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Rickenbacker

 

It all began in 1931 in Los Angeles. George Beauchamp, a steel-guitar player from Texas, was searching for a way to make his guitar heard over the other instruments in the band. A simple goal, and so the experimenting began. Actually, from as early as 1925 Beauchamp had been fooling around with the new science of electronics - winding coils with the motor from his washing machine in an attempt to amplify the sound of a guitar string. The humble beginnings of the modern day pickup! Finally in 1930, using two horseshoe magnets and a coil, he achieved the sound he wanted. His friend, Harry Watson, built a neck and body for his creation in Beauchamp’s garage and the first electric guitar was born.

During his experiments, Beauchamp enlisted the help of Adolph Rickenbacker, a skilled production engineer with experience in manufacturing techniques. Together in 1931 they set up a company to produce the world’s first practical electric guitars.

The “Electro String Instrument Corporation” started to expand, producing it’s early “Rickenbacker Electros” out of aluminium, wood and bakelite. After Beauchamp’s death, Adolph Rickenbacker continued the Electro String tradition for another thirteen years. In 1953, Adolph sold his company to F.C. Hall - and so began the modern era of Rickenbacker guitars.

The early 50’s was a period of major change in the music industry. The popularity of steel guitars was decreasing in favour of the more versatile electric Spanish guitar. In response to this shift, F.C. Hall hired Roger Rossmeisl, a European instrument designer, to produce the popular solid body “Combo” series, and in 1958, the innovative hollow body “Capri” model.

All Capri styles were available with or without vibrato, a choice of either two or three pickups, deluxe or standard fingerboard inlays, neck and body bindings and the famous slim “fast action” neck. Thanks to these innovations sales soon started to take off.

One of the finest compliments bestowed on Rickenbacker guitars is their continuous use over the last seven decades, by some of the most enduring artists, spanning a variety of styles. Their success in crossing such musical boundaries attest to the supreme adaptability, range and scope of their performance.

In the short lifetime of electric string instruments, very few basses have earned the accolade necessary to genuinely call themselves ‘classics’. Even less can claim the title of ‘industry standard’ - but no one can dispute the fact that the Rickenbacker 4000 series deserve these titles.

The piano string-like ring, punch and sustain brought the bass player out of the shadow and into the spotlight. Entire new dimensions of bass playing capability are directly attributable to this venerable series.

All Rickenbacker guitars and basses are still lovingly hand-crafted in America, just as they have been since Adolph Rickenbacker took his first electric guitar to the United States Patent Office in 1931. Indeed little has changed in production methods over the years.

The specification calls for simplicity, perhaps the most elegant and subtle virtue of engineering technique. The interaction between neck and body combines with hardware, electronic and pickup characteristics to achieve a harmonic honesty and markedly superior sustain and ring.

Experienced craftsmen lovingly oversee every detail of production. No robots - just human hands and eyes, backed by a determination to make, quite simply, the best products possible.

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