Legendary Guitar: George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 360/12
Meditate for a moment on the sound of The Beatles in the mid ’60s—those amazing three-part harmonies aside—and your mind’s ear is likely to land upon that stirring 12-string jangle and zing that was, for a time, a trademark of the Fab Four’s instrumental assault. In addition to being great and prolific songwriters, charismatic singers, and definitive pop idols, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison were consummate gearheads. They knew the power that a new sound could possess, the way a new instrument could be wielded as a tool to help a track jump right out of the groove and into the listener’s consciousness. For a period of a couple years from 1964, the Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string electric guitar served as exactly that for Harrison: it was the sonic attention getter, it helped many Beatles classics to really pop.
The acoustic 12-string guitar was a major fixture in folk circles in the early ’60s, a time when the folk boom helped the acoustic instrument to threaten the demise of the electric. Rickenbacker owner Francis Hall, at the helm of a company that had no competitive acoustic line, envisaged some crossover potential in a 12-string electric, and set his designers the task of producing one. Three prototypes received enthusiastic responses from the musicians who tested them, and he debut model settled into form as the 360/12 toward the end of 1963. Not long after this, in February 1964, The Beatles came to the USA for three concerts and a pair of appearances on the enormously popular Ed Sullivan show. Hall saw his chance: he took a 360/12 to The Beatles’ New York hotel to present to George Harrison to try out. Hall knew he had an in with the British beat-pop band, since Lennon had long played a short-scale Rickenbacker 325 six-string. Indeed, Harrison liked the new 12-string, and his approval—and subsequent use of the model—assured the 360/12’s success for all time.
Harrison used his new 360/12 on early tracks like “You Can’t Do That” and “I Should Have Known Better”, and brought it out for the majority of the songs on the 1964 album A Hard Day’s Night. The most famous Beatles Ricky 12-string moment is undoubtedly the title track to that outing, with its chimey intro chord and the stand-out lead break around the middle of the song. With exposure like this, every kid on both sides of the big pond was soon hankering for a 360/12, or just about any of those distinctive Rickenbacker designs that they could get their hands on.
Occasionally relegated to B-list status behind Gibson and Fender, and arguably Gretsch, Rickenbacker had struggled to retain a foothold in the early rock-and-roll market, despite having roots that extended to the very birth of the electric guitar. Having evolved out of the National company (famed for its metal-bodied resonator guitars), Rickenbacker was among the first to release a commercially available electric guitar, the Electro Spanish of 1932, and its distinctive “horseshoe” pickup was one of the first successful electro-magnetic pickup designs. Amidst its struggle for market share 30 years later, the success of the 360/12, and other 12- and 6-string models of the ’60s, assured the company’s survival. And this cleverly designed electric 12-string deserved the recognition it got, too. In rendering the 12-string acoustic template for the electric guitar, Rickenbacker introduced several ingenious design twists to make the instrument more appealing to pop and rock-and-roll players. Where most electrics required cumbersome, wide necks to accommodate all those strings, the Ricky designers kept theirs remarkably slim, making this a smooth, easy player. Also, rather than spoiling the elegant lines of the headstock by extending it to hold all those tuners, they positioned the six-a-side tuners alternately at right angles, with three posts per side extending outward in the traditional manner, and three extending into partial slots in the head, somewhat like the tuners on a classical guitar. A laminated “through neck” made from maple and mahogany offered strength and added sustain, while a semi-hollow maple body helped to keep the weight down. Along with all of this, Rickenbacker’s trademark single-coil “Toaster Top” pickups helped to project all the bright jangle and sizzle that these guitars are known for.
