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Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:59 am
by Simon_McCrindle
Greetings from Scotland! :D

My name is Simon and I own a music shop called Ayr Guitar in the town of Ayr on the west cast of Scotland. I would be very grateful if someone could help me regarding a very early Rickenbacker that a customer sold to me a couple of years ago.

It's a Rickenbacker Premier Vox Spanish Electric guitar from, I think, 1935. Over many years of running two music shops in Scotland, I have come into contact with 2 or 3 of this model, but they have always been black bakelite with chrome panels and with 2 knobs. As you can see from the attached photos, this one is made of brown bakelite with (I think) brass panels and only has one knob. Just as exciting, the lady sold it to me with the original amp and case that it came with. I had heard about this package, but all the ones I had seen previously only came with a case. Online research seems to verify that this is about as rare as unicorn p**p! :D

I have spoken to Rosetti, the Rickenbacker distributor here in the UK, and David Chadwick (my Rosetti sales rep) recomended that I contact you, as he had never seen anything like it and believes it may be a prototype of sorts. I would be very grateful if you could have a look at the photos I have attached and let me know what your thoughts are on this extremely historically important instrument.

Many thanks and my very best wishes to you all,

Simon McCrindle
Ayr Guitar.

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:27 pm
by Simon_McCrindle
Just a follow-up point that David Chadwick wants me to clarify. Those are my words about it being a possible prototype, not his! I didn't phrase that paragraph well in the original post and I can't edit it. Cheers :D

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:31 pm
by admin
No worries, Simon. The point of the thread it to get to the bottom of the story on this Rickenbacker. :)

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:06 am
by admin
Simon is there any chance we could get a closeup photo of the headstock?

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:47 am
by Guzzitd63
admin wrote:Simon is there any chance we could get a closeup photo of the headstock?

What is the very first photo Simon posted?
Is that the headstock?
It is cropped so tightly there is almost no context but I think it may be (the signature plate at the top of the headstock.)

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:46 pm
by Simon_McCrindle
Hi guys

Yes, the first photo is a close-up of the headstock plate. I'll take some more photos tomorrow when I'm back in the shop and post them for you.

Many thanks and kind regards,

Simon.

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:38 pm
by Simon_McCrindle
Hi guys

As promised, here are some additional pics taken today. As you'll see, there has been some extensive machine head customisation going on over the years. I'm trying to source some period-correct machine heads, but that's taking some time. You may also see the "N" that has been stamped on the edge of the pickup cover (I don't know what the significance of that is - maybe the builder's initial?). The previous owner told me her grandfather (who was in the Navy) bought it as a complete all-in-one package brand new, but had no more information than that.

The picture taken of the back of the instrument shows the shop lighting reflected off it - it's actually in very good condition with only a couple of light scratches. I guess bakelite is a very tough material. It's certainly very heavy for its' size!

Please let me know what you think. Any comments and additional information would be much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Simon.

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:31 pm
by Tele295
I’ve seen those on reverb and eBay. They generally go for less $$ than a panda B6, but appear to be the same in all but color and badge.

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:03 pm
by johnhall
These are not Rickenbacker (or more correctly, Electro String) products. These were produced in the UK by Premier Vox or whatever their corporate entity was. I don't recall the details but it was done under a license agreement pursuant to some patent matter.

Perhaps Martin and Paul Kelly's forthcoming Rickenbacker book will address this.

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:17 pm
by admin
johnhall wrote:These are not Rickenbacker (or more correctly, Electro String) products. These were produced in the UK by Premier Vox or whatever their corporate entity was. I don't recall the details but it was done under a license agreement pursuant to some patent matter.

Perhaps Martin and Paul Kelly's forthcoming Rickenbacker book will address this.


John, thanks for the clarification. Maybe it is time for you to write a Rickenbacker book of your own focusing on your time at RIC. I suspect that the stories that you have related to us on the RRF have merely scratched the surface.

Re: Very Early Rickenbacker Steel (Prototype?)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:33 pm
by Mickoz
Here is a description of one for sale in Australia. The seller is very knowledgeable and i would think correct in his description.

Late 1930's PremierVox Electro (Model B) Spanish Neck. The rare 'export' model of the Rickenbacher Electro Model B Spanish, available prior to the war in England and her colonies. Assembled in England from Rickenbacher supplied bakelite body, neck and chromed body parts, it has English pots with hexagonal bakelite knobs, a slightly variant English wound Rickenbacher 1 1/2 in. horseshoe pickup, three-on-a-plate Grover tuners and PremierVox metal logo on headstock. The original hardcase which appears to be a typical period Rickenbacher also has English fittings.

Cheers,