Rickenbacker did not keep Serial # to date records until after the Second World War.I will tell you what is generally known and some distinguishing features that should help.A friend of mine just bought an old Rickenbacher off of an old gentleman last week and he is trying to find out what year it was built and what it is worth.As I have no knowledge concerning lap steels I thought I would check here for him.The guitar will probably be for sale when my friend can get an idea what a reasonable price would be for it. I'm NOT the expert that many here on the Forum truly are.My Rick had the serial number in the end of the tuning piece; stock or whatever it's called. I'm told when the strings go thro' the actual guitar body (not a chrome endplate) it is prewar. Early models had a little octagon shaped knob for the volume control; flat in shape. Note: I have posted similar information on this Forum before.
Please be aware that some instruments manufactured in the late '50s cannot be interpreted by this decoder.Below are some guidelines and help for you who are interested to find out the age of your Rickenbacker instrument.Rickenbacker International Corporation has used a number of various systems.It is impossible to tell the exact year many of the early Bakelites were built because of this lack of record keeping.However there are some features that will help you to come close.