Through the years a Rickenbacker 360/12 (or similar model) would appear in the hands of Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, Pete Townshend, Tom Petty and Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers, Peter Buck of REM, Johnny Marr of The Smiths, and many, many other notable star players. Harrison moved on from his own in the later mid ’60s, knowing that a novel sound only stays fresh for so long, and the electric 12-string craze itself faded similarly. It was even on the wane soon after big names like Gibson and Fender introduced their own versions—the ES-335-12 and Electric XII respectively — later in 1965, relegating these models to “also-ran” status. Nevertheless, that shimmering chime and thrang of the Rickenbacker 360/12 had made its mark, and would have a place in popular music forever after. It’s still a stirring sound, though, a guaranteed tonal attention getter and a legendary electric of the first order.
George was the second Beatle to buy a Rickenbacker, but the 425 that he purchased in Illinois in September 1963 never became a favourite. His second Rickenbacker would change the course of musical history.
Given to George in NYC in February 1964, the second Rickenbacker 12-string ever made was the first to be strung with the octave strings occuring second in the string pairs. From the opening chord of A Hard Day's Night to Ticket To Ride, in Harrison's hands the brand new sound of the electric 12-string became synonymous with the musicial vocabulary of the sixties.
Lennon purchased his natural finish Rickenbacker Capri 325 in Hamburg in 1960 after his interest in the model was sparked by seeing Jean 'Toots' Thielemans using one with the George Shearing Quintet in 1959.
The modifications soon began, and the large TV-style control knobs were replaced by smaller units from Hofner and Burns. On Lennon's return to Liverpool, the unreliable Kauffman vibrola was replaced with a Bigsby installed on the counter of Hessy's music store.
By December 1962, the most significant part of the guitar's makeover had been carried out, with Jim Burns refinishing the guitar in black. Only the small matter of taking over the world remained...
Lennon would have two more 325s including a one-of-a-kind 12-string, but his first will always be the most iconic.
Macca received his fireglo 4001S at the Hollywood Bowl in August 1964. However, it wasn't until the split Paperback Writer/Rain single was released in 1966 that the unmistakeable warmth of Paul's Rickenbacker would establish itself as a signature sound of The Beatles' experimental period.
Like Lennon's Epiphone Casino, McCartney's 4001S went through three distinct phases, beginning as a factory sunburst, given a psychedelic makeover in 1967 then stripped back to a natural finish at the end of the following year.
Отправлено:24.03.10 13:22.Заголовок:15 Gretsch electric ..
15 Gretsch electric guitar stars
A Duo Jet, two Country Gents, a Tennessean... George liked Gretsches. They even made him a 12-string!
Harrison's impact on Gretsch sales following The Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 has already been documented in our entry on Chet Atkins. However, The Quiet One's relationship with Gretsch went further back than that.
Having saved £75 from gigs, in the summer of '61, George saw an advert for a Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet in the Liverpool Echo newspaper. The black 1957 model he purchased would be the guitar he favoured throughout the Hamburg and Cavern gigs that followed, and it went on to feature on countless recordings and travel around the world with The Beatles on tour.
The Tennessean pictured above - complete with fake painted f-holes - arrived during the Christmas tour of late 1963 and became a fixture throughout 1964 and 1965. Although his pioneering use of the Rickenbacker 12-string became part of '60s musical vernacular, the majority of George's six-string adventures in the pre-psychedelic Beatles were undertaken with a Gretsch in his hands.
Отправлено:24.03.10 13:25.Заголовок:29 Les Paul legends ..
29 Les Paul legends
George Harrison and Eric Clapton shared a love for the same woman (Patti Boyd, who they both married), and the two were equally smitten with a certain 1957 Les Paul Goldtop.
Clapton gifted Harrison with the guitar, which was refinished cherry red by its previous owner, American rock guitarist Rick Derringer. Harrison immediately nicknamed the Les Paul ‘Lucy’, after crimson-haired TV icon Lucille Ball.
Harrison played Lucy for much of ‘68 and ‘69, using it on various cuts on ‘The White Album,’ Let It Be and Abbey Road. Here he is strumming it in the video for Revolution. But the Beatle had no problem handing it back to Clapton to cut the searing guest-lead-guitar on The Beatles' While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
In the early ‘70s, Lucy was stolen from Harrison’s Hollywood home. The guitarist went to great lengths and considerable expense to retrieve it - in Guadalajara, Mexico, of all places.
