Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

1967 Factory Byrd Model 370/12
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Author:  Ric12Stringer [ Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  1967 Factory Byrd Model 370/12

There is currently an ad on Reverb.com for a 1967 "Factory Byrd" model 370/12 for the astounding price of $21,589. It says: "You are looking at an incredibly rare 1967 Rickenbacker 370/12 BYRD, 12 String. Manufactured in August 1967, this guitar was a special order item from Rickenbacker back in the day. The Byrd wired model was never featured in any price lists. Only a handful original factory Byrd models are known to exist."

The guitar photos in the ad appear to be identical to photos and film of Roger McGuinn's custom 370/12 circa 1966 through early 1970s, with a control knob and switch arrangement noticeably different from the standard 370/12s, and also from the later 1989 Roger McGuinn signature 370/12. There are only 4 knobs (in different locations than the standard), plus 2 toggle switches.

According to what I've read elsewhere, McGuinn had his original 1964 360/12 modified in 1966 at the Rickenbacker factory with a third pickup (making it a 370/12) and an internal compressor and treble booster. This guitar was then stolen later in 1966, ultimately surfacing years later at an auction in England to be sold for $100,000 (but that's a different story). He then had another one just like it custom built by Rickenbacker.

Is this 370/12 BYRD model the same as McGuinn's? How many were made? Was this a "spare" for McGuinn that was never delivered, or were these made for anyone who ordered one? How does the wiring in this guitar differ from the standard 370/12 and the later 1989 370/12 RM?

According to the 1989 370/12 RM manual (on the RIC website), there was a pickup selector toggle switch, a 6-position rotary switch (apparently replacing the 2nd toggle switch of the 1960s version?) which selected various tone, compressor and treble booster settings, a volume pot knob for each of the 3 pickups, and a master volume pot knob. There were no tone controls except for the rotary switch presets. Was the 1967 370/12 BYRD model similarly wired, or something totally different?

All the recent (post 1980s) photos and video I've seen of Roger McGuinn show him playing the 1989 370/12 RM signature model, so I guess he retired the 1960's 370/12. Interestingly, there was also a version of the 1989 370/12 RM without compressor or treble boost that seems to have the standard control knob layout.

I attempted to link the Reverb.com ad and photos below, although I wasn't able to do it right it right (I'm new on the forum). So I attached a photo of it instead.


File comment: 1967 370/12 Factory Byrd
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Author:  Ric12Stringer [ Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1967 Factory Byrd Model 370/12

After doing some further research on the web, I found that neither of Roger McGuinn's 1960s vintage 370/12s actually had on onboard compressor, only the treble booster. The tube-type compressor units of that era were apparently too big to fit in a guitar. In an interview, McGuinn said he never played a guitar with an onboard compressor until the 1989 370/12 RM. So I would assume the 1967 "factory Byrd" model only has a treble booster.

Another interesting thing I found - his second custom 370/12 built in 1966 or 1967 was also later stolen - I don't know when or where. Since his original stolen 360/370/12 eventually turned up in England to be auctioned, and the dealer in the Reverb ad is in England, it kind of makes you wonder doesn't it? Could this "factory Byrd" actually be one of Roger McGuinn's stolen guitars? McGuinn tried to get his original stolen 360/370/12 back when it was auctioned, but was unable due to British laws and expired statute of limitations.

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