Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Sunday, November 4, 2012
RETRO FILES: WHAT’S THAT SOUND? RICKENBACKER’S REVOLUTION
George Harrison with his electric 12-string Rickenbacker guitar
JANGLY, CHIMEY, TWANGY—When our
ancestors first heard the Beatles they fell in love with the entire package:
the hair, the lyrics, and the fresh sound. But what exactly was that signature sound coming from the Beatles in the early ‘60s?
If you go back nearly 50 years and
listen to early Beatles hits like “Ticket to Ride,” “Hard Days Night,” and the
opening to “Day Tripper” and its mid-song riffs by George Harrison, you quickly
picked up (then) a never before heard sound from a guitar. That sound came from the newly invented
Rickenbacker 12-string electric 360/12 model guitar played by George Harrison
beginning in 1964. Who knew that that twangy, jangly guitar sound would launch
a wave of limey chimey rock (until Sgt. Pepper ended it)?
George with his Ricky 360/12 in concert
Rickenbacker, an American electronic
guitar maker since the 1930s, developed the 360/12 to answer the popularity of
the acoustic 12-string guitar (pre-electric Dylan). Rickenbacker owner Francis
Hall finished work on the first 360/12 at the end of 1963.
Legend has it the Hall traveled to
New York in February 1964 to get his 360/12 into the hands of the Beatles. The Fab-Four were in NYC to appear on the Ed
Sullivan Show. Hall made his connection
and Harrison used the 12-string electric Rickey on all tracts on 1964’s “Hard
That jangly sound was born.
Other groups quickly jumped on the
Rickenbacker 12-string sound. Remember,
the The Byrds in “Mr. Tamborine Man?” Many of the great Beach Boys hits
incorporated the pure Rickenbacker 360/12 sound.
For a quick Rickenbacker 12-string fix go to You Tube for a solo by Roger McGuinn of The Byrds performing “Turn, Turn, Turn.”