February 1965 saw Beatles roadie Mal Evans purchase Stratocasters at George Harrison and John Lennon’s behest. Although Harrison’s recollection placed this amidst the Rubber Soul sessions, The Beatles were in fact recording Help! at the time, as proven by photographic evidence of Lennon at Abbey Road with one of the sonic blue pair that Evans obtained.
Nowhere Man is probably the most overt example of a Stratocaster on a Beatles recording: George and John are playing their Fenders in unison.
Harrison’s Strat – neck plate dated December 1961 – would later undergo a psychedelic makeover and become known as ‘Rocky’.
Post-Beatles, George chose a white Stratocaster (pictured) for the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh that some have speculated was assembled from the same haul of parts that yielded Eric Clapton’s Blackie.
George Harrison and the 1963 Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman
When his first Gent went back to Sound City for repairs, they gave Harrison this one, identical to his first except for the mutes, which were flip-up rather than dial-up, and Harrison came to prefer it.
Seen on the Sullivan shows and used on the ‘64 and ‘65 U.S. tours, this was the guitar for the Beatles’ first flush of worldwide success. What happened to this guitar? Brian O’Hara of The Fourmost, interviewed by Andy Babiuk, said Harrison gave him the Country Gent during a studio visit at Abbey Road and that he (O’Hara) remembers trading it for something or other. But in a recent interview in Modern Drummer, Mark Hudson tells of Ringo taking him to his house and showing him, among others, the Country Gent, which they promptly brought to the studio and used on the song “Satisfied.” I followed up in 2006 with my own interview with Hudson, who confirmed the story.
JFC: OK. When did you see the first Beatle guitar? When did Ringo actually pull it out? MH: He took me in his house in England, I was there before the band got there, and he took me into his house where his has all his original stuff, his Sgt. Pepper outfit, Magical Mystery Tour, all that great stuff that he still retains. And he goes (imitating Ringo) “Well, I’ll show you these,” and I see these three guitar cases. You know, and full well knowing – being a John Lennon freak – I knew what that was. JFC: It was a Rickenbacker case? MH: Yes, a Rickenbacker case. As soon as I saw that, I knew. And then I saw something shaped like a Country Gentleman Gretsch, and I knew what that was, and something else I didn’t recognize. So the first thing he opens is John’s Rickenbacker. JFC: The Fire-Glo? MH: Yes. And my heart fell to my ass. And I went “Oh, my God,” you know, and I said “May I?” And he went “Yeah, go ahead and play it.” And like, there I was – strumming that guitar. And then he opened up the other one, and it was George’s Country Gentleman. And it was immaculate. Olivia gave that to Ringo. And it was the guitar.
Отправлено:14.05.10 10:03.Заголовок: The Beatles: Guitar..
The Beatles: Guitar Heroes 25 – George Harrison’s 1961 Fender “Rocky” Stratocaster
George Harrison’s 1961 Fender “Rocky” Stratocaster from the Magical Mystery Tour TV special!
George Harrison got that Fender. In the studio one day he and Lennon dispatched Mal Evans to “get a couple Strats,” and because Brian Epstein was picking up the bill if they were identical, Evans came back with two ’61s in a rare blue color. Used first on “Nowhere Man” and then for the Rubber Soul sessions, and regularly thereafter.
In ‘67, to commemorate the “All You Need Is Love” satellite broadcast, Harrison gave his Strat a psychedelic paint job and nicknamed it “Rocky.”
