1974 Rickenbacker 480
1974 Rickenbacker 480

Guitar Description:

Now, here’s a very interesting, very cool and very good-looking guitar. I actually went on a mission to find one of these woefully unappreciated guitars, as it fits CRAVE’s ‘Cool & Rare’ ethos perfectly. In my opinion the offset ‘cresting wave’ body shape is one of the most attractive out there and it’s also a great guitar to boot. I know all the arguments about why it didn’t succeed – the bolt on neck (which never hurt Fender!) is the usual excuse for purists not to take it seriously.  Get over it people. The 480 (and its relations, 481/483) was based on the iconic Roger Rossmeisl-designed 4000 series basses from the late ‘50s. The 6-string 480 model was only produced between 1973 and 1983, which makes it a relatively rare instrument today. I really don’t understand why Rickenbacker has never reissued it, especially now that Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno is strongly associated with the model. Anyway… this particular 480 dates from January 1974 in Mapleglo (i.e. natural) finish – very 1970s. The guitar is in terrific shape, with only very minor blemishes for its age. It exudes Rickenbacker quality from every pore and shares many family characteristics with its more revered cousins. That exquisite chrome ‘R’ tailpiece is to die for. For me, the string spacing is a bit too tight but I can adapt to that and it provides a different perspective on playing. I’m not a great fan of the classic 300 series ‘Capri’, so this is ‘the’ Ric guitar shape for me. I think that the proportions suit the guitar and bass equally well. Idiosyncratic? Sure it is, in true Rickenbacker fashion. The 480 is a real ‘under-the-radar’ cool cult classic for the open-minded vintage collector. I don’t know whether to say, “sshhh!” or “spread the word”. Groovy.



  • Sergio Pizzorno (Kasabian)


  • Natural ‘Mapleglo’ polyester finish
  • Maple ‘cresting wave’ offset body and headstock
  • Maple bolt-on neck
  • Newer period-correct tuners
  • Original ‘Model 480’ truss rod cover
  • Nut width 39mm (1 9/16”)
  • Rosewood bound fingerboard with 24 frets and dot markers
  • Scale length 25”
  • Chrome hardware
  • Original twin ‘Hi-Gain’ single coil pickups
  • Original single-ply white plastic scratchplate
  • Original electrics comprising 3-way toggle switch, 2 volume and 2 tone controls and edge-mounted jack socket
  • Original bridge (with original bridge cover – not shown)
  • Weight – 7.6lbs
  • Newer, non-original hard shell case

Detail Gallery:

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