Björn Eriksson takes a look at

The Beatles and their Rickenbacker guitars

                                                  By Björn Eriksson


The Beatles had Rickenbacker guitars and Rickenbacker guitars had the Beatles. Would The Beatles have had their great success without the Rickenbacker guitars? Of course they would! Whether Rickenbacker guitars would have had their great success without the Beatles is an interesting question about which we can only speculate. A more valuable and interesting pursuit would be to explore the importance of Rickenbackers in the music of the Beatles. We will never get a chance to know for sure out so let´s drop the speculations here and now! Instead let us look back! In my opinion there has never been a Rickenbacker - Artist symbiosis like the one between John Lennon and his Rickenbacker 325.

Welcome to the story of The Beatles´ Rickenbackers! I hasten to remind you dear reader, that this is the story seen through my own eyes and the views expressed herein, should not be held up to the highest standard of scientific scrutiny.

NOTE! Because of problems to find the copyright holders of many Beatles-pictures, I will add more pictures to this article as soon as I get  permissions.


John Lennon´s '58 Rickenbacker 325

The Beatles went to Hamburg in August 1960. John had seen guitarist Jean "Toots" Thielemans, George Shearing´s Quintet, playing a Rickenbacker 325 in 1959. He immediately became interested in the guitar. One day John and George went to Steinway´s in Hamburg (local research suggests that the guitar may have been acquired from the nearby Musikhaus Rothoff). George bought a Gibson amplifier and John bought the "guitar of his dreams", a Rickenbacker Capri 325 in natural finish. It´s quite amazing to see that the connection between "Toots" and the Capri 325 began as early as 1958! When bringing the question up about the cost of the amplifier and the guitar George Harrison recalls:  - I think we bought them on "a knocker". One pound down and the rest when they catch you. He adds: - I don´t know if we ever paid them off, but.....??

Trade Show 1958

The guitar to the left of Toots Thielemans´ elbow  is most certainly John Lennon´s first Capri 325 before it was fitted with four control knobs. This picture is from Trade Show in July 1958. © 1999 by Rickenbacker Int'l Corp. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

John Lennon´s 325 1958

Here´s another photo from the Trade Show 1958. John Lennon´s Capri 325 is the guitar to the left in the bottom row, equipped with two control knobs and a Kauffman Vibrola tailpiece. © 1999 by Rickenbacker Int'l Corp. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

John Lennon in Hamburg

1960. John Lennon in Hamburg on a fairground, near the Reeperbahn, called "Heiligengeistfeld". His guitar is still unmodified. ©1999 Astrid Kircherr. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

In Hamburg John Lennon soon started to modify his guitar. The first alteration he made was to remove the TV-style control knobs and replace them with Hofner types. Through the years he was using both Burns and Hofner type knobs. It seems he was either constantly losing them or perhaps could not decide which type were more appealing. There is a picture on p.45 in "The Vox Story" (Petersen & Denny, 1993) showing John´s guitar with only three Hofner type knobs. After returning to Liverpool he replaced the Kauffman Vibrola tailpiece. He bought a Bigsby unit from salesman Jim Getty at Hessy´s music store in Liverpool. Also a new Bigsby bow-tie bridge was mounted. The guitar was put on the counter and the modifications were made while still being in the store. Perhaps the reason for this was that the Kauffman Vibrola rarely returned to pitch and threw the instrument out of tune. It would appear that the Bigsby was considered as a more reliable vibrato tailpiece. Unfortunately the Bigsby bridge was somewhat oversized for the smaller 325 body. It was probably the pickguard that prevented it from fitting properly or perhaps it was improperly installed. Pictures of the guitar reveal that the low E or 6th string was out of alignment and actually was outside the fretboard and off the neck from somewhere around the 14th fret and higher.(see "Imagine John Lennon" by Yoko Ono 1988, picture on p. 73.)

It would also seem that the middle pickup was disconnected.One plausible reason for this altered wiring might have been to achieve greater difference in tone between the different pickup-switch positions. Most of the pictures of John playing this guitar reveal that the pickup-switch is set to the mid-position. An up or down position would result in a more distinct change in tonal characteristics. Whether this was a deliberate action on John´s part or not, is not known. After all John Lennon did not have the reputation of being the most technically minded person.

Please note that the fact that his middle pickup was disconnected has not, to my knowledge, been verified by John himself in any interviews. Maybe the reason simply was that the pickup had been damaged from being hit hard a countless number of times, while John was strumming wild (or damaged because of some other reason), and he just left it that way. After all he never modified his other 325 (Miami) or 1996 (Rose,Morris) guitars to have that same pickup wiring.

