We are very proud to offer this original 1957 Rickenbacker Combo 400 in black finish. This guitar represents the first of the famed “Tulip Shaped Guitars” offered by Rickenbacker and is the first Rickenbacker to be built with a Neck-Through-Body. The body design is very unique, having 2 convex-shaped horns and the neck is a solid piece of maple featuring a big slab Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 21 medium to thin frets, white dot position markers, and mini off-white side position markers. Serial number “4C7 326” is stamped into a circular metal strap-pin retainer on the back of the bass-side horn. The headstock has a gold anodized metal truss rod cover plate lettered “Rickenbacker” and features individual Grover open-back tuners with clover-leaf shaped metal buttons. The single-coil Dearmound pickup sounds amazing and the electronic controls consist of one volume and one tone knob along with a tw0-way tone boost switch, all-in-all providing a surprisingly wide range of tones. This is a truly inspiring guitar to play, with a look and sound unique to what you would expect of 1950’s Rickenbacker design. This particular guitar is quite rare as it represents the 1st model of solid-body guitars built with a neck-through design. The Rickenbacker combo 400 was only produced between 1956 to mid 1957. There is some finish checking and a few spots around the edges of the body with some finish wear. The back of the guitar has the remains of the original felt padding that was used on this model. Otherwise, this exceptionally rare 1957 Rickenbacker Combo 400 is in excellent condition given it is over 50 years old and comes with a very cool case. The guitar has recently been given a professional setup with new strings and nice low action. All electronics have been inspected and given a clean bill of health.
History of The Rickenbacker Combo 400
“Rickenbacker introduced the Combo 400 in 1956 and dropped it in 1958. The Model 425 replaced it. This was the first of the tulip shaped guitars and the first Rickenbacker with neck-through-body construction. The single pickup was in the neck position, recessed into the body. Standard colors for the Combo 400 were Cloverfield Green (blue-green), Montezuma Brown (golden), and Jet Black. The first press release for the Combo 400 said it had an aluminium pickgurad with “gold color impregnated into the metal so that it will be difficult to scratch.” In other words it was gold anodized.” (Richard R. Smith. The Complete History of Rickenbacker Guitars, p. 142).
“The new solid body guitars showed Rickenbacker’s energy and enthusiasm. They integrated exciting visual designs with the requirements of practical musical instruments. And the designs were original, not copies of Gibson, Gretsch or Fender. The first Combos were just a taste of the new direction the company headed, trailblazing philosophies of guitar technology and construction. Rick solid bodies combined several significant innovations. The extreme cutaway, first used on the Combo solid bodies, combined a flare for style with a concern for utility. Neck-through-body construction, used on most models between 1957 and 1970, was the ultimate manifestation of the solid guitar. With these Rickenbackers, there were no bolts or glue joints on the plane between the end pin and peghead. The design enhanced the instrument’s tone and sustain.” (Richard R. Smith. The Complete History of Rickenbacker Guitars, p. 138).
“Rickenbacker used just one confirmed DeArmond pickup in their guitar range, in the Combo 400 single-pickup solid guitar. The pickup’s bezel is hidden beneath the gold-anodized aluminum pickguard, as shown below. This pickup also appears to have been fitted at the bridge position in the 1957 Combo guitar. This pickup was also used in the Harry Volpe Model Epiphone guitar seen in the Epiphone section, with a visible bezel. The musical instrument pickups, effects units and amplifiers designed and manufactured by Harry DeArmond and Bud Rowe in Toledo, Ohio, from the 1940s to the 1980s, through Rowe Industries Inc., H. N. Rowe & Company, Rowe DeArmond Inc., DeArmond Inc. and Tosh Electronics, all of Toledo, Ohio, USA.” Musicpickups.com (DeArmond).
Nut Width: 1 11/16″
Scale Length: 25″
1st Fret: 1/16″
12th Fret: 3/32″
Pickups: 1 Single-coil DeArmound
Controls: (2) 7-sided black bakelite knobs for volume and tone, 2-way selector switch
Body Finish: Black
Body & Neck Wood: Maple
Fretboard: Brazilian Rosewood
Weight: 6 lbs. 6oz