Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (Dirk) » Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:30 am

Very nice and call me crazy but I like that 1 piece wooden pickguard. You can easily get a new more correct one from Pickguardian if you want, you'll need to send the wooden one for him to make an exact copy though.

It actually looks in great shape like others have said other than the frets. It will cost some money, but might as well replace them.
I don't think there's enough fret left to recrown them, it looks like they maybe tried to make it psuedo fretless or micro frets?

I don't see a lot of checkerboard glue glow, so that's great news.

You really need to get it to someone that is knowledgeable on vintage Rick's.
As said the truss rods situation is completely unique.

The necks on that era are amazingly slim.

Since you are not looking to sell it off, my thought would be just get it playable and usable. That should be a refret and setup, a couple hundred bucks are you're back in business.

Welcome here, and my condolences.
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (Grebnaws) » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:11 pm

Thank you for the warm welcome! I'll be adding this bass the register shortly.

I have absolutely no monetary interest in this bass. It is priceless. If anyone wishes to sell the bass they will need to do so after I'm gone :D Hopefully our son has an interest and will want to preserve it. I do need to get a ballpark value so I can have the instrument properly insured if anyone has a suggestion. My wife and I were discussing putting it in a shadow box for display but we know that I'd never be satisfied leaving it as is and placing it in a box. I never took well to music growing up and only starting messing around with bass about 5 years ago. It doesn't come easily but I have enjoyed it and found my way into some interesting equipment. The Acoustic 360 also belonged to my father (his since 1970) and we all grew up climbing all over and jumping off of it onto the furniture. My father was of fairly small stature and I have vivid memories of him breaking his back lugging that thing around by himself and dragging it back through the front door in the middle of the night. It was a wreck and took some time and money getting it to work again. The amp was moved first because my mother was literally going to drag it to the curb if I didn't remove it ASAP! Now that it's working, my hearing doesn't seem to work as well as it used to....

Regarding playability, the nut is worn very low and there is a lot of string interference on the low end. I have strongly considered removing the nut and gluing down a very thin piece of material to raise it, which I think may still work because the slots are still good. The strings are basically laying flat on the 1st fret but the string clearance increases steadily with every fret up to 20. It actually doesn't fret out but it does become harder to play the higher up the neck. The extremely flat fret wear is almost guaranteed to be natural. My father was not mechanical and never would have done such a thing himself, and was even less likely to pay someone for the work! He did tell me about the early problems with soft frets and using rounds, which he always used, although there is a very old set of flats still in the case. The wear is difficult to photograph but I can tell the frets still have more crown and string divots closer the middle the neck. They are nearly flat for the upper third and flatten out again near the body. I have not personally attempted to use the truss rods on this neck. With extra light strings installed there is no relief using a capo at the 1st and pressing down at 12 or 20. This old Ric will choke itself out if turned on it's back or you touch the headstock. Most of my basses are set up fairly flat with low relief but none of them have this level of wear.

I can tinker endlessly with the bass guitars already on the rack but I knew this was another matter and left it completely alone. This old piece is intimidating. I did move the saddles rearward when restringing but if they are incorrectly positioned then I must place the blame on my old man who left them that way. My fathers last live gigs were probably with his part time rockabilly band which would have ended in the early 90s so it's been collecting dust for nearly 30 years.

I saw that the gear head was missing a screw, the nameplate is missing two slotted screws, and a missing mute adjustment knob. I would like to find correct replacements if available if anyone knows where to look. The E string tuner is bent a little at the shaft and it doesn't work as smoothly. The missing silver cap for one of the control knobs is actually still in the case too.

Who would you recommend as a vintage Rickenbacker specialist to refret the bass? When I looked into it previously it sounded like no one wanted to refret without a complete refinish. When I asked Rickenbacker themselves they basically said "Good Luck" :roll: I would rather pay upfront for a notable Rickenbacker specialist than risk damaging it unnecessarily, though thankfully there isn't a lot of finish left near the frets to be damaged. I also think a vintage white pickguard would look better but I'll probably be leaving this one on most likely. It's got all the funk. Preservation is definitely the goal and if I end up playing it much I might try a pickup cover as my hand keeps finding it's way inside the bridge pickup. I think that's where my hand usually finds home on a precision style bass.

Here are few more shots of the fretboard. The Thunderbird in the stage pic didn't belong to my father. I think he owned a Gibson short scale in his youth and then briefly a Precision before it was stolen and replaced with the Ric in 69-70. Outside of an acoustic guitar and a standup bass (sold for mortgage when I was a teen) he never owned anything else with strings.

https://imgur.com/I5ep4jN

https://imgur.com/yd3QZhE

https://imgur.com/ZkvGqTe

https://imgur.com/PvBb32b

https://imgur.com/8GcMcxb

https://imgur.com/Q7R2ejo

https://imgur.com/1zrMkPp

https://imgur.com/CjMcIbq

https://imgur.com/759mns7

https://imgur.com/w9k6NnT

https://imgur.com/618qlDW

https://imgur.com/7dN3d3M

https://imgur.com/sagKQVl
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (iiipopes) » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:01 pm

Yes, indeed, the bridge pickup is original. This is one of the first production run "transitional" hi-gains, with the greenish bobbin and smaller pole pieces. Very collectible, indeed! Of course, those who know me also know how I love checkerboard binding as well.

If the nut is worn, having a qualified luther cut a new nut, and possibly re-crown the frets if the divots are not too deep would be the way to go. If the frets are just so worn that it needs a refret, I understand - I wore out the frets on my 4002 and they had to be completely redone. Fortunately, I found a qualified luthier who make it look like it had never been done.

