So this happened…
Yep. I’m the proud owner of a Rickenbacker 360 in a beautiful Fireglo finish. Of the Rickenbackers you’re likely to Google, it’s the popular (and more expensive) one. And here’s how that happened…
I saw the Bottle Rockets do an in-store performance of their new album “South Broadway Athletic Club” at Vintage Vinyl on the same day the album came out. Brian Henneman (the lead singer and rhythm guitarist) was playing a beautiful Ric 360 in Fireglo and also a Ric 12 String. I fell in love with the tone. I was surprised by that, as Rickenbackers always suggested early Beatles and/or Byrds to me. Both great bands, but I never envisioned myself playing with that tone–it didn’t seem to fit me. Brian’s tone that night showed me the error of my ways. It sounded amazing. I wanted a Rickenbacker. (Also–spoiler alert–that record is going to be #2 on my Top Ten List this year.)
Then I started pricing them. I’m not comfortable saying the number you’re most likely to see on the 360. Google it, if you have to know. But suffice to say, it’s a lot. I assumed it wasn’t going to happen, but looked around enough to find the Ric 330–a slightly lesser guitar with a similar look and a safer price-range. I thought maybe I could get that one, so I started pricing it and planning for it.
I’ve been saving up to pay off a Guitar Center credit card for a little while. Been making monthly payments, but as a treat to myself in the new year, I was going to pay it off completely, then put a Ric 330 on it and end up just making the same payments and not feel much of a difference in my day-to-day life. Still…the 360 nagged at me. It’s got rounded edges and those classic Ric triangle-shaped fret markers that are so iconic (the 330 has standard dot inlays to mark the frets). I could be happy with the sharp edges and the dots…but had to know…how much WAS the difference at my local store?
So tonight, I went to Guitar Center.
Had the 360 been on display for its standard price, I would have looked, said, “Okay, it’s that much more…” and walked out of the store. But that wasn’t the case. This guitar–I shall call it the Derekenbacker–was hanging on the wall for LESS than what I was planning to pay on the 330. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. But that’s what happened.
I asked to play it. I was planning to talk myself out of it. They unlocked the harness (guitars of this level, they keep locked in a harness) and handed it to me. I was left alone in the “platinum” room and I played it and played it and played it for a half hour. At every turn saying to myself, “It can’t happen until the New Year. The responsible thing is to pay off the card. It’s still a LOT of money, that you really shouldn’t spend. Christmas is just around the corner…”
I finally put the guitar down and walked back out into the main part of the store. Paul, the associate that unlocked the guitar for me, said, “So what did you think.”
“Well…damned if I could find anything wrong with it.”
We both chuckled. I then stated the asking price to him. Paul said it back to me. I asked if it included the case and he said yes.
Christmas is just around the corner…the responsible thing to do would be to pay off the card…I should at least THINK about it a while, right? …but that price was a number that if I passed it up and then paid MORE for the lesser instrument in a couple of months, I would have kicked myself for the rest of my life.
“I don’t know how much will go on my bank card…but let’s give it a shot…”
And the sale–inexplicably–went through. Paul shook my hand and said, “Congratulations on your new guitar, Derek.” I thanked him–a guy I’d just given more money than I usually see in a pile–and put the guitar in the car.
And that is how I made the most responsible, irresponsible decision I’ve ever made. Guitar-wise, that is…
Side note: When I saw that the snowflakes are falling on my blog again, I clapped my hands and said out loud, “Oh the snowflakes are back!” I set that to turn on several years ago. They turn on and off automatically for the season and I forget about it every year. It makes me happy to see it–Christmas and all that. I hope it does the same for you.