Dating rickenbacker lap steels
In the early 1960s Rickenbacker history became forever wedded to one of the biggest music upheavals of the 20th century: the invasion of the mop-top Beatles from Liverpool, England.The Beatles used several Rickenbacker models in the early years.Virtually any color was available on any model by special order, and the factory made them.In the late 1960s the standard colors would include Azureglo-blue and Burgundyglo.Lennon played the original (which was eventually refinished black but still easily identified by its gold-backed lucite pickguard) on all Beatle recordings and in all concerts until early 1964.(Listen for it especially on the rhythm track of the group's "All My Loving.") Rickenbacker provided Lennon with an updated 325 in early 1964--also painted black, it featured a solid top, Ac'cent Vibrato, and white pickguards.Moreover, the firm soon added a solid body electric bass.
Standard colors in 1958 included Hi Lustre Blonde (a natural maple finish) and Autumnglo (a 2-tone brown sunburst).
John Hall says that his father wanted to pioneer the in-house sales organization where closer ties to the decisions made at the manufacturing level would better serve the customer's needs.
The purchase of Electro String by Hall and the distribution of its guitars by Radio-Tel thus set in motion the modernization of the Rickenbacker guitar line.
The first group had 2-inch-thick double-cutaway bodies, while the second group had 3 1/2-inch thick single-cutaway bodies.
The third grouping was a catch-all category for instruments with even deeper bodies, including pure acoustics.
The early 1950s marked a period of major change in the guitar marketplace-the popularity and sales of steels waned as the popularity of regular guitars exploded.