looking for opinions on a 1973 Rickenbacker 4001 restoration

Discussion in 'Musical Instruments' started by finefuzz, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. PureQuill

    PureQuill AK Member Subscriber

    Mid Willamette Valley, Oregon
    Not to be a jerk but…
    Have you ever seen Rory Gallagher’s strat?
    How about Joe Strummers tele?
    Wipe the white crap away and then do no more harm.…and just play!

    hoodie likes this.
  2. Ross6860

    Ross6860 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I'm not sure of the point you are trying to make, but:

    1) Yes.

    2) No. Never heard of him. Not my taste in music.

    As far as "Wipe the white crap away and then do no more harm.…", everyone is entitled to their opinion. It's not your guitar, nor mine, to decide what to do with.

    Cleaning the bad paint away may strip the remaining original finish, too. In that case the wood is completely unprotected. Personally I would not leave it like that. At a minimum I would oil it. I like tung oil. Everyone's taste is different.

    This is a very nice bass guitar, nothing more. This is no put down to any Ric owners. There's nothing special about most of my guitars either (I do own one "special" guitar). This is not a '59 Les Paul, or a '51 "No-caster". It has been previously modified. It has no special collectors value. Nothing the OP does to bring it closer to its original condition will hurt its value or playability. In fact, it will probably improve both.

    As long as he likes it, in the end that's all that really matters.

    Just my 2 cents. That's about all my opinion is worth. YMMV
  3. PureQuill

    PureQuill AK Member Subscriber

    Mid Willamette Valley, Oregon
    He asked for opinions so I gave mine.
    Agree or disagree …it is all right with me!
    I don’t personally think this bass needs “rescuing”.
    It is his guitar to do with as he pleases.

    Here is why I reference Joe Strummers Tele…

    As for the modified pickups and electronics…

    My point is that the damage is done and was done long ago.
    The mods are now a part of this bass’s history for better or worse… just like the 2 guitars I referenced.
    Often at the time when mods are done no thought is given to the future…Simply a player making changes to a tool that work and made sense to them at the time that it was performed.
    This is very common with vintage instruments and why “unmolested” examples are highly prized.

    Many Rickenbacker enthusiast consider a 1973 4001 vintage.

    This bass will never be “vintage correct” no matter how much one fills,sands or sprays.
    It is what it is and one can not turn back time.
    Often there is a desire to make vintage instruments shiny and like new…
    Doing so only further diminishes its appeal and value to most players and collectors.
    Anytime one refinishes a vintage instrument even when done by the best & most skilled luthier, any work done still lowers its value compared to one beat to death and not refinished.
    Sometime a instrument is so far gone there simply is no choice.
    But thats not the case with this bass.

    “I am leaning towards just leaving the extra pickup and clear coating the maple because the damage has already been done, but on the other hand- I could have it looking completely stock (other than a custom color perhaps).

    I agree 100% with the OP’s original thinking high lighted in red.
    So my opinion/advise is still wipe a way the white paint and do what is necessary to make it stable and playable.
    Nothing more ..nothing less.

    Embrace its funky history and enjoy it for it’s uniqueness there is not another one like it!
    It can always be “restored” to original at anytime in the future…But once it is done just like the “mods” it can never be undone.

    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  4. jmela

    jmela Active Member

  5. marqueemoon

    marqueemoon Gimme indie rock!

    Seattle, WA
    I mostly agree with this. I'm on a guitar-specific forum where people have a real soft spot for "restoring" heavily modified guitars. I don't get it personally. How is this any better an idea than the one the previous owner had to paint his Jazzmaster hot pink or rout his Tele for a Kahler tremolo?

    I guess if I owned this bass I'd like to get a pro refin eventually and get a new pickguard cut to ditch the added pickup, but I would play it in the meantime and maybe after a while I wouldn't care.
  6. valvenator

    valvenator curious bystander, serious procrastinator Subscriber

    How about all those old Les Pauls that had their pickups replaced with those "newest" DiMarzio super distortion humbuckers.
    This ones a toss up as it will never be "original" with the added pickup cavity. I'd ditch the crappy paint job for sure but play it first to see if I liked the added pickup or not.
    Instruments are made to be played and if this one holds no historical value I'd definitely make it fit my needs if I intended to use it.
    BTW I've been there a few times in different situations where something that bugged me at first became a "who cares" eventually, and actually grew on me.
  7. Northwinds

    Northwinds Huh? Turn what down? Subscriber

    You could get SD's installed right from the Gibson factory in the Norlin years, a very popular choice vs the PAFs. SD's have been around since the 70s and still are one of the best pup choices out there, especially for the Les Paul, Explorer and Flying V
  8. Mark Wickins

    Mark Wickins New Member

    Leave it as original as you can, if it still has the original laquer on it dont strip it off or you taking away some of its value as a vintage instrument imo.
  9. Eric Lloyd

    Eric Lloyd AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Phoenix, AZ
    Walk away. Imagine what you're favorite bass would look like. Go back and do that. It's easy to get caught up in a project and go crazy doing stuff. If you need to ask what direction to go in, you might not be happy with any of the input anyway. One day you'll picture yourself on stage with a cool looking bass, and then you'll make this one look like that one. Done.

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