Question/Story on my 360/12

Early years of Rickenbacker Guitars prior to and including 1972

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Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (THX1136) » Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:22 pm

I had a question that you folks might be able to shed light on as I'm not as up on this stuff. My 360/12 had the neck replaced back in 1980 by Rickenbacker. They did a great job and, other than the wood being a bit lighter than the body wood, one can't tell the difference without a closer look. My question: how much does this affect the value of the guitar in general? I am assuming quite a lot, but figured you folks would know better.

The story of the 'why' behind the replacement.

My 360/12 is from 1966. Bought it used from a friend of a drummer I was in a band with. The local music store was going out of business - the owner had been killed in a light plane crash and his wife no longer wanted to run the store. They were closing out most of the current stock and their Ames location had this 360/12. I figured that it would be a good time to buy it as I could get it for good price (read: affordable for me). Visited the store and it was no longer there. They had also had a Mosrite 12 string which was my backup choice, but it was gone also.

Fast forward a few months (1973) and I ran into my drummer friend and he mentioned a friend of his had a Rick they wanted to sell - it was this 360/12. I asked 'how much?' and he wasn't sure but he gave me his address. Went over to the friend's (Rick coincidentally) and he was asking $285 for it (he had bought it from the store that was going out of business). He didn't know how to play guitar and was hoping to learn on the 360. It was in great shape, so I purchased it from him. I immediately started using it in the band I was in at the time.It sounded great through my Dual Showman.

Around 1975/76 I started noticing that the fret board was pulling up from the neck from the nut to around the 3rd fret on the high side of the neck. I knew of a luthier in Des Moines by the name of Maury Jones. The DM Register had run a story on him as he had just built a guitar for Chet Atkins that was shaped like an axe. Any way, I figured I'd take the Rick to Maury. He checked it out and said he could re-glue the board. Picked it up in December and it looked good.

Another fast forward: A year or two later and friend called and wanted to get together to fool around on guitar. I had bought some strings for the 360 which I had not put on yet. I figured I'd re-string it at my friend's apartment. Took the guitar in, but forgot the strings in the car. Went downstairs to the car for them and right back up. Unfortunately, my friend - figuring he'd be helpful - loosened ALL the strings on the Rick and the board popped - the glue not being able to hold with the tension completely removed. (I always did the strings a pair at a time.) Disappointed? Yes. Ted was all apologetic. Oh well. It wasn't that the guitar was unplayable, it was just not fixed any more.

Yet another fast forward. By 1980, not knowing any other luthiers, I decided to send the guitar to Rick to be fixed as a best choice. Prepped it for shipping as well as I could and sent it off via UPS. A week or so later I got a letter from FC Hall saying they had received the guitar and wanted to replace the neck. I was, like, "It doesn't need replacing, just glue to board to the neck". FC said they needed my okay to do the work or, at my request, they could send it back as is. I figured, send it back, I'll find someone local to deal with it. A week or two later it arrived back home. I opened the case and was heart broken. What had been a minor issue was now major. Not only was the board pulled up on the high side down to the 3rd fret, but now the neck was cracked from the 3rd fret down to about the 6th where it took a turn from the middle of the neck with the crack running back up to between the 5th and 4th fret - kind of a 'U' shaped crack - not all the way to the low end side of the neck. Totally trashed and unplayable.

I called out to Rickenbacker the next day and spoke with FC directly. I explained the condition of the guitar as I had sent it and the condition it was in on it's return. Mr. Hall explained it wouldn't make any difference as they would have installed a new neck anyway. I was trying to ascertain where/when the catastrophic damage had happened - going out to CA or coming back. I was unable to communicate this well enough on the phone so I sent a letter out to CA with a drawing of the before/after nature of the damage. Mr. Hall wrote back and offered to make a claim with UPS which I appreciated. UPS agreed to cover $700 of the repair cost and I was left with about $75 to pay on my own. Got a call from Rick after the guitar was received. I asked at that time if there was anyway they could put the old fretboard on the new neck as I liked the crushed pearl inlays better than the newer ones. I was told they couldn't do that, but that they could pull the old board and send it to me if I would like. I told them to send me the old board which I still have. Never quite figured that out, but. . .

The factory did a great job with the replacement. I was - and still am - amazed at their work. It didn't disturb any of the body that I could tell for which I was thankful as the back shows some very nice curly maple grain. So there's the story.

Thanks for any input on the question of value.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (sloop_john_b) » Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:57 pm

Thanks for sharing that! I would love to see some photos. Hard to comment on value without seeing it.

I too once owned a 60’s 360/12 that had been re-necked by the factory in the late 80’s. This is pretty uncommon.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (collin) » Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:54 am

Great story, thanks for sharing.

The fretboard likely separated from the neck near the nut because of improper adjustment of the truss rods. This is precisely what happens when people tighten the old style rods without also pre-bending the neck into position.

It could also have been repaired fairly easily and didn’t warrant a neck break (based on your description), prior to the break anyway.

