Rickenbacker

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About Rickenbacker

Rickenbacker are a well loved, iconic company from California who make electric guitars and basses. The company started in the 1930s and actually produced the world's first electric guitar.

Rickenbacker guitar designs are both highly original and very traditional. More than any other manufacturer, Rickenbacker have held true to their heritage. Keeping both designs and production to how they have always been, they manufacture their guitars in small numbers in California and never incorporate modern technology into their designs or hardware. Rickenbacker fans are very particular about this, making it a win-win for both company and player to continue with this method.

Rickenbacker make both solid bodied and semi hollow guitars as well as very famous bass designs, all sharing the same art deco-influenced design flair which has distinguished them since day one.

Rickenbacker guitars are associated with a distinctly 'jangly' tone and their 12 string electric guitars are highly prized for their distinctive sound. In contrast, their bass guitars (particularly their most famous model, the 4003) are known for their thick, growly sound which is every bit as distinguishable as the guitar tones, albeit for completely different reasons.

At guitarguitar, we have been an authorised Rickenbacker dealer since we opened. We believe them to be one of the most significant guitar brands in existence and we are very proud to stock them in our stores. As Rickenbacker stock is, by nature, not in plentiful supply, please contact your local store to find out more about available and incoming stock. Browse our website to see our current, up-to-the-minute stock of Rickenbacker guitars and basses.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rickenbacker

They are not difficult to play but they do feel different. They have thin, narrow necks compared to some standard electric guitars, meaning extravagant lead playing is not massively easy. For every other style of playing, Rickenbackers are rather lovely to play.
John Lennon famously played a Rickenbacker 325 model, a 1958 model which he bought in Hamburg in the early days of the Beatles.
Rickenbackers are not known for being used with heavy distortion but there are no real reasons why they shouldn't be... just understand that most of them are semi hollow guitars with single coil pickups! Since Rickenbackers sound great to begin with, they also sound good with tons of gain on them, although they are not the easiest guitars to 'tame' under such circumstances!
For famous names, check out this list: Pete Townshend, The Edge, Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Jeff Buckley, Paul Weller, John Lennon, Johnny Marr, Geroge Harrison, Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) and Roger McGuinn (The Birds). And that is just guitarists! Here are some bass players who use Rickenbackers: Lemmy (Motorhead), Youth (Killing Joke), Chris Squire (Yes), Nicky Wire (manic Street Preachers), Geddy Lee (Rush), Cliff Burton (Metallica), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Jerry Only (The Misfits) and Scott Pilgrim (Sex Bob-omb)!
Well, despite being very distinctive sounding, Rickenbacker guitars are used in many genres. To generalise, we'd day that melodic pop, indie and rock bands are the main people who take to Rickenbackers, but their sound lends itself to most musical genres. They are famous for jangly types of music such as The Byrds, The Smiths and early R.E.M. but that is hardly the limit of the Rickenbacker sound. As for basses, all genres from pop to punk and metal have Rickenbacker fans. Genres like jazz and funk don't tend to but there are no real reasons for this.