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View Full Version : NBD, Rickenbacker tribute, a Ukenbacker



kohanmike
06-28-2016, 09:43 PM
Just received the next bass mod I had done by Eric's Guitar Shop and Pat Wilkins Paint. A Ukenbacker, sort of a tribute to a Rickenbacker walnut bass.

I cut the fret markers from a vinyl sheet I printed, and applied them, and also printed and applied the Ukenbacker decal on the truss rod cover. The pickups are mock, only there for looks, and the tailpiece was cut down to fit behind the existing piezo bridge.

I used the new Kala round wound nylon core strings. I haven't amped it yet because it got late putting back all the parts and making the fret markers, didn't want to disturb the other tenants. Thursday morning is my uke group rehearsal, so I'll be practicing with it all day tomorrow.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Ukenbacker done front.jpghttp://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Ukenbacker done headstock.jpg

The original bass uke:
http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Blonde Bass uke orig 600.jpg

Booli
06-29-2016, 07:47 AM
Looks cool kohanmike! Thanks for sharing! :)

What are being used as the fake pickups? empty pickup covers?

Also what is the thumb-rest made of and how is it fixed onto the pickguard?

kohanmike
06-29-2016, 08:08 AM
Looks cool kohanmike! Thanks for sharing! :) What are being used as the fake pickups? empty pickup covers?Also what is the thumb-rest made of and how is it fixed onto the pickguard?

Thanks, very much. Yes, they are just pickup covers and a frame. Took me some effort to find the right size to fit the smaller bass uke. Had Eric grind them down to fit on the surface of the body to look like they're recessed into the body like normal pickups. Eric made the thumb rest from the pickguard material layered a couple levels, I just used heavy duty double faced tape rather than screws so it would blend with the pickguard.

Booli
06-29-2016, 09:08 AM
Thanks, very much. Yes, they are just pickup covers and a frame. Took me some effort to find the right size to fit the smaller bass uke. Had Eric grind them down to fit on the surface of the body to look like they're recessed into the body like normal pickups. Eric made the thumb rest from the pickguard material layered a couple levels, I just used heavy duty double faced tape rather than screws so it would blend with the pickguard.


Thanks for the detailed reply.

You've made quite a few great-looking and serious mods here based upon the Rondo/Hadean bass ukes.

Have you shared any of these results with Kurt from Rondo?

Maybe they would manufacture one of your designs and give you a cut of the sales?

I think that would be cool. A sort of passive income...

Had I the cash to buy another solid-body, I might be looking at modding it for the BODY itself to be even smaller, modeled after, but not exactly like the Steinberger bass guitars...just not headless since there's no room behind the bridge on the stock Hadean body...

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ffT108Wr1zg/TSMI-Fn27kI/AAAAAAAABs0/IXiE8YY4cIQ/s1600/ssx.jpg

kohanmike
06-29-2016, 10:58 AM
Booli, this one is not a Rondo, it's direct from China, and I'm sure from the same factory where Rondo gets theirs. I have shown Kurt and Theresa the Rondo mods and asked the possibilty of them making more of a variety. Their answer was a simple "maybe" which I read as no, most likely because they just distribute whatever the Chinese factory makes and have no say.

Have you seen on Talk Bass a design a member (swarfrat) is doing on a Rondo for his young son? Very similar to your thinking.

http://www.kohanmike.com/uploads/Swarfrat TB ubass-final-front_.jpg

LDS714
06-29-2016, 12:33 PM
Nice. That looks a lot like an actual Ric bridge/tailpiece.

kohanmike
06-29-2016, 12:57 PM
It's an after market one that I had Eric cut down to fit, but it looks good.

Nickie
07-01-2016, 04:16 PM
Wow, it looks awesome! Nice mods!

Jim Hanks
07-01-2016, 04:27 PM
Way cooler than the original. Props! :shaka:

PhilUSAFRet
07-02-2016, 11:17 AM
very cool. How much money do you sink into one of these projects...typically?

kohanmike
07-02-2016, 04:09 PM
The first one was the blue Rondo ($190), and the guy I took it to near me had it for 7 months, putting it off for "more important" clients. He originally quoted me $300 to make a two piece pickguard, new nut, cut down the horns, paint them and match the paint on the head plate. Reasonable I thought, but when I got on his case for taking so long, he hurried the work and it did not come out that good. For an apology, he only charged me $150, so that one was $340.

The next was a Les Paul guitar conversion I did myself, which was not complicated and cost me about $260 all in. Then I had a Telecaster custom bass made by a guy in Michigan for about $750, great price and only took about 5 months. Then I sent him a Rondo solid body to replace the body with a Hofner violin Beatles bass style, which took him a year, came out darker than I wanted and cost $720 all in.

Next I bought a pink P-bass mini from SmallGuitars.com for $150 specifically to have Pat Wilkins paint it surf green, $275, total $425. Then I modified a Rondo solid body that I cut myself, had Eric make a pickguard for $125, and Pat paint it for $325, total $660.

The Ukenbacker is the most recent, and I didn't realize how much it cost until someone asked on the Talk Bass forum, because I spend the money incrementally; I ordered the bass and various parts online, either eBay, Amazon, or AliExpress, which would take from 2 - 6 weeks, then I took it to Eric's Guitar to do the fabrication, took about 3 weeks, payed him, then took it over to Pat Wilkins to be finished, also about 3 weeks and payed him. Adding it up, this one came to $1100. I know someone might ask why I didn't just put up a couple hundred more and buy a used Rickenbacker, but my answer is I only play sub-short scale, so for all intend and purposes, I got a custom bass to my exact specs for that price. I also save on shipping and added time since Eric's Guitar Shop and Pat Wilkins Guitar Finishing are within 25 minutes drive from me, 10 minutes from each other.

I'm holding off on two more projects because I have to spend about $2500 on engine work for my mini-van. Both are going to be new bodies made for Rondos, not being happy with the blue mod, I'm going make that into a blue Gibson SG EB-3 style, and another into a Fender Jaguar style, Olympic white, mainly because I want a tortoise pickguard and the white looks really good with it. (Yep, I totally embrace BUAS, bass uke acquisition syndrome.)