Purchased from: eBay
Features — 9
This Ric is a 2002 360/12 model made in Santa Ana, California (of course!). It has 24 frets on a 24.75 inch scale three-ply maple/walnut neck (the same as most Gibson models) with a rosewood fretboard. The body is maple with a neck-through semi-hollow construction. There are two passive, single-coil pickups and the option for stereo output. Pickups are made by Rickenbacker. The Rick-O-Sound feature is fun to play with, but I haven't found a practical live use for it yet. 6-way adjustable bridge and "R" tailpiece. This isn't a Gibson stop-tail and can really be a pain to restring. It does, however, add to the unique character of the Ric. 5 tone controls (volume and tone for each pickup and a fifth tone control that basically acts as a bass volume knob when both pickups are selected). Also, there is a pickup selector. Dual-truss rods. Pretty useful for keeping the neck in line when you're playing an outdoor gig on a humid summer evening. Hardshell case was included.
Sound — 10
I play in a Beatles tribute band, so it suits my style of music perfectly. My main amp is a 1963 blonde Bassman, but I also run it through a Divided by 13 RSA31 (AC30 style amp). The Ric sings beautifully through each. My main effects are a JangleBox compressor, Neo Ventilator Leslie sim and a Timmy Overdrive. It works great with all of them (as long as the gain doesn't get too high). On clean and semi-clean settings, the guitar is quiet. As the gain and volume increase, so does the noise. Definitely not recommended for anything particularly heavy. The sound of this guitar is the sound of The Beatles, The Byrds, Tom Petty, and R.E.M. This guitar jangles.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The set-up out of the box was awful, but I that is a really easy fix with the right tools and some spare time (or a semi-competent guitar tech). I've read some of these guitars come with intonation problems from the factory, but I bought mine used and it seems that problem was fixed. The string height at the nut was clearly too high. Like, way too high. I debated returning the guitar, but opted instead to pay a local luthier to cut the slots and set up the guitar. It's like buying a new BMW and needing to take it in for an alignment straight from the dealership.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar withstands 4 nights of playing out per week. It is my only twelve-string and I have no qualms about gigging without a backup. The hardware seems like it will last and have no desire to change any of it. (Ok, maybe that "R" tailpiece could use some work.) The finish is immaculate and absolutely stunning in person. Also, it doesn't seem to wear and have that cool distressed look that vintage Fenders get. Personally, the first thing I change on a guitar are the strap-buttons. In my experience, locking strap buttons are a necessity for a gigging musician.
Overall Impression — 10
I always wanted one of these. The Beatles are my favorite band. And the way George Harrison played it. And later, Tom Petty. You all know what this thing can sound like. There are numerous YouTube vids of demos. And this Ric (or similar models) have been used by famous performers (you know who they are). The jangle - the chime - you can't manufacture it with floor pedals (not even the Jangle Box). This is a sound that you can't mimic with any other guitar I know of. The problems pale in comparison to the sound. I would recommend anyone looking for that distinct Ric sound.