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Reference Library: Fab Gear

Newsgroups: rec.music.beatles
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, ptu1wa@aol.com (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 merchandising dream.

They never officially endorsed any gear, including Vox.

Here's what I can remember off the top of my head about the origins of their instruments:

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 for it.

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 the tape)

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 acoustics.

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?).


------------------------
Scott
--
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
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