03 October


Model 325S/1996: F-Hole Position

By Joe Hardman Close Encounters No Comments

Model 325, 1958, Jetglo Model 1996, 1964, Fireglo Model 1996, 1964, Fireglo
Model 325, 1958, Jetglo Joe Hardman
Model 1996, 1964, Fireglo Joe Hardman
Model 1996, 1964, Fireglo John Lennon
Joe Hardman Joe Hardman John Lennon

Joe Hardman’s Newsgroup Comments

Joe Hardman, an avid collector of Model 325 Rickenbackers has recently made some very interesting comments regarding the f-hole positions on these instruments. His October 3, 1999 response to questions about the Model 325 posed on alt.guitar.rickenbacker was “I believe pre 1970 310 -325 models are exceedingly rare, relatively speaking, regardless of the “F” hole configuration. Without question, 2 O’clock “F” hole models are the rarest of the rare and are generally considered to be the most desirable, because of the Lennon factor. If one were to go back and check the last 12 issues of Vintage Guitar Magazine, I do not think he or she would find more than one pre 1970 310 – 325 model advertised for sale.

One O’clock models are very rare and two O’clock models are exceeding rare. Many of us, who have studied 310 -325 models for many years, beleive that Rose Morris 1996 models were shipped during 1964 with both one and two O’clock “F” holes. Based on our observations, it is likely that the majority, if not all, two O’clock models were shipped during the first half of the year. However, since there are so few models known to exist, we can’t be 100% certain. The recently advertised 1967 two O’clock model is truly unique, because until it appeared on ebay, most 310 -325 historians would have said there were not any 60’s two O’clock models, produced after the summer of 1964. Well, so much for that theory. This is another perfect example of why one should avoid using words such as “always” and “never”, when discussing vintage Rickenbacker products.

I am not saying the majority of 325 models produced during the first half of 1964 were made with two O’clock “F” holes. However, based on the serial numbers of the few 1964 two O’clock “F” hole models known to exist, it would appear they were shipped to Rose Morris during the first half of the year. More than likely the majority of 325 / Rose Morris 1996 models produced that year were in fact the one O’clock style. I do not have any inside information, regarding the change from one to two O’clock “F” holes, however it is likely that very early R. M. 1996 models were made from left over early 60’s bodies. I do know that RIC would accept special orders in those days, so conceivably a dealer could have special ordered a particular style, but majority of the population at the time was not that sophisticated or detail oriented. Therefore, when MANNY’s placed an order for 310 – 325 models, it is highly doubtful that anyone within MANNY’s or Rickenbacker gave any thought to “F” hole styles. Whatever MANNY’s or Rose Morris received from Santa Ann they sold. Also, it is important to remember that outside major metropolitan areas, such New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, 310 – 325 models were infrequently ordered by dealers, because they were both expensive and somewhat impractical. As you know, when we were growing up in the 60’s, we were lucky if we owned one good American made guitar and the vast majority of us bought and played full scale models.

As you are well aware, there were some flat top (non “F” hole) 325 models made during 1958, but the majority of 1958 325 models known to exist, have two O’clock “F” holes. Two O’clock “F” holes seem to have been the norm for 310 -325 models until 1964, when one O’clock models appeared. There could be more, but I am only aware of two flat top 325 models that were produced during the 60’s: Lennon’s DB-122 and a fireglo model, which I assume is original and owned by a Japanese collector. We had a store similar to Manny’s in Chicago, located several blocks down Wabash Avenue from Marshal Fields, which carried all the major brands, including Rickenbacker. I have fond memories of riding the elevator up to the third floor and stepping into the most spectacular place in the universe. Little did we know that such visits would remain with us forever.”

One O’clock and two O’clock 325 models were both produced during 1964, but up until 1964 it appears that two O’clock “F” hole models were the norm, just as one O’clock models were the norm by the end of 1964. That’s why Greg’s 1967 325 two O’clock model blew some of us away, when it appeared on ebay. It’s anything but the norm and raises several questions. 1) Was it a left over body that was sitting in the corner of the factory that someone decide to complete? 2)Was it a special order or part of a limited run in 1967? 3) Did someone just goof and use the wrong “F” hole pattern that day?”

Joe Hardman comments on the model 320 Fireglo below. “The “f” hole on the 86 320 shown below is shaped like a one O’clock “f” hole, even though it is pointing toward two O’clock. Therefore, I would not consider it a “classic” example, because of the shape of the “f” hole.”