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Thread: Another RCA-4 Build: The Thunderbacker

  1. #1

    Another RCA-4 Build: The Thunderbacker

    I have been planning this kit for a long, long time. Finally, I am in the financial place to start it! I ordered an RCA-4 on the 21st for my birthday, and it arrived on the 5th here in the States. Here's the initial inspection:

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    The first thing I've noticed is that I got some really bad luck with the grain on my guitars I buy sight-unseen. Oh well. I was going to do a transparent red oil finish, but maybe a sunburst of some kind is in order, instead. All else fails, I can paint it... no idea how I'll do that, so fingers crossed that the stain works...


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    I also noticed a wood knot in the base of my neck. After emailing Adam, he's informed me that the knot won't affect the structural integrity of the bass, so I'll be able to move forward with a mere birthmark, instead of something worse.


    I purchased some Duncan SRB pickups (their Rickenbacker pickups) soon after ordering the kit. Turns out... the pickguard I bought from Allparts (black) does not fit the body at ALL. Only $19.99 USD down the drain, but it was still disappointing. Probably should have checked in with the other forum members first. Live and learn. But... I had an idea.

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    I have a pair of Thunderbird pickups from an older project sitting around. What if I were to...

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    YES. This is great. It'll take some work to carve out the bridge pickup cavity, but it'll fit juuust right. I work Monday to Thursday really long hours, so Friday, this build's going to really take flight. Hoping to get some sanding and body contours done this weekend, and prep for grain filler, if not take care of that if I have time.


    Ok, question.

    With the bridge position not being set in stone yet, is there a certain rule for the RC-4 basses as to the distance between the bottom of the neck pocket and the base of the neck? Is it flush against the cavity, or is it X millimeters from the wood? If the string angles line up, can I just shove it all the way in and move the bridge back a little? I'm using a Hipshot Kickass bridge.


    ***Let me know if you want some Duncan Ric pickups because I sure don't need them now lol***

  2. #2
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    Hey man, I disagree on the grain. The body looks great!!!

    Those little bits that are a bit "different" end up looking great under a finish and really make the guitar unique. It's a custom after all. Embrace them, they'll look great in the end.

    Too bad the pick-ups are not what you wanted. I ended up getting a Seymour Duncan 1/4 pound jazz pick-up for the bridge, looking to find a Seymour Duncan ric neck pick-up that will match it's output.

    As far as the bridge placement is concerned, there's a few great posts on this forum that can explain the measuring system a lot clearer than I can.

    That said, I found this video very concise and helpful in terms of finding my bridge placement.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3B9P1Mt7xo


    Looking forward to your build!

    ALSO: Happy Birthday!
    Last edited by rook; 10-03-2018 at 09:43 AM.

  3. #3
    Well Rook, I got a Duncan neck Ric pickup if you wanna buy it off me. Let me know. I sure won't be using it at this point.


    I did some work on the body and neck. The thing is... I'm the furthest thing from a good craftsman. I'm actually terrible. Observe:

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    Okay, well I wasn't going to paint before, but I guess I'll be painting now. Stupid dremel came loose and made my day a lot longer.


    So here's the plan, I am thinking of using the oil finish on the back and sides still. Maybe fill the top flaws and paint the top a solid color? Gibson does the gold top with stained back and sides, no reason I couldn't go for that kind of approach. I could fill the flaws and stain, but I don't know for certain if the wood filler I have will absorb stain very well and function under an oil finish.

    Maybe I'll just do solid black front and headstock and natural back and sides. Or something. I'm open to suggestions, anybody have any ideas or tips?

  4. #4
    Member
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    Did the routing for my bridge with a rotary tool. Got the job done, but was pretty messy.

    Once you have the pickup surround on will you even see the hole? Might not be a problem.

  5. #5
    Well, wife had some emergency surgery, and I have to be seeing a family member this weekend, possibly the last time before cancer takes them from us. There's a lot to take care of regarding both situations.

    Project in hiatus until I can get some time to set everything up again. Maybe by then I'll figure out what color to make this thing.

  6. #6
    Overlord of Music FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elcodyloco View Post
    Well, wife had some emergency surgery, and I have to be seeing a family member this weekend, possibly the last time before cancer takes them from us. There's a lot to take care of regarding both situations.

    Project in hiatus until I can get some time to set everything up again. Maybe by then I'll figure out what color to make this thing.
    Hey Cody, Im sorry to hear of your troubles and I hope that your wife recovers quickly. Its times like this that you need to focus on the important things like family.

    The kit wont walk away, well all still be here to cheer you through it when you get back. Take care mate.
    FrankenLab Guitar Experiments.
    Making bad ideas a reality since 2016!

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