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The C Series Story

The C Series is the culmination of an evolutionary engineering project which has involved dozens of people working over a period of years. The challenge was to precisely replicate decidedly imprecise guitars made in an earlier era, reconcile the numerous manufacturing variations, and conform them to modern methods of production and quality standards.

The project focused on the 1958 version of the Rickenbacker Model 325 due to the association of this guitar with John Lennon, as well as the collectibility resulting from low original production. It was discovered very early in the process that there were many myths, misconceptions, and strongly held but subjective opinions about the correct attributes for this model. This was fueled partly by the visibility of John Lennon’s example which suffered extensive modifications over the years. The problem was to find any consensus about this model such that it was reasonable to produce it without igniting a firestorm among the collector factions.

The solution was to enlist the aid of and involve some of the most respected collectors and experts for this guitar in a collaborative effort, using the Internet to bring people throughout the world together in one forum. A private website dubbed "C World" began operation a year before the guitars were scheduled to be released and the following people were invited to participate under conditions of sworn secrecy:

Naoki Ogane- Arguably the world’s most knowledgeable expert regarding guitars owned by The Beatles.

John Williams- Private collector who has specialized in a very large array of classic Rickenbacker instruments.

Toshio Sogabe- CEO of Rick’s Corp., a former distributor of Rickenbacker products in Japan and long time personal collector of Rickenbacker and other Beatle’s oriented guitars.

Michael Steinitz- Noted collector who has amassed one of the most significant assortments of Rickenbacker guitars in Europe.

Yasuhiko Iwanade- Perhaps the most well known writer and guitar historian in Japan, author of "The Beauty of the Burst" and columnist for Japan’s Guitar Player Magazine.

John Hall- CEO of Rickenbacker International Corporation with a lifetime of involvement with Rickenbacker products.

This distinguished panel met electronically, shared hundreds of photos, sorted through and digested all of the credible information and lore, as well as constructively argued to provide the company with the widest range of technical advice. This guidance allowed Rickenbacker’s craftsmen, guided by Naoki Ogane, to produce the most accurate and detailed reproduction guitar possible.

During much of the 325C58 portion of the project, much attention was given to the various hardware added by John Lennon after his guitar left the factory. An example would be the Bigsby vibrato (actually produced by Selmer under license and which was 7% smaller than the American version). It was anticipated that this guitar would be available in various versions, equipped with these parts which were not originally offered or produced by Rickenbacker. However, after long reflection and discussion, Rickenbacker’s management felt strongly that the creativity or ingenuity of fitting these parts was solely that of John Lennon’s and it was inappropriate to his memory to take advantage of his efforts. Accordingly, the project shifted to creating a guitar that is essentially a perfect twin to that which originally left the factory, into the hands of John Lennon.

This concept was carried forward and expanded throughout the entire C Series line except a small concession was made in the 4001C64 Mapleglo body to replicate Paul McCartney’s overzealous sanding of the body, since most collectors would not be able to replicate this detail without damage to the finish. Additionally, a right-handed version of this bass is offered to accommodate the majority of players.

Rickenbacker would like to publicly thank and acknowledge the assistance of these product advisors for their tireless and gracious efforts during the creation of the 325C58 guitar. Given also that the geographic distribution of these individuals precluded cooperation except by phone, written word, and photography, they should not be held responsible for any errors made by the company.