The Iconic Rickenbacker 325: A Unique Story of an Electric Guitar

The Iconic Rickenbacker 325: A Unique Story of an Electric Guitar

The Iconic Rickenbacker 325: A Unique Story of an Electric GuitarThe Iconic Rickenbacker 325: A Unique Story of an Electric Guitar

Rickenbacker’s 325 model is a legendary guitar with a remarkable history. Despite being a peculiar short-scale semi-hollow body guitar, it was instrumental in the meteoric success of the American guitar manufacturer. That was at the time during the mid-60s.

The first of the Capri range, designed by the exceptional luthier Roger Rossmeisl, the 325 gained its iconic status thanks to a chance encounter with John Lennon. By coincidence, Lennon stumbled upon the first-ever production of the Capri in a music store in Hamburg, Germany. In November 1960, even though it had been exported there from California a couple of years earlier in October 1958.

Identifiable by its f-holes, the 325 was part of the first batch of 30 instruments, comprising triple-pickup/vibrato-equipped models, except for one dual-pickup/non-vibrato guitar. However, by mid-1958, Rickenbacker had expanded the Capri range to include other short-scale models such as the 310, 315, and 320. In contrast, the long-scale Capris sported a slash/cat’s eye soundhole.

The exception was the Rose-Morris export models, which had f-holes and were considered “Special” orders. Therefore, a 325 shipped to the U.K. was logged as a 325S, along with other models like:

  • 335S/1997
  • 345S/1998 long-scale Capris
  • 615S/1995 solid body
  • 4001S/1999 bass.

Lennon bought a second 325 in 1964, serial DB122. He was then given a one-of-a-kind 325/12, a unique 12-string. This model, however, never went into regular production. In February 1964, the Beatles made their record-breaking television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. Around 73 million people watched, and the Rose-Morris export deal coincided with the Beatles’ success in America. This success led to an explosion in the electric guitar industry, and Lennon almost single-handedly revived the ailing short-scale, Capri.

With an increasing demand for the 325 models, the design underwent a few updates in 1964, including a split-level guard, small black K.K. knobs, and an Ac’cent vibrato, along with a sturdier dual truss rod system and Rickenbacker’s ubiquitous blend knob, also known as the Compensator control.

In conclusion, the Rickenbacker 325 has a unique story and design. From its first batch of production to its chance encounter with John Lennon, to its association with the Beatles’ success in America. The 325 continues to be a symbol of Rickenbacker’s innovation, and its impact on the music industry cannot be denied.

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