Recollections: The Saga of RE 2700
with my wife Colleen and our friend Kit Lloyd. It then made the move with us to northern California in 1981 and unfortunately saw little use for years. I dinked around with it occassionaly and eventually built in some active electronics (compressor/enhancer) on a new pickguard in the mid 90's. All in all a wonderful bass, now here's the amazing story:
In March of '98 our home in Escalon, CA is burglarized and the Rick is stolen along with a 1991 Dobro 60D (ser#62991). We contacted the Sheriff's Office and they came out for a report. I also notified our insurance company and submitted a claim. In April I received replacement cost from the insurance company based on the 1998 price of the current 4003.
In the mid seventies, I worked for Electro String Instrument Corporation, the manufacturing plant for Rickenbacker guitars. I performed a variety of jobs in assembly and eventually got to work in musician check-out. This work consisted of stringing the guitars & basses, setting the action at the nut & bridge, setting the intonation at the bridge and adjusting out any bow or dip in the neck. We would then play the instruments to check for any buzzing at the frets and to make sure they were fully functional.
One of the check-out guys, Jim Rutledge (a great bass player), wanted to buy a bass and ended up picking out some nice maple for a simple yet great sounding 4000. I believe he ended up buying it at the Rickenbacker sales office across town for wholesale. This was also around the time that the company started building the 4002 with it's ebony fret board, lo-Z output and Schaller tuning pegs. We were all excited about this model and felt that it was as good of a bass as you could get anywhere at any price.
One day it occurred to me that perhaps I too could get a bass built like Jim. The 4000 always appealed to me for a couple of reasons. I liked the way the body looked & felt without the binding, and the single pick-up configuration just seemed hotter. I approached Bill Meyers the plant foreman about having a bass built and he said "I don't see why not. Why don't you pick out some nice wood for it?"
Mark Arnquist the lead man in final assembly showed me some amazing hard woods and I selected a piece of birdseye maple. The 4002's were very cool, inspiring the lo-Z output & ebony fretboard (with an additional fret - why not?), and McCartney's bass (we actually got to play it when it came in for a "tune-up" during the Wings Over America tour) was the inspiration for the walnut head-stock wings.
When the bass (serial # RE2700) was finished we were all pretty excited about how it turned out. This was NOT a prototype; it was simply made to my specification but also showed what some possibilities were, if the sales and marketing people had the inclination. It went over to the sales office along with that day's production but then came back to the plant and sat in Bill's office for awhile. I don't remember exactly but I think we were waiting for me to get the money together. In any case, Bill ended up selling it to me on an Electro String invoice (not Rickenbacker) and I proudly took it home that day out the front door of the plant office.
I played the bass for awhile in '79 & '80 in a trio called "Passin' Thru"
Time marches on, the loss of the Rick has been grieved, and I never expect to see it again. Then on October 11, 2000, I get a phone call out of the blue from none other than Mark Arnquist (haven't seen or talked to him in twenty-odd years). "Hey Mike, how ya doin'? Guess what I've got, your bass!"
I was speechless. "Mark, did you know it was stolen?!?" He just assumed that I has sold it over the years. Anyway, a customer of Mark's had just walked into his guitar shop in Everett, WA. "Hey Mark, Didn't you use to work at Rickenbacker? Look what I just got from a music dealer in Florida off of E-bay!" Mark immediately recognizes the bass and tracked me down. (Thank you Mark, thank you!)
To wrap up this story, law enforcement resumes investigation, Mark's customer eventually gets his money back from VISA after much effort, and my wonderful Rickenbacker bass is once again home after buying it back from the insurance company.
During one of our many phone conversations while the bass was at Mark's shop, he told me "Maybe this is a no-brainer, but I think God wants you to have this bass back".
Ya think? Well I can tell you this: RE2700 will not live out it's days just sitting in the corner of our music room. I'm currently playing it regularly in the Christian rock band "Arcturus". It's got round-wounds on it again, I'm playing it through a modified Hartke Kickback 1200 and it sounds GREAT!