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alt.guitar.rickenbacker Frequently Asked Questions
Section - 5.24 Why don't modern Rickenbackers have the same inlays as they did back in the sixties?

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   "There's only one correct answer [...] this material hasn't been 
    made for more than 20 years.  We've looked at a zillion samples 
    of materials purported to be "just the same" but they are not.

    When something comes along that looks just like the original, be 
    assured that we'll use it. In the meantime, we continue to search 
    for this from every vendor we can find but to date it's been 
    fruitless."

    [John Hall, jhall@rickenbacker.com, 12/22/1999]


   "The original material was an acrylic resin material in sheet form.
    The pearlescent which rather looks like sea snail shell was also
    acrylic. It appears to have been made by grinding the shell sheet
    material and pouring that together with the resin. The Japanese
    company which made this specialized in drum shell coverings, so I
    suppose this was essentially a by-product made from scrap
    material.

    All of the samples we have seen through the years differ
    significantly from the original material in a variety of ways. In
    many the colors and/or degree of pearlescence is just wrong. Other
    material has a grain that is too coarse or too fine. Finally. much
    material is not mechanically suited to being inlayed, crowned,
    coated, and polished.

    The process we use now . . . . still all synthetic . . . has come
    through a long evolution and doesn't much resemble the process as
    described elsewhere in this thread. Extensive procedural and
    formula changes were made in 1984 and again in 1990. This is about
    the only area in our process that we truly consider a "trade
    secret". It's also very demanding and the materials themselves are
    difficult to work with.

    If the old material were available, we'd jump back to using it in 
    a minute!"

    [John Hall, jhall@rickenbacker.com, 12/24/1999]


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