Browse Dave’s Collection

“Welcome to the guitar collection. On the second floor of our store we have on display over 300 guitars and more than 50 amps that I’ve accumulated over the years. The friends and customers that have visited us seem to really appreciate being able to view this, so we thought we would share it with our online friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts as well. Enjoy!”

- Dave Rogers

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Rickenbacker 950, ’63

Fireglo, Serial number CE510.
 

Rickenbacker 366, ’67

Fireglo, Serial number GI4142. The flat-top 12-string guitar was a foundation of the folk music movement of the early ‘60s. This inspired Rickenbacker to manufacture an electric 12-string in 1963. Although other companies had made earlier attempts (Gibson and Danelectro), the Rickenbacker 12-string electric became the most sought after because of its association with George Harrison of the Beatles.   Musician, inventor James E. Gross was intrigued by the electric 12- string and decided to put his imagination to work on improving it.  Gross had been born in Lafayette Indiana in 1931, and began playing music professionally at a very young age. He was distinguished as a performer and band leader in the Chicago area for many years. He became well-known for playing unique double neck banjos, and combining comedy with exploding light shows and robots. Gross approached Rickenbacker’s owner F.C. Hall in 1966 with his practical, easy to install converter device.  This “converter comb” could turn a 12-string into a 6-string (or any number in-between). When the converter was engaged it pulled strings down away from the player’s right hand, leaving only the desired number of strings to be picked. Gross demonstrated the converter at the July 1966 NAMM show. A licensing agreement was signed in August, and the guitars went into production by winter.   The guitars produced were the 336/12, the 366/12, and the 456/12. The original Rickenbacker advertisement copy read: “Now, one instrument – the most versatile guitar ever made – ends the need for carrying extra guitars. By means of an exclusive, patented converter on the brilliant Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, any combination of strings can be played.”   The 1967 366/12 pictured was James Gross’ personal guitar. It has most of the features associated with classic Deluxe Rickenbacker models of the’60s. These include: a bound maple neck, gloss finished rosewood fingerboard with large triangle shaped inlays, two “toaster” single coil pickups, maple body with checker board binding on the back, slash soundhole, and “R” tailpiece. This example is finished in Rickenbacker’s most popular color, Fireglo. The main differences between it and a regular 360/12 are the chrome converter comb, and the extra pickguard under it, extending across all twelve strings.
 

Rickenbacker 325, ’64

Fireglo, Serial number DG894. F.C. Hall, owner of Radio & Television Equipment Co. (Radio-Tel) purchased the Electro String Company from Adolph Rickenbacker in1953. Hall overhauled the business and began focusing on standard electric guitars rather than the steel guitars the company pioneered. By 1958 he developed a new line of thin hollow-body electric guitars known as the Capri series (named after the Hall family’s cat). German born guitar maker Roger Rossmeisl (hired in 1954), was responsible for the unique design of these instruments. This distinctive look continues in most Rickenbackers to this day. The Capri series consisted of Models 310-375. Models ending in zero had no vibrato, while those ending in the number five had one.   The first Capri model announced was the three-quarter size 325. This petite, lightweight guitar didn’t achieve its intended popularity until it was seen being used by John Lennon of the Beatles. Lennon acquired his natural finish 1958 325 while the Beatles were in Hamburg, Germany. The Beatles’ growing popularity caused a sudden demand for Rickenbacker guitars (initially in England). To meet this need, the British company Rose, Morris became Rickenbacker distributors. The export version of the 325 was known in Rose, Morris’ catalog as the Model 1996. It, like most other export models had a Fireglo finish, and a traditional F sound hole. Lennon used one of these as a backup to his more famous solid top Jetglo (black) 1964 325.   The other rock ‘n roll legend known for using a 325 is John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival. His Fireglo 325 can be heard playing searing lead on CCR’s covers of “Suzie Q” and “I Put a Spell on You”. The hollow body of the Rickenbacker combined with his Kustom amp produced a musical controlled feedback on both the recorded and live versions of these songs.   The 1964 325 pictured has the features most often associated with the export Rose, Morris Model 1996. These include: a one-piece three-quarter scale maple neck with an unbound twenty one fret lacquer finished rosewood fingerboard, three “toaster” single coil pickups, a hollow maple body, F shaped sound hole, and Ac’cent vibrato tailpiece.
 

Rickenbacker 360/12, ’68

Mapleglo, Serial number HJ1574.
 

Rickenbacker 335, ’67

Fireglo, Serial # 6K4637.
 

Rickenbacker 370/12 WB, '94

Fireglo, Serial # D79206.

 

Rickenbacker 370 WB, '81

Fireglo, Serial # UD1349

 

Rickenbacker 625, '65

Fireglo, Serial # EB326.

 

Rickenbacker 330, '67

Mapleglo, Serial #GF2898.

 

Rickenbacker 330, '67

Fireglo, GB966.

 

Rickenbacker 365, '67

Fireglo, Serial # GC1055.

