Rickenbacker 12 String!!

boneyguy

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I've just finished changing the strings, tuning and intonating a 1989 Roger McGuinn Rickenbacker 12 string guitar for a customer. If anyone ever asks if you will do that for them you must scream in their face "I'd rather eat flaming dog poo!!"

I'd never worked on one before and so just to see if their was any little tricks I should know beforehand I searched Youtube for videos. There was one that was over an hour long on how to restring and tune one!! Over an hour!!

I'll admit that I've never felt any affinity for Rickies and now after this mind-numbing experience I have even less. They seem to me to be a guitar designed by committee....a committee that had no interaction between members...one person simply made some part of the guitar and then the next person down the line had to figure out how to work around that to make the next part. They are a design disaster IMO. I sort of think of them as what might result from someone making their first guitar without any instruction or guidance...okay for a first attempt but I wouldn't have the gaul to try and sell it....LOL.

I recognize of course they have a unique and distinctive sound and there is a sonic place for them in the pantheon of guitar sounds but the design and construction of them is not something to brag about.

"Eat flaming dog poo!!"
 

tweeet

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I'd agree. I had a 360 six and a 330 twelve both in Montezuma brown. They looked fantastic and sounded great for what I wanted them for...but the necks were just too thin to play and the shape of the bodies made my forearm swell up !! I sold them after a year (I had to anyway as I needed money for a new car) . I currently own a 660 six...now that's a different kettle of fish altogether. Wider neck smaller body...killer sound and lush to play.
 

wabashslim

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It's a real man's guitar. Not everyone earns the right to wear that look or put forth that sound.

Next year I will have had my 330-12 50 years!

1657396068061.png
 

Moonraker5

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but the design and construction of them is not something to brag about.

No kidding. But we don't buy them for the design and construction. We buy them for their sound.

(And as for changing strings, first time I did it, it took me, no joke, eight hours. I had no idea how to do it (pre-youtube tutorial days), plus my headstock is the old style -- gullies instead of slotted all the way through. Also, I stupidly took all the strings off...big, big mistake due to that floating R tailpiece. And I did not know the bridge cover comes off. All added up to a nightmare Eight hours to change strings.)

ric-360-new-R-fxresizefix.png
 

wabashslim

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plus my headstock is the old style -- gullies instead of slotted all the way through.
They slot them all the way thru now? That's a big help. That's major. In the past I considered taking it to a luthier or wood craftsman to see if that could be done. But "in the past" is just how I settled on doing my string changes. Been about 15 years now...
 

CharlieO

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I'll admit that I've never felt any affinity for Rickies and now after this mind-numbing experience I have even less. They seem to me to be a guitar designed by committee....a committee that had no interaction between members...one person simply made some part of the guitar and then the next person down the line had to figure out how to work around that to make the next part. They are a design disaster IMO. I sort of think of them as what might result from someone making their first guitar without any instruction or guidance...okay for a first attempt but I wouldn't have the gaul to try and sell it....LOL.

I recognize of course they have a unique and distinctive sound and there is a sonic place for them in the pantheon of guitar sounds but the design and construction of them is not something to brag about.

"Eat flaming dog poo!!"
I have been playing Rickenbackers for 55 years, ever since I bought a brand new 1967 330 with my paper route money. I currently own a 2005 330 and a 2010 360/12, and they are my favorites out of 13 guitars. I absolutely would not describe them as a "design disaster." Everything about them works for me. Way back in 1967 I knew immediately that the neck shape and finished fretboard was perfect for my small hands and the body shape is really comfortable. The quality of the body and neck construction is impeccable, but I certainly can understand that some people can take issue with bridges or tailpieces. As I said, they work fine for me. And for those who don't like them, the good news is that there are excellent aftermarket bridges and tailpieces out there. If I played professionally, I absolutely would replace the tailpiece on the 360/12. That would make string changes a breeze with the newer style cut-through headstock on my guitar.

Rickenbacker's biggest fault is their resistance to change. They have done a few things like improving their truss rod setup and changing pickups over the years, but they have refused to improve the exploding "R" tailpiece which is a common issue on the 12-string guitars. I guess that this is because they know that the majority of their buyers are willing to pay big money for the original style guitars, with all of their "flaws," perceived or real. They are selling as many guitars as they can build. It works for them, and it works for me.
 

trandy9850

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I've just finished changing the strings, tuning and intonating a 1989 Roger McGuinn Rickenbacker 12 string guitar for a customer. If anyone ever asks if you will do that for them you must scream in their face "I'd rather eat flaming dog poo!!"

I'd never worked on one before and so just to see if their was any little tricks I should know beforehand I searched Youtube for videos. There was one that was over an hour long on how to restring and tune one!! Over an hour!!

