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Paul S

NBD - a RickenFaker - but what is it?

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I bought this on eBay - to my astonishment the seller accepted an offer from me that was below my ceiling price for a Faker - and it arrived just this afternoon.

To my untrained eye it looks and sounds very much like a Rickenbacker.  Certainly heavy enough!  That, if anything, will be the deal breaker for me but I am going to give it a go because I think we are going to get on famously.

So - no brand name on the truss rod cover or identifying marks that I can see externally.  What is this likely to be - one of Cushin Gakki ones?  Whatever it is I am going to call it my Sprackenbacker that being close enough to my name to make me smile every time I say it. :) 

 

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Wow. That's verrrry close to my old 4001...can't help with the provenance, I'm afraid, but that's one of the best fakers I've ever seen...

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Good question. I can tell you what it's not:

Fujigen (Ibanez, Greco)

Matsumoku (Aria, Kimbara, Greco, various US brands)

Kasuga

Yamaki (JooDee)

Gherson

All of the above have distinct characteristics and are easy to spot. Although I'd probably still put a tenner on someone rocking up & saying "it's an Ibanez". But it's not.

I'm 99.6% confident it's Japanese & mid/late 70s, though, so probably not Giannini. The closest match I've seen is Fresher, these are thought to have been made by Chushin Gakki. Some pics on a guy's Flickr here, apart from the logo I can't see any significant differences.

The problem with Fakers (and other 70s MIJ copies) is that the more accurate they are, the harder it is to ID them. Fakers tend to have brands on truss covers - which have a tendency to get binned! Lots were sold unbrabded too, and it's possible/likely this one was.

Have a look under the pickups - there may well be date codes stamped on them. Won't narrow down a maker but it'll give it an age.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Good question. I can tell you what it's not:

Fujigen (Ibanez, Greco)

Matsumoku (Aria, Kimbara, Greco, various US brands)

Kasuga

Yamaki (JooDee)

Gherson

All of the above have distinct characteristics and are easy to spot. Although I'd probably still put a tenner on someone rocking up & saying "it's an Ibanez". But it's not.

I'm 99.6% confident it's Japanese & mid/late 70s, though, so probably not Giannini. The closest match I've seen is Fresher, these are thought to have been made by Chushin Gakki. Some pics on a guy's Flickr here, apart from the logo I can't see any significant differences.

The problem with Fakers (and other 70s MIJ copies) is that the more accurate they are, the harder it is to ID them. Fakers tend to have brands on truss covers - which have a tendency to get binned! Lots were sold unbrabded too, and it's possible/likely this one was.

Have a look under the pickups - there may well be date codes stamped on them. Won't narrow down a maker but it'll give it an age.

 

 

It's an Ibanez...

Or maybe not... ;) :D 

No idea what make it is, but it looks great, so enjoy it for what it is... a bass that needs to be played.

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Thanks for the info, John.  I'll have a look under the pups when I get a chance.  It needs a proper clean and set up - there is a slight bow in the neck that needs sorting plus intonation, all of which I will leave in the hands of the guy who sorts my basses out for a proper job.  New set of TI flats and we'll be in business :)   

I assume the bridge pickup cover comes off easily enough as it isn't there in most pics.

Not ever having played a Ric (had a Jolana once but that didn't sound like one) I have to say that I find the tone really very exciting.  Especially when both pups are engaged and very especially playing around the 7th fret.  Like nothing I have owned or played before.

Bloody heavy, though! - this is a 10lb-er.  😲 

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Took off the pickup cover just now and couldn't find any date clues on the pickup or in the cavity.  But I have to say I'm bonding with this pretty quickly - what a lovely thing.  Sounds amazing and, for the way I play, much easier without the pickup cover.  When I hand it over to my guy I'll get him to make a bezel out of an old scratchplate I have kicking around to fill in the gaps :) 

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Shame about the pickups  - some (those made by Maxon/Nisshin Onpa) have ink-stamped serial/date codes underneath but others don't. Apart from Maxon & Goto/Gotoh it's not at all clear how many pickup manufacturers were operating back in the day & it's thought some factories wound their own anyway.

