MacB 04/14/2017

Rickenbacker 330 : MacB's user review

« 2009 Rickenbacker Mapleglo (coming straight from L.A.) »

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Value For Money : Correct Audience: Advanced Users
1. Description:

- neck-through construction, open soundholes in the style of Thin Line instruments
- Canadian golden rosewood fingerboard (the golder, the better)
- 1-piece = neck and body made of selected sycamore maple
- 6 SCHALLER tuners
- one 3-position selector switch
- 5 knobs, with the famous 5th allowing for hi- and low-end EQ depending on which direction you turn it (clockwise for more high frequencies with the high switch position, counter-clockwise for more lows with the bass switch, and full-on with the know full-on, tone and volume, vith balanced frequencies)
- one Rickenbacker 33nf condenser half ceramic/ half paper oil
- Modern "R" bridge
- 2 modern Rickenbacker pickups
- 2 rosewood bands incrusted in the wood at the back of the neck
- tuning keys
- Rickenbacker-branded case, cloth and leaflet
- coming straight from the USA (the shop brought it back from there, my guitar was originally intended for the U.S. domestic market)

2. The instrument itself

I bought it in 2016. It was out of the Rickenbacker factories and originally manufactured to be a demonstration guitar at the famous 2009 Los Angeles show. Made according to the specs of the brand’s American customers, requiring a better woodwork and construction, better chosen woods and genuine golden rosewood. I already own another comparable Rickenbacker – a 660 which can’t be found in Europe, where I live. The shop where I bought it took it straight from over there. A real difference shows between my guitars and the models aimed at being exported for the European market. Soundwise, the pickups are not better however, they’re the same and the knobs and tuners are a little harder to action.

3. Use and sound

Tried on tube MARSHALL and NOS 2 heads and cabs, as well as a MESABOOGIE LONESTAR, with a Fender-type reverb. On the MARSHALL and NOS’s overdriven channels, the sound is fatter, very blues rock-oriented, ala ZZ TOP with a psyche/fuzzy sound. In clean mode on the MESA it’s as good as 65 DELUXE REVERB, still the 65 is better in clean with that kind of instrument. On my PRINCETON REVERB, you definitely get a 60s psyche sound, fuzzy but with a great clean sound. You can go from jazz to blues, to blues rock, to pop, to “old school” British rock, to more modern British rock, to early AC/DC hard/heavy, to GUNS’N’ROSES-heavy style – all in a breeze.

Let’s make it clear, we’re not talking about the British Invasion sound, but the sound remains warm, hot, but you need the right amp. For instance I find the sound on modern VOX amps to remain rather cold, while FENDERs and MARSHALLs deliver something warm, dry and mellow on the FENDER e.g.

4. Overall

Everything’s perfect on this instrument, as it was made to be a demonstration instrument in one of thae world’s most famous shows. The sound is very warm, hot, and as the owner of a 2012 Rickenbacker I can tell this one’s sound is way warmer than the one from 2012, and very close from that of my 660 from the same year (2009) – although the 660 is equipped with Toasters.

Compared with the 2012 model, the central stick is thicker, and the neck goes farther through into the body compared with the 2012 guitar which neck feels more like half-through than neck-through, as can be found on 620s and 660s.

I'll complement later with pictures.

Updated review from March 5, 2016:

A very good guitar, with the lows very much more defined than on a European market Rickenbacker export, you’re close specswise to one of the brand’s US 660s, but with additional midrange. While the pickups are not Toasters like is the case for the 660, it is much more vintage-sounding than other models which can be found here in Europe, and while it still doesn’t provide the original British Invasion sound, you get close to a very good Les Paul. Perfect for heavy/Led Zep, with a good overdriven sound. A solo-playing friend tried it, it really rocks, so beware of the neighbours, better try it in your rehearsal room if I can give you an advice.

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