The Rickenbacker Doubleneck Project


Covering the music of early Genesis necessitated a doubleneck similar to Mike Rutherford’s early creation as seen here.

This prototype later became the blueprint for the 4080/6 and 4080/12 released by Rickenbacker (though they switched the neck configuration to make the bass on top).

While Mike’s model utilized a semi-hollow 12 string, I opted for the solid body that Rickenbacker used.

Starting off this project with a 610/12 and a 4003, I called on my luthier/builder friend John Styklunas. John has vast experience with custom creations from electrics to uprights and unique basses unlike anything you've seen. He was nervous at first to chop two perfectly good guitars in half to create this Frankenstein, but we had mapped out the best way to go about this.

First he cut the two in half maximizing the surface area to be joined later. He redrilled the pickup cavity of the 12 string to come through the 4003’s cavity and then expanded on the 4003 cavity to accommodate the 12 strings control knobs. The 4003 served well as it was a stereo bass giving us two output jacks to use for the 610 and the 4003.

After joining the two he cut away the 4003's cutaway and stripped some of the binding. I then filled in the seam and dings on both guitars with plastic wood and sanded with 320 grit sand paper (dry). I then scuffed the finish of both guitars to prepare for the BIN primer coats which were also dry sanded with 320 grit sandpaper.

Once the finish was smooth the color coats came next. Using the aerosol black from ReRanch (who had great step by step instructions), I applied a good base coat with successive sandings and recoats and then worked up from there.

Next came the clear coats, sanding and polishing and the hardware.

To finish the project off the original bass cavity had to be expanded to accommodate the guitar's electronics. In addition, a new pick guard had to be made to accommodate all the added controls. As the cavity was expanded we decided that some of the unnecessary pots had to go (the tone controls for the guitar). Since the 610/12 had a master tone control I am able to still utilize this for an over all tone. The top-most controls and switch are for the bass and the lower controls are dedicated to the guitar. Also upgraded were the 4003 pick-ups to the newer hi-gain model offered by Rickenbacker as well as the bridge on the 610 to a true 12 individual saddle bridge.