Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

1979 Fretless 4001 Repair
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Author:  rflorio1 [ Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:04 am ]
Post subject:  1979 Fretless 4001 Repair

I'm looking for some direction.

I've been handed a black 1979 fretless 4001 that has been sitting for a number of years. The main issue is the neck is seriously bowed (from sitting in a corner). I engaged a local luthier who pulled the truss rods in an attempt replace them, but ultimately he passed (when he found that the replacements he got were not much better). Now I have a bass with the two original rods sitting outside the neck. While this bass isn't pristine, I do like it's bad boy, slightly worn look, and I'm hoping to find a specialist who can restore the neck and other little odds and ends, add or replace the rods, but generally make the bass playable again. Is there hope there? I'm willing to put some investment into its restoration (since I got it for free), and think it would be a great bass to have. Any suggestions on who I might seek out?

More info:

1. I am familiar with Rics, and owned a 1978 fretted fireglo 4001 when it was new (and I was 16) until a few years ago which had never needed a neck adjustment so it was only recently I learned of the particulars of an older Rics potential setup issues.

2. This fretless 4001 one came to me from a cousin who had bought it used in the early '80's, but someone had already messed with it, incorrectly setting (or understanding) the neck adjustment process. In fact, whoever adjusted it, complicated the truss rod bracket in the headstock by overlaying another retaining bracket (not shown in the images, and not necessary). My cousin never really played it because the action was too high. So it sat for 25 years propped up in a corner, apparently. It did have strings on it during that time.

4. A few months ago, it was disassembled a bit for the removal of the truss rods and some cleaning (from the images, you can see there are missing screws, etc, but those are "parts" I have). The body and neck have never been apart.

5. The previous luthier understood that the process for the Ric bass neck adjustment was different and once he got into it he realized he wasn't specialized enough to get it done and, like others, recommended finding someone who knew what they were getting into.

6. The images show a couple of things but do not really accurately show the bow without the strings, but the bow is most notable in the mid-to upper are of the neck, which I guess would be normal. The action is way too high to be playable, and with a fretless, it just compounds the problem.

7. There are a number of things that need to be addressed on this guitar, such as a misbehaving input jack, rotted mute material in the tailpiece, some decals on knobs, but generally, the unit as a whole is solid. As I mentioned in my previous post, even if it is put back into playable condition, I sort of like the worn, beat-up look of this bass, and would actually want to keep it looking a bit like that.

Would like to get some references to a luthier who could help me get the old girl playable again.

Hope this additional detail helps.


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Author:  Rickenbrother [ Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Fretless 4001 Repair

Hi Rob, your output jack probably needs to be cleaned and maybe also bent back into shape with needles nose pliers.

Do you need to get the truss rods back into the neck and a set up? You can most likely use the original rods unless they are destroyed or terribly corroded.
If you're in Southern California, I can help you out with that. If not I'll see if I can help you through it some other way. Pictures, video, Skype...

I kinda jealous, I've always wanted a fretless 4001 or 4003 in Jetglo. As I always say. "JETGLO ROCKS!" :D

Author:  Rickenbrother [ Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Fretless 4001 Repair

These pics are from when I pulled the trussrods out of my '75 4001FL:




Author:  rflorio1 [ Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Fretless 4001 Repair

Thanks for the input. Here are some more images, one with a close up of the truss rod ends.

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Author:  Rickenbrother [ Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Fretless 4001 Repair

It looks like you could clean up those trussrods and use them. You might need a new thrustplate. Hard to tell how chewed up it is in that small pic.

Author:  rflorio1 [ Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1979 Fretless 4001 Repair

Thank you for the comments. I was able to contact someone to get this one back in shape. Will update after they get to examine the patient.


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