question about Capri's

Early years of Rickenbacker Guitars prior to and including 1972

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question about Capri's

Postby (Marn99) » Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:37 pm

Okay, so I know that John's 325 capri prototype has an alder body and neck, but what about other late 50's capri guitars? I'm assuming that they were maple, but then again, I've seen some pictures of 330 and 360 Capri's where it's kinda hard to tell if it is maple or alder. Was alder something that they only used on prototypes due to it's low cost, workability, availability, etc etc, or was it used on official production instruments as well?
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Hotzenplotz) » Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:22 am

The 325 C 58 has an alder neck, yes.

The 1958 360 Capri I saw has got a (flamend) maple neck with a stripe of ovangkol in the middle. For the fretboard they used padouk.
The body itself was alder.
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (jdogric12) » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:17 am

My '63 900 MG was alder. Super lightweight. (not a Capri)
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Marn99) » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:58 pm

thanks for the info everyone. A quick question about the neck laminations, according to Mark Arnquist, the middle lamination being Shedua was a John Hall era practice, and that the 50s, 60s, and 70s center laminate was walnut like the headstock wings. But I've seen others say that it's always been Shedua. Anyone know anything more about this?
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Hotzenplotz) » Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:33 pm

What I found out:

The middle stripe is ovangkol and the fretboard is made of padouk.

Ovangkol is the name here in my region for shedua - some more information about:
https://www.rarewoodsusa.com/product/shedua-9/

Directly asked: Do You want to build a capri?
;-)
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (jps) » Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:52 pm

Hotzenplotz wrote:Directly asked: Do You want to build a capri?
;-)

Seems like that! :wink:
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Marn99) » Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:09 pm

Hotzenplotz wrote:What I found out:

The middle stripe is ovangkol and the fretboard is made of padouk.

Ovangkol is the name here in my region for shedua - some more information about:
https://www.rarewoodsusa.com/product/shedua-9/

Directly asked: Do You want to build a capri?
;-)

For myself, yes. Hope that answer doesn't get me in trouble :oops: , I know discussions like this tend to be avoided here (more so on the official RIC forum, but still), and I don't want to overstep my bounds, I do quite enjoy this community, but there are not many 50s style jetglo 365's out there, and even if I did find one, I couldn't afford it.
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Hotzenplotz) » Sat Oct 31, 2020 5:31 am

BTW: Does somebody have informations about the back?

Some guitars had plywood (what kind of?). Judging from pictures others have solid backs (again: what kind of wood?).

Another question is this strange bar insinde the guitar that is visible when you remove the pick guard.
A '58 360 I saw does not have it, some others found in the register don't have that, too.
Then a lot of further guitars have this bar that is only attached to the sides, not touching back or front of the body.
- Is this really necessary?
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Marn99) » Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:21 pm

Are you absolutely certain that the center strip was ovangkol? Here are some pics from a destroyed 1961 365, look at the grain on it, looks a lot like walnut. I suppose the only way one could be certain would be to find a unsalvageable late 50s or early 60s RIC, and send it to the USDA Forest Products Laboratory. They have guidelines on their website on how to take small , relatively non destructive samples, perhaps next time someone is restoring one, they can take one. As for the backs, I think many of them were plywood, from the limited amount of info I could find, it was either birch or alder plywood. Solid backs did exist as well, supposedly also in birch or alder.
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Hotzenplotz) » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:29 am

Marn99 wrote:Are you absolutely certain that the center strip was ovangkol? ...



Ouch! :shock:


- Quite, yes.

There were guitars with ovangkol in the 50s, about 1960 there was a change to walnut, AFAIK.
Today RIC is using stained maple - said JH in an interview of a factory tour filmed by premier guitar.
The 1958 capri I saw had a noticeable lighter middle stripe with a different grain. And to be precisely: it was a seven piece neck - take a close look at the picture.

Rickenbacker_360_Capri_1958.jpg


Do You see this tiny lighter piece of wood next to the e tuner? This is to find next to the lower e tuner, too.
I had a look at the register. Most 50's capris have got that.
My bet as a precision mechanic is that this was a help to manufacture the headstock correctly. With that it is much easier to align and shape it.

- Thanks for the infos about the back!

