During the Beatles first visit to the USA in February 1964, they were shown a selection of instruments by Rickenbacker. The famous one being a 1963 360/12 model which George Harrison kept and immediately put to use.
At the meeting, John Lennon inquired about the possibility of obtaining a new replacement for his very road worn 1958 325 6-string model. Lennon’s only stipulation seemed to be that the new 325 be painted in black. He was told that an updated 325 model happened to be available and a custom black version could be made ready for him in very short order. A rush order was placed.
However, Lennon was not yet finished. He seemed to really like the 360/12-string model and was the one who wanted to take the guitar back to their hotel room right away and show it to George Harrison. Harrison was not with them as he had the flu and was unable to attend the Rickenbacker presentation.
Lennon’s attention, so captured by the electric 12-string guitar, likely led him to inquire about the idea of having a 12-string made in his famous signature 325 body style. Rickenbacker quickly agreed and so an order was also placed for a one-off custom 325/12.
Lennon’s 12-string guitar was originally supposed to have the Ac’cent vibrato tailpiece installed (just like his new 6-string). Since Rickenbacker designated non-vibrato models with a number ending in “0” and vibrato models with a number ending in “5”, they appropriately designated it as a 325/12. However, during assembly Rickenbacker discovered that the Ac’cent vibrato did not work properly with 12 strings. So, a fixed trapeze style tailpiece was fitted instead but the designation was left as 325 in error.
Upon it’s completion, Lennon’s 325/12 was shipped directly to him in London, England sometime in March 1964. Incredibly, the guitar remained in transit for almost 3 months before Lennon took delivery! He put the guitar to immediate use recording “Every Little Thing” and then taking it along as back up during the European, Australian and US Tours. Lennon is photographed playing it live during a Dutch television show and a concert in Boston.
Rickenbacker has never put a 325/12 model in general production. Aside from Lennon’s 1964 one-off, and possibly one other one in the late 1960’s, RIC has only produced 19 non-vibrato designated 320/12’s and 6 non-vibrato designated 325/12’s for the Japanese market in the mid-1980’s and a few in the early 1990’s. Rickenbacker also did a special limited run of 136 non-vibrato designated 325/12v63’s in late 1999. Cosmetically, these guitars were sort of similar to Lennon’s however structurally they were very different.
In the early 2000’s, during the development of the C-series, Rickenbacker also produced a couple of one-offs or prototypes designated 320/12 or 325/12 which don’t resemble Lennon’s original at all.
The 1999 325/12v63 model in our collection has been highly modified to exactly match the 1964 specs of John Lennon’s 325/12. The modifications are: New body with correct shape and beveling; correct internal bracing; correct shape headstock; correct thicker material nameplate and pick guards; correct shape nameplate; correct knob placement; and correct neck shape. Skilled guitar luthier, William Young, performed all modifications.
Check out the cool Vox Python strap similar to the one on Lennon’s 325/12!360_12.html360_12.html1958_325.html64_325.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3

1999 Rickenbacker 325/12v63 modified to 1964 specs

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Lennon on Dutch television with his newly delivered custom 1964 325/12. One of the only two known occasions that he performed with it in front of a live audience.

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