“The paint started flaking off immediately,” he recalls in the Anthology book. “We were painting everything at that time: our houses, our clothes, our cars, our shop. Everything. In those days day-glo orange and lime paint were very rare, but I discovered where to buy them — very thick, rubbery stuff. I got a few different colors and painted the Strat, not very artistically because the paint was just too thick. I had also found out about cellulose paint, which came in a tube with a ball tip, so I filled in the scratch plate with that and drew on the head of the guitar with [wife] Pattie’s sparkly green nail varnish.”
Later in ‘67 it featured prominently in the “I Am The Walrus” scene in the “Magical Mystery Tour” TV special. In his solo years, Harrison had it set up properly for his slide guitar work, and dusted it off for “Free as a Bird.”
Отправлено:25.05.10 11:45.Заголовок:Gibson Les Paul Clap..
Gibson Les Paul Clapton & Harrison
Этот легендарный Les Paul в оригинале был моделью Gold Top 1957 года.
Однако, к Eric Clapton он попал уже перекрашенным в этот необычный цвет.
Вообще для Les Paul которые в оригинале были закрашены так что рисунка древесины не было видно, было вполне обычным делом, что верхние два куска клена на корпусе соединяются не симметрично по середине, а как-то иначе. На звук это влияние не оказывало.
Другое дело, если бы покрытие корпуса было бы sunburst, тогда бы из эстетических соображений Gibson положил бы два симметричных куска клена.
А при покрытии с сплошной непрозрачной закраской, было все равно и Gibson из экономии средств часто клал (кладет) куски клена разного размера.
Хотя надо сказать таких правил Gibson придерживался далеко не всегда. Например в начале 70-ых годов были годы некоторых экспериментов и тогда даже часто Gibson покрывал корпуса и тремя несимметричными кусками клена. Причем даже на гитарах с покрытием sunburst.
Как бы то ни было этот необычно раскрашенный для того времени выпуска вишневый Les Paul попал к Eric Clapton и прославился тем, что на нем Clapton записал соло в одной из самых знаменитых рок-песен. Это баллада Beatles из White Album 1968 года "While My Guitar Gentle Weeps" (автор G.Harrison). Так образом плачущий звук именно этой гитары стал знаменит на весь мир. После записи этого альбома Clapton подарил эту гитару George Harrison, который частично использовал ее в записи немногих следующих альбомов Beatles. В последующие годы гитара хранилась в арсенале личных гитар Harrison.
Отправлено:25.05.10 11:47.Заголовок:George Harrison &..
George Harrison & 1957 Gretsch Duo Jet
Этот 1957 Gretsch Duo Jet был в 1960 году куплен лично George Harrison и в дальнейшем использовался на ранних альбомах Beatles.
В середине 60-ых Harrison отдал эту гитару своему приятелю для того чтобы вернуться к ней потом спустя 20 лет в 80-ых. Наиболее известна фотография George с этой гитарой на обложке его знаменитого сольного альбома Cloud Nine.
Помимо этого Gretsch в период своей работы в Beatles у Harrison были и другие модели Gretsch - в основном модель Chet Atkins.
Отправлено:26.01.11 13:08.Заголовок:Подробнее о реплике ..
Подробнее о реплике гитары Джоржа.
GEORGE HARRISON AND THE GRETSCH DUO JET
There's a very famous early film of the Beatles performing at Liverpool's Cavern Club; the dank, cramped cellar where the group played from February 1961 to August 1963. The grainy black and white footage captures the Beatles (mere days after new drummer Ringo Starr officially joined) sweating through a raucous cover of "Some Other Guy," then a staple of their act, before a packed house.
At far stage right, 19-year-old guitarist George Harrison is blasting out the song's infectious chord progression on what he later called his "first real decent guitar"—a black 1957 Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet, serial number 21179, with a Bigsby® vibrato unit. The guitar is clearly visible in the footage.
