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 Post subject: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:38 pm 
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Location: SF CA
I've been visiting this Forum regularly, but have not made any posts for awhile. My LS 330 projects have been going very well (sold 6 in the first week and my electronics guy is designing and building circuit boards to hold the LEDs and minimize the wiring. The prototype had over 80 solder joints, not counting the component board!

I'm building acoustics again after a small re-tooling and redoing a shop space dedicated to assembling acoustic bodies.

And the refinishes and restorations just keep cycling through the shop.

These first photos are of a 360F from 1967, that was originally FG but had some back cracks filled with bondo at the repair shop of a well-known vintage guitar dealer. After the bondo bastardization, the guitar was refinished in JG using some sort of cheap black enamel. You could see the bondo patches and sanding marks through the paint! I shook the guitar when the owner handed it to me and it rattled. Out popped a bondo "worm" Yecch.

This beauty received a new back; the binding (genuine celluloid!) is in a size that I don't keep in stock, so as soon as it arrives, we'll commence rebinding it, too.

This one will also receive a new fretboard with new crushed pearl inlays. The old one is so badly grooved that it would look ridiculous with the new JG paint, so a nice section of bubinga was selected from the boards I keep in stock. This one has some nice figuring, and I'll post photos of that process as soon as it gets underway.

Here's the 360F with the paint stripped and the old, cracked back removed:

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Here's a detail of the back...you can see the "jitterbug" sander marks in the maple!






I move on to reconstruction...the new back and the old in the same shot. The new is rough-cut oversize; it will be routed to match the contour of the body, then double-step-routed to provide rabbets into which the checkerboard purfling and white outer binding is fitted.












Here the checkerboard purfling is being attached. I use tape, and I apply the purfling and binding in two separate operations. It's just more comfortable for me to work this way...I don't like the rubber band method.



Looks pretty sloppy in closeup; it's like sausage being made...you don't really want to see it until it's ready for consumption...



I use tiny brads to hold the tight radii in place; the white binding will cover these.

AS soon as the binding arrives (it's considered an explosive, so it has to come by truck; no air shipping), we'll continue.


I've also got an '85 BT bass that's getting refinned in Ruby with checkerboard trim (yum!) and a 360V64/12 that's undergoing a transformation, with checkerboard binding being added, a bound sound hole and other mods before getting an amber autumnglo refinish. too. This one is almost in color, so we can follow it all the way through its restoration.

Pictures of the bass and the 360 in upcoming installments.

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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:32 pm 
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Location: Aloha, OR
So you choose to use a plywood back instead of solid Maple like the guitar originally had.


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:50 am 
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Location: Santa Ana, CA
Dale, the original instruments in that era had ply front AND back. I have several examples here in the museum.


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:02 am 
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Location: Belgium
I can see the sides are plywood too.
I find this rather disturbing considering the quality reputation of Rickenbackers.


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:35 am 
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Location: Long Beach, California
Quote:
I can see the sides are plywood too.
I find this rather disturbing considering the quality reputation of Rickenbackers.


It looks like a high grade laminate ply however. Wouldn't this make sense from the standpoint of strength?

Man, Paul W couldn't have said it better wrt to the "sausage being made" comment. The repair process is something else, though fascninating, and the inside of that F model is not pretty.

Good point Paul W, wrt manufacturing methods. The insides of a lot of other period guitars, including Ricks aren't all that pretty, but they sure do sound great!


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:54 am 
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Location: SF CA
Quote:
I can see the sides are plywood too.
I find this rather disturbing considering the quality reputation of Rickenbackers.


Disturbing, hey? Well, Wim, first off, you have to consider that this guitar is 41 years old, and manufacturing methods then were different from what they are now.

Second, you're looking at this as if it was an acoustic guitar, on which the sides are bent from a single piece of tonewood, instead of plywood. Accepted slim-line electric guitar construction is to use bent plywood sides. Gretsch has been doing it from the mid-1950s (I have some bent plywood Gretsch sides from that era; after all, they make their wooden-shelled drums this way!)

So, why would plywood sides speak of lack of quality?

Let's also remember that Rickenbackers, especially these high-priced, low-volume instruments, were built in very low numbers, and to set up a fully-tooled line to build them would have been (and still is) cost-prohibitive. So, while they may look a bit rough on the inside, they were luscious to see once finished, and played and sounded like nothing else on Earth.

In this case, though I could have made a book-matched piece of beautifully-grained maple 17+ inches wide for the back (as I carved for the Jazzbo, which had a see-through burst finish) I looked at the back of this F, and seeing it in such terrible shape and having inspected the Fs in the RIC museum, I decided to use plywood. This is because the entire back of this guitar is unsupported and I wanted this to be the last time the back would need to be replaced. Since it is correct in light of RIC practice in those days, I elected to do it this way.

There was, due to bad staining of the maple grain by the black pigment, no chance of going back to the original FG, otherwise I would have done the same thing with a nicer flitch of maple; book-matched, too. But I would have made it a bit thicker than original for strength.

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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:06 am 
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Location: SF CA
Here's a 4000S from '75 that I just sent off to its delighted owner...it was originally Walnut, and was showing a lot of wear, and just looking like it needed a freshen-up. The owner had seen one of my aged Amber FG finishes on one of my own Ricks, and asked me to do one like it, ad I suggested a bit darker. This is one of my favorite colors.

The beveled-edge gold guard and TRC were at my suggestion. I also refinished the fretboard, and refretted it and polished the frets.

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This one was in my shop for quite awhile; thank God for patient customers! During that time (about 18 months), it was going to be refinished in JG, then BB, before we settled on this combination.

And, he's pleased that we did...


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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:21 am 
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Location: Quebec, Canada
That's a beautiful finish job on the bass! I love your re-finish work, it's wonderful.


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:32 am 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
G'day Paul,

On the 4000 (which is truly fantastic - I'm forwarding the pics to my Sydney restoration guru), I see you used a vintage RI TRC. Did you need to cut it down at all to fit the smaller '70s peghead?

I have one project on the go and another to kick off soon that have damaged plexi TRCs and was wondering whether the RIs would fit without major surgery.

Many thanks, and compliments on the wonderful restoration work!

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As I get older, my music gets softer and my shirts get louder....


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 Post subject: Re: LOTS OF NEW PROJECTS FROM PAUL W!
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:48 am 
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Location: SF CA
Thanks for the kind words from Oz!

The TRC was cut down from a gold vintage RI TRC. The vintage TRC is a good deal larger than the old 4000 TRC was. At least it isn't smaller, hey?

I believe RIC policy, however, is not to exchange across color lines (i.e., white to black, white to gold, black to gold, etc.) . You'd have to check with Kenny.

I have an arrangement with Rickenbacker which permits me to do this type of exchange however, for my own customers when I restore their guitars and basses.

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Rickenbackers: I love to play them. I enjoy the challenge of working on them. I love the way they sound.


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