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Raspbernie

Wally's Guitars: Part 2

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In our second installment, we feature Wally's Rickenbacker 360 12-string Mapleglo circa late-'60s guitar. Used most prominently on every Raspberries song that dripped with sweeter-than-sweet 12-string honey—like their second hit, "I Wanna Be With You" as well as "Let's Pretend"—a similar model (a 370/12 with 3 pick-ups instead of 2) was played by Roger McGuinn of the Byrds on nearly all of their recordings from 1966-1971! It's so great that Wally still has all of his original guitars. How he managed to hang onto them will be covered in our next installment. Until then, continue your drooling.

laugh

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MJ   

Where is my drool cloth Bernie???? I absolutely love the Rick and what amazing jangly notes coming outta that thing when he's playing it!

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Brian   

I remember Wally playing this guitar on a heck of a lot of songs back in the days!!! Most notable,"Jumping Jack Flash" comes to mind..then, after he got the Gibson,it adapted some of the 12 string work, but Wally kept the Rick going for the most hardcore 12-string tunes. Nice to see large file images of these classics!!

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JohnO   

Bernie - At the risk of nit-picking, I believe that's a Ric 360-12. The 370-12 model has always had a third pickup....Roger McGuinn's always played a 370-12 (and the Ric Roger McGuinn Signature model was a 370-12 with an on-board compressor to allow you to approximately get Roger's sound).

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GMan   

NOW we're talkin'!!!! I don't have a Ricky 12 string but I do have a 330 6 string in a beautiful Fireglo finish. I Love it!!!

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Great looking guitar and Wally makes playing it look effortless.

My Fireglo 330/12 never seems to play as well as it should - I can never seem to get the action down low enough without incurring unacceptable fret buzz at the higher end. (Apologies to non guitar players for the geek speak!).

Gary frown

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JohnO   

Angloberry/Gary - I've had the exact same problems in the past with a 620-12 and 360-12. If you live somewhere with dramatic climate changes, you almost need your own personal guitar tech to keep a Ric 12 playing properly....They're, without a doubt, the best sounding 12-strings, but they're also a pain in the ass to maintain, IMO.

P.S. I recently played a Bill Nash 12-string (Tele thinline body), and it's the only one I've ever seen or played that's as easy to play as a 6-string! The neck is much wider than a Ric's, and the strings are much better spaced.

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Crg2   

This is the seond reason why I own a Mapleglo Ric-12 (the first one being McGuinn). I am more of a solid body person, so mine's a 660-12.

Also, mine has a wide neck, maybe like that previously mentioned Bill Nash 12-string. The strings are not "backwards," and the result is a very comfortable, playable neck. To save tension and stress on the neck-through-body, and to keep the intonation from slipping, I had it set up a whole step lower.

Mine's at home, while I am away taking care of family. I wish I had it with me now, so I could write a song on it, and play "Last Dance" while chewing gum. For me, Wally is one of the greatest 12-string players. It's where his talents become most evident-think about how great it sounds when that guitar comes in with the melody after the opening chords of "Where Have You Been All My Life." Thanks for the pic-that is perhaps the greatest celebrity Ric-12 around; a happy sound from my life as a grade schooler.

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On Harmony Central today, Eastwood guitars is announcing that they are remaking the old Ovation Breadwinner electric guitar. Wally is mentioned as an artist who used this model. I remember Wally saying he owns one in an interview. The original Breadwinners are rare so Wally is in exclusive company. Any plans on showing us a picture of Wally's breadwinner Bernie?

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JohnO   

Crg2 - The necks on 660-12s (and the more expensive Tom Petty models) are far and away the best playing ones! Unfortunately, they're also the hardest models to find....I think Rickenbacker had about a 2 year wait awhile back on 660-12s.

BTW, here are a few shots of a Bill Nash T-12 Relic (he also makes a 12-string version of a Jazzmaster)....on sale at Killer Vintage Guitars in St. Louis....(all of these photos can be blown up for a better view)

http://killervintage.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=306&Itemid=10

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Crg2   

Crg2 - The necks on 660-12s (and the more expensive Tom Petty models) are far and away the best playing ones! Unfortunately, they're also the hardest models to find....I think Rickenbacker had about a 2 year wait awhile back on 660-12s.

BTW, here are a few shots of a Bill Nash T-12 Relic (he also makes a 12-string version of a Jazzmaster)....on sale at Killer Vintage Guitars in St. Louis....(all of these photos can be blown up for a better view)

http://killervintage.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=306&Itemid=10

Those are like a cross between a Vox and a Tele Thinline. The neck looks to be a similar width to the Rickenbacker 660-12. Would love to try one of those!! Wonder how they sound through a JangleBox compressor?

With my 660-12, I was not only fortunate enough to walk into a store with one in stock, but I also had two from which to choose. Once you get your hand on that wider neck, it all seems to melt into you and become your "third arm." I had always wanted a 360-12 or a 370-12, but my 660-12 sounded so beautiful and was so inspiring to play, that I never once looked back.

It appears to me that the only differences between the Tom Petty Limited Edition and the regular Rickenbacker 660-12 are pickguard graphics and collectiblity designation. I'm not certain, but it seems like the Signature Model came first, then the production model due to subsequent popular demand.

Since McGuinn's original was stolen, Wally's is, to my mind, the great classic Ric 12-string, the one to which I have happily fallen asleep listening to through headphones many times. Of course, it wouldn't be as great in anyone else's hands. I don't think many people recognize how rare and unique Wally's touch with this instrument is.

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JohnO   

The JangleBox is GOD! Steve Lasko, its inventor, lives in the DC area. I imagine a Nash 12 would probably sound very close to a Ric through one...

The Nash neck, at least on the surf green tele thinline I recently tried out, is wider than a 660-12, and the strings are also spaced out more, but each of the sets of strings (the 2 low E's, 2 A's, 2 D's, etc.) are closer together, making it really easy to play leads/solos versus a Ric. Nash, IMO, is the best luthier on the planet for the money! (I have 2 of his regular teles, an esquire & a strat, and they're much better than Custom Shop Fenders/Relics, and cost considerably less.)

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JohnO,

I've noticed that one of the strings on my Ric sits on top of the nut instead of in it's groove. It's completely unmodified and left the factory like that - can't be right for a US made guitar surely?

Whatever, to me the Ric is a thing of wonder and beauty. I like just having it to look at now and again even if I don't play it much!

Gary

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Crg2   

The JangleBox is GOD! Steve Lasko, its inventor, lives in the DC area. I imagine a Nash 12 would probably sound very close to a Ric through one...

The Nash neck, at least on the surf green tele thinline I recently tried out, is wider than a 660-12, and the strings are also spaced out more, but each of the sets of strings (the 2 low E's, 2 A's, 2 D's, etc.) are closer together, making it really easy to play leads/solos versus a Ric. Nash, IMO, is the best luthier on the planet for the money! (I have 2 of his regular teles, an esquire & a strat, and they're much better than Custom Shop Fenders/Relics, and cost considerably less.)

Steve Lasko was the nicest guy about teaching me how to use his pedal over the phone and email. The JangleBox takes some time to use well, and he's very understanding about that. He's a mensch.

I would love to try out a Nash. If he does great Fender replicas, then he could probably make a 12-string that sounds like what Lou Reed used on the first Velvet Underground album, or what Peter Buck used on R.E.M.'s "Murmur." It's indeed a shame that the Fender Custom Shop charges more than a master craftsman who hand builds electric guitars. I don't know about now, but, when it began, Fender Cutom Shop made great instruments.

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