Reiterating the above: do as little as possible to it to make it playable. Hopefully, a good set up (bridge intonation, pickup heights, truss rod adjustment, clean the pots with de-oxit, etc.) with a new set of Optima RB strings (the spiritual re-creation successor to the OEM Maxima flatwound strings that were new) will have it sounding just like new.

Well, this is awkward, but many of us have been there and understand: condolences on your loss; congratulations on an instrument that will preserve his memory.
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (maxwell) » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:24 pm

Boy o' boy, this is a little tough to suggest, but (as someone whose parents are long gone) if your intention is to preserve this bass, as a remembrance of your father, then I would simply leave it alone as it is now--as it was for your father. Have it mounted in the shadow box as-is. This is if you're not going to play it. All those worn in, or worn out, flaws of the bass are his flaws, his mojo. This is his true remembrance, as he played, and probably loved, the heck out of it.

If you're going to learn and play it, well then, never mind....
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (sloop_john_b) » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:17 pm

Sean, as you’re in the Champaign-Urbana area, I would consult with Chicago Music Exchange. I am sure that they can provide you with some local recommendations on who can do a proper refret on your bass - just make sure you’re VERY clear that you don’t want the fretboard refinished. They may even be able to do it in-house (i don’t know much about their repair shop, but some seriously high value instruments pass through the shop).

If you want to ship the bass, there are other options, but I’m not sure I would risk it if I were you.
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (songdog) » Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:35 pm

My '72 4001 was refretted by Mike Lull. He used a razor knife to slit the finish at the frets so they could be removed without lifting the finish or wood. He said that because of the binding he basically had to shape the frets correctly before inserting them - no cutting them a little long and filing them after installing them!

You have to violate current social distancing to see traces of the work (other than the non-original frets, of course, which an aficionado can spot at covid-safe distance). So it can be done. But it didn't come cheap, and alas, Mike is gone to the great gig in the sky. Take your time and find someone who can do it well.

Good on you for caring so much about your father's bass. I hope when I'm gone my kids will take proper care of mine.
Turn on, tune up, rock out!
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (Dirk) » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:50 pm

Great detailed neck shots, to me they might just look like natural played the heck out of frets.
You might be able to just crown them, certainly safest first step. I think they are just worn flat from lots of happy use.

I admit looking at the neck edges reminded my of my old '69. The fingerboard coating loss is just like mine, you have to love the inlays and checkerboard too.

And that shows also how fragile the fingerboard finish is, and yeah in order to refret you need to nip the ends unless you take the binding off. That Mike Lull tip about scoring the frets/fingerboard is a great one.

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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (jps) » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:36 pm

Don's imgur link works fine for me, why doesn't the OPs?
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (Grebnaws) » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:35 pm

maxwell wrote:Boy o' boy, this is a little tough to suggest, but (as someone whose parents are long gone) if your intention is to preserve this bass, as a remembrance of your father, then I would simply leave it alone as it is now--as it was for your father. Have it mounted in the shadow box as-is. This is if you're not going to play it. All those worn in, or worn out, flaws of the bass are his flaws, his mojo. This is his true remembrance, as he played, and probably loved, the heck out of it.

If you're going to learn and play it, well then, never mind....


Thank you for your input! I am looking for all opinions on this matter. Leaving it alone or putting it into a time capsule was my first thought when my father passed but as I go on the idea isn't sitting as well. I do intend to play this bass, at least enough to know that it's current condition will not suit me. I have a number of fine basses but am unfortunately not much of a player and will never live up to my father's ability. He seemed to recognize this when made my earliest attempts a few years ago, but there also is not anyone else interested in taking it on so the duty of preservation or playing is on me. There may be some responsibility placed upon the owner of an old Ric and Acoustic 360 rig to keep trying.
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (Grebnaws) » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:39 pm

sloop_john_b wrote:Sean, as you’re in the Champaign-Urbana area, I would consult with Chicago Music Exchange. I am sure that they can provide you with some local recommendations on who can do a proper refret on your bass - just make sure you’re VERY clear that you don’t want the fretboard refinished. They may even be able to do it in-house (i don’t know much about their repair shop, but some seriously high value instruments pass through the shop).

If you want to ship the bass, there are other options, but I’m not sure I would risk it if I were you.


Thank you for the suggestion. I agree, I don't feel well shipping this bass. I would if I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO and found a qualified person willing to do the work but handling the bass myself makes me more comfortable. It has survived cross country touring and decades of gigging but going missing would be intolerable. We have family in the Chicago area, perhaps we can work it in over the holidays. The pandemic has put quite a damper on these things.
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (Grebnaws) » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:42 pm

jps wrote:Don's imgur link works fine for me, why doesn't the OPs?


I'm sorry the original links don't work for you. Let me know if this direct link to the folder works.

https://imgur.com/a/SNBtM6g
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (doctorwho) » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:31 pm

A belated welcome to the Forum, Sean! Good to have you on board. 8)

FWIW, all of the links work for me on my Linux Mint 20 desktop (the first set worked also on my Android-based phone as well as ).
It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing. - Seneca
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (teeder) » Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:46 pm

That's awesome, Sean! Welcome!
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (jdogric12) » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:27 pm

jps wrote:Don's imgur link works fine for me, why doesn't the OPs?


Might need to update your Commodore 64 lololololol :lol:
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Re: Inherited 1968 Ric and need advice

Postby (jps) » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:55 pm

jdogric12 wrote:
jps wrote:Don's imgur link works fine for me, why doesn't the OPs?


Might need to update your Commodore 64 lololololol :lol:

Mine's a Commodore 666!

But that doesn't answer why I can see other's imgur pages but not the OPs. :|
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