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Reference Library: Bungalow Bill Guitar Intro

From: (saki)
Subject: Re: Who does the intro in Bungallow Bill?
Date: 24 Apr 1996 23:39:59 GMT wrote: I find the guitar intro of Bungallow Bill really awesome. I was just wondering if it was john george or paul who played it.

Joe Caldwell [] wrote:

I assume that you are referring to the Spanish classical guitar bit that is played just before "Bungalow Bill" begins. Recently, Tom Hartman [] and I had a rather lengthy discussion about this piece here on r.m.b. After considerable debate, Tom was able to produce evidence that proved this was actually done on a Mellotron. (E. Church) wrote:

I thought I had heard somewhere that it was "lifted" from a tape that was in the studio, and that none of them played it. It certainly doesn't SEEM like a Mellotron, that's for sure. You can hear the nylon strings of a classical guitar.

saki wrote:

I hope the esteemed Robert "Cran" Berry doesn't mind me reproducing an earlier article of his that has a vital reference re: this question.

The fact is that a Mellotron (or versions of same) reproduce tape loops of sound, and whatever was recorded on the tape loops (strings, fluets, etc.) can be produced by the instrument.


Subject: "Bungalow Bill" intro: corroboration
Date: 1 Feb 1995 16:15:12 GMT
Reply-To: (Robert Berry)

Although we still don't (and probably never will) know the identity of the original performer, I think we can be pretty sure that we now know where the Beatles got the Spanish-guitar run that opens "Bungalow Bill" (namely, that it was a "canned" riff included on one of the Mellotron tapes).

The most recent edition of "Electronic Musician" magazine reviews a new CD-ROM containing digital samples of all of the sounds from the original Mellotron and Chamberlin (the article explains that the Chamberlin, basically, was a custom-built American version of the Mellotron). The idea here is that musicians with digital keyboards can load these seven-second samples -- each of which duplicates one of the original Mellotron tapes -- into a keyboard, and magically transform it into a vintage Mellotron, without the maintenance nightmares that normally go along with that.

Excerpts from the review:

"My personal favorite sound ... is the 'Tron Flute. To re-create the intro to 'Strawberry Fields Forever,' be sure to bend the pitch down a fifth, as Paul McCartney did.....

"Apparently, the Mellotron was at first marketed in England as a home keyboard for the musically impaired. The Mark II had two keyboards, one of which was used to play rhythm accompaniments and pre-recorded instrumental fills....

"The 'Swinging Flutes' [one of these], by the way, were played backward at the end of 'Strawberry Fields Forever.' You'll also find the 'Bungalo Bill' [sic] guitar-run sample that the Beatles used to open their song of the same name."

Robert Berry

"Preachers and poets and scholars don't know it; temples and
statues and steeples won't show it. If you've got the secret
just try not to blow it...."

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