I think I read a comment of a former employee from that time.
Something like "we took all sorts of wood we could grab for the back" was the comment. Unfortunately I can't find it again.
What You are telling seems to confirm that.
Last edited by Hotzenplotz on Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Hotzenplotz) » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:38 am

Another question:
Do You own this heartbreaking rest of a 365?
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Marn99) » Sun Nov 01, 2020 11:39 am

Hotzenplotz wrote:Another question:
Do You own this heartbreaking rest of a 365?

Unfortunately, no. It was listed a few years ago on Reverb for close to 400 dollars, which isn't much, but I was 18 or 19 at the time, had just started my (rather informal) luthiers apprenticeship, and it sold fairly quickly. It does give a good look at the rather unusual neck joint that RIC employs, I can't think of another company that does it like that. Sad as that neck is, it looks rather salvageable to me, replace and restore the broken off headstock wing, free the neck from the remnants of the smashed body, and build a new body for it. I assume that is what the buyer did. So the center strip was indeed walnut starting in 1960, and based on this neck, into 1961 as well. Do you know when they went back to ovangkol?
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Hotzenplotz) » Sun Nov 01, 2020 2:24 pm

I think they didn't went back to ovangkol. After that it was walnut - like Your example - and then there was a change to walnut.
Later they switched over to stained maple.

Unfortunately there are not much informations around - or I don't know them.

All in all Rickenbacker is famous for a special kind of inconstancy. There is not "that" way they produce guitars - until today.

Concerning the neck: E.g. Gibson is using for their Les Pauls a similar method of set in necks. The details in production and construction are different, of course.
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (collin) » Sun Nov 01, 2020 2:47 pm

Hotzenplotz wrote:Another question:
Do You own this heartbreaking rest of a 365?


I bought it.

Since then, I have replaced the missing wing and removed the tenon. It’s going into another Rickenbacker body (a Townshend LE actually) which had its original neck broken beyond repair. A Frankenstein, if you will!

Note that when I replaced the missing headstock wing, I used walnut but it did not match perfectly. I don’t think it’s the same species, doesn’t matter for this build because it’s going to be finished in an opaque color.


C3583378-DBFF-4738-B7DA-6C6828D3EA9B.jpeg

F90C88B3-B567-4A12-A7D9-C0EAE0C552B8.jpeg


Also, we know it’s a ‘61 from a “New Capri” because of the inlays, which were the very first appearance of crushed pearl.
It disappeared the following year and didn’t return until late ‘64. Obviously this has the larger headstock shape (pre-64).

F39C8700-76DD-40D1-8F53-593CFE0D8EBC.jpeg


3D695CB5-A08A-443A-BD48-D6E7F478BFB7.jpeg
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Re: question about Capri's

Postby (Marn99) » Sun Nov 01, 2020 3:48 pm

collin wrote:
Hotzenplotz wrote:Another question:
Do You own this heartbreaking rest of a 365?


I bought it.

Since then, I have replaced the missing wing and removed the tenon. It’s going into another Rickenbacker body (a Townshend LE actually) which had its original neck broken beyond repair. A Frankenstein, if you will!

Note that when I replaced the missing headstock wing, I used walnut but it did not match perfectly. I don’t think it’s the same species, doesn’t matter for this build because it’s going to be finished in an opaque color.


C3583378-DBFF-4738-B7DA-6C6828D3EA9B.jpeg

F90C88B3-B567-4A12-A7D9-C0EAE0C552B8.jpeg


Also, we know it’s a ‘61 from a “New Capri” because of the inlays, which were the very first appearance of crushed pearl.
It disappeared the following year and didn’t return until late ‘64. Obviously this has the larger headstock shape (pre-64).

F39C8700-76DD-40D1-8F53-593CFE0D8EBC.jpeg


3D695CB5-A08A-443A-BD48-D6E7F478BFB7.jpeg

Beautiful work there Collin! If you don't mind, would you be able to take some good close ups of the end grain of the fretboard? There are 3 principal Padauk species that are, or have been, available commercially, Andaman Padauk, African Padauk, and Burmese Padauk, I'm curious if a picture of the end grain could help us narrow it down. As for the walnut, I'd actually say that the 3 laminates are all black walnut. There is a good deal of natural variation in black walnut wood, some with hints of grey, some with hints of brown, some with hints of tan, and some with a very subtle purple tint.
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