That Rickenbacker Sound

That Rickenbacker Sound

After the 600 and 800 Combo’s in 1954 Rickenbacker introduced the 400 Combo in 1956. It had a unique and very original tulip shaped body. Rickenbacker was just getting warmed up and that tulip shape foreshadowed what was coming.  

Rickenbacker 400 Combo

Rare Guitars: Rory Gallagher's 1957 Rickenbacker Combo 400

In 1958 Rickenbacker introduced the semi-hollow body Capri series, eventually evolving into the world renowned 300 series. They were largely designed by Roger Rossmeisl (formerly of Fender).

John Lennon played a 325 Capri on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. His 325 was from the very early 1958 production run and did not have the signature sound hole.  Lennon had been playing it for several years at that point. 

George Harrison played a 360/12 in the “A Hard Day’s Night” movie in 1964.

A Hard Day's Night - Joyless Creatures

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds played a 360/12 on their debut album “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1965.

Old Melodies ...: The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)

The list keeps going, but those guys etched Rickenbacker in stone.  

Arguably, it’s the 360/12 that spins hay into gold so here’s a couple of twists that make it funky:

  1. Reversed string convention (thicker strings above it’s high octave mate, pairs 4-6)

  2. Slotted headstock with sideways tuners

  3. Rick-O-Sound stereo output jack to be used with a stereo equipped amplifier. This gives the guitar a plethora of special tones and was found on the higher end Rick series. 


    Semi-hollow maple body
    Maple neck (same width as 6-string)
    Rosewood fretboard
    Shark Fin crushed pearl inlays
    Dual Rickenbacker toaster top pickups
    Two volume, two tone controls
    Pickup blender (beginning in 1964)
    3-way switch

    After mid 1964 the double binding mainly went away and the top edges were rounded. That said, some older styled white bindings remained in production eventually becoming listed as 360/12WB. 

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