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RICKENBACKER GUITARS

Adolph Rickenbacker publicized as the "Father" of the electric guitar was the founder of the Electro String Instrument Corporation was born in Switzerland in 1886. He emigrated to the U.S. as a child. Adolph made his way to Los Angeles sometime in 1928. In the late 20's, Rickenbacker benefited from the work he was doing for guitar makers with his Rickenbacker Manufacturing Company. His tool and die operation, with its ability to manufacture metal parts, came into a relationship with the National Stringed Intrument Corporation. This association led Rickenbacker to his contacts with George Beauchamp and Paul Barth of National.

Beauchamp, Barth, and Rickenbacker teamed up in 1931 to form a new company called Ro-Pat-In. When they began production of cast aluminum versions of the lap steel in 1932, it became the world's first electric guitar put into mass production. In 1934, the company name changed from Ro-Pat-In to the Electro String Instrument Corporation.



The "Frying Pan Hawaiian guitar" (cast aluminum model A-22) was produced in1930-31. The scale length in inches came in two versions 22 and 25 inches. Three different versions were produced in six, seven and eight string combinations. During its 7 year run approximately 2,700 Frying Pans were produced.

The Electro company grew and prospered, convincing the public that the electrification of instruments was a practical thing. The success of his guitar came from its use of an effective electromagnetic pickup. Almost every guitar since then has used the same principle.



The company went from manufacturing strictly lap steels to adding a line of "Spanish-type" guitars made out of Bakelite (a plastic-like material popular in the 1st half of this century) with several components stamped out of sheet metal.

By the 1950s, Adolph Rickenbacker began to tire of the guitar market and with his contact with F.C. Hall , who was working for Fender at the time, sold the company in 1953 to Hall, and the right to use the "Rickenbacker" name. Thus begins a new era for Rickenbackers.

Rickenbacker hollowbodies from the 1950's and 1960's, particularly those with old-style pickups, checked binding, sparkle fingerboard inlays. and the Rose Morris export models, are also highly sought after.

With endorsements by the the Beatles, the Byrds, the Who, Tom Petty, Steppenwolf, the Bangles, Yes, Genesis, Rush, made it possible for Rickenbacker to experiment and produce some distinct and very unusual products like the 6/12 converter, Rick-O-Sound stereo, and slanted frets.

In 1984 John C. and Cindalee P. Hall acquired the company from John's father, Francis, and Catherine Hall. Rickenbacker International Corp. (RIC) was formed as a new company to purchase the guitar making operations of Rickenbacker, Inc.

Located in Santa Ana, California, Rickenbacker steadfastly adheres to its decades old construction techniques.

Rickenbacker Serial Numbers

Serial Numbers 1960 - 1986
The year is the first Letter, The month is the second letter.

Serial Numbers 1986 - 1995
The year is the number after the letter-The letter is the month.


Rickenbacker Models



THANKS! To Tony Bacon & Paul Day
Authors of "The Rickenbacker Book" for the model information.