I'll admit that I've never felt any affinity for Rickies and now after this mind-numbing experience I have even less. They seem to me to be a guitar designed by committee....a committee that had no interaction between members...one person simply made some part of the guitar and then the next person down the line had to figure out how to work around that to make the next part. They are a design disaster IMO. I sort of think of them as what might result from someone making their first guitar without any instruction or guidance...okay for a first attempt but I wouldn't have the gaul to try and sell it....LOL.

I recognize of course they have a unique and distinctive sound and there is a sonic place for them in the pantheon of guitar sounds but the design and construction of them is not something to brag about.

"Eat flaming dog poo!!"
The secret to the Rickenbacker 12-string sound is that the octave strings go on the bottom.

Every other 12-string I’ve ever seen had the octave strings on the top.
 

Wayne Alexander

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Make sure the nut slots are as deep/low as you can get them without buzzing. Set it up with zero relief (level the frets first if you need to). Set the action as low as you can get it without buzzing. It will be much more playable if it wasn't set up that way before. I like the rotosound strings with 9s for the high e's for playability. When restringing do it one string at a time. Strings should last a long time.
 

trandy9850

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I have been playing Rickenbackers for 55 years, ever since I bought a brand new 1967 330 with my paper route money. I currently own a 2005 330 and a 2010 360/12, and they are my favorites out of 13 guitars. I absolutely would not describe them as a "design disaster." Everything about them works for me. Way back in 1967 I knew immediately that the neck shape and finished fretboard was perfect for my small hands and the body shape is really comfortable. The quality of the body and neck construction is impeccable, but I certainly can understand that some people can take issue with bridges or tailpieces. As I said, they work fine for me. And for those who don't like them, the good news is that there are excellent aftermarket bridges and tailpieces out there. If I played professionally, I absolutely would replace the tailpiece on the 360/12. That would make string changes a breeze with the newer style cut-through headstock on my guitar.

Rickenbacker's biggest fault is their resistance to change. They have done a few things like improving their truss rod setup and changing pickups over the years, but they have refused to improve the exploding "R" tailpiece which is a common issue on the 12-string guitars. I guess that this is because they know that the majority of their buyers are willing to pay big money for the original style guitars, with all of their "flaws," perceived or real. They are selling as many guitars as they can build. It works for them, and it works for me.

I spoke with them a few weeks ago and they told me that new orders would take one year to fill…so they are indeed selling everything they can make.

And they are very resistant to change….years ago I asked John Hall (president of Rickenbacker at that time) if they would ever consider putting regular humbucking pickups in any of their guitars.

He looked at me liked I owed him money.
 

Old Plank

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When I had my Ric 12, I didn't have to intonate it but did change the strings ... once. I remember it took a whole long evening, but don't remember it as being too horrible. I got rid of it more so because of the limited usage after a band ended. Construction opinions or not, it was an absolutely beautiful object to behold.
 
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boneyguy

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No kidding. But we don't buy them for the design and construction. We buy them for their sound.

(And as for changing strings, first time I did it, it took me, no joke, eight hours. I had no idea how to do it (pre-youtube tutorial days), plus my headstock is the old style -- gullies instead of slotted all the way through. Also, I stupidly took all the strings off...big, big mistake due to that floating R tailpiece. And I did not know the bridge cover comes off. All added up to a nightmare Eight hours to change strings.)

ric-360-new-R-fxresizefix.png
This one I worked only has the gullies as well. The YT video I watched (not the one that was over an hour long!!) showed how to wind the strings in the gully and that was worth it's weight in gold!

And speaking of the bridge I got the whole thing strung up and in tune and I don't think I even cussed once....I was quite proud of myself. Then I went to intonate the strings and saw immediately that I had the bridge on backwards...LOL. I may have cussed a little at that point. Slack off all the strings (which at that point feels like there's 40 strings on that thing and not 12) and turn the bridge around, tune up again and continue.....
 

Fretting out

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I have a fender electric 12 and it’s definitely an exercise to restring and tune

Once in tune it’s…okay

I imagine the ric is similar
 

Moonraker5

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...they have refused to improve the exploding "R" tailpiece which is a common issue on the 12-string guitars. ...

Mine exploded three years ago. What a pain in the neck Rickenbacker puts you through to replace it. For those that don't know, the only place to buy a new R tailpiece is from Rickenbacker and Rickenbacker will not sell you one until you mail them your broken one And then they charge you 120 bucks for a piece that they know is faulty.

IMG-0649.jpg
 

VWAmTele

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I've got a 360-12 but had the nut re-cut with better spacing - makes it a bit easier to play. I change the strings one at a time - just takes twice as long as a 6 string.
 

boneyguy

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Mine exploded three years ago. What a pain in the neck Rickenbacker puts you through to replace it. For those that don't know, the only place to buy a new R tailpiece is from Rickenbacker and Rickenbacker will not sell you one until you mail them your broken one And then they charge you 120 bucks for a piece that they know is faulty.

IMG-0649.jpg
It just keeps getting better!!
 




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