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If one (volume), chances are the knob will be of an octagonal shape (first two years). Later and until August 10th 1937, the little tabs or "ears" on each side of the pick-up will bear a "PAT PEND.".Starting 1940 (second genreation, see below) both controls on the treble side. From 08/10/'37 on a patent number replaces the "PAT PEND." stamping.(While I think that the new pick-up it's still a very decent sounding one, I agree, it's not the real deal. However, I don't think that it's the size of the magnet plates that really made the difference but the much smaller winding of the bobbin and the "screw-on" bridge.)Probably in order to reduce the risk of body breakage, Rickenbacker also quit the string-thru attach design and introduced a plated metal tail piece (much like on semi-acoustic Jazz-guitars or Dobro's).There are a couple of things I have been wondering about it.Maybe this is a good time to bring them up.- All of the panels are celluloid except the panel with the control knobs. Do all the celluloid panel Ricks have the control knobs mounted on a metal plate?This is my latest review on these instruments and while there still might be some "bugs", I think and hope it will help you identify better your instrument or any guitar you might consider for sale or purchase. The company was issued a patent on the pick-up in 1937.However, I do not guarantee the information below (don't you come sue me! They where the company's second steel guitar model after the legendary "A"-model (aka. A Standard guitar version was also issued but with much less success. The body was entirely made of the world's first plastic; Urea-Formaldehyde (aka.7 string models are built out of a 6 string body and neck, Thus the string spacing on 7 string models is narrower, which makes slants a little more difficult.Rickenbacker has even used 6 string necks for some of their 8 string models, which are really "no-slanters" (IMNSHO) as the string spacing becomes very narrow.10 string models were built on special order only.
It has six strings and the headstock has Rickenbacher Electro written on it(both are written horizontally).A friend of mine just bought an old Rickenbacher off of an old gentleman last week and he is trying to find out what year it was built and what it is worth.As I have no knowledge concerning lap steels I thought I would check here for him.Check the string attach, but remember that the late 1950's models had "string-thru-the-body" attach too (but won't have the integrated bridge).Even some late post-war model may have left the factory with an impressive 1-1/5" pu (I haven't seen one yet, but after all I have seen, it wouldn't surprise me).