The Gretsch Duo Jet that Harrison plays in the clip was dear to him at the time. He often referred to it as his first truly good guitar. He'd bought it secondhand from a Liverpool cab driver a year earlier at age 18, in summer 1961. After acquiring the guitar, Harrison played it during the historic three-year period when the Beatles made their momentous transformation from local favorites to U.K. sensations to worldwide phenomenon. He used it to record the Beatles' first album, Please Please Me, and the song of the same name that was their first number-one hit. A quarter-century later he returned to the guitar for his acclaimed 1987 solo album Cloud Nine.
So when Gretsch wanted to honor Harrison in 2011 with a signature guitar model—it had to be that guitar.
The result, the Gretsch Custom Shop G6128T-GH George Harrison "Tribute" Duo Jet, is a meticulously crafted replica of the all-black 6128 Duo Jet Harrison played with the Beatles from summer 1961 through spring 1963. Identical down to the tiniest detail, it evokes those famous Cavern gigs, where packed audiences of hometown fans and friends first realized that something special was happening. It conjures up the raucous spirit of the Beatles' gritty rock 'n' roll "apprenticeship" of that era in the seedy nightclubs of Hamburg, Germany. It brings to mind the waves of Beatlemania that swept over the U.K. in 1962 and 1963. And finally, it reflects Cloud Nine—the enormously successful solo album Harrison made 25 years later.
The G6128T-GH George Harrison "Tribute" Duo Jet—of which only 60 will be made—mirrors every scratch, ding, worn finish patch and rust spot of Harrison's guitar. Crafted by master luthier Stephen Stern and his crew at the Gretsch Custom Shop, it also faithfully replicates the modifications that were made to the original guitar in the late 1950s by its original owner (who had a Bigsby® tremolo unit installed), and those made by Harrison himself. True to form, the tremolo arm of the new replica's Bigsby® B6C tailpiece has a black Phillips head pivot bolt, and the strap button on the lower bout is offset to accommodate the Bigsby®.
* * * * *
In 1957, Cunard Line merchant seaman Ivan Hayward bought a '57 Gretsch Duo Jet brand-new for $210 in New York at a small guitar shop near Manny's Music on West 48th St. near Times Square. Soon afterward, he bought a Bigsby® tremolo unit for the guitar at Manny's and had it installed, which meant that the strap button on the lower bout had to be relocated just above its original center position.
Four years later, in that summer of 1961, Hayward was back in his hometown of Liverpool and driving cabs for a living. He had decided somewhat reluctantly to part with his Gretsch, so when a Liverpool trio called the Delacardoes hailed his cab one night, he asked them if they wanted to buy a Gretsch electric guitar. They politely declined, but told Hayward they'd put the word out among friends. Delacardoes sax player Neil Foster knew the Beatles' original bass player, Stuart Sutcliffe, from school, and he knew a Gretsch guitar was a rare find. "I am sure it was the only one on Merseyside at that time," Foster told Liverpool newspaper Mersey Beat.
Sure enough, Hayward soon got a phone call from George Harrison, the young Beatles guitarist. Harrison, who arrived dressed in black leather pants and jacket that seemed at odds with his good-natured politeness, seemed like "a nice kid" to Hayward. "He asked me to play something for him, so I played a few things for him—you know, rock solos," Hayward said.
Harrison had been playing gigs since age 16 on a poor-quality Futurama electric guitar he bought in late 1959 that was as difficult to play as it was odd to behold. A Gretsch—a real U.S.—made Gretsch guitar—wouldn't merely be a step up in quality and prestige; it would be a quantum leap.
Hayward wanted £90 for the guitar, but Harrison had only £70. Seeing Harrison's earnest eagerness and appreciation of the instrument, Hayward accepted the £70 along with an IOU for another £20, scrawled on the back of the guitar's customs slip (since settled, Harrison fans will be interested to know).
"It was my first real American guitar," he told Guitar Player magazine in 1987. "And I'll tell you, it was secondhand, but I polished that thing. I was so proud to own that." Indeed, Harrison had procured a truly fine guitar for himself—no small feat for an 18-year-old in Liverpool, where any good guitar was hard to come by, let alone a U.S.-made Gretsch.
