Rickenbacker Model 330-12 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1966)

Rickenbacker  Model 330-12 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1966)
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Item # 11512
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Rickenbacker Model 330-12 Model 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1966), made in Santa Ana, CA, serial # FK-4133, Fireglo red sunburst finish, maple body, laminated maple neck with paduak fingerboard, original silver hard shell case.

The Rickenbacker Model 330-12 is one of the classic American guitars, a mainstay of the company's line from the mid-1960's right up through to the present. The 330-12 along with the fancier Model 360-12 are virtual icons of the '60's. Even this plainer 330 model is one of the sharpest looking and most distinctive sounding of all American guitar designs. Rickenbacker 12 strings maintain a timeless appeal, synonymous with the sound of the folk-rock era but also generations of more recent "jangle" styles.

Early in 1964 the Beatles' use of a Rickenbacker 360-12 kicked off a wave of popularity for the electric 12-string that had every other maker trying to catch up. The simpler Model 330-12 was added to the line later in the year and both remain absolute classic American guitars; in the mid 1960s an entire style of music centered around them. The Model 330 and 360 12 strings are the instruments that really put Rickenbacker on the map as a modern guitar maker.

The Model 330-12 was the plainer semi-hollowbody Rickenbacker 12-string, added to the line for the 1965 model year as a (somewhat) more affordable version of the basic design. With a 1966 list price of $474.50 plus $55 for the case this was still a VERY expensive guitar by the standards of the day. It retains the original slab-sided Rickenbacker body but with no binding on the edges or slash soundhole. It also lacks the 360's triangle fingerboard inlay, substituting small dots. Despite these cosmetic differences the instruments are functionally the same, with the distinctive Rickenbacker sound and "upside down" double course stringing.

This 330-12 was made in November 1966. The body and neck carry a very vibrant iteration of the classic red sunburst "Fireglo" finish. The original wiring rig has pots dated the 17th and 40th weeks of 1966. At the time this one was made there was a 6 month to a year dealer waiting list for this model, which the company struggled to keep up with. One production alteration is significant -- after the summer of 1966, Rickenbacker no longer routed a channel for pole magnets under the neck pickup, so guitars from that point on (like this one) have a much solider neck joint and usually better angle than earlier examples.

These guitars were used in 1965-70 by countless bands and maintain a timeless "cool" factor to this day. Despite all the other electric 12-strings made since, the Rickenbacker 12 has remained the single dominant instrument of this type for well over 50 years now. This is the nicest 1960s 330-12 we have had and offers the player in any style the unmistakable sound and look only the originals can provide.
Overall length is 40 in. (101.6 cm.), 14 7/8 in. (37.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This 360-12 remains beautifully original with only very light wear and the most minor repair. This has been a one owner guitar since 1971 and not much used in that time. There some minimal wear to the finish, with some random dings and dents most visibly on the headstock. The back of the body shows light buckle marks into but not through the lacquer. The upper front edge has a slightly worn through spot, and there are some minor chips and dings overall. The finish has a beautiful deep red color to the Fireglo with the classic ambering of the clear areas and hardly any fade.

There is only a very slight check in the lacquer just below the nut on the bass side of the neck, so this 330 has had less of the common fingerboard lift from errant truss rod manipulation than most. The fingerboard has a visible lacquer check along the 12-13th fret area but no apparent damage there. There is a repaired chip on the treble edge of the board by the 18th fret, probably the result of a lifting fret being hammered back in. There is a small divot in the fingerboard behind the 1st fret.

Internally the pots and components are original but some of the original wiring has been spliced and/or replaced, reportedly around 1985 to fix some grounding issues. The .0047 "dinky cap" has been removed from the treble tone circuit as was commonly done back then to get the full tone from the bridge pickup. Despite these small points this is really a superb instrument, with a better neck angle than many 1960s Rickenbacker 12-strings and only some light fret wear. This is the best playing 330-12 we have had, and one of the best Rickenbacker 12's period, complete in a nice original silver Tolex case. Overall Excellent Condition.