Up for sale, a 1961 Rickenbacker 345 Capri in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. A well cared for example sure to satisfy discerning collectors, this Capri has all the hallmarks of Rickenbacker's golden age including a full 2 1/8" body depth, mono output, pat. pending Ac'cent vibrato, gold lucite dual-tiered pickguards, open-gear Grover butterbean tuners, and stove knobs. The window in which this feature set was offered on the Capri lasted only a matter of months, given the introduction of the Ac'cent vibrato unit in mid-1960, and the complete redesign of the 300 series body shape/depth/control layout by the latter half of '61.
Finished in the original gloss Fireglo nitro lacquer, this Rickenbacker is the pinnacle of Mid Century design, with a distinctive European flair courtesy of Rickenbacker designer Roger Rossmeisl. Tonally, the 345 Capri is an impressive sounding instrument, with a very full sound and no shortage of warmth, detail, or sparkle. Never biting or thin, the guitar delivers a tonal palette in the parameters of what one expects from a later Ric model, yet with an articulation and volume not reproduced by later toasters. The tone controls work in reverse, with the darkest, smoothest tones with the knob at its max, and the most articulate treble with the knob rolled back. All three Toaster Top pickups have a rich tonal character, with the longer alnico magnet slugs utilized on the neck and bridge pickups, and the shorter alnico slugs for the middle position Toaster. The body depth of the early Capri models allows for a more textured, powerful sound, and as the middle and neck pickups are ganged together on the switch, those tones are unique to the 345, balancing warmth and chime. Weighing 7lbs 14oz and setup with roundwound 10-46 strings, this Rickenbacker is dialed in to play its best with low action and accurate intonation.
The maple neck with walnut central third has a slender, effortless C-shaped profile carve with inviting shoulders that aren't too pronounced, measuring .825" deep at the 1st fret and .810" at the 12th. The slab Brazilian rosewood fretboard has been professionally refretted with slender vintage-spec wire, and the frets are flawless. The gloss was also removed from the fretboard in conjunction with the refret, and the guitar plays easily in every register with a straight neck and responsive truss rod. The scale length measures a full 24 3/4", the original nut measures 1 5/8" in width, and the headstock retains the original Grover open-gear butterbean tuners which turn smoothly and hold pitch as they should. And of course no Rickenbacker headstock would be complete without the original gold lucite logo. There is evidence of another shorter logo plate being mounted at some time, with a couple additional mounting holes beneath the original plate currently on the instrument.
All of the electronics work as intended, with original "dynamite" paper-in-oil tone capacitors and CTS pots which date to the 3rd week of '61. There are a few touched-up solder joints, and the middle pickup has a new lead as well. The dual-tiered gold pickguards are original, and tape was affixed to the back of the lower guard at some point in the instrument's life, causing a textured reaction through the gloss paint, smooth to the touch on the face of the guard. The stove knobs and baton switch tip are also original, rounding out the plastic parts. The stock bridge with small brass roller saddles works in concert with the Ac'cent vibrato, which retains its original arm. Also of note, the neck angle on this Ric is ideal, with low action in every register and a small amount of downward mobility still available at the bridge. The Ac'cent vibrato is the very first iteration with a brass "Ac'cent by Paul, pat. pending" plate and nigh flawless chrome, complete with the original arm. The chrome plating on the Toaster pickup covers is equally clean.
The Fireglo lacquer finish has great saturation and zero finish fade, with no discernible difference between the exposed finish and that which has been protected for decades below the pickguards. The guitar exhibits buckle rash across the back, with a targeted spot through the gloss to the treble side of the center seam. There is a sliver of wear through the gloss along the back body edge and also where the forearm crosses the top, and just a few minor additional nicks and finish chips. The neck profile shows natural palm wear through the nitro on the profile edges, silky smooth and inviting to the palm.
The Capri models are pure golden age Rickenbacker, with a feel and tone unsurpassed by subsequent models and a tonal range and expressiveness that's truly in a league of its own.
The original silver hardshell case with blue plush interior is included.A Rickenbacker molded hardshell case is included. The handle is missing, yet case retains its original latches, showing a couple small (and very common) splits on the outer corners of the case.