Rickenbacker 620

The Rickenbacker 610 electric Guitar is essentially a Rickenbacker 620 with some minor differences. The 610 has dot fret markers, no stereo output and no binding on the body

Manufactured in American the Rickenbacker 610 has two high gain pickups, which make it evoke classic early Beatles sound, a “Cresting Wave” solid body, Classic Rickenbacker tailpiece. The neck features a 21 Fret Rosewod Fretboard and a classic Rickenbacker shaped headstock.

The guitar is fairly light to play and has that iconic Rickenbacker vibe. Great for Pop, but versatile enough for Rock and Jazz – the guitar sounds great strangled with a light touch of overdrive. A lot of the versatility comes from the Rickenbacker blender control – this allows the bridge and neck pickups to be mixed and allows the player to dial in a wide variety of tones from thin to fat.

As usual these Rickenbacker’s are a quality instrument with great attention to detail and component selection – problems with them are few and far between however changing the strings on a Rickenbacker can be quite problematic – the Classic R Shaped tailpiece makes it difficult to access the strings or to adjust the “seat height” to correctly set intonation.

No – longer in production – check out the usual auction sites to pick one up – still a great guitar – with a great range of sounds – well worth checking out.

Check out more at www.rickenbacker.com

Rickenbacker 330

rickenbacker330The Rickenbacker 330 is a hollow body electric guitar with a double cut-away design, it features two single coil “toaster” pickups on a full size body which includes a sound hole at the top of the instrument. The neck features a 24 fret Rosewood fingerboard with schaller machine heads on the headstock. The Guitar features chrome hardware throughout and the characteristic “R” tailpiece.

The Rickenbacker 330 comes in either a 6 string or 12 string version with a thru neck body. The instrument features a variety of controls (2 volume, 2 tone) together with a mix control for adjusting the mix of the two pickups when both are activated.

The guitar has an airy output characteristic of most semi-hollow body guitars. The pickups deliver a wide range of sounds from clean jangly rock through to grungy tones making it an expressive guitar. In the bridge position, the pickups deliver a twang. The middle position offers a wide range of tones including the typical Rickenbacker shimmer. The neck pickup generates jazzy, archtop-sounding tones producing ideal Rhythm tones.

The guitar has an iconic style – looking very different from the typical Stratocaster or Les Paul. Comfortable to play – the 330 is renowned for having a thin style neck. Problems are few – it can be said that pickups are extremely sensitive and “dead” strings are more noticeable than on other guitars – without a doubt the 330 is one that craves strings to be replaced regularly.

Rickenbacker have enjoyed an incredible endorsement with it’s association with the Beatles but many other aritsts have had associations with the 330 from Roger McGuinn of the Byrds to U2’s the Edge. Indeed the Edge made use of Rickenbacker 330’s characteristic slide tones on a number of tracks including Even Better Than the Real Thing.

The Rickebacker offers the classic unique Rickenbacker sound, unique looks and unrivalled quality. The tone may not be loved by all but it offers something different that should be cherished.

Check out more at www.rickenbacker.com

Rickenbacker 660

rickenbacker660The Rickenbacker 660 features a cutaway body which harks back to the classic designs of the 1950′s. The guitar features 24.75” scale neck with a 21 Fret Rosewood fingerboard with pearloid inlays and Rickenbacker’s trademark “checkered” bindings. The body is also bound in front with that deluxe ‘checker’ binding. The headstock is that characteristic Rickenbacker shape and features Schaller Vintage-type machine heads. The strings are anchored in a vintage style tailpiece and the guitar has a fully adjustable bridge

The guitar has two vintage ‘toaster’ style pickups which in keeping with other hardware is chrome. The instrument features 2 volume and 2 tone controls a 3 way pickup selector switch and fifth control that allows you to blend either pickup into the overall sound.

The 660 is naturally resonant with a lush unplugged acoustic tone. Once amplified it produces that unique Rickenbacker nasal sound whilst being enviably versatile. Sonically this guitar can produce tones suitable for Jazz, Blues whilst still having enough ballsy tone to be on a par with a P90 equipped Gibson for use on rock tones.

The blender control has a lot to do with the guitars versatility providing a way to brighten the tone and “mix” the usual array of sounds that a twin pickup guitar offers. Whilst single-coils are not usually as supportive of an overdriven sound as well as humbuckers, through effective use of the blender control – the 660 is able to summon up authentic overdriven sounds (given an appropriate amp).

The Rickenbacker 660 is a very handsome instrument, beautifully crafted. It carries that unique Rickenbacker tone that have made these instruments so iconic. Different from a Strat or Les Paul – a totally beguiling sound that is underpinned by a rich heritage and attention to detail. The 660 represents an impressive part of the Rickenbacker arsenal.

