOW! That is one sweet axe!! :shock:[/quote]
Paul, agreed. Todd's work is excellent and so very unique.
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (iiipopes) » Sun Mar 08, 2020 11:42 pm

admin wrote:
iiipopes wrote:
admin wrote:Scott very adaptive changes. I am sure the bite from the treble pickup got you closer to the Beatles. A novel fix. Were you ever tempted to go with a Fogerty humbucker arrangement? By the way a very nice photo. Thanks for sharing it.

Nah, even vintage wind humbuckers have a little too much mids for a Rickenbacker vibe. So I just bug John Hall every couple of years to make a "toasterbucker."


Scott: Why not post on Sergio Silva's Winding Up With The Best Forum and see what he can do for you?

One of these days. Since I gig almost exclusively bass, a guitar toasterbucker is on the back burner for the forseeable future.
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Re: Guarding Your Rickenbackers

Postby (drumbob) » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:50 am

I have never altered the pickguards on my Ricks, but the top half of the guard on my AutumnGlo 330-12 was autographed by Roger McGuinn and Vince Martell of Vanilla Fudge, who's a friend of mine. I played it at home and on gigs that way for quite a while, and finally took it off and bought a replacement from Rickenbacker about two years ago, fearing it might be damaged. The autographed guard is now sitting on a shelf with other rock memorabilia.
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