Rickenbacker 360 (old style)

Rickenbacker’s Roger Rossmeisl was the most successful of any guitar designer at bringing together elegance, modernism, and functionality. The proof was in the Capri series that Rickenbacker introduced in 1958.

The 360 was the basic two-pickup, no-vibrato model of the Capri series’ high-end model grouping. It’s “sweeping crescent” double-cutaway style was not only highly modernistic – Gibson introduced its first double-cutaway archtop, the ES-335, the same year, but it had more traditional rounded horns – it also provided more accessibility to the upper-register (all 21 frets were clear of the body) than any other guitar on the market.

The rout for the tailpiece made the guitar aesthetically less bottom-heavy, and it also increased the angle of the “string break” across the bridge for better performance. The elongated gold logo plate on the peghead (which doubled as a truss-rod cover), the gold split-level pickguard, the triangular fingerboard inlays, the slash soundhole, the large diamond-pattern knobs – every element of the 360 was new and elegantly designed, setting the Capris apart from the era’s traditional Gibsons and gaudy Gretsches.