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A classic that will will love and hate
The jangle of a Rickenbacker 12 is practically legendary. And for that, it's unmatched. But it's mostly a one trick pony. It doesn't have a lot of versatility in the sounds it makes. I think the 3 pickup 370 is less versatile than the 2 pickup 360 version. Mainly because it the 370 has a 3 position pickup switch instead of 5. And I think all the pickups are the same, they just sound duller in treble as you move towards the neck.
Speaking of the neck, that's the Rick's main flaw. It's too narrow. Chording is often difficult unless you have very thin fingers. The neck does have a double truss rod, though, which is nice if you need that level of adjustment (hopefully not!)
The bridge and tailpiece are another weak point, but that's not unique to Ricks. The bridge is loose. It sits on a metal plate and the tension of the strings hold it down. That's annoying when restringing. It's much worse on a 12 string, though. THe tail piece is also loose. The string tension pulls it against a hook on the bottom. The strings don't pull through holes in the tail piece, they hook along the back of slots underneath the R tailpiece. This combined with the loose tailpiece and bridge make for 2 hour string changes. The strings fall out of the slots often. It's very frustrating and timely to restring this beast.
But you're not going to do Tom Petty songs justice without one. Free Falling isn't quite the same on another brand.
Byrds to Beatles to Petty
What can I say about this guitar that you haven't already heard? It doesn't take much effort to conjure up the sounds of your favorite 60's songs on this baby. George heard Roger, Carl Wilson heard George and Tom Petty heard all three of them and ended up friends with all three of them. If you grew up in the 60's like I did the sound of this guitar raises the hair on your arms. It's absolutely amazing to play and to listen to.