Really all that would've done is pin down a year, but I think it's safe to say it's late 70s, as the neck unit's a Hi-Gain clone, earlier basses tended to have toasters.

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Paul.

It's a real Rickenbacker, the previous owner was obviously embarrassed by this fact and so ditched the Rick TRC for a blank one....

But seriously, it's very nice and looks a really accurate tribute to a 70s 4001.  Nice catch.

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What about  a Guyatone ? A right stab in the dark

I have no  idea but they did make rather stonking JB copies

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2 hours ago, fleabag said:

What about  a Guyatone ? A right stab in the dark

I have no  idea but they did make rather stonking JB copies

I wouldn't rule it out...

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However, while Guya/Tokyo Sound was a major manufacturer in the 50s/60s, they went bankrupt in 1969. The company was revived and the brand continued into the 70s, appearing on copy-era instruments (as you can see) - but it's not clear whether it was still a manufacturer in its own right. Most likely it was just the brand, which was well-established and high-profile in Japan, being used on other manufacturers' products.

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On 13/02/2020 at 10:22, Paul S said:

Thanks for the info, John.  I'll have a look under the pups when I get a chance.  It needs a proper clean and set up - there is a slight bow in the neck that needs sorting plus intonation, all of which I will leave in the hands of the guy who sorts my basses out for a proper job.  New set of TI flats and we'll be in business :)   

I assume the bridge pickup cover comes off easily enough as it isn't there in most pics.

Not ever having played a Ric (had a Jolana once but that didn't sound like one) I have to say that I find the tone really very exciting.  Especially when both pups are engaged and very especially playing around the 7th fret.  Like nothing I have owned or played before.

Bloody heavy, though! - this is a 10lb-er.  😲 

If accurate, that’s heavier than 99.99% of Rics.

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9 minutes ago, 4000 said:

If accurate, that’s heavier than 99.99% of Rics.

Yes, seems to be according to my luggage scales.  I took off the pickup cover thinking that might reduce the weight but that weighs next to nothing!  Might possibly change the tuners for Hipshots but, realistically, that won't make much difference as it will still be nearer to 10lbs than 9bs.  I'll just see how I get on with it but I have to admit to being a little in love so am prepared to be more forgiving and perhaps put up with an aching back next day - I am 'so' looking forward to playing it in the context of my band.

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Given the weight shouldn't it be called the BackenBreaker?

Very Nice Bass though 👍

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1 hour ago, Paul S said:

Yes, seems to be according to my luggage scales.  I took off the pickup cover thinking that might reduce the weight but that weighs next to nothing!  Might possibly change the tuners for Hipshots but, realistically, that won't make much difference as it will still be nearer to 10lbs than 9bs.  I'll just see how I get on with it but I have to admit to being a little in love so am prepared to be more forgiving and perhaps put up with an aching back next day - I am 'so' looking forward to playing it in the context of my band.

I wouldn’t change the tuners unless the existing ones are problematic; better to keep it original. 

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Decided to have a daft truss rod decal made, based on my surname :)  Great job by the ScratchIt/Gig Ink people

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On 14/02/2020 at 16:27, Paul S said:

 I'll just see how I get on with it but I have to admit to being a little in love so am prepared to be more forgiving and perhaps put up with an aching back next day - I am 'so' looking forward to playing it in the context of my band.

Still not played it with my band but had a bit of a jam session with a guitarist I know and wore it for 2.5 hrs straight.  Immediately apparent is: 

a/ the playability.  A wider string spacing than I would ordinarily go for but it feels great.

b/ the tone - absolutely fantastic, it just sounds so amazing.  Playing around 5th and 7th fret and it just sings.

The day I wore it I had no issues with my back but the next couple of days it was aching quite badly.  I'm going to have to gradually cut back how long I wear it for to work out a useable time as I *really* don't want to sell it.  

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