John Lennon's Capri 325 from 1958

There are few topics that hold the attention of avid Beatle fans more than the guitars played by the Fab Four in general, and by John Lennon in specific. His adopting of the 325 Rickenbacker and his eventual refinishing to black has sent many an enthusiast on the hunt for the reasons underlying this change. Whatever the reason, no single guitar at that time had the
impact of Lennon's black 325. The reasons for its change in color are not known, however, the most realistic explanation is probably Lennon's pension for the unusual and different. The Cuban footwear, the leather hat, the long beard, the Lennon spectacles, the purple shirts and the shaved head are but a few examples of his trend setting ways. So why should his guitar be any different?
Jim Burns, of Burn's Guitar fame, is credited with the finishing. The 325 in its natural finish is portrayed in a photo of the Beatles rehearsing at the Cavern in October 1962. The first photo of Lennon with the 325 with black finish was taken on December 31, 1962 at their last performance at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany.
So the refinishing of Lennon's instrument was sometime between October and mid December 1962.

Another possible reason for the refinishing was to make it match George´s black Gretsch Duo Jet, which was his main guitar at that period. It is also known that John´s guitar was quite scratched and beaten after being heavily used for a long time, and badly in need of cosmetic changes. Also the white pickup-switch was replaced with a black one. Finally, black was John´s favorite "color". Maybe another reason?

The pictures below provides an excellent illustration of how John Lennon´s guitar looked after being refinished.

Model 325 '58 reproduction

"1958" 325 Capri. Reproduction of John Lennon´s first Rickenbacker after being refinished by Jim Burns in 1963. ©1999 Mark Vaquer. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Here are the specifications:
* Correct 2 inch thick body w/ 1/8 inch thick back
* Correct (Lennon) shaped headstock w/ 50's logo & correct screws
* Unfinished fretboard
* Elongated Jackplate
* Raised single gold pickguard w/ correct (Lennon) "5" mount screw points
* Burns reproduction knobs
* 1960's Bigsby w/ Aluminum handle w/ "Phillips" head stud
* Thick string nut (as on early '58 325's)
* No volute on back of headstock base
* Short pole pickups re-wound to 50's specs

Model 325 '58 reproduction   Model 325 '58 reproduction headstock

Left: 325 Capri 1958 reproduction. Right: Picture highlighting the correct shaped headstock, headstock logo & thick nut on this repro '58 325 (no serial#). ©1999 Mark Vaquer. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Model 325 '58 reproduction

The 2" thick body on the 325 Capri reproduction. ©1999 Mark Vaquer. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The Beatles in Sheffield 1963

John Lennon with his '58 Rickenbacker 325 at the City Hall in Sheffield, November 2 1963. ©1999 Corbis Pictures. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

George Harrison´s Rickenbacker 425

The second Beatle to get himself a Rickenbacker was George Harrison. In September 1963 he bought a Jetglo model 425, while visiting his sister Louise in Benton, Illinois. In a letter I have received from her she confirms that George bought this guitar in a music store in Mount Vernon, Illinois.

Mr. Bill Beatty, who owns the music store "Beatty´s" in West City near Benton, Illinois recalls this event and is able to confirm that he spoke with the two men who sold George his Rickenbacker. The store was Fentons Music Store in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and the man who claims to have been the one to sell it was "Tiny" Len Wymette.

This instrument never became George´s favorite. He only used it for a short time. He can be seen using the guitar in "Ready Steady Go", a TV-show broadcasted on October 4 1963 (now available on video-cassette).

George Harrison with his Model 425

George Harrison with his 425 in Sheffield, Nov 2 1963. ©1999 Corbis Pictures. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


An Historical Date

(George Harrison´s first 360/12)

February 8th, 1964 was a day when Rickenbacker (read Francis C.Hall) really made a very powerful contribution to the sound of the sixties.That day Mr. Hall invited The Beatles (John, Paul and Ringo) to his hotel suite at the Savoy Hilton Hotel in NYC.There he showed them his newest "invention", the electric twelve-string.George Harrison, who was back at the Plaza Hotel, had the flu and stayed in bed.The other boys wanted to give him a chance to try out this new guitar, so off they went to his hotel.George, who was giving a telephone interview for the radio station WDGY in Minneapolis, tried out this new guitar.When he told the DJ about the guitar the radio station offered him the instrument as a gift.But Francis C. Hall had already decided to give away this instrument, and so he did. George Harrison appeared to be rather confused about the party from whom he received the gift.A further elaboration of this situation is discussed later in the article. By introducing the Rickenbacker twelve string guitar Francis C. Hall added a dimension to the sound of the sixties that was adopted by a countless number of groups all over the world. This brilliant business idea from Mr. Hall increased the popularity of his guitars enormously. Both the Rickenbacker company and the many musicians were to benefit from the introduction of the first electric 12 string guitar.

