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Rickenbacker Bass & Guitars - Made In The USA, Loved In The UK

Published: Wed August 07, 2013  News Feed

Rickenbacker Bass & Guitars - Born In The USA

Rickenbacker Bass & Guitar

 The advert above comes from a UK catalogue in 1964 but the sentiment remains largely true today, almost 50 years later. While there's any number of vintage dealers and small boutiques boasting guitars fine selections of tone wood, custom components and hand applied finishes, that's the way things Rickenbacker have done things since the start. Blending with a few modern manufacturing techniques, Rickenbacker guitars remain amongst the most distinguished examples of the craft today.

A true American company, with manufacture of guitars and components taking place in their Santa Ana facility. However it's in Britain where Rickenbacker got their first big break, John, Paul and George were all fans and used various Rickenbacker electrics in the 60's. Here is arguably the most famous one of all...

Rickenbacker 325

John Lennon's Rickenbacker 325

John's Rickenbacker 325 is in the bottom left, before it had more controls fitted.

One of the original Rickenbacker guitars, starting production in 1958 and designed by German craftsman Roger Rossmeisl. John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival played one but it's most famous fan is John Lennon who picked one up (inspired by jazzer Toots Thieleman) not long after production began. This turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship between the Beatles and Rickenbacker.

Rickenbacker 360/12

Rickenbacker Beatles 360 & 325

Left: One off 325/12 model produced for John Lennon Right: Only the second 360/12 guitar off the production line

It was George Harrison who was the next Beatle to pick up a Rickenbacker, specifically the 425 model. However things really changed for guitars when the company gave a Rickenbacker 12-String electric prototype to Mr. Harrison, who used it on Rubber Soul and Revolver. Arguably the most famous 12 stringer of all time is Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, using a Rickenbacker 12 string (370/12 model) to cover Bob Dylan's 'Mr. Tambourine Man', coining the term "jingle jangle" to describe the guitar tone while referencing a lyric in the song. So the legendary Rickenbacker jangle and chime was born!

Rickenbacker Bass Guitars

Last but by no means least was Paul McCartney getting a Rickenbacker 4001 model (now Rickenbacker 4003) around the time of Rubber Soul, so that album in particular is full of Rickenbacker tones. But that's enough of the Beatles and Macca's Rickenbacker 4001 - bassists of all stripes love Rickenbacker for it's versatile tone. They go from smooth to full on gnarly growl and one man who know's all about the latter has been playing his 4000 series bass for decades...

Lemmy Rickenbacker 4003

The mighty Lemmy Kilmister, rocking and rolling his Rick, a 4004LK Limited Edition.

Rickenbacker Semi Acoustic Comparison

Name
330
Rickenbacker 330
330/12
Rickenbacker 330/12 - Rickenbacker 12 string
360
Rickenbacker 360
360/12
Rickenbacker 360/12
Body Type
Semi-Acoustic
No. Frets
24
No. Strings
6
12
6
12
Scale Length
62.9 cm (24 3/4'')
Body Wood
Maple
Neck Wood
Maple
Fingerboard Wood
Rosewood
Weight
3.6 kg (8.0 lbs.)
Neck Binding
No
No
Yes
Yes
Fret Marker Style
Dot
Dot
Triangle
Triangle
Type of Pickups
Hi-gain
Output Type
Mono
Mono
Mono and Stereo
Mono and Stereo
Finishes Mapleglo
Ruby Red
Fireglo
Jetglo
Midnight Blue
Mapleglo LH
Mapleglo Mapleglo
Fireglo
Midnight Blue
Ruby Red
Ruby Red
Jetglo
Fireglo

Rickenbacker Solid Body Electric Comparison

Name
Rickenbacker 620
Rickenbacker 620
Rickenbacker 620/12
Rickenbacker 620/12
660
Rickenbacker 660
660/12
Rickenbacker 660/12
Body Type
Solid
No. Frets
21
No. Strings
6
12
6
12
Scale Length
62.9 cm (24 3/4'')
Body Wood
Maple
Charactered Maple
Neck Wood
Maple
Charactered Maple
Maple
Fingerboard Wood
Rosewood
Weight
3.6 kg (8.0 lbs.)
Fret Marker Style
Triangle
Triangle
Triangle
Triangle
Type of Pickups
Hi-gain
Vintage Reissue
Vintage Single Coil Toaster Top™
Output Type
Mono
Mono
Mono and Stereo
Mono and Stereo
Tuning Heads
Schaller
Schaller
Gotoh Vintage
Gotoh Vintage
Finishes
Jetglo
Midnight Blue
Jetglo
Ruby Red
Fireglo

Rickenbacker Bass Guitars Comparison

Name
4003
Rickenbacker 4003, updated version of Macca's Rickenbacker 4001
4004Cii Cheyenne
Rickenbacker 4004II
4004
Rickenbacker 4004
No. Frets
20
Scale Length
84.5 cm (33 1/4'')
Body Wood
Maple
Hardrock Maple ,Walnut
Hardwood
Neck Wood
Maple
/td>
Fingerboard Wood
Rosewood
Bubinga, unfinished
Bubinga
Weight
4.1 kg (9.0 lbs.)
3.6 kg (8.0 lbs.)
Neck Binding
Yes
No
Fret Marker Style
Triangle
Dot
Tailpiece
RIC
Combi
Bridge
RIC
Combi
Neck Type
Through body
Type of Pickups
Single Coil
Humbucking
No. of Pickups
2
Output Type
Mono and Stereo
Mono
Machine Heads
Schaller Deluxe
Schaller M4
Finishes Jetglo LH
Mapleglo
Mapleglo LH
Jetglo
Fireglo
Ruby Red
Fireglo LH
Midnight Blue
Jetglo Fireglo

And finally, if you're looking for Rickenbacker UK stockists, don't forget Dolphin has the UK's largest Rickenbacker stock allocation. See all Rickenbackers at Dolphin.

 
 
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