1964 Rick­en­backer Rose Mor­ris 1997

Guitarist - - Old Gold - Pho­to­graph by Joseph Branston

To the unini­ti­ated, Rick­en­backer’s model num­ber­ing sys­tem can be a bit of a maze.The 1997 model was made for Rose Mor­ris who was the Euro­pean dis­trib­u­tor for Rick­en­backer in the early 1960s and it was the equiv­a­lent to the com­pany’s Model 335 – with the 1998, an­other ex­port model, be­ing the three-pickup ver­sion, equiv­a­lent to the USA 345. Still with us? Over to Phil Car­war­dine at Vin­tage And Mod­ern Gui­tars… “The 1996 was the Len­non short-scale three-pickup jobby and this is the 1997 two-pickup. The John Len­non baby one; I think they made 21 or 22, so they’re re­ally quite rare. Then there’s the 1998, which is the [full-size] three-pickup ver­sion – Pete Town­shend had both, I think, as did Denny Laine who was with The Moody Blues at the time,” he tells us.

The 1997’s spec com­prised a maple semi-hol­low body with a dou­ble cut­away and a bi-level pick­guard. One char­ac­ter­is­tic that dis­tin­guishes the ex­port model from the US ver­sion is the f-hole – on Amer­i­can Rick­en­back­ers, this would have been the more fa­mil­iar curved tra­di­tional shape.

Ac­cord­ing to our sources, only 101 of the 1995 mod­els (based on the US Model 615) were sold, mak­ing it quite a rare bird – but there are fea­tures that are even less fre­quently seen. On some mod­els, the po­si­tion of the f-hole is more ‘two o’clock’ than the more com­mon ‘one o’clock’ po­si­tion.“They go on about the ‘two o’ clock f-hole’,” says Phil.“I think there were around eight made with a two o’clock f-hole. They’re in­cred­i­bly rare.”

The 1997 here looks like it has been a res­i­dent of the UK for some time.“This model has a sticker on the back that says ‘Minns Southamp­ton’, which is quite nice, think­ing that it’s been in the UK all this time…” says Phil. Our thanks to Phil Car­war­dine at Vin­tage And Mod­ern Gui­tars for al­low­ing us ac­cess to this in­stru­ment. www.vin­tage­and­mod­ern­gui­tars.co.uk

The f-hole on the ex­port 1997s was the more clas­si­cal type, as op­posed to the more fa­mil­iar curved va­ri­ety – this par­tic­u­lar one is a ‘one o’clock’ type Rick­en­backer’s vi­brato sys­tem was fairly rudi­men­tary, the arm it­self be­ing lit­tle more than a piece of bent metal – but it worked! The Rick­en­backer logo here would nor­mally re­flect the shape of the f-hole. Not so on the ex­port ver­sions, which sport the more clas­si­cal va­ri­ety Pick­uPs Rick­en­backer’s ‘toaster’ pick­ups were re­spon­si­ble for the gui­tar’s fa­mil­iar jan­gle on many pop hits dur­ing the early 1960s, and were the choice of many play­ers from the Brit­pop era F-hole Vi­brato head­stock

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