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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.

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