Thursday, December 25, 2008

1994 Rickebacker Jetglo 360

Submitted by Ellen Rugowski

Let me introduce myself. My name's Ellen. I'm a Gen Xer. I've been playing guitar for just shy of 30 years—part of that time as a lead guitarist in semi-pro rock bands. I come from a guitaring family. My grampa was an acoustic guitar luthier [(he made me my first guitar, when I was little) who also played jazz guitar in Big Bands; my uncle (my Dad's youngest brother) still plays off and on in pickup bands.

During the 1990s, I was a Gibson Girl big time. But, I decided that I'd like to have a Ric as a second guitar. In the early '90s, I never seemed to find one I liked or could afford. But, in February 1995, the opportunity occurred for me to buy a Ric at a Milwaukee area music store (Cascio Music) that I could just afford. The guitar in question was a 1994 Jetglo 360. It was originally ordered by a guy in 1994 who refused it (according to what I was told at the music store) due to a minor finish blemish. The guitar sat in the music store collecting dust until I bought it, making me the original owner of the guitar. I grew to like my Ric 360 to the point where my main guitar (a 1980 tobacco sunburst Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion) was basically collecting dust (a tall order, considering I play a lot of heavy rock - but the Ric was better than it at clean stuff, and could still sound surprisingly good, playing the heavy stuff). I ended up selling the Howard Roberts Fusion, and my Ric 360 became my main guitar. I called my 360 "Baby" (because I often used to say to myself, "come to mama baby, it's time to play").

In August of 1999 I was between bands. I hit a money crunch.

I'd sold off my good amps (Mesa Boogies), and was feeling that I needed a change in sound. I could not justify economically at the time having 2 guitars, so I traded my Ric 360 for a Fender Toronado at Mars Music (remember that chain of music stores?—its been out of business for years). Within two months of doing this trade, I realized just how much of a fool I'd been for getting rid of my Ric 360 and wound up regretting my decision. But, I'd pretty much written off ever seeing Baby again, and I was so broke that a Rick was financially out of reach for me anyway.

I am a regular on the Harmony Central Electric Guitar Forum. When many of the members get a new guitar, they will often post an NGD (New Guitar Day) thread. On Nov. 1, I read an NGD post from a member, who'd gotten a Ric 650 Atlantis (I remember posting on the thread, congratulating the guy, and telling him that I used to have a Ric 360 that I missed and wished I had back). After reading this NGD Ric 650 thread, I decided out of curiosity to take a look online to see what was available in Rics. Those I saw on eBay were a bit pricey for me (I'm still paying off bills from the same hard times when I sold off Baby). Just for a laugh, I decided to look on the Music Go Round website for Rics. I just about had a heart attack! A Music Go Round store about 35 miles away from me had listed (with a photo), a 1994 Jetglo 360 for sale! Not many Rick 360s were sold in Wisconsin (where I live) back in 1994 or 1995. All I could think was "ohmigod! is that Baby?" The next day I drove to the Music Go Round to check out the 360.

I took a look at the guitar. Sure enough, it was Baby. I found the minor head stock rash I'd put on Baby back in 1998, when I didn't watch where I was going, and bumped the headstock into a wall. To say I was floored is putting it mildly. I asked if I could play Baby (I even brought a guitar strap with me). As soon as I strapped Baby on and started playing it was like meeting an old friend again. I started ripping off licks as though I'd never quit playing Baby 9 years ago. Baby seemed a bit thinner sounding than I'd remembered it sounding in the past. I wondered if it was the JCM2000 I was using at the Music Go Round, especially since a guy near me was getting a nice thick sound out of a Strat with single coils from a Peavey Valve King. I plugged into the Valve King and started playing again. Yep, it was the amp. Baby sounded nice, rich, and full, both clean, and at full on grind through the Valve King.

Then and there I decided that I had to get Baby back. But it's price of $1300 was more than I really could afford (I even grumped to the salesman that the price was $400 more than I originally paid for the Ric 360 when it was new). But I wanted Baby back. So I adopted a "whatever it takes" attitude. So I wouldn't lose Baby again, I ended up having to trade in the three mid- and low-priced guitars I had, just to put Baby on layaway (it's a good thing I did so— while the sale was being written up, a guy called asking about Baby). Two weeks later, with a bonus from work, some of my paycheck, and the sale of a ham radio on eBay (I've had a ham radio license for almost 31 years) I scraped together the rest of the money to finish paying for my Ric 360 and I took it home for good.

The more I play Baby the more I'm reminded as to why I basically moved heaven and earth financially to get it back almost 2 months ago after so foolishly letting it go nine years ago. Two nights ago I was given a profound reminder of my Ric 360's value to me.

As I mentioned earlier, I like to play heavy rock (metal, thrash metal, hard, rock Stoner Rock , Doom, etc.). I also like using my Ric 360 for the heavy stuff. Many players don't realize that the Rickenbacker Hi-Gain single coils and the Rickenbacker humbuckers have just as much output (in some cases more) as your typical humbucker. While playing two nights ago, my Jetglo 360 proceeded to floor me by sounding both brutal and beautiful in equal measures. The clarity and the crunch, with that wonderful Ric high end shimmer (but NO shrillness) made me want to keep playing and playing. I didn't even consider plugging in my other guitar (a Danelectro Hodad). I can't wait to play out live with Baby! My Ric 360 is NOT for sale! I will NEVER make that mistake again!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Way to go Ellen, I remember how much that guitar meant to you. I know how you feel. I wish I had my old Black Memphis back!!! Keep rockin
an old friend