FEATURE > RICKENBACKER
Premier Guitar, the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach praised their
smooth playability and build quality. “You can do anything with a
Rickenbacker,” he said. “Anything!”
And anyone who has witnessed Mike Campbell rip a Peter
Green-style lead, beheld Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto driving a raging,
off-kilter punk rhythm, or thrilled to Paul Weller slashing at a bel-
lowing Marshall with a Rick in hand can attest to the veracity of
Then there are the things only a Rick can do: Roger McGuinn’s
celestial 12-string excursions, Townshend’s ringing dots-and-dashes
power chords, Johnny Marr’s complex dancing-and-darting arpeggio
intros. Sure, other guitars might get you 80 to 90 percent there. But
there is something about the way materials, construction, electronics, balance, and feel conspire in a Rickenbacker that is singular,
wholly original, and nearly impossible to reproduce.
It begins, perhaps, with the way Rickenbackers feel in hand.
There’s an almost acoustic-guitar-like tension that invites you to
simultaneously dig in, attack, or get delicate. But there is also an
incredible smoothness—the slickness of low frets, lacquered fret-
boards, and low action—that invites bends, quick and aggressive
arpeggios, hammer-ons, and legato flurries. Then there are the
pickups. The toaster tops chime with pure crystalline beauty and
ring in perfect, succinct harmonic balance for rhythm work, and
the modern, high-gain single-coils veer from bell-like zing to high-
horsepower kerrang in a manner quite unlike any other pickup.
he F (for full body) series, which debuted
in 1959, includes some of Rickenbacker’s
most unheralded and lovely instruments.
Beautifully balanced and decked-out with cool
accents like checkerboard top binding, they
represent one of the most overt visual links
to lead designer Roger Rossmeisl’s Teutonic
roots. F models remained available until 1980.
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