Rickenbacker 360/12

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Rickenbacker 360/12
1967 Rickenbacker 360-12 12 string electric guitar owned and photographed by Greg Field.jpg
Manufacturer Rickenbacker
Period1963 - Present
Body typeSemi-Hollow
Neck jointSet Neck
BodyMaple Carved, with white plastic binding along the back
NeckThree-ply Maple
FretboardRosewood with pearloid triangle inlays and white plastic binding or similarly configured, sealed Ebony on custom ordered instruments.
Pickup(s) Two Single-coil pickups Nickel Chrome standard, Gold and Black Chrome custom order
Colors available
Mapleglo (natural), Fireglo (sunburst), Jetglo (black), Midnight Blue, Ruby* (bright red) - *not available all years except by custom order.

The Rickenbacker 360/12 is a semi-hollow body with set neck construction electric guitar made by the Rickenbacker company; it was among the first electric twelve-string guitars. This instrument is the 12 string variant of the Rickenbacker 360. Rickenbacker uses an innovative headstock design that incorporates both a slotted-style peghead and a solid peghead, thereby eliminating the need for the larger headstock normally associated with a twelve-string guitar.

Electric guitar electrified guitar; fretted stringed instrument with a neck and body that uses a pickup to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals

An electric guitar is a guitar that uses one or more pickups to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals. The vibration occurs when a guitar player strums, plucks, fingerpicks, slaps or taps the strings. The pickup generally uses electromagnetic induction to create this signal, which being relatively weak is fed into a guitar amplifier before being sent to the speaker(s), which converts it into audible sound.

Rickenbacker Guitar manufacturer

Rickenbacker International Corporation is an electric string instrument manufacturer based in Santa Ana, California. The company is credited as the first known maker of electric guitars —in 1932—and eventually produced a range of electric guitars and bass guitars. Known for their distinctive jangle and chime, Rickenbacker twelve string guitars were favored by The Beatles, Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, and Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers. Well known players of the six string include John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Kay of Steppenwolf, and Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Twelve-string guitar steel-string guitar with twelve strings in six courses

The 12-string guitar is a steel-string guitar with 12 strings in six courses, which produces a richer, more ringing tone than a standard six-string guitar. Typically, the strings of the lower four courses are tuned in octaves, with those of the upper two courses tuned in unisons. The gap between the strings within each dual-string course is narrow, and the strings of each course are fretted and plucked as a single unit. The neck is wider, to accommodate the extra strings, and is similar to the width of a classical guitar neck. The sound, particularly on acoustical instruments, is fuller and more harmonically resonant than six-string instruments.


Another feature unique to Rickenbacker twelve-strings is the ordering of the courses. Most twelve-strings have the octave course on the bass side of the standard course; Rickenbacker reverses this convention. This feature along with the semi-hollow body design and thru-body neck structure contribute to its unique timbre. The 360/12 was given worldwide attention when George Harrison used it on many Beatles recordings, introducing the distinctive new sound of this guitar on "I Call Your Name", which the band recorded in March 1964. [1] In the late 1960s, the company made alternative models such as the Rickenbacker 370/12, which became the favored instrument of Roger McGuinn of the Byrds.

George Harrison British musician and lead guitarist of the Beatles

George Harrison was an English musician, singer-songwriter, music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation and Hindu-aligned spirituality in the Beatles' work. Although the majority of the band's songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group included "Taxman", "Within You Without You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something".

The Beatles English rock band

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr led the band to be regarded as the foremost and most influential in history. With a sound rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the group were integral to the evolution of pop music into an art form, and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s. They often incorporated elements of classical music, older pop forms, and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways, and in later years experimented with a number of musical styles ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As they continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew, and they came to be seen as embodying the era's sociocultural movements.

I Call Your Name original song written and composed by Lennon-McCartney

"I Call Your Name" is a song recorded by the English rock band the Beatles and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was written primarily by John Lennon, but Paul McCartney also worked on it. It was released in the US on The Beatles' Second Album on 10 April 1964 and in the UK on the Long Tall Sally EP on 19 June 1964.


Rickenbacker began developing its electric twelve-string in 1963. The folk music revival of the early '60s witnessed a surge in the popularity of acoustic twelve-string guitars, but the electric variety was still rare. The company created three prototypes, all incorporating the unique headstock design submitted by employee Dick Burke. The design features three tuners on each side mounted as on a standard guitar, with the tuner posts projecting out from the face of the headstock. Two parallel channels are machined into the face of the headstock, reminiscent of the slots in the headstock of a classical guitar, but cut only halfway through the headstock. The headstock routes on 360/12s made after 2005 extend through the headstock, though vintage reissue guitars such as the 360/12C63 remain as before.[ citation needed ]

Classical guitar acoustic wooden guitar with wide neck, strings made of nylon

The classical guitar is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. An acoustic wooden string instrument with strings made of gut or nylon, it is a precursor of the acoustic and electric guitars which use metal strings. The name guitar comes from Persian language, in which Tar means string. Tar is also the name of an Iranian instrument that could be the primary form of guitar. Classical guitars are derived from the Spanish vihuela and gittern in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, which later evolved into the seventeenth and eighteenth century Baroque guitar and later the modern classical guitar in the mid nineteenth century.

