Tuesday, September 16, 2014

George Harrison's Guitars

Futurama guitar
George Harrison played a myriad of guitars throughout his career with the Beatles. Starting out in January of 1960 with a Czechoslovakian guitar called a Delicia Futurama. This was a rather poor version of a Fender guitar which was being imported and sold by Selmer Musical Instruments. It had three pickups mounted on a solid body. Unlike the Fender, the headstock was three on a side for this guitar.




George with Selmer Truvoice amp
This guitar was played through a Selmer Truvoice Stadium amplifier.



Sometime in July of 1961 George was able to trade up for a Gibson Les Paul GA-40 amplifier.



He also was able to buy a black Gretsch Duo Jet.

By 1962 The Beatles were being recognized in Liverpool and July of that year George acquired his first Vox AC30 amplifier. He played through Vox amps for much of his career.

In September of 1962, Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, took George and John went to Rushworth's Music store where they picked out a pair of sunburst Gibson J-160E guitars. These instruments went on to become iconic Beatle guitars.

In 1963, just before the Beatles became famous in the United States that George Harrison decided to travel to the United States to visit his sister. She lived near Chicago, in Mount Vernon, Illinois. During this visit he purchased a 1962 one pickup Rickenbacker 425.

He wanted a guitar like the one John had and this guitar was close. He later had a new pickguard made and added a second pickup. He only used it on a few live British television shows.

But the provenance of this guitar states that Harrison used it on the recording of I Want to Hold Your Hand.  Harrison eventually gave this guitar to a friend.

It sold at auction for $657,000.



It was not until April of 1963 that George Harrison graduated from the small bodied Gretsch Duo Jet to the larger bodied Gretsch Country Gentleman.


In July or August of 1963, Harrison added an Australian made Maton Mastersound MS-500 to his collection.


He also possessed a new Vox AC30 amplifier.



Both Country Gentlemen
In October of 1963 Harrison acquired a second Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar and a Gretsch Tennessean Guitar.

By now the Beatles were famous and Vox had built a new amplifier in hopes the music could be heard of the screams of their girl fans. This was the Vox AC50.

By February on 1964, Francis Hall, the owner of Rickenbacker Guitars presented George with a 1963 Rickenbacker 360/12, which gave the Fab Four some of their signature sound.




Harrison also acquired a new Ramirez classical guitar, which he used in the studio and in the film, A Hard Day’s Night. This is another guitar he gave away to a friend from Liverpool.






By now the Beatles were playing stadiums and arenas across the United States, so in an effort to be heard, Vox Musical Instruments presented the “boys” with Vox AC100 amplifiers. Harrison relied on this amp throughout 1964 and 1965.




Sometime between October of 1965 and March of 1966 Harrison had Mel Evans purchase two Sonic blue Fender Stratocasters. One was a 1961 model which he would later paint and it became his Rocky Stratocaster. You can hear that distinctive Strat sound on the recording of Nowhere Man.



He also acquired a Gibson ES-345.

Between April and June of 1966 the Beatles existed mostly in the studio. Harrison and Lennon purchased 1965 Epiphone Casinos. Harrison's had a Bigsby, while Lennon's had a trapeze tailpiece.



Harrison also acquired a 1964 Cherry Gibson SG, a Burns Nu-Sonic bass guitar, and a Fender Showman amp.






In 1966, the Beatles were presented with a prototype Vox amplifer called the UL730. He used this in the Let It Be Sessions.


This same year the Beatles were given Vox Super Beatle amplifiers made by the Thomas Organ Company.

However they used the Vox UL730 amplifiers on most of their final US and European tour.

In 1968, Harrison was presented with a rosewood Telecaster made by Roger Rossmeisl and Philip Kubuki during the time they worked for Fender. They made two of these guitars and gave George Harrison the best one. The serial number is 235594. The guitars body had to be hollowed out due to its weight.

It is sometimes called The Rooftop Telecaster.


It was used in Let It Be and on the Abby Road sessions. Ed Begley Jr. purchased it at auction in 2003.


Harrison also owned several acoustics guitars built in 1974 by luthier Tony Zemaitis.
George Harrison with his collection
Some of the Amplifiers That Harrsion Used Through the Years
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)







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3 comments:

Buy Cheap Guitars said...

Really good text, harryson was a really big man and music.

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