Premier Guitar

1935 Rickenbacker Electro Spanish

August 19, 2009
In an historical sense, the Rickenbacker Electro Spanish is certainly one of the most interesting models, as it was the first commercially produced, American-made electric guitar with a standard or rounded neck. The guitar was introduced in 1935 at the same time as its more famous sibling, the Model B bakelite Electro Hawaiian. The headstock plate reads “Rickenbacher,” the non-Anglicized form of the name the company began using in 1934 but had abandoned by the 1937 catalog.

Although the company did produce some woodbodied electrics around the same time, the Electro Spanish was the only standard style instrument being made with a completely solid Bakelite body. Unfortunately, they were too far ahead of their time, and the model only lasted a few short years. During that short time the model offered an even more radical motorized vibrato system designed by Clayton Orr “Doc” Kauffman, who would a few years later team up with Leo Fender. Oddly enough, Fender’s Broadcaster shared some of the design elements that were found on the Electro Spanish, namely the bolt-on neck design, and string-through body.

From the 1936 Rickenbacker Catalog: “The Spanish Electro Guitar is small in size and is exceedingly easy to finger and hold. The finger board has fourteen frets to the body, and owing to the small-size body, the player may easily play up to the twenty-fourth fret. This instrument is manufactured from material which will not deteriorate and with ordinary care should be practically new even after years of daily use.”

Thanks to Buffalo Brothers for listing this rare jewel on Gear Search. Whether you’re looking for an old favorite or something unique, chances are it’s on Gear Search. There are more than 47,000 pieces of gear listed, including some of the hardest- to-get gear in the world.

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