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362/12, ’74

Fireglo, Serial # NF3602

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. Rickenbacker co-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. By 1963, with a full line of electric guitars in place, Hall decided to create an electric 12-string.

Acoustic 12-strings were already the early ‘60s folk music revival’s instrument of choice due to their big, full sound, so an electric edition seemed to be the logical next step. Other companies had made earlier 12-string electrics (the Stratosphere Guitar Manufacturing Co, Danelectro, and Gibson), but it was Rickenbacker’s version that eventually received the most notice due to its association with George Harrison of the Beatles. Soon, other top players including Pete Townsend of the Who, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane (to name only a few)adopted the Rickenbacker 12-string for crafting their own signature sounds.

 

Doubleneck electric guitars such as the Stratoshere Twin (1955), and the Gibson EDS-1275 (1958) had been available to players wishing to switch between 6-string and 12-string without bringing an extra guitar. Rickenbacker eventually released its own production doubleneck, the 362/12 in 1975 (362/12s preceding the production run were built, including one in 1972 for Roger McGuinn).

 

The 1974 362/12 pictured has the features most often associated with Deluxe Rickenbacker models. These include: bound maple necks, gloss finished rosewood fingerboards with triangle shaped inlays, two “Hi-Gain” single coil pickups (per neck), a maple body with checker board binding on the back (and front), a slash soundhole, and “R” tailpieces. An additional switch was added to select which neck would be engaged. This example is finished in Rickenbacker’s standard Fireglo. The original list price was $1500.

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