It all began in 1920s Los Angeles, a city fast becoming the entertainment capital of the world. Like many of his contemporaries, steel player George Beauchamp sought a louder, improved guitar. Several inventors had already tried to build louder stringed instruments by adding megaphone-like amplifying horns to them. Beauchamp saw one of these and went looking for someone to build him one, too. His search led to John Dopyera and Adolph Rickenbacker.
After many highs and lows, the inventors and engineers created the family of Rickenbacker Electro String Instruments. Besides guitars and mandolins, the company invented fully electric bass viols, violins, cellos, violas and an electric piano prototype. Most of these instruments totally disregarded traditional styling. Rickenbacker realized that a fully electric instrument did not have to retain the appearance of its acoustical counterpart.
This conceptual jump – the first of several Rickenbacker revolutions – liberated the thinking of designers to come. With the business now in the hands of Francis C. Hall at the beginning of the 50s and the advent of rock music, a major change was due as the popularity of regular guitars exploded.
In the early 1960s Rickenbacker history became forever wedded to one of the biggest music upheavals of the 20th century: the invasion of the mop-top Beatles from Liverpool, England. The Beatles used several Rickenbacker models in the early years, both guitars and basses.
Soon Rickenbackers created the sound and image of bands on both sides of the Atlantic and it’s rapid popularity provided many musicians the opportunity to play a truly great guitar. Improvements in construction and quality control have carried Rickenbackers into the modern era, one that respects the company's early history and at the same time sets out to write new chapters.