Reference Library: Fab Gear
From: MrLefty@PrimeNet.com (Scott Jennings)
Subject: Re: Did they pay for their instruments?
Date: 25 Dec 1994 10:19:22 GMT
In a previous article, firstname.lastname@example.org (PTU1WA) wrote:
I would be *Very* interested to find out exactly how many of their
instruments the Beatles actually had to buy, after they became a
They never officially endorsed any gear, including Vox.
Here's what I can remember off the top of my head about the origins of
Brian Epstein paid off their 'tab' with at least one music store when he
became their manager.
The radio station that interviewed George while he checked out his first
Rick 12 in his N.Y. hotel room in Feb. 1964 bought the guitar for him (not
Murray the K, despite his claims). Rickenbacker owner F.C. Hall gave John
his second 325 during this same visit (first used on their second Sullivan
Show appearance, and soon to be displayed at the Rock & Roll Hall of
Fame). Paul passed on the lefty 4001S bass which was completed only weeks
(days?) before their U.S. arrival. He finally accepted it in 1965. John's
325/12 was a custom made one off, which apparently was lost for a period
of time in transit to England. There is no indication that he was charged
In 1965 Hofner presented Paul with a 500/1 bass with gold plated hardware.
Paul apparently forgot about this bass until a dealer in England offered
it for sale earlier this year. It will be auctioned in New York in January
1995. There is some question as to rightful ownership, as Paul doesn't
remember giving this bass away... I'll post more as this unfolds.
Rickenbacker presented George with his second 360/12 at a press conference
during their 1965 U.S. tour. John asked the rep where his was, and the guy
replied that he wished he had one for everybody. (I have a videotape of
this presentation somewhere - I'll post an update as to the city, station
sponsoring the event, and the exact quote as soon as I have time to scan
George states that in 1965 he sent Mal Evans to buy him and John a couple
of Fender Stratocasters from a London shop. They apparently paid for their
(John & George's) Gibson J-160E acoustics, their (John, George - and
earlier, Paul) Epiphone Casino electrics, and their (John and Paul) Martin
In 1965 the Guild Guitar Co. presented John with a Starfire XII, which he
later gave to Yoko's ex husband Tony Cox (John must've really loved THAT
guitar! (-: ) It is now hanging in the Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu, Hawaii.
There is no indication that he ever used it on any recordings.
In 1968 Fender gave George his Bass VI, and later his Rosewood Telecaster
(which Delaney Bramlett now owns). Paul got his Jazz Bass around this time
as well. Several Fender amps were purchased, and I have seen shots of
Abbey Road Studio 2 with the amp shipping boxes sitting in a corner. This
suggests that some were shipped from the U.S. - likely direct from Fender.
It is fairly well known that Fender (then owned by CBS) was not happy that
the Beatles weren't using their gear.
In 1968 Eric Clapton gave George the Cherry refinished Les Paul Standard
that he played on While My Guitar Gently Weeps. This is the guitar George
is playing in the Revolution promo clip. It was stolen in the early 1970's
and later recovered at great expense...
At some point in the mid 1960's George gave Klaus Voorman the Gretsch Duo
Jet he used on their first records. George got the guitar back from
Voorman's ex-wife and had it restored shortly before recording Cloud Nine.
This is the guitar on the cover of that album (CD?, record?, tape?).
Route 66 Guitars * 21 North Altadena Drive * Pasadena, CA * 91107 * USA
tel: (213) GUI TARS (484 8277) * fax: (818) 683 8693
Right & Left Handed Stringed Instruments * Used & Vintage
Postal, email & fax stocklists available...
» Return to The Beatles Reference Library