Vintage Vibes: 1961 Fireglo Rickenbacker 330 Capri

VINTAGE VIBES:1961 Fireglo Rickenbacker 330 Capri

Nathaniel is runnin’ down a Rick’ in this video starring our 1961 330 Capri. 1961 was the last year for colored pickguards, oven-style knobs, and thicker body depths, which, along with the toaster-style single-coil pickups with six individual Alnico magnets, make this Rickenbacker look and sound like a dream.

Nathaniel Murphy Describes the 1961 Rickenbacker Fireglo 330 Capri

Product image

This is a stunning Rickenbacker 330 Capri from 1961 in a very bright and very vivid, aptly named Fireglo finish.

So the serial of the guitar dates to 1960, but one of the pots dates to 1961, so we're going to call it a '61. 1961 was last year before the 330 underwent several changes, including a slightly thinner body, white pickguard, and also modern, standard black round knobs instead of these very cool oven-type knobs.

This beautiful guitar has the toaster pickups. Now, as you can imagine, the nickname comes from this black line here going through the pickups, which, from a bird's eye view, looks kind of like a toaster. Because of these two lines, a lot of people think that these are actual humbuckers, but they're not. They're actually low output pickups, so they don't drive the amp as loud as more modern high-gain pickups. They're also single-coil pickups, which have a very unique and distinct Rickenbacker sound that's instantly recognizable.  

Since we're showcasing this beautiful vintage 330, and we carry the full Rickenbacker line, we figured we compare this to one of the brand new 330s with its high gain pickups to demonstrate the sonic differences between the two.

The most significant difference between the pickups is in the actual type of magnet, not the winds. The toasters have six individual Alnico magnets, which you can't see under the cover, and the contemporary, high-gain pickups have a single ceramic magnet on the bottom and six exposed pole pieces that protrude through the top.

The 1961 sounds quite a little bit thinner. It sounds jangly, and I think everyone uses that word with it. It's that "jangly" Rickenbacker sound, like The Smiths and The Byrds, and it's an immensely enjoyable sound. It sounds quite good to just let some chords hang out and open strings up. This guitar, in particular, has quite a thin neck, and that might be a bit strange at first. The contemporary necks are a lot thicker, so it'd be good to come in and compare the two yourself.

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