It immediately became Harrison's main guitar. In addition to the Beatles gigs at the Cavern and other spots in and around Liverpool, this meant that the Duo Jet also accompanied the young guitarist on several of the Beatles' visits to Hamburg, Germany. Harrison played the guitar during their 1962 stints at the Star-Club in April, May, November and December. This was a wild and formative chapter in Beatles history; Hamburg was where the group honed its live show and musicianship during grueling marathon performances, widened its reputation, lost a certain amount of innocence and recorded and released its first single ("My Bonnie," backing singer Tony Sheridan, June 1961).
* * * * *
When the Beatles (which still included drummer Pete Best) and road manager Neil Aspinall arrived at London's Abbey Road Studios on June 6, 1962, for their EMI/Parlophone audition, the guitar Harrison brought with him was his Gretsch Duo Jet.
They recorded four songs that day: a cover, "Besame Mucho," and three originals, "Love Me Do," "P.S. I Love You" and "Ask Me Why." Except for the all-acoustic "Love Me Do," all the songs included Harrison's Duo Jet. It was on the basis of this "audition" session that Martin decided to sign the Beatles.
* * * * *
Harrison retired the Duo Jet in spring 1963 when he acquired other guitars including the Gretsch Country Gentleman® and Tennessean® models. In the mid-1960s, he gave the Duo Jet as a gift to bassist and artist Klaus Voormann, a longtime friend of the band from the Hamburg days well known to Beatles fans as the designer of the seminal 1966 Beatles album Revolver, as well as the mid-'90s Beatles Anthology albums.
Voormann kept the Gretsch for the next 20 years, at some point changing the neck pickup. In the mid-1980s, Harrison recalled, "I'd asked him what happened to the guitar and whether I could have it back, because of its nostalgic value. So he returned it to me, and I had it fixed back in its original form with the original pickup and switches that had been missing from it since he owned it."
For these late-1985/early-1986 repairs, Harrison turned to noted U.K. guitar tech Alan Rogan, with whom he had worked before. Rogan in turn entrusted the restorative work to luthier Roger Giffin, who rewired it (because "the original wiring was disintegrating") and installed a spare DeArmond® pickup in the neck position that was much closer to the original than the neck pickup Voormann had installed.
In 1987, Harrison released his critically acclaimed and enormously successful Cloud Nine album, which included a massive hit in "Got My Mind Set on You" and a charming tribute to his Beatles years in "When We Was Fab." When the time came to shoot pictures for the cover, Harrison said, "I was asked if I could take a guitar down for the photo session for the new album, and so I picked that one, and that's it—the old black Gretsch."
The cover of Cloud Nine shows a beaming Harrison holding his old Gretsch Duo Jet, back in his hands after more than two decades.
As such, there is perhaps a touching symmetry to the notion that Harrison started his career and returned to it decades later for yet another enormous hit album with "the first real decent guitar" he ever had; the one he bought at age 18 with money he'd worked so hard to save from those early Beatles gigs in Hamburg and in the dank confines of the Cavern. The one he affectionately called "the old black Gretsch."
Отправлено:31.03.11 09:45.Заголовок:I Love Lucy: George ..
I Love Lucy: George Harrison’s Favorite Gibson Guitars
George Harrison was the “quiet Beatle” – at least until he plugged in an electric guitar and, to paraphrase another famed guitar wrangler of the era, “let his freak flag fly.”
One of the key instruments in Harrison’s guitarsenal was “Lucy,” a more solid-bodied relative of B.B. King’s beloved “Lucille”. Lucy is one of the world’s most famous Gibson Les Paul Standards, although her 1957 date of birth dictates that she began her life as a Les Paul Gold Top.
