In the fall of 2018, Martin and Paul Kelly visited me to photograph some of my vintage Rickenbacker guitars. Over the course of several days, dozens of guitars, basses and amplifiers were photographed, including some rare guitars brought in by another collector. Martin and Paul then headed off to the Rickenbacker headquarters for archival research and more photos. The next wave of US photography came in the fall of 2019, after Martin had arranged with the Rock Hall in Cleveland to photograph John Lennon’s model 325 guitars, as well as George Harrison’s model 425. More of my guitars were also photographed.
After returning to the UK, Martin set to the task of writing the text, and Paul to choosing and curating the images that he had photographed for inclusion in the book. Martin and I corresponded via the phone and emails during the drafting of the book. The images and text are complemented by Martin’s extensive collection of Rick paper and ephemera as well as historical material from the Rickenbacker archives. Also presented is Paul’s original photography highlighting some of the most important and obscure Rickenbacker instruments ever made.
The result is a book that tells the fascinating story of the development of the electric guitar and the Rickenbacker brand. I am pleased to have been part of the process of bringing the book to fruition.
Note: In the fall of 2023, a new hardback edition retitled ‘Rickenbacker Guitars – Pioneers of the Electric Guitar’ was issued by Cassell Illustrated/Octopus, a division of publishing giant Hatchette. Other than the title and new hardback cover design, the book is essentially the same as the privately published 2021 edition by Phantom Books.