I bought this knowing it was a budget 12 string guitar. It was half the price of the closest electric 12 string and less than a Tenth of the price of a Rickenbacker, so you get what you pay for right? The good - The construction of this is very good. It's slightly neck heavy as you'd expect but not any problem. There are a few flaws on the finish but you'd have to look hard to find them. My nightmare would be if there were would be buzzes or rattles with the strings due to the budget nature. On mine though, there's not. It's nice and straight, the nut fitting is good. The neck is really playable, the tuning is very stable and I find myself picking it up to play it all the time. The Bad - The pickup wiring failed almost straightaway. On inspecting behind the scratchplate, the soldering was really poor, the wiring was bad and the quality of the pots was terrible, even for a cheap guitar. I kind of expected this though and I ended up replacing all the pots for CTS ones, tidied up the wiring and resoldered etc. It was easy enough to do and the resulting jump in sound quality made it more than worthwhile. I had thought of replacing the Pickups too but actually they're not too bad for now and I can always do that in the future if necessary. The ugly - In copying the Rickenbacker style control panel. The makers stuck two bits of plasticcy looking scratchplate material together roughly. It had sharp edges and looked bad. As I had the scratchplate off to fix the wiring anyway, I made an attempt to replace the scratchplate with a piece of white Pearliod material I had left over from a hobby project. The result turned out great and really improves the look of the guitar. It was easy to do and the guitar now looks and plays so well that people comment on it all the time.
I would recommend this guitar but would just put a warning that the wiring and quality of the pots is poor and you may have to rectify that. Overall though, I'd buy one again. Even with the cost of parts etc this guitar is EUR150 cheaper than the nearest 12 string electric I've seen and I'm really happy with it.
I recently bought the RB-612CS from Thomann. To me it looks like Rickenbacker(ish) copy but for a tenth of the price of the real thing. I was living in hope that this guitar would at least be a reasonable instrument but didn't really expect great things...here's what I found.
Appearance - The guitars styling is great. Very 1960's. Very similar to a Rickenbacker, but with a slightly smaller body. 9/10
Build Quality - The guitar is well built. It feels solid (for a semi-hollow bodied instrument). Its components aren't the best, but you wouldn't expect fantastic electrics or hardware for the price. I'd say that the components are as good as those found in a guitar three times the price though. 8/10
Finish - The finish on the guitar is very good. However, I did have to return the first guitar I received from Thomann due to finish flaw issues. The replacement Thomann sent was finished to a much better standard. However, I do think that a little more could be done to improve the standard of finish inside the 'F' hole. The finish in here is quite crude and lets the overall appearance of the guitar down. This is a criticism I have not only with this Thomann model but also with other Thomann semi-hollows featuring a sound hole. It's a shame really that this is the case. 8/10
Set Up - Playability - You will have to play with the set up to get the best out of this guitar, but this is the case with 99% of guitars (even far more expensive makes and models) so this isn't a criticism. To be honest the first RB-612 Thomannn sent me was set up far better out of the box than the second one they sent, but as I mentioned earlier in this review the finish wasn't really acceptable on the first guitar.
The guitar stays in tune as well as any other 12 string I've played and once set up to my liking plays fine. 8/10
Sound - The guitar sounds like an electric 12 string. 8/10
Overall Verdict - Good value for money. If you want to try an electric 12 string without spending a lot of money then this is as good as it gets. The RB-612 looks good and is playable. If you want to record some 12 string this guitar will sound fine in any recording - people won't know that it's not a more expensive/overpriced guitar!
I think that in general terms the quality of finish on these guitars is probably quite variable and this is what can let it down. The components that make up the RB-612 are fine (to a standard of any mid-priced guitars) and will be consistent on every guitar that comes out of the factory, but the finish will be variable. The set up out of the box will also be variable, but you can alter this to suit and probably in most cases get something that you are happy with. 8/10
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