Rickenbacker 330 vs 360: Getting Sweet Vintage Tone from the Originals

When it comes to getting the classic sound of a semi-acoustic guitar, it’ll be unfair for Rickenbacker if it’ll not be mentioned. Yes, there’s nothing better than the Rickenbacker 330 vs 360 when it comes to getting a sweet vintage tone with clarity. These guitars are good to play with solid electronics, too. So, this article will be dedicated just to discuss two of Rick’s best.

Rickenbacker Background

Known as the first maker of the electric guitars, Rickenbacker International Corporation is a stringed instrument company from California, USA. Founded in 1831, the company has been producing a wide variety of electric guitars and bass guitars. Among the widely accepted guitar models were those belonging to the Rickenbacker 300 Series, which was launched in 1958.

This series comes in three main groups, the short-scale 310 models, full-scale 330 models, and the 360 deluxe group. Just this grouping, you know that the Rickenbacker 330 and 360 are designed differently.

The Rickenbacker 330 has the standard dot inlays, 24 ¾-inch scale length, and the trademark Rickenbacker “slash” soundhole. The 360, on the other hand, has triangular inlays with round edges and binding on back edges.

These two are almost identical, if not with the different inlays used. So, it’s important to compare them side-by-side in terms of the specifications, design, performance, sound, and price.

Rickenbacker 330 vs 360: Specs Comparison

These two are almost identical and it’ll be very difficult to spot which is which since the color variety and finish is the same for both. After all, they belong to the Rickenbacker 300 Series, as mentioned. So, here’s a tabulated data of their specifications that could be very helpful to easily spot their differences.

SpecificationsRickenbacker 330Rickenbacker 360
Body TypeSemi-AcousticSemi-Acoustic
Body WoodMapleMaple
Neck WoodMapleMaple
Neck BindingNoYes
Fingerboard WoodRosewoodRosewood
Fret Marker StyleDotTriangle
No. Frets2424
Scale Length24 ¾ – inch24 ¾-inch
No. of Pickups22
Type of PickupsHi-gainHi-gain
Output TypeMonoMono and Stereo
Overall Length39 ½-inch39 ¾-inch
Weight8.0 lbs8.0 lbs

Rickenbacker 330 vs 360: Design

You can see clearly from the table above that they have different overall lengths. The 360 is slightly longer than the 330 by a quarter-inch. Of course, with your naked eyes, you can’t see that small difference.

What you can see is their difference in terms of the fretboard inlays. The deluxe version has prominent right triangle inlays, while the 330 has the standard dot inlays. The large triangular inlays of the former are made of crushed pearl, while the dots are made of pearls.

Aside from these two design differences, you’ll get confused when these two are placed side-by-side. The controls, the finish, and the double-cutaway design are true on these two Rick guitars. It’s also worth noting that these two have almost identical necks, although the recent iterations of the 330 come with narrower and chunkier necks.

Rickenbacker 330 vs 360: Playability and Performance

Both guitars can play well, with twin truss rod adjustment, which might take time to get familiar with. They are versatile and are designed to really play vintage sounds. The necks for both guitars are quite thin, which some people find it a problem, while others love it. Aside from that, they have a very low action, so if you are accustomed to some tension, you might find these a little awkward to play, at first.

There is a question that’s rounding up the internet asking about the neck the difference of the two. Some find the 330 to have even thinner neck, while the 360 has a wider neck profile. Of course, given the fact that the 300 series has been around for several decades, it’s a possibility that there are 330 models with a narrower neck. However, one thing is for sure, all Rickenbacker guitars are designed to be playable and there’s not a single guitar from the company that’s awful to play.

Rickenbacker 330 vs 360: Sound

Sonically, at some point, they are very identical no matter what amp you’ll use. However, one thing is very clear, the 330 has better driven or distorted tones while the 360 has better clean and focused tone.

Both guitars have the same electronics onboard, although the 360 has Rick-o-Sound jack added to it, they have a unique vibe and feel. The 330 has a more aggressive and punky feel, while the 360 seems sophisticated. Yet, no matter which guitar you’ll choose, Rickenbacker will never let you down.

To get a solid idea about how these Rickenbacker guitars sound, you may check this YouTube video:

Rickenbacker 330 vs 360: Price

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a Rickenbacker guitar with a cheaper price tag. Even used Ricks still bear a price of more than $1,000. Unlike other manufacturers, Rickenbacker won’t use any offshore manufacturing or licenses. They take pride in producing their guitar from their backyard.

Their business model is quite different from others, in which, they get profit from producing quality guitars at a lower volume than demand. And, from the two models discussed above, the deluxe model, the 360, is way more expensive than the 330. However, if you can play both, you might want to take both.

Conclusion

You now have a quick background on the first maker of electric guitars and its popular semi-acoustic guitars — Rickenbacker 330 vs. 360. If you’re going to choose one, have the deluxe model. But, if your budget is tight, the 330 is already a good deal.

Unfortunately, you can’t expect to find cheaper deals of these guitars, they are premium, and they retain premium prices even for used ones. However, whether you choose the 330 or the 360, you’re guaranteed of a playable and best-sounding guitar.

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