Why did the Beatles play Rickenbacker guitars


  George Harrison: Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman / 6119 Tennessean

(1) 1962 Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman
In May 1963 George bought this 1962 Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman in London and used it on the single "She Loves You" and the album "With The Beatles". This guitar can be seen live e.g. at the appearance in the Royal Variety Performance in 1963. In the winter of 1963, George gave the Gent to his guitar dealer for repairs, where it disappeared shortly afterwards. The guitar reappeared later, but from then on it was only carried as a replacement in tour luggage.
 
During the Beatles' last UK tour in December 1965, the guitar fell out of the trunk of a minibus in a bump and crashed onto the tarmac.
 
(2) 1963 Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman
When the 1962 Country Gentleman went out of business in London, the owner gave George an almost identical 1963 version of the model. Although his old Gent reappeared later, George preferred to play on the new model from then on. The 1963 Gent was used in the studio mainly during the "A Hard Day’s Night" sessions. The guitar can be seen live in the majority of all appearances from the winter of 1963 to the end of 1964 (including the Ed Sullivan Show).
 
After George's death, Olivia Harrison gave the 1963 Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman Ringo Starr, which he still owns today.
 
(3) 1963 Gretsch 6119 Tennessean
At the end of 1963, George became aware of the special sound of the Gretsch 6119 Tennessean. The guitar was first used during the 1963 Beatles Christmas Show and later in the studio when recording the albums "Beatles For Sale", "Help!" and "Rubber Soul". George continued to play this guitar on stage until the 1965 US tour.
 
In the spring of 1969, the Gretsch 6119 Tennessean is said to have been stolen from Abbey Road Studios.
 
Studio:
With The Beatles
A hard day’s night
Help!
Rubber Soul
Sgt. Pepper
 
Live:
May / June 1963 - August 1965


  John Lennon: Rickenbacker 325

(1) 1958 Rickenbacker 325
During the first visit to Hamburg, Lennon switched from a rather cheap Höfner Club 40 to a wood-colored Rickenbacker 325. Soon afterwards he had the Kaufmann vibrato replaced by a Bigsby vibrato and painted the body black. The black Rickenbacker with the golden Pick-Guard accompanied John in the following years from the dark cellars in Hamburg and Liverpool to one of the greatest events in TV history, the appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. The Rickenbacker came into the studio used during the first two albums "Please Please Me", "With The Beatles" and later again on "Beatles For Sale". In February 1964 the guitar was replaced by a newer model.
In September 1972, John had the Rickenbacker restored and the paint sanded off at his trusted guitar dealer in New York. It is said that he recorded the guitar part for "Walking On Thin Ice" with this guitar on the evening of December 8th, 1980.
 
Today the 1958 Rickenbacker 325 is owned by Sean Lennon and was last exhibited at the John Lennon Museum in Tokyo.
 
(2) 1964 Rickenbacker 325 (Jetglo)
Like Paul and George, John was given a new guitar by the Rickenbacker company on his first visit to America. The 1964 model of the Rickenbacker 325 differs optically from its predecessor mainly through the white pick guard and a thinner body. John had already switched to the new model when she appeared for the second time on the Ed Sullivan Show, just a week after her arrival. During a performance at the 1964 Christmas Show, John dropped the guitar and had to do without the guitar for a short time because of a crack in the end of the neck. Live and in the studio, Lennon mainly relied on these Rickenbackers in 1964 and 1965.
 
The 1964 Rickenbacker 325 is now owned by Yoko Ono and was last exhibited at the John Lennnon Museum in Tokyo.
 
(3) 1964 Rickenbacker 325-12
The new 1964 Rickenbacker 325, which John received from the Rickenbacker company in February 1964, was not enough for him. He asked the boss personally whether it would be possible to produce a twelve-string prototype of this model. Just a month later, the guitar specially designed for Lennon was sent to London. The twelve-string guitar was used in the studio during the "Beatles For Sale" sessions and was only live during the recording of the Dutch television show "The Beatles In Nederland" on June 4, 1964 and a show in Boston on September 12, 1964 to see.
 
The 1964 Rickenbacker 325-12 is now owned by Yoko Ono and was last exhibited in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
 
(4) 1964 Rickenbacker 325 (Fireglo) "Beatlebacker"
After John damaged his black 1964 Rickenbacker 325 at the 1964 Christmas Show, the Rickenbacker company gave him a similar model with an F-shaped sound hole. That guitar was then sold by the company under the name Beatlebacker for £ 160. Lennon now had to play the rest of the shows at London's Odeon Cinema with this guitar before his original 325 was repaired.
 
Today the guitar is in Ringo's possession.
 
Studio:
Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A hard day’s night
Beatles For Sale
Help!
Rubber Soul
revolver
 
Live:
August 1960 - December 1965


  Paul McCartney: Höfner 500/1

(1) 1961 Höfner 500/1
When Stuart Sutcliffe left the Beatles in the spring of 1961, Paul had to take over the job of bassist. At first he played on Stu’s right-handed Höfner President 500/5, but since Stuart did not allow him to change the strings, Paul bought a 1961 Höfner 500/1 bass in Hamburg in June. From then on Paul played this Höfner in all shows until autumn 1963 and in the studio on the albums "Please Please Me" and "With The Beatles". In October 1963 Höfner gave Paul a new version of the 500/1 model and from then on the 1961 model mainly served as a replacement. In 1964 Paul had the pick guard removed and the body repainted. This guitar was used in the video for "Revolution" in 1968 and was used again shortly afterwards in the "Get Back" sessions.
 
In spring 1969 the Höfner 500/1 was stolen from the Abbey Road Studios along with other guitars.
 
(2) 1963 Höfner 500/1
In the autumn of 1963, the Höfner Paul company gave a 1963 Höfner 500/1 Bass as a gift, which differs from its predecessor mainly in terms of the position of the pickups. Paul used his "Hofner Baby" in the studio on the albums "A Hard Day’s Night", "Beatles For Sale" and "Help!". Then the bass stepped into the background in favor of the new Rickenbacker 4001S Bass, but live Paul continues to rely on the Höfner. After the tour through Germany, Japan and the Philippines in the summer of 1966, the bass was in such poor condition that it had to be restored. Just in time for the start of the US tour in August, the instrument was given a new paint, among other things. And so that this came into its own, Paul played the bass from now on without a pick guard.
Apart from the "Get Back" project in January 1969, Paul left the instrument almost untouched for years and only Elvis Costello urged him in 1987 to bring the bass out again and use it for the recording of "My Brave Face". Eventually Paul found pleasure in the instrument again, had it overhauled and has been using it on stage and in the studio to this day.
 
Studio:
Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A hard day’s night
Beatles For Sale
Help!
Rubber Soul
revolver
Sgt. Pepper
Magical Mystery Tour
White album
let it be
 
Live:
Beatles Tours 1961--1966
Rooftop Concert, London, January 1969
+ Solo appearances from 1989

go to part - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 -
To home page