2003 - 325C58 - Newbie/Questions

The short-scale model that changed history

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2003 - 325C58 - Newbie/Questions

Postby (Daniel55) » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:01 pm


My name is Daniel. I'm completely new to playing/owning a Rickenbacker. I am wondering if someone can give me a few pointers with the questions below.

But first, I just want to say the Rick I have has what seems to be 9's, which is ironically my preferred gauge. I play a lot of lead and rhythm with a PRS, so versatility is what I'm used to. The short neck is awesome for my size, almost like a dream come true in a way. The pickups are incredible. But, for the record, this guitar was a strange gift given to my father from a retired evangelist, my father is not a guitarist so he gave it to me. To be honest I'd likely spend that kind of money on another PRS or amp/gear. Nevertheless, this is the most special guitar based on who the man was that gave my father the guitar and more importantly that my father decided to pass it to me for my last b-day. I will never sell it or trade it, even if it there are more "useful/practical" alternatives.

Also, before my questions below, I want to note that I have a great respect for the beatles but I don't really listen to them anymore and never really got crazy into them (sorry, hope i don't get kicked off for saying that) but it's important because I'm def not trying to recreate their sound/tone/look or anything like that. I play modern worship style music with heavy melodic/clean tone influences and also very spacey, textured tones with lots of distortion/gain - hence the PRS. However, this guitar sounds superb for the cleaner stuff and also, get ready for it lol, I did play it on max gain with the overdrive and it RIPS, sounds almost like a Gibson or PRS on the high end, but like and old 50's strat on the low end, kind of weird. Is not just how the pickups are?

Ok, here are the questions:

- What is the recommended gauge? I hear people say 11's due to the scale? It came with 9's and sounded gorgeous but tuning went out now and then.

- Are the pickups supposed to be super loud and on the bottom 3 strings (G,B,E) and mellower on the top 3 (E,A, D) ?

- It comes with a strange tremolo, the Vibrola not the bigsby. How does it work? Most tremolo arms go up and down and this one barely changes the pitch at all, is it supposed to go side to side instead or am I doing something wrong. I mean it moves but the effect is hardly noticeable. If I let a chord ring out it can be noticed a bit but with delay and rev it is hardly noticeable vs PRS or Fender trems where you can totally notice the different. Maybe it's just the older style?

- Is there anything unique about setting up these guitars that a typical set-up guy can't do? I found a local vintage guitar guy who also builds guitars so I figured he would know but these are strange guitars I don't want to pay $100 and have it sound bad.

- Is there any unique problem inherent to these guitars like Gibson has that I should watch out for?

- Please let me know anything else you think I may need to know that I have not asked.

ps. I love jazz but I'm not so fluent in it or have any practical gigs with the style. Do i HAVE to get 11's? I know 9's is probably pushing it, would 10's be ok?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope everyone has a blessed day and enjoys your Rick(s) to the full.
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Re: 2003 - 325C58 - Newbie/Questions

Postby (engineer909) » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:52 am

Hi Daniel, welcome to Rickenbacker land! I had a 325c58 and still have a couple of other 325's. Firstly, the 9's might be a little light for that guitar. I've never tried anything less than 11's myself. That being said, if they work for you, go for it. I imagine there will be tuning issues though and a little heavier gauge is not that bad on the guitar. You'll hardly notice the difference. Now for the vibrato system, it sounds like you have the original Kauffman Vibrola. This is what originally came on the guitar in the fifties and Rickenbacker reproduced the guitar as it was, "wart's and all'. In other words, the vibrato is not that good. The question is, do you want to keep it original, or upgrade the vibrato system. Mine already had a Bigsby b5 vibrato on it when I bought it second hand. That seems to be the vibrato everyone leans toward, due to John Lennon's guitar. I've had no experience with the Kauffman, so I can't speak good or bad on it. If you don't use a vibrato that much, I'd keep it original. it might retain the value a little more. If you've no intention of selling, upgrade for your needs. The pickup situation is a little different. I can't recall any problems with difference from string to string on mine. Again, the pickups were made to 50's specs, so it is what it is.. Enjoy the guitar! It's no longer in production so hang on to it...!
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