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At a Glance:
A world class instrument, the Rick 360-12 is arguably the world's most popular 12 string electric.
  • Beautiful sound
  • Gorgeous finish
  • Retro looks
  • Dual truss rods
  • Case included

    Rickenbacker International Corp.

    MSRP: $1699.00 US
    Discount price:
       click here

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  • MWN Gear Reviews
    Rickenbacker Model 360/12 Electric 12 String

    Rickenbacker 360/12 12 String Electric Guitar

    The Rickenbacker 360/12 semi-hollow body electric 12 is easy on the eyes, arms, and wallet.

    Turn! Turn! Turn!
    The handcrafted Rickenbacker model 360/12 is arguably the most famous 12 string electric, having been used by the likes of the Beatles, the Byrds, Tom Petty, and even the Beach Boys. Its unique, jangly sound is at home on stage or in the studio, while its cool looks are guaranteed to turn heads.

    The 360 features a maple body and rosewood fretboard. The body is carved from a single block of maple. This process gives the 360/12 its semi-hollow body cavity, with the bonus of reducing the weight. A maple cap is then attached to the back, and body binding applied. Because of the rounded front contours of the 360/12, there's really no way to apply front binding, so instead this Rick features an attractive body binding on the back of the instrument.

    The pearloid fretboard inlays, and bound fingerboard and rear body, help distinguish the 360/12 as a world class instrument. Many consider this model to be an updated, deluxe version of the model 330/12.

    Closeup of 360/12 Tuners -- click for larger viewWeighing in at 8 lbs., we found the model 360/12 to be balanced perfectly, most likely due to its innovative headstock. Six quality Schaller tuners are mounted from the back and six are mounted from the sides of the headstock. This allows the headstock to be nearly half the length of the typical 12 string. This arrangement helps avoid confusion when tuning, since the regular strings use one set of tuning keys, with the octave strings using the other half. Incidentally, the tuners are a joy to use, allowing velvet smooth action with no backlash.

    Finish and Fit
    In a word: gorgeous! We chose Jetglo, Rickenbacker's high-gloss black finish, for our review model. Black is a color associated with John Lennon's Rickenbacker in the early days of The Beatles, and looks great on the 360/12. Black also shows finish flaws more readily than any other color. We found no flaws on our 360/12, and after comparing notes with other Rick users, found this to be the norm. Rickenbacker is to be commended on the fit and finish of their instruments. The gloss is very deep, and produces a mirrored quality, similar to that of a fine automotive finish.

    The binding was applied with no glue deposits evident. We looked inside the cats-eye f-hole and saw no glue between the back and body. This construction was vastly superior to semi-hollow body electrics we have inspected from other American manufacturers in this price range. The neck pocket showed no gaps or extra glue.

    Pickups and controls on Rickenbacker 360/12 -- click for larger viewThe plastic pickguards are set off from the body by rubber bushings. This helps reduce noise and should protect the pickguard from impacts, since the rubber will absorb bumps and shocks.

    Also mounted on a rubber-like cushion are the two high output pickups. This isolates each pickup to avoid microphonics, and keeps the pickup from rocking.

    How's it sound?
    We plugged the 360/12 into a late 70's-era Lab Series amp, in order to enjoy its famous compression feature. We started with the G7sus4 chord from "A Hard Day's Night." Wow! We nearly flipped our wigs! This chord sounded good at almost any pickup setting, but the mix of both picks sounded best to our ears.

    Next, we had to run through The Byrd's rendition of Pete Seeger's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Haunting! Compression really helped get the octave strings into the act on that number. We recommend that every guitarist use a compressor when playing his/her 12 string electric.

    Rickenbacker 12 and Vox Valvetronics modeling amp - click for larger photo

    When we played the Rick through a new Vox Valvetronix amp, we discovered that the two seem made for each other. Not only do they give off a vintage visual vibe, but the Vox AC-30 renditions mated with the 360/12 will make you think you're in Liverpool. Very, very hip.

    The pickups cut through quite nicely, and are responsible for much of the cool, jangly sound most often associated with this guitar. Since the pickups are single-coil, we thought we should also try them in a room lit with fluorescent lights. We were very impressed that the pickups sounded as quiet as the Lace Sensors in our webmaster's Strat. High praise, indeed.

    Rickenbacker Model 360 12 String -- click for larger view Other Information
    Rickenbacker outfits their 12 string models opposite from the way many other manufacturers do: the octave string is the first string of the pair.

    The 360/12 sports a thin neck width, which may take getting used to for some. We found we were able to quickly adapt, especially once we lowered the action. Like any 12 string, because two strings are being fretted at a time, more finger pressure is required. The narrow width is a plus for those of you who may remove the octave strings on occasion and use the 360/12 as a 6 string.

    String height adjustment is made by raising or lowering the four allen screws on the bridge assembly. Neck relief is made by adjusting the pair of truss rods. Instructions for adjusting the action are included in the Care and Maintenance Manual. Allen wrenches are supplied, too. The only other adjustment is pickup height, which is accomplished with a Phillips screwdriver (not supplied).

    The N. America limited warranty for the 360/12 is five years to the original customer, with one year on the finish. Warranty information is posted on the manufacturer's website. We had no reason to contact Rick about our review model, but decided to call their support number anyway. We obtained the correct pronunciation of the company: it's RickenBACKer (as in BACK to front), not RickenBACHer (as in Johann the composer). So we learned something from our call, and you heard it here first!

    Final thoughts
    A world class instrument, the Rick 360-12 is arguably the world's most popular 12 string electric. Very comfortable to play, the 360-12 produces a haunting, chimey sound that will fit in with most any style of music.


  • Type: Semi-acoustic hollow body electric
  • Body: One-piece carved maple
  • F-holes: 1
  • Back: bound maple
  • Finish: high gloss "Colorglo"
  • Available finishes: Mapleglo (natural), Fireglo (sunburst),
        Jetglo (black), Midnight Blue, Turquoise
  • Neck: cross-grain laminated maple
  • Neck joint construction: set neck
  • Truss rods: 2 (field-replaceable)
  • Fretboard: bound rosewood with triangular pearloid inlays
  • Frets: 24
  • Pickups: 2 high output single coil with individual pole pieces
        (3 pickups on model 370)
  • Bridge: 6 saddle, micro-adjustable, with 4 elevation screws
  • Bridge cover: included (removable)
  • Tuning machines: Schaller
  • Strap buttons: compatible with Schaller straplocks
  • Hardware: chrome plated
  • Pickup selector: 3-way
  • Tone controls: 2
  • Volume controls: 2
  • Other controls: 1 master preset (allows tone or volume
        changes to be set in advance and selected via toggle
  • Connections: 1 mono, 1 "Rick-O-Sound"
  • Case: deluxe hardshell with 3 locking hasps (included)

    Rickenbacker International Corp.

    MSRP: $1669.00 US
    Discount price: click here

    Rickenbacker 360 12-String Electric Guitar
    Rickenbacker 360 12-String Electric Guitar

    Related models:
    Rickenbacker 330/12 Electric Guitar
    Rickenbacker 330/12 Electric Guitar

    Rickenbacker 360/12C63 C Series 12-String Electric Guitar
    Rickenbacker 360/12C63 C Series 12-String Electric Guitar

  • Copyright © 1996-2003 The Blame Productions
    Trademarks and copyrights used herein are the property of their respective holders.

    Rickenbacker® , the "R" Design, Triangular Name Crescent Design, RIC, Jetglo, Fireglo, Mapleglo, Autumnglo, and logotypes are among the trademarks and service marks in the United States and other countries of Rickenbacker International Corporation.