From scott–(at)– Sun Nov 17 10:36:45 CST 1996

> > > > Let’s not forget that The Beatles for the most part did not select the
> > > > guitars they played, except at first. They were given to them by the
> > > > various companies. John originally stole his first Rick from another
> > > > musician, Paul bought the two Hofners, George bought the two Gretches.
> > > > But the Fender Strats of John & George, Pauls Fender bass, Pauls Rick
> > > > bass, John’s second Rick and the Casinos for all three, were all gifts.
> > > > Even Paul’s Yamaha from the late 70’s was a gift. So, they never
> > > > selected them for their quality or sound.

I would be very interested in any documentation anyone may have on where
their instruments came from.

John DID NOT steal any of his famous Beatle guitars. The instrument that
Paul infers that John stole in Anthology (the home game, not the TV
version) was the guitar he used until he got his Rick (the model name
escapes me as I type this…). John himself did admit to stealing the
harmonica he used on Love Me Do from a shop somewhere in England.

It appears that John ordered and received his original Rick 325 during
their first Hamburg trip. Rickenbackers records show two 325s shipped to
Steinway Music in Hamburg, Germany in late 1960. One of these was the
natural finished ’59 with a Kauffmann Vibrola that John bought.

Paul bought his 1960 Hofner, and was supplied with his ’63 and the
infamous ’64 ‘Presentation’ instrument by Hofner.

They apparently bought the two GIbson J-160E acoustics, as they used them
>from the first sessions – long before they could have gotten anything for
free from Gibson.

George bought his 4 main Gretsch guitars. (Duo Jet, two Country Gent’s,
and a Tennessean). There are also recently published photos of George with
a ’58 Gretsch Jet Firebird in Hamburg (a red top version of his Duo Jet
with later pickups and control configuration). This may have been a
borrowed guitar…

A radio station bought George his first 360/12. It has long been said that
it was Murray the K, but it appears to have been the station interviewing
him when it was first handed to him in his hotel room (he was ill and did
not go to the suite that Rickenbacker had set up to display the
instruments they were trying to sell to the Beatles during their stay in
New York). Brian Epstein, either personally or on behalf of one of the
Beatles companies, bought Johns second (late 1963) Rick 325 during this
same trip to New York. Paul was also shown the (Jan. ’64) 4001S that was
built specifically for him during this trip, but he passed on buying it at
the time. It was given to him by F.C. Hall during their stay in L.A. in

George claims that he sent Mal an Neil out to buy the two Sonic Blue
Strats during a session in late 1965.

Paul bought his Casino before the other two got theirs, and there is no
indication in Gibsons records that they ever gave the Beatles any

They paid for their early Vox equipment. Apparently they did not want to
officially endorse any instrument brands (Paul and George still refuse to
allow Rickenbacker to officially use their names), but there was some
bending of the rules when it came to Vox. Unfortunately Vox company
records from this era are not available.

Fender tried from January 1964 on to get an endorsement deal set up.
Failing this the company (then owned by CBS) gave them anything they
wanted in 1968. There is evidence of them using Fender, Gibson, and Selmer
amplifiers from their very first sessions, although this was never
mentioned due to their association with VOX.

enough for now…

– Sj

Route 66 Guitars


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