Eric Clapton gave the guitar to Harrison in August 1968, and Harrison named the deep cherry red instrument “Lucy” after popular red-haired comedienne Lucille Ball. The elegant tone machine made its debut in the studio during the “White Album” sessions, although the first song Harrison played it on, “Guilty,” did not make the disc. Shortly after that, Harrison’s Lucy made her TV debut in the promo video for “Revolution,” which premiered in America on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
Lucy is the most famous Gibson guitar that Harrison played, but she is not alone. As Harrison’s playing evolved and he became interested in instruments with greater feedback control and tonal warmth and depth he turned increasingly to Gibsons. As far back as the Please Please Me and With the Beatles albums, Harrison was strumming a Gibson J-160E for his acoustic tracks. Both Harrison and John Lennon acquired J-160Es in 1962 before entering the studio to cut The Beatles’ Please Please Me. Their manager Brian Epstein had to co-sign for both men so they could buy the sunburst six-strings on the installment plan from a Liverpool music shop. The J-160Es can be heard prominently on “Love Me Do.” After Lennon’s J-160E was stolen in late 1963, he often borrowed Harrison’s and played it in Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night before getting his own replacement.
Harrison kept playing his, on Beatles For Sale, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, the “White Album” and Yellow Submarine. If only guitars could talk.
As mentioned, Lucy’s iconic history began with the “White Album,” and she can be heard crying through the extraordinarily emotive solo in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” albeit in the hands of Clapton. Harrison was feeling insecure about his lead playing at the time, but knew he wanted something brilliant for the song he’d written. And brilliance was something Clapton always had on tap.
Back in her new master’s hands, Lucy also appeared on Let It Be and Abbey Road, laying down the middle solo at the end of “The End.” Harrison also took the guitar on tour when he joined Clapton with Delaney & Bonnie in 1969.
Lucy already had an interesting life before she was acquired by E.C. The details are less than crystalline, but the guitar appears to have been bought new by the Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian and then sold to Rick Derringer, who was in the McCoys and nearly a half-decade away from joining the group of Gibson Firebird legend Johnny Winter. Derringer had the guitar refinished from its original gold at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but felt it didn’t sound or feel the same after that, so he traded it for a Gibson Les Paul Sunburst at the Manhattan guitar shop where Clapton found Lucy.
In the 1970s, Lucy was stolen during a break-in at Harrison’s Beverly Hills home and ended up on the wall of the Hollywood Guitar Center. It was bought and taken to Mexico, but eventually traveled back to Harrison after a series of negotiations and delivery of a ’58 Les Paul Sunburst and a bass. The guitar remained in Harrison’s hands for the rest of his life.
Another important Gibson in Harrison’s musical life was a 1964 Gibson SG Standard that he played on the “White Album,” Revolver, Rubber Soul and beyond. It appears in the videos for “Paperback Writer,” “Rain” and “Lady Madonna.” He also used the SG to record “Hey Bulldog” for Yellow Submarine.
For Help! and Rubber Soul, Harrison had some help from a Gibson ES-345. Little is known about this particular instrument. At one time, Beatles mythology dictated that it was a gift from Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues presented to Harrison in 1965, but there are photos of the Beatle using the instrument before that date. Another important Harrison-owned Gibson is the J-200 acoustic he used from 1968 on, and employed in cutting the “White Album”’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Clapton and the tracks “Long, Long, Long” and “Piggies.” That big-bodied guitar also played a crucial role in the writing of the songs on Harrison’s solo masterpiece, All Things Must Pass.
Of course, Harrison’s history with his Epiphone Casino is well-documented. He and Lennon both acquired 1965 Casinos after utilizing Paul McCartney’s Casino during the making of Rubber Soul, but the model is the workhorse of the Sgt Pepper’s sessions. During the “White Album,” both Lennon and Harrison had their sunburst Casinos sanded down to a natural finish in the belief that process improved their tonal qualities. Indeed, Lennon’s instrument, at least seemed to take on a rawer nature, although Harrison’s sound, as always, remained studied and beautiful.