Three more tuners are attached to each side of the headstock. The knobs of the tuners project towards the rear of the headstock, and the posts transect the slots in the headstock. The original tuners (machines) were Kluson brand, though after 1982 Grover Rotomatics were used for a time, with Schaller M6 Minis becoming standard in 1985.[ citation needed ] This innovation minimizes the size of the headstock, and keeps the instrument from feeling "head-heavy" in the player's hands. It is also one of the very few twelve string guitars to use a conventional width six-string neck, making it somewhat more difficult to play cleanly for those with large hands/fingers, as the string courses are much closer together than they would normally be on most twelve string guitars.

The Beatles in 1964, showing George Harrison with his original style 1963 Rickenbacker 360 12 string Beatles ad 1965 just the beatles crop.jpg
The Beatles in 1964, showing George Harrison with his original style 1963 Rickenbacker 360 12 string

Rickenbacker gave the first of these prototypes to Suzi Arden, a Las Vegas country music entertainer. Another prototype was featured at a special display at the Savoy Hilton hotel in New York City in 1964. This display was a showcase for The Beatles, who were in town to play on The Ed Sullivan Show . Despite missing the display due to illness, George Harrison ended up with the twelve-string prototype. His prominent use of the instrument in the film A Hard Day's Night led to high demand for Rickenbacker's twelve-string.

Las Vegas Strip 4 mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard with many resorts, shows, and casinos

The Las Vegas Strip is a stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada that is known for its concentration of resort hotels and casinos. The Strip is approximately 4.2 miles (6.8 km) in length, located immediately south of the Las Vegas city limits in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester. However, the Strip is often referred to as being in Las Vegas.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

<i>The Ed Sullivan Show</i> American television series

The Ed Sullivan Show was an American television variety show that ran on CBS from June 20, 1948, to June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan. It was replaced in September 1971 by the CBS Sunday Night Movie.

When production began in 1964, Rickenbacker changed some features from those of the prototype. The edge of the body was rounded off around the top of the guitar, and white plastic binding was added to the soundhole. Production models retained the prototypes' use of the rectangular trapeze tailpiece until late 1964, when twelve-string models were fitted with Rickenbacker's "R" tailpiece. The last 360/12 OS was produced in Fireglo and made in December 1968 S/N HL1725.(Ref. R.Smith)[ citation needed ] After 1969, the 360/12 gained a 24-fret neck instead of the traditional 21-fret neck. Two models were produced: the two-pickup 360/12, and the three-pickup 370/12 (favored by Roger McGuinn of The Byrds).

Roger McGuinn American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Roger McGuinn ,, is an American musician. He is best known for being the frontman of the Byrds. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the Byrds.

The Byrds American rock band

The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones for a short period in the mid-1960s, the Byrds are today considered by critics to be nearly as influential as those bands. Their signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn's jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar was "absorbed into the vocabulary of rock" and has continued to be influential.

The distinctive "jangly" sound of the Rickenbacker 360/12, while approached by other electric twelve strings, has a uniqueness of tone that is unavailable in other guitars of the same type,[ citation needed ] making it a high-value commodity to musicians attempting to get that particular sound. It continues to sell well to the end of 2018.

A notable variant of the 360/12 was the Model 366, that took a standard 360/12 and added a convertible comb device to the body used to clamp the octave strings down against the fretboard, effectively muting them on the fly for obtaining a conventional six string sound from the same instrument during live performances.

Notable players

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B.C. Rich company

B.C. Rich is an American brand of acoustic and electric guitars and bass guitars founded by Bernardo Chavez Rico in 1969. The company started to make electric guitars in the 1970s that were notable for their atypical body shapes. In the following decade B.C. Rich gained a broader exposure with the popularity of heavy metal and has since often been linked to that music scene. The company briefly switched owners in the 1990s before being acquired in the 2000s by Hanser Music Group, a distribution company based in Hebron, Kentucky. B.C Rich has since been licensed to Praxis Musical based in Orange, California. The high-end B.C. Rich instruments are custom-made in the USA by Ron Estrada whereas the mid- and low-budget models are produced in different countries in Asia.


A tailpiece is a component on many stringed musical instruments that anchors one end of the strings, usually opposite the end with the tuning mechanism.

Outline of guitars Overview of and topical guide to guitars

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Headstock Part of the guitar which houses the pegs

A headstock or peghead is part of a guitar or similar stringed instrument such as a lute, mandolin, banjo, ukulele and others of the lute lineage. The main function of a headstock is to house the pegs or mechanism that holds the strings at the "head" of the instrument. At the "tail" of the instrument the strings are usually held by a tailpiece or bridge. Machine heads on the headstock are commonly used to tune the instrument by adjusting the tension of strings and, consequentially, the pitch of sound they produce.

