1955 Rickenbacker Console 518
Factory Custom 10-8-8
The swansong of Rickenbacker Steels' production evolution. 3 step tiered necks. Aluminum end-plates and trim. 4 legs. 10 strings on the closest neck (a factory custom special order ammenity * ), 8 on the other two. 1 1/4" horse shoe pickups (Ric's later 1950's era horse-shoe alloy takes / holds more magnetic charge than their older alloys). Clear laquered natural blonde finish. A very solid platform for very nice string tones.
This was my main squeeze for a number of years, from the time I got it in 1993 right up until the time I ceased gigging regularly in 2002. The console cabinet gives these Steels a bit warmer / mellower tone at unity than Rickenbacher's aluminum and bakelite Steels; But don't get me wrong, ...this Steel is as capable of being as much a chain-saw and samurai sword as any "shoed" Ric. I've played all styles of music on this Steel ('cept opera) and it was not lacking at all, ....even in cosmic high-gain fusion roles.
This Steel is likely a '56 or '57 model, reflected in the location of the logo emblem placement (centered on the pickup end of the front) vs the catalogue picture shown below (logo plate placed low rather than centered). Pot codes could be unreliable for dating because the factory could have still used earlier NOS pots, and are likely covered by solder joints, ...thus compelling to not disturb the electronics.