The Missing Rickenbacker

Everyone knows the saying, “you had to be there.” Another one is, “no one understands how I feel.” This is one of those stories. Only a guitarist knows how it feels to have a well-loved guitar stolen. I’ve had two such guitars in my life lost to maleficence and it something you never get over, much less forget.

The first guitar I lost was a 1965 “Mapleglow” 360-12 Rickenbacker. I had worked like hell to get it, a dream in the making since first seeing The Byrds play “Mister Tambourine Man” on TV. It seemed a member of the band I was in at the time was in need of money, if my memory is correct, to buy some very expensive white powder-like substance. He and another “friend” broke into my parent’s house, took some of my mother’s jewelry, cash and my Rickenbacker. A neighbor saw them climbing through the window, thought it odd and called the police.

The police arrived as they were heading across the front lawn with the “loot” in hand. At that point, my bandmate stopped carrying the guitar under his arm and started using the handle so he could run faster, not realizing I had not bothered to snap the latches. The guitar went tumbling to the ground. He picked up the guitar and ran into the woods across the street from my parent’s house. Once deep into the woods, he buried the guitar under some leaves. By the time the police caught up with him it was decided he would go back the next day and find where he hid the guitar.

I was mildly relieved until I was awakened from sleep by a very large bolt of thunder at about 2am. From then on it was thunder, lightning and heavy rain for most of the night. By the time my Rickenbacker guitar was found the next afternoon it was destroyed. It took me a couple of years to get the money for another one. They fell out of favor with guitarists in the early 70’s and used ones could be bought pretty cheap. My parents gave me money to buy lunch my first semester of college and instead of eating, I bought a replacement Mapleglow 360-12 Rickenbacker from a fellow student who was no longer playing it.

Stay tuned for the story behind guitar number two!

©2023, AcousticMusic.Org

Written by Brian Wolfe

March 9, 2023

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