F.C. Hall purchased the Electro String Company from Adolf Rickenbacker in late 1953. This company had been known mostly for its electric steel guitars, but Hall revamped the business and focused on electric standard guitars (which continued to increase in popularity as the 1950s progressed). In early 1954, German guitar maker Roger Rossmeisl was hired, and his unique “old world” designs gave Rickenbacker guitars the distinctive look that continues today.
Rickenbacker developed a new series of guitars in 1958 that eventually evolved into some of the company’s most famous models. This was a line of thin semi-acoustic guitars known as the Capri series. These instruments started as a solid blocks of wood, which were then hollowed out to some extent from the back. A separate back was later attached. This method devised by Rossmeisl was very unusual compared to traditional techniques used by other companies.
The early 330 Rickenbacker featured this month has certain features that distinguish it from later incarnations. Prior to designing their own distinctive tailpieces, Rickenbacker used standard trapeze versions available in parts catalogs of the day. The single gold pickguard was soon replaced by a double level guard, which by 1964 was made of white Plexiglas. The TV knobs and open-back Grovers are other early features. The most unusual thing about this guitar is the rare “reverse” Fireglo finish.
More information on Rickenbacker guitars can be found in The Complete History of Rickenbacker Guitars by Richard R. Smith, and The Rickenbacker Book by Tony Bacon and Paul Day.
Dave's Guitar Shop
Daves Rogers’ Collection is tended to by Laun Braithwaite & Tim Mullally Photos and words by Tim Mullally Dave’s Collection is on display at:
Dave's Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601