Rickenbacker is a long-standing and still active guitar manufacturer based in Santa Ana, California. The company was founded by Adolf Rickenbacher, who was born in Switzerland in 1886 and emigrated to the United States in 1891. In 1931, he established the company “ElectRo-Patent-Instruments” together with the American inventor George Beauchamp.
They specialized in the construction of electric steel guitars until the 1950s. Later, the company was renamed the “Rickenbacker Manufacturing Company,” and Adolf also changed his last name to Rickenbacker as a German name was not very popular at the time.
Beauchamp obtained an American patent on an electric guitar in 1934, and the first model was called the Frying Pan because of its resemblance to this kitchen utensil. In the mid-1950s, the company switched to producing acoustic and electric standard guitars. Rickenbacker was the first company to successfully market electric guitars.
Rickenbacker introduced the “neck through body” construction in 1956, which became a standard feature of all following Rickenbacker models. The first guitars in which this feature was applied were the Combo 400 and 4000 bass. In 1958, Rickenbacker introduced the “Capri series,” later known as the 300 series.
In 1964, Rickenbacker developed an electric twelve-string guitar with a unique construction. The tuner system had extra tuning mechanisms at the back of the headstock for the six additional strings. The string converter from Rickenbacker was also unique and was introduced in 1966. Six strings were pulled down by a lever and pressed against the frets.
With their years of experience in innovative sound techniques combined with beautiful designs, Rickenbacker guitars will continue to be popular for many years among collectors and guitarists.