George Harrison´s first 360/12 was the second Rickenbacker twelve string ever made. The prototype had somewhat different features. The most significant difference between the two is the manner in which they are strung. The first twelve string manufactured had a conventional twelve string setup. On George´s guitar, the octave counterparts to the four lower strings, were reversed with the octave strings occurring second in the string pairs. It was the first Rickenbacker strung in this manner. This is why Mr. F.C Hall often refers to it the first H E R E!

While Harrison's 12 string was the second one made, nonetheless, it had the distinction of being a prototype for all subsequent instruments as far as the manner in which they would be strung.George Harrison´s guitar had a crescent soundhole, triangle inlays, trapeze tailpiece, double white pickguards and black control knobs. The color is FireGlo. This model is available in a reissue version, the model 360/12V64.

Model 360/12V64 headstock

The brilliant headstock solution (360/12V64) ©1999 Björn Eriksson

He still uses his first twelve string. You can hear it in the song "Fish On The Sand" from the album "Cloud Nine" ( 1987). George Harrison says: " - The guitar is really good. I love the sound of it and the brilliant way where the machine heads fit so that even when you´re drunk you can still know what string you´re tuning."  

Below is the story told by George Harrison, in his own words, from a radio interview in 1988:

" - First one I ever saw was when Beatles were in Hamburg on their first trip and we went into the shop Steinway´s in Hamburg and I bought a Gibson amplifier and John bought that little Rickenbacker that, you know, became very well known through the Beatle concerts. There was this scaled neck. I think he´d just seen an album by a guy, Jean Thielemans, who used to be guitar player with "The George Shearing Quintet", and he had one of those Rickenbackers.

Later when we went to America, I think for the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964, there was a show Rickenbacker had in this hotel suite, but I was sick at the time, I never made it, but I thought Rickenbacker had personally given me this guitar which was the twelve string I used right through Hard Day´s Night, Ticket To Ride and all those songs.I actually use it on my new album, Cloud Nine, it´s on a song called "Fish On The Sand". So that´s it, but that Rickenbacker is the number two, apparently it´s the second one made, and I found out that it was actually a radio station bought it from Rickenbacker and presented it to me.

Well, you have to imagine in those days as we were first out of Liverpool any good American guitar looked sensational to us, and we only had old beat-up, crummy guitars at that stage, and we still really didn´t have any money to buy´em but I remember we bought, like John got that Rickenbacker and I got this amplifier and we got them on, what they call, on "a knocker", you know, pound down, the rest when they catch you, and...we... I don´t know if we ever really paid them off, but...

It was a great looking guitar and I think in England you had to order them specifically and wait from six months, you know not just for Rickenbackers, for anything, Fenders and Gibsons, and I think it was purely that John needed a decent guitar and that one just happened to be in the shop, and that he liked the look of it.

That was 1964 when I got that guitar in the Plaza Hotel in New York, we were there to do the Ed Sullivan shows, and straight away I liked the guitar because you knew exactly which string was which.Some of them twelve strings, you know, you spend hours trying to tune in, you´re turning the wrong knobs, so many of them. So I started using it then and in the next session after the initial Beatle trip to the USA. It was probably Hard Day´s Night, it´s right there on the opening downbeat of Hard Day´s Night, that chord, and I used it right through "I should Have Known Better", right through lot of the songs in Hard Day´s Night, and I think the last Beatle song was, that I recall playing on was, the Rickenbacker twelve string, was "Ticket To Ride".

The strange thing about the guitar, really, I don´t think the electronics in it is very good. I don´t know if they have improved it, they probably have by now, but they have like a whole bunch of controls on it, I think four knobs and a little tiny knob, and I never.., it never seem to do anything. All it ever seemed to be there was one sound I could get where it was bright, which is the sound I use, and there was another tone where it just all went muffely, which I never used, but it really didn´t seem to do anything other than this bright sound, but that is the sound that you hear on Ticket To Ride and all those others we mentioned.