Check out more at www.rickenbacker.com

Rickenbacker 360

The Rickenbacker 360 is a hollow body electric guitar. The standard 360 features a maple body, 24 frets, rosewood lacquered neck and fingerboard, 2 Rickenbacker “vintage” hi-gain pickups, two tone two volume controls, a fifth control to blend the mix of pickups and a three-way pickup selector. It has a 6 saddle bridge with cover/handrest and the classic “R” tailpiece. The guitar has the classic Rickenbacker headstock which features Schaller tuners.

There are various similarities between the Rickenbacker 330 and the 360. The 360 is considered the deluxe model, with a rounded front edge and binding.

Being a hollowbody the guitar is light to hold and comfortable to play. Rickenbacker’s eye for quality of construction and selection of components all add up to a fantastic guitar. It has a scale length of 24 ¾” and a weight of 3.6 kg.

The Rickenbacker 360 has a huge tonal palate and can be applied to a variety of musical styles. It can produce stunning jazzy tones whilst also adept at being “grunged” up the vintage pickups produce a full tone with wonderful clarity and sustain

Rickenbacker have a strong history with the Beatles – George Harrison is often pictured with a 12 string version of the 360. There are a variety of other players who include Peter Buck of REM, Paul Weller and Pete Townsend from the Who.

Amazing to look at and even better to play the 360 is a quality instrument beautifully made. With fantastic versatility and great tone this Rickenbacker would make a great addition to any guitarists arsenal.

Check out more at www.rickenbacker.com

Rickenbacker 620

rickenbacker620The Rickenbacker 620 is a solid body electric guitar featuring a 24 ¾” scale length a ‘Cresting Wave’ shaped Maple single cutaway body. The 21 fret thru neck features a Rosewood fingerboard with triangular pearloid inlay markers.

The 620 also features a 2-piece adjustable-height pickguard, 2 modern hi-gain Rickenbacker pickups a 3-way selector switch, 2 volume and 2 tone controls plus a fifth blend control to blend the sound of the two pickups together.

The guitar has the traditional Rickenbacker ‘R’ shaped tailpiece onto which you hang the strings. A minor grouch with Rickenbackers is that the tailpiece can make the strings challenging to change and altering the string gauge from the original factory set up can cause issues with intonation but these are very minor gripes on what can only be described as a quality instrument.

The guitar has a rich and very full sound. Unsurprisingly it’s classic Rickenbacker, bright and punchy yet with a fair degree of warmth. The blend control provides versatility, panning it towards the neck pickup brighter tone whilst the opposite is true when turning it towards the bridge. For producing the classic Rickenbacker jangle tone – the bridge pickup is the businesses – evoking memories of the Beatles or the Byrds in one easy step.

The guitar is suitable for a variety of musical styles (although metal fans may want to look elsewhere) – whether your looking for a new jazz guitar through to country – the 620 has a lot to offer.

As always the handcrafted Rickenbackers are beautifully made, with quality components and fantastic construction methods. If your setting out to buy a new guitar make sure you try one of these along with the usual Fender/Gibson types. Rickenbackers offer a little something different both in style and sound – and as such – should be on your wish list.

Check out more at www.rickenbacker.com

Why play a Rickenbacker

These days there are a ton of electric guitars on the market – from the prestige instruments such as the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul through to their myriad of replicas. With so much similarity in instruments available it takes something a little special to get you noticed or to produce a sound that’s different – that’s why you should look at Rickenbacker guitars.

Rickenbacker’s have a tradition that harks back to the 1930’s and they have produced many famous and innovative models since. For example the Rickenbacker 325 Electric guitar, famous for it’s association with John Lennon and the Rickenbacker 360 12 string guitar – associated with the 60’s band “The Byrds”. These guitars remain iconic to this day and their sound is instantly recognizable.

Visually they look kind of like a Stratocaster on speed – with their big flat bodies – often with a traditionally shaped “go faster” sound hole, Ricky “R” bridge and unique headstock. Strap one of these on and you’ll stand out from the crowd. They really have that wow factor.

But what really makes the Rickenbacker so special?

The sound! Sonically, Rickenbacker guitars have a unique sound – partly due to their quality construction but mainly due to the unique Rickenbacker pickups. During the 1960’s Rickenbacker used their now famous “toaster pickups” which looked like the top of a bread toaster – recently they’ve used more high-gain pickups – both have emphasised the higher frequencies and have contributed to a magical chiming sound. Another attribute is that Rickenbacker’s are often equipped with a “stereo” output socket (known as “rick-o-sound”) which allows the guitar to be connected to different effects chains and amps . Finally the most subtle option available on Rickenbacker guitars is the blender control When either pickup is : slected, you can use it to blend the other pick-up in. So if you think the neck pickup is too dull – then mix in some honk from the bridge pickup this is really tremendous and adds some great tones to your instrument.