As for value, yeah it’s hard to comment without photos of the guitar. But as a general rule, a huge irreversible modification like replacing the neck cuts the value by at least 50% compared to all original examples. Maybe even more.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (THX1136) » Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:05 pm

That's about what I expected, Collin. I'll try to get some photos up soon. Thanks to you both for your input.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (kennyhowes) » Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:20 am

Following along in the interest of studying market value; I might pick up a vintage Rick that’s had a similar modification.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (jdogric12) » Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:57 am

Did they put a 21 or 24 fret neck on it?
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (THX1136) » Sat Sep 18, 2021 8:45 pm

It's whatever the original was - I've never counted to be honest. I can lay the old fingerboard on top of the new neck and it fits exactly. As I mentioned, I wanted them to put the old board on the new neck, but was told that could not be done. I read an article/interview with an older employee that was at Rickenbacker back in the 60's. I do not remember the gentleman's name but, he was involved with the design of the tuner arrangement on the 12-strings. He mentioned that one issue they found after some time was the old inlays that stretched from edge to edge actually contributed to a weakening of the neck. The board was no longer the complete piece of wood due to those inlays. I'm guessing that is the 'why' behind the reluctance to put the old board on the new neck. If that is the case, I totally get that.

I also had forgotten, when Rickenbacker replaced the neck they also gave me a new bridge and jacks which surprised me at the time. They put the old parts in the accessory compartment. Looking at the guitar again today I still marvel at the great job the factory did replacing the neck.

Also, I apologize for not getting any photos up yet. I tried to do some this evening and the flash on the camera made it difficult. I need to do the pix outside, so hopefully tomorrow.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (collin) » Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:31 am

THX1136 wrote:I do not remember the gentleman's name but, he was involved with the design of the tuner arrangement on the 12-strings.


Dick Burke.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (THX1136) » Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:47 pm

Right you are, sir! (and thanks!)

I found the interview and re-read it. I originally saw it at Reverb. Tony Bacon did the interview with Dick.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (doctorwho) » Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:07 am

THX1136 wrote:... Also, I apologize for not getting any photos up yet. I tried to do some this evening and the flash on the camera made it difficult. I need to do the pix outside, so hopefully tomorrow.

If you have trouble posting them (once you've taken them, of course!), let us know, as it can be challenging until one learns all of the ropes of file size and dimensions. :shock:

FWIW, I feel that having the provenance of a factory repair would help with the value.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (jps) » Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:41 am

THX1136 wrote:Also, I apologize for not getting any photos up yet. I tried to do some this evening and the flash on the camera made it difficult. I need to do the pix outside, so hopefully tomorrow.

I never use a flash for any of my photography. Either outdoors in soft (somewhat overcast) lighting, or I make use of available lighting indoors.

Here are examples of each.

Elfin-5 FL-Front-1200_9122.jpg


4004L SPC-Stickley 819 Sideboard-1200_2263.jpg


4004L SPC Headstock-1200_2263.jpg


No flash equipment was harmed used in the making of these photographs.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (THX1136) » Sat Sep 25, 2021 12:53 pm

Here's some that I took. The both photos of the jack plate were out of focus which I want to re-shoot. Also want to get in focus shots of the full guitar, back of the headstock and maybe some other angles. I've also got some shots of the original board which I'll post too.
Attachments
neck PUP 1280.jpg
Did a close up of this to show the 'pick wear' on the top left corner. To me it looks like it wore off some of the chrome plating. You can also see the difference in color of the new neck and old body wood.
bridge PUP 1280.jpg
bottom left corner pick wear
full back 1280.jpg
full front 1280.jpg
This is a bit out of focus (I'm using a point and shoot). Going to try and get a better one.
body front 1280.jpg
back 1280.jpg
Sorry I clipped the horn. The white 'blotch' on the left is a reflection of the lining of the coat I was sitting on. The back is clear and reflective. I always wore my belt with the buckle located over the left pocket of my jeans so there is no buckle 'rash' on the back.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (THX1136) » Sun Sep 26, 2021 5:44 pm

Here are some more pix. The full front should be in focus and the back is now the whole back without the clipped horn. I think from the pix that one can see the variance in the wood color of the new neck vs the original body wood. The first side photo, along with the close up of the pups, show this variance a bit better. I do have some shots of the original board which I can post if anyone is that interested.

Anyway. . .thoughts on possible value? I'm inclined to think it's at about 50% of what a comparable instrument would be with the original neck as was mentioned earlier.
Attachments
full front F 1280.jpg
In focus this time
full back 2 1280.jpg
Without the clipped horn
side 2 1280.jpg
side 1 1280.jpg
headestock back 1280.jpg
jack plate 1 1280.jpg
Most of the 'Standard' print is gone, about half or less of the 'Rick-O-Sound' print has worn off
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (sloop_john_b) » Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:21 am

Thanks for sharing the photos!

The number that popped into my head was $2500. Would love to hear from the other experts as well on this.

One concern I have is that the bridge is bottomed out and the action appears to be quite high, indicating that the guitar needs a neck reset. I would estimate around $500 for that kind of repair.
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Re: Question/Story on my 360/12

Postby (jdogric12) » Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:38 am

Very interesting. I don't think I've ever seen a 21-fret neck with NON-full width inlays, have I? It is very early in the morning here...
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