1966 Rickenbaker 360/12 Jetglo 12 String Electric Guitar

This Ricky has already gone home but I wish it had stayed a bit longer so I could fall into its lusty powers and start searching for my own. My friend Todd played this for an hour or so during our last jam to put it through its paces and that was his take-away: "I need to get one for myself!"

Now, I'd played '70s and '80s Ricky 12s in the past but until I picked on this guy after servicing it, I'd never played a '60s one before. The honest truth is that they're just better. It's lightweight for what's essentially a semihollow, has classic styling and quirky looks, and handles beautifully. I was prepared to think the 1 5/8" nut width and narrow string spacing would doom it for me. It was the opposite, however -- this is a super-human-feeling 12 string experience and the player feels like a speed demon when picking on in.

The backward-strung Ricky-style setup (low notes come before the higher octave strings) gives you that immediate '60s electric 12 string sound -- sort of a chunky thump followed by jangle rather than just a straight jingle-jangle-wangle sound. As its new owner described it -- it sounds like more guitar, not "12 string guitar," per se. Does that make sense? I think it makes sense. When you play a power chord on this I'm reminded more of something like a heavy-sounding octave pedal rather than a twee-sounding flower-power device -- at least until you play lead work on the bridge pickup, in which case the Byrds are right in your ears.

Fortunately for the new-ish owner of this guitar, it didn't take much work to make it play like a champ.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress, minor replacement binding at the fretboard edge, grind-down and reprofile of the saddles with full compensation, a new bone nut with better string spacing (the original had the strings hanging almost off the fretboard), slight enlargement of the cavity around the truss rod nuts so they could be accessed, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: it plays perfectly with 1/16" overall action at the 12th fret. The neck is straight and both its truss rods (there are 2) work well. The strings are what came in with it -- probably Ricky-brand and roughly 46w-10 in gauges.

Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut width: 1 5/8"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at bridge: 1 15/16"
Body length: 18 1/4"
Lower bout width: 15 1/4"
Waist width: 10 1/2"
Upper bout width: 12"
Side depth at endpin: 1 3/8"
Body wood: maple
Neck wood: maple, black-painted
Fretboard: rosewood w/finished top surface, bone nut
Bridge: original Ricky adjustable, freshly-compensated saddles
Neck feel: slim C-shape, ~10-12" or so board radius

Condition notes: it does have its original bridge cover and plastic nut but both are safely stowed in its gigbag. There are scratches and small dings all over but none detract much from the aesthetic. It's all-original as far as I can tell except for my new bone nut and the modification of the saddles. The original saddles had actually been compensated and ground-down poorly, so it's not like I was defacing virgin saddles by making them useful. There's an old chip-out repair to the fretboard at the 12th fret and that has some dark backfill to patch it up. It's the same place where I replaced a tiny bit of missing binding, so clearly the guitar took a small hit there at some point.