How to Get That Sixties Guitar Tone Out of My Rickenbacker

Written by matthew caines
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How to Get That Sixties Guitar Tone Out of My Rickenbacker
Fine-tune the '60s sound once you get it by experimenting with different dial levels and switches. (amplifier knobs image by Darko Draskovic from

Music in the 1960s is best remembered by guitar-heavy British bands such as The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and The Animals. These groups defined a rock 'n roll pop music movement known today as the "British Invasion," which was particularly defined by its sticky mid-range guitar tones and high-pitched chime.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Check your Rickenbacker model number and see if your guitar is really capable of reproducing an authentic and original sound. Any electric model from the 300, 600 or vintage series should be capable of reproducing the '60s tone. Some vintage models are either still on sale or have been remodelled and remade to suit the modern guitar player. John Lennon's original 325 Rickenbacker, for example, has been reproduced into a more usable 325 C series, and George Harrison's 425 guitar model can still be purchased from specialist vintage stores.

    Other Rickenbacker guitars will not be able to produce an accurate and fine-tuned '60s sound due to their design and purpose. A 700 series guitar, for example, is acoustic and would not be physically capable of reproducing an electric '60s tone.

  2. 2

    Invest in a guitar amplifier that is capable of recreating that signature 1960s guitar sound. VOX amplifiers are often credited with defining the midrange sticky tones of The Beatles, mainly because it was the VOX AC30/6 model that the band used to record their early albums in the 1960s. Buy a modern VOX AC30 Classic amplifier to really get an authentic and original sound, but other ranges such as the Laney VC30 and Randall RT-30 series are also effective.

  3. 3

    Plug your Rickenbacker into your guitar amp. Turn the "Brilliance" switch on first. This will give your guitar's mid-range level an extra brightness. Also increase the volume, treble and bass levels for the top boost channels; this will create a chime and sticky sound that is often associated with '60s guitar-based music. Also, turn the tone cut levels up; this will decrease high frequency in the tone and give the output a sticky dull sound reminiscent of The Beatles' "Day Tripper" track.

  4. 4

    Experiment with the tone, volume and any other controls located on your guitar's body. These sound dials will vary between model and make but can help fine-tune the '60s sound of your guitar. For example, turn the tone knob and fine-tune the sound to a more real, cleaner tone, which can be attributed to sixties songs such as The Animals' "The House of the Rising Sun."

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