 

Rickenbacker 360/12, ’68

Fireglo, Serial # HA122. Adolph Rickenbacker began a successful Los Angeles, California tool-and-die business in the 1920s, which eventually provided metal parts for guitar companies like National. Together with two former National employees George Beauchamp and Paul Barth, Rickenbacker designed and marketed the first “Frying Pan “electrified lap steel guitar. F.C. Hall, owner of Radio & Television Equipment Co. (Radio-Tel) purchased the Electro String Company from Adolph Rickenbacker in1953. Hall revamped the business and focused on electric standard guitars rather than steels. The electric guitars were slow sellers at first, but they continued to increase in popularity as the 1950s progressed. In early 1954 German guitar maker Roger Rossmeisl was hired, and his unique “old world” designs gave Rickenbacker guitars the distinctive look that continues today. The folk music trend of the early ‘60s and its reliance on flat-top 12-string guitars inspired Rickenbacker to fashion an electric 12-string in 1963. Although other companies had made earlier attempts (Gibson and Danelectro), the Rickenbacker 12-string electric became the most sought after because of its association with George Harrison of the Beatles (he received the second one made in early 1964).   The 1968 360/12 pictured has the features most often associated with classic Deluxe Rickenbacker models of the’60s. These include: a bound maple neck, gloss finished rosewood fingerboard with large triangle shaped inlays, two “toaster” single coil pickups, maple body with checker board binding on the back, slash soundhole, and “R” tailpiece. This example has a deep un-faded version of Rickenbacker’s most popular color, Fireglo. The 1966 list price was $524.50.
 

Rickenbacker 375, '67

Jetglo, Serial # GF2983.

 

Rickenbacker 375, '66

Mapleglo, Serial # FL4274.

 

Rickenbacker 331 Light Show, '71

Serial # KJ662.

The Rickenbacker Company has made interesting innovative instruments since the time it was founded in the first half of the twentieth century.  One such instrument was the Model 331 electric guitar, which is more commonly known as “the light show guitar”.  This is how the original 1970 leaflet described the super- psychedelic masterpiece:

 

“The Model 331 combines a fine musical instrument with the thrill of a light show. Internally lighted by a set of frequency modulated lamps, this instrument will shimmer with infinite color and pattern variety. This instrument also features Stereo out put, Hi-gain pickups, and 24 frets.  The three modulation channels are variable with a sensitivity control to make this patented instrument a beautiful performer in the stage situations professionals encounter.” 

 

 The guitar had the same body as a 330 but with a bound neck and a translucent plastic top. The body had colored lamps built inside. A different colored lamp lit when a different frequency was played (red for treble, yellow for mids, and blue for bass).

 

This example from the collection dates to October of 1971, and has an improved circuit and a heavier duty outboard transformer from earlier versions.

What can I say about this one? It certainly is rare and it still works just fine. This one is sure a hit at the company Christmas party! I bought this one from my good friend Joe Pena.

 

Rickenbacker Model 1993, '65

Firglo, Serial # ED548.

Nothing says “the sixties” like a Rickenbacker 12 string electric guitar. After late 1963 when George Harrison of the Beatles received his first one, rock and roll was never the same again. Thousands of aspiring rock ‘n rollers saw George Harrison use his Rickenbacker 360/12 in the movie “Hard Days Night”, and were motivated to seek out this exotic instrument so they too could make the same shimmering sounds.

 

American players were surprised to find that these stunning guitars with the German name were U.S.A. made in California.  British customers bought their guitars through the U.K. instrument distributor Rose, Morris.

 

The features of the Rickenbackers made for Rose, Morris (like this month’s featured guitar) differed subtly from the American versions.  The most notable change was a traditional “F” shaped sound hole compared to the “slash” sound hole of the U.S. models. Rose, Morris also assigned its own model numbers.

 

This guitar is a Rose, Morris Model 1993 dating to April of 1965. Its features are similar those of a 330/12 except for the body binding on the top and back (this style binding was used on the original 360s before the change to a rounded top in mid-1964).

 

A Model 1993 was used by Who guitarist Pete Townsend as a “chord machine” on many of the band’s early records. A great example of this sound is heard on the song ‘I Can’t Explain’.

 

Rickenbacker 360 WB, '95

Fireglo, Serial # K84987.

 

Rickenbacker 360 WB, '92

Mapleglo, Serial # G56451.

 

Rickenbacker 365, '65

Fireglo, Serial # EI858.

 

Rickenbacker 365, '63

Fireglo, Serial # CG730.

 

Rickenbacker 360, '59

Fireglo, Serial # 2T552.

 

Rickenbacker 330, '58

Reverse Fireglo, Serial # 2T179.

F.C. Hall purchased the Electro String Company from Adolf Rickenbacker in late 1953. This company had been known mostly for its electric steel guitars, but Hall revamped the business and focused on electric standard guitars (which continued to increase in popularity as the 1950s progressed). In early 1954 German guitar maker Roger Rossmeisl was hired, and his unique “old world” designs gave Rickenbacker guitars the distinctive look that continues today.

 

Rickenbacker developed a new series of guitars in 1958 that eventually evolved into some of the company’s most famous models. This was a line of thin semi-acoustic guitars known as the Capri series. These instruments started as a solid blocks of wood, which were then hollowed out to some extent from the back. A separate back was later attached. This method devised by Rossmeisl was very unusual compared to traditional techniques used by other companies.

 

This early 330 Rickenbacker has certain features that distinguish it from later incarnations. Prior to designing their own distinctive tailpieces, Rickenbacker used standard trapeze versions available in parts catalogs of the day. The single gold pick guard was soon replaced by a double level guard, which by 1964 was made of white plexiglas. The T.V. knobs and open back Grovers are other early features. The most unusual thing about this guitar is the rare “Reverse” Fireglo finish.

 

Rickenbacker Doubleneck, '74

Fireglo, Serial # NF3602

 

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