Rickenbacker's First 12 String

The Suzi Arden Rickenbacker

Made for Suzi Arden in July 1963
Copywritten Photo of Jeff Veitch
Courtesy of Scott Jennings and Route 66 Guitars

A Brief History of the Suzi Arden Rickenbacker

The first Rickenbacker 12 string prototype was the Suzi Arden guitar with the serial number of CG725 and crafted in July 1963. Apparently Mr. F. C. Hall asked Ms. Arden for her opinion of the instrument shortly after it was made. After some discussion Suzi convinced Mr. Hall to part with this prototype and received the instrument in 1963. Ms. Arden owned this guitar until 1989 when the guitar moved to Route 66 Guitars. It was eventually sold to Oyama Katsuyuki in 1992. Although the industry standard in the early 1960's, of particular interest today is the use of conventional stringing on this first Rickenbacker electric 12 string. The harmonic strings appear first and this is precisely the opposite in all subsequent Rickenbacker 12 Strings made. The conventional Rickenbacker stringing after the Arden instrument had the main string first in the pairs followed by the harmonic string. It appears that this now traditional stringing of Rickenbacker twelves was the idea of Mr. J. C. Hall. The other revolutionary change to 12 strings introduced by Rickenbacker was the unique design to the headstock. Mr. Richard Burke is credited with this design who agreed to come back from his retirement in the fall of 1998 to be with Rickenbacker International Corporation for a brief period. The pictures of the Arden guitar displayed on this page show the instrument with the ledendary "R" tailpiece. The guitar originally had the trapeze tailpiece which was modified by RIC sometime in 1964. This "R" tailpiece is the first model developed and is apparently thinner and not as robust as its later deveoped predecessor which is still in use up to the present day.

Current Owner Oyama Katsuyuki

Suzi Arden's 360/12 and 1st Rickenbacker 12 String
Courtesy of Owner Oyama Katsuyuki

Letter of Authenticity from Mr. John Hall, CEO of RIC
Courtesy of Owner Oyama Katsuyuki

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