Rickenbacker guitar pickups: what you need to know

Rickenbacker 330
(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

“Rickenbacker co-founder George Beauchamp invented the electric guitar pickup in 1931 but they didn’t start manufacturing electric instruments until late 1932,” says Martin. “His pickup design featured two large horseshoe-shaped magnets to boost the signal, necessary because the suitable amplification was yet to be developed, plus the original coil slugs were made from non-magnetised ferrous metal. Pioneering times! 

“The original application of the horseshoe pickup wasn’t just for ‘frying pan’ lap steels; Rickenbacker launched an electric Spanish guitar at exactly the same moment.  

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Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.