Rickenbacker 325

Often described as the Holy Grail of Beatles guitars, the Rickenbacker 325 it's Lennon's first American guitar and his faithful companion from the Beatles' early days in Hamburg and throughout the Beatlemania years…

John buys his first 325 in the fall of 1960, during their time in Hamburg, Germany, when the Beatles are still in their early days. It's a 1958 Capri 325 (serial #V81), a short-scale hollow body with three “toasters” and a gold pickguard. John becomes so attached to it that he calls it “the most beautiful guitar”. However, the guitar undergoes many modifications over the years. The main ones are replacing the original Kaufmann vibrato with a Bigsby B-5 and changing the color from natural to black. John uses it in the Beatles' early and demanding years, and the guitar is his faithful companion until their first American appearance on February 9, 1964, in New York for the Ed Sullivan Show.

On that occasion, Rickenbacker's staff arranges a meeting with the band to showcase some of their latest models. Among them is a special 1964 Rickenbacker 325 (serial #DB122) upgraded and designed as a replacement for the worn-out 1958 325. In a few days, the guitar is in John's hands. Just in time for February 16, 1964, at the Hotel Deauville in Miami, when the Beatles record the second episode for the Ed Sullivan Show. This new guitar differs from the previous one in its slimmer body, original black “JetGlo” color with a white pickguard, and an extra potentiometer to blend the pickups. In no time, the guitar becomes one of the symbols of Beatlemania and the instrument most associated with Lennon.

In addition to these, John also had two other 325s: a special Rickenbacker 325/12 (very similar to the 1964 325 but with twelve strings, produced at Lennon's request during the Miami meeting and delivered to him in March 1964) and a Rickenbacker 325 Rose-Morris Model “1996” in “FireGlo” finish (as a temporary replacement for the main 325, which was momentarily damaged).

The one in the photo is a Rickenbacker 325V63 JetGlo, a reissue of John Lennon's 'Miami' 325.


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