The Fender Electric XII was a purpose-built 12-string electric guitar, designed for folk rockers. Instead of using a Stratocaster-body style, it used one similar to a Jaguar/Jazzmaster body style. It was also a departure from the typical "Stratocaster"-style headstock, instead featuring a long headstock nicknamed the "hockey-stick" headstock. The Electric XII used a unique split pickup design and had a 4 way pickup selector allowing for neck, neck & bridge in series, neck & bridge in parallel and bridge only options. It also used a string-through-body design similar to a Telecaster to help increase sustain.

The Gibson Melody Maker is an electric guitar made by Gibson Guitar Corporation. It has had many body shape variations since its conception in 1959.

Fender Coronado

The Fender Coronado is a double-cutaway thin-line hollow-body electric guitar, announced in 1965. It is manufactured by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. The aesthetic design embodied in the Coronado represents a departure from previous Fender instruments; the design remains an uncharacteristic piece of Fender history.

Epiphone Casino

The Epiphone Casino is a thinline hollow body electric guitar manufactured by Epiphone, a branch of Gibson. The guitar debuted in 1961 and has been associated with such guitarists as Howlin' Wolf, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Dave Davies, Paul Weller, The Edge, Joshua Homme, Daniel Kessler, Noel Gallagher, Gary Clark, Jr., Glenn Frey, John Illsley, Peter Green and Dave Grohl.

Rickenbacker 330

The Rickenbacker 330 is part of Rickenbacker's 300 series of guitars, the series for which Rickenbacker is perhaps best known. The 330 entered the Rickenbacker product line in 1958, though at the time the 300 series of guitars was known as the "Capri" series. It was designed by the German luthier Roger Rossmeisl. The guitar is associated by many players with the jangle-rock sounds of bands from the 1960s and 1980s. The instrument incorporates many features standard on Rickenbacker guitars, including a three-ply maple/walnut neck, a shallow headstock angle, and a thick rosewood fretboard finished with clear conversion varnish. The 330 also features a body with Rickenbacker's "crescent moon" double-cutaway shape with sharp, unbound edges, and an "R"-shaped trapeze tailpiece. One idiosyncrasy of the guitar is its dual truss rods, which allow for the correction of problematic and unwanted twists, as well as curvature, of the guitar's neck. The 330 is equipped with a monaural jack plate, lacking the Rick-O-Sound stereo functionality of other Rickenbacker models such as the Rickenbacker 360.

The Fender Bullet was an electric guitar originally designed by John Page and manufactured and marketed by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. It was first introduced as a line of "student" guitars to replace the outgoing Mustang and Musicmaster models.

Rickenbacker 360

The Rickenbacker 360 is an electric, semi-acoustic guitar made by Rickenbacker, and part of the Rickenbacker 300 Series. The instrument incorporates many features standard on Rickenbacker guitars, including a three-ply maple/walnut neck, shallow headstock angle, a thick rosewood fretboard finished with clear conversion varnish, and double truss rods. The 360 also features stereo or mono output, a body with Rickenbacker's "crescent moon" cutaway shape and rounded top edge and bound back, and an "R"-shaped trapeze tailpiece. A twelve-string version of the 360 is available. A three-pickup version of this model is also available, the 370.

The Rickenbacker 300 series is a series of semi-acoustic guitars manufactured by the Rickenbacker Company. The series was launched in 1958, shortly after F.C Hall took over Rickenbacker. The guitars were created by Roger Rossmeisl, a German guitar maker.

ESP Mirage Series

The ESP LTD "M-series" short for Mirage, are superstrat style solid body electric guitars manufactured by ESP.

Rickenbacker 400 series

The Rickenbacker 400 series was a line of lower cost solid body electric guitars that Rickenbacker introduced in the 1950s, along side their more famous hollow body series guitars.


  1. The Beatles and their Rickenbacker Guitars
  2. Fanelli, Damian (April 17, 2017). "The Beatles' Secret Weapon: George Harrison's 1963 Rickenbacker 360/12".
  3. "Guitar Collection: Roger McGuinn's 1964 Rickenbacker 360-12". Dec 14, 2011.
  4. Bacon, Tony (October 3, 2017). "Tom Petty Describes the Allure of the 12-String in Previously Unpublished Interview".
  5. Shadrick, Jason, Tony (July 27, 2013). "Rig Rundown - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Mike Campbell".CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. Guitar World Staff (January 29, 2016). "Jefferson Airplane Co-Founder and Guitarist Paul Kantner Dead at 74". Guitar World.
  7. "Pete Townshend's Guitar Gear History – An Equipment Overview".
  8. "Marty Willson-Piper - A rising star under the Milky Way shines in Rickenbacker country". rickenbacker.com. 10 January 1990. Retrieved 25 August 2018.