All these attributes make for an extremely versatile instrument and while you don’t often find Rickenbacker guitars in heavy rock – they cover everything in between. Rickenbacker’s evoke lovely tones suitable for Pop or alternative rock music right through to Jazz and country and there have been tons of guitarists who use these instruments from U2’s the Edge and Peter Buck of REM through to Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Given such a heritage – you’ll find the sounds it produces really useful whether you’re a rhythm player or virtuoso soloist.

So in summary if you want a unique look together with a unique sound the next time your down a guitar store – be sure to try out a Rickenbacker guitar.

Check out more at www.rickenbacker.com

Guitars – Rickenbacker

By Michael Russell

Alongside guitar names like Gibson and Fender, you can’t mention the best of the best without adding the name of Rickenbacker. This company has been around since 1931, but it wasn’t until 1956, on its 25th anniversary, when Rickenbacker began to make a name for itself in the world of guitars.

That year, Rickenbacker introduced the Combo 400. Guitar collectors call it the guitar with the butterfly style body. But Rickenbacker didn’t stop there. That same year they added a solid body electric bass guitar. The one thing about these guitars that made them different from any other guitar was that they had necks that extended from the head to the bass of the body. Today they call this neck through body construction. Rickenbacker was the first company to make guitars like this and soon came to be a trademark of the company.

During the 1950s, Rickenbacker had many popular models. Probably the most popular were the hollow body six string Capri models. This guitar was first unleashed on the world in 1958. The guitar itself was designed by Roger Rossmeisl. There were three models of this guitar and each one had a different body style.

But it wasn’t until the 1960s that Rickenbacker has sealed its name in rock and roll history when its guitars got permanently fastened to the British invasion of the mid 60s. This invasion came in the form of the greatest rock band of all time, the Beatles. The groups featured several Rickenbacker guitars in its arsenal. Before the Beatles called it quits for good, John Lennon had owned four Rickenbacker guitars himself. The guitars had become so attached to the Beatles that one of the models was known as the “Beatlebacker”. Never in history had one guitar been so identified with one particular group or person.

It wasn’t long though until Rickenbacker made its way to a number of groups. Roger McGuinn of the Byrds bought himself a Rickenbacker after seeing the Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night”. The sound of the guitar that McGuinn bought actually became the trademark of the Byrds’ sound. Other groups and artists that latched onto the Rickenbacker were Pete Townsend of The Who, John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Kay of Steppenwolf. By the late 60s there was a six week waiting period just to get one of these guitars. They were beyond popular. They were a true phenomenon.

By the 1970s, Rickenbacker started making guitars with detachable necks. They even matched slanted frets to match the angle of the player’s hand. They also started making their famous double neck models that became quite standard. Other groups started jumping on the Rickenbacker bandwagon like Tom Petty and R.E.M.

Currently, Rickenbacker is as popular as it ever was. More current groups like Oasis, Pearl Jam, Radiohead and U2 all use Rickenbacker guitars to get their patented sound.

If you want to get an idea of just how popular Rickenbacker is, George Harrison of The Beatles was once asked what guitar he played and he answered, “Of course it’s a Rickenbacker”.

Could there have been any other answer?

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Guitars

Rickenbacker Toaster Pickups

toasterRickenbacker toaster pickups are so called because of their “toaster” look – The original style chrome pickup covers resemble small chrome toasters. These toaster pickups were fitted on Rickenbacker guitars from the mid late 50’s through to the early 70’s and were responsible for producing that classic jangle tone closely associated with iconic Rickenbacker models of the time.

The original toasters offered a bright and clear tone – although the sound was the same each pickup was unique as the manufacturing process used to wind the pickups was not uniform and the operator stopped the process when “it looked right”. Each pickup and the guitar it sat in had it’s own sound and the sound varied from unit to unit – albeit within a similar range of tone.

The pickups were re-issued by Rickenbacker recently and the company has carefully replicated the original components. The reissue toaster pickups have individual alnico pole pieces under each string in the bobbin wound with magnet wire–almost exactly the same as the originals. The new pickups differ slightly however in that the original toaster pickups resistances varied between 7K to 8K Ohms while the new Toaster reissues are around 11 ohms this higher output results in a darker tone – reminiscent and convincing of it’s older cousin but not identical.

The toaster pickup has its place in the “pickup” hall of fame – imagine the classic tones of the Beatles, The Byrds, The Who – the “toaster” had a hand in all of this and has been at the heart of Rickenbacker sound for 50 years

Check out more at www.rickenbacker.com