Rickenbacker 330 Semi Acoustic Guitar

The Rickenbacker name is synonymous with quality guitars.  That quality comes through years of dedication to only using the finest raw materials and production techniques.  But it is interesting that for many of us the Rickenbacker name has become permanently intertwined with the look and sound of the Beatles.  That said the importance of having your guitars endorsed by a band like the Beatles means that your marketing is taken care of!  The Rickenbacker 330 Semi Acoustic Guitar is part of the Rickenbacker 300 series of acoustic guitars.  The 300 series is the range of guitars with which we are perhaps most familiar as it was the 325 which was the guitar that John Lennon favoured throughout the early days of the Beatles.

Rickenbacker have been making quality guitars from their workshops in Santa Ana California since 1931.  They launched their first electric guitars in 1932.  These early models were known as “Frying Pans” because of their long necks and circular bodies.  Made from odd materials such as aluminium and bakelite they were amongst the first solid body electric guitars, though they were of the lap steel type.   These early electric guitars were well received and allowed Rickenbacker to establish their name amongst guitarists.

Unfortunately the materials used for construction sometimes caused unwanted complications for the guitar player.  For example the metal construction of the sauce pans caused tuning problems as the metal expanded under hot stage lighting.  With the advent of Rock and Roll Rickenbacker introduced traditionally constructed guitars.  But it wasn’t until the Capri series, launched in 1958, that Rickenbacker really saw their name hit the headlines.  The Capri series included the double cutaway semi acoustic guitars which would become the famous 300 series.

Launched in 1958 the Rickenbacker 330 Semi Acoustic guitar was amongst the first of the Capri series of guitars and so has a long and rich pedigree.  The semi acoustic body is made from maple with a traditional sound hole and the Rickenbacker “crescent moon” double cutaway.  The neck is maple with a thick rosewood fretboard finished with clear conversion varnish.  The 24 frets are punctuated by circular dot inlay fret markers.  The neck features the Rickenbacker double truss rod design, which allows you to correct for any twists or imperfections in the neck.  The tailpiece is the traditional Rickenbacker R shaped trapeze design.

The Rickenbacker 330 Semi Acoustic Guitar is fitted with two Hi-gain pick-ups.  Formerly, the model came equipped with Rickenbacker’s Toaster pickups. The Hi-Gains have noticeably higher output than the Toasters, although this has resulted in the character of the sound in current models being slightly different than that of the older, pre-1970s models. Because of the tone of the guitar, of which the pickups play a major role, the Rickenbacker 330 tends to be favoured by musicians pursuing a jangle-rock/pop or British Invasion style of play and sound.

The sound of the guitar is controlled by 5 control knobs.  There is a tone and volume control for each pick-up and there is a fifth control knob which was added to the 330 in 1961.  The idea of the fifth knob is to act as a tone blender between the two pick-ups but it also acts as an equaliser boosting the generally quieter bridge pick-up.

The Rickenbacker 330 Semi Acoustic guitar is a great guitar.  The quality oozes from every inch of this guitar in terms of build quality and the on-board electrics.  The price tag is quite high, putting this firmly in the high end guitar bracket but that is to be expected of a guitar with such a rich history and pedigree.  It can also be justified in a guitar that plays so well and looks pretty fine.  If you are looking for a guitar with class and you like the sound of the Rickenbacker then look no further than the Rickenbacker 330 semi acoustic guitar.

You can check out the Rickenbacker 330 semi acoustic guitar being put through its paces in the video below.

The technical features are detailed below.

 Rickenbacker 330 Semi Acoustic Guitar
Rickenbacker 330 Semi Acoustic Guitar
BodyMaple Semi acoustic
BridgeRickenbacker R Trapeze tailpiece
Frets24 frets
Fretboard width at 12th fret49.05 mm (1.931")
Nut width41.4 mm (1.63")
Scale length62.9 cm (24 3/4")
Bridge pickupRickenbacker Hi Gain
Neck pickupRickenbacker Hi Gain
Pickup switching3 way toggle switch
Controls1 volume and 1 tone control for each pick-up, 1 master tone control
HardwareSchaller Machine heads
Recommended retail price£2041.53
If you love this guitarBuy now for £1549

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