The twelve string was pretty easy really as long as it was in tune, you know, you always had that problem with twelve string getting it really in tune. But, as I said, the neck on it was very easy. In fact, having not played it for years and I just played it again recently, I was surprised the neck is actually so narrow that you have to be very careful when you´re clamping the strings down there because, you know, the first and sixth strings can slip off the side of the neck if you press´em on an angle. But it´s pretty good from what I remember. I used to play it in concerts for years and it never gave me any trouble.

Yeah, well I´m pleased to say I still got that guitar, it´s a great classic guitar now I think. I got it hanging on a wall at home and as I said I use it on "Fish On The Sand" which a few people have said, oh ,it reminds them of some Beatle tune, I don´t know, but that´s purely because the sound of it, that sound you just associate with those early sixties´ Beatle records. The twelve string Rickenbacker sound is a sound on its own. "

A close look in Lewisohn´s book "The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions" reveal that the first song recorded in 1964 with the twelve string guitar was "I should Have known Better". The recording dates are February 25 (take 1-3) and February 26 (take 4-22). The next song recorded with the twelve string was "I Call Your Name" on March 1. The twelve string pattern on this song really introduces the "new" sound, giving the song a very special touch. The song that maybe is most connected with the twelve string, "A Hard Day´s Night" ,was recorded on April 16 (1964).

George Harrison´s 360/12 O.S. John Lennon´s 325/12

Left: The second Rickenbacker 360/12 ever made. George Harrison received this guitar on February 8 1964 as a gift from Francis C. Hall at Rickenbacker. Right: John Lennon´s one-of-a-kind 325/12. Shipped to London by the Rickenbacker company in March 1964. © 1999 by Rickenbacker Int'l Corp. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

John Lennon´s second Rickenbacker 325

Later in February 1964 John Lennon received his second 325. It was sent to him at Hotel Deauville in Miami where the they recorded their second performance in "Ed Sullivan Show" on February 16th. The Beatles arrived to Miami on February 13th and the guitar was delivered some day between these two dates. The updated version of the model 325 had following specifications: JetGlo body, double white pickguards, 5 control knobs and a modern Rickenbacker Ac´cent vibrato tailpiece. John quickly adopted this guitar to his main instrument.

This brings us to an interesting and widely discussed subject through the years. It´s been said that John Lennon´s first 325 was stolen at the time for receiving the new 325 in Miami. There are many Beatle enthusiasts who claim that John never used his '58 325 after Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 1964. However, this is a complete mistake. Photos from September 30 1964 shows John playing his '58 325 during the recording of "Beatles For Sale". The photos are shown in "The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions", by Mark Lewisohn, on page 51. John with his dotted shirt standing, surrounded by guitar cases and bags. He can also seen speaking to Paul on the picture to the right. Same clothes. On page 48, Ringo is preparing himself for the timpani parts of "Every Little Thing". That photo is dated to September 30. It´s most certainly from take 9 of the song, when timpani, piano and guitar intro was added. On pages 52 and 53 there are more photos to confirm this event.

In addition to the photographic evidence pointing to the existence of John Lennon's 1958 Capri as late as September 30, 1964, there are several reasons why it is not reasonable to argue that his famous instrument was stolen. Those who are guided by rumor and blindly believe that this Rickenbacker was secretly lost  are to be reminded of the many Beatles' rumors that were never true, including "the claim that Paul McCartney was Dead!" To this day there has not been any convincing evidence to confirm the speculation that Lennon's old tattered and torn workhorse was stolen. So what are some of the reasons arguing against the mysterious cover-up that John's first Rickenbacker was lost. To begin, his guitar has been shown in photographs as recently as Bacon and Day's 1994 publication, and the instrument is acknowledged as being part of the Lennon collection owned by Yoko Ono. Moreover, Lennon was interviewed on countless occasions over the years by journalists for whom he had tremendous respect. These include, but are by no means limited to, Ray Coleman, Hunter Davies and Barry Miles. Indeed these authors report no such story which, if it were true, would be one of the greatest John Lennon scoops of all time. Indeed, this mysterious disappearance has not been documented by any credible rock music journalist in the past 30 years. Moreover, in today's climate of auctions of famous instruments, the person in possession of this instrument (now worth a tidy sum approaching a million dollars perhaps) would have long since come forward. Interestingly, none of the remaining Beatles has ever offered comment on the disappearance of John's 325 and George for example, has absolutely no difficulty acknowledging his lost instrument. Finally an story relating to a hardship experienced by one of the Beatles can be expected to have a wide following and virtually always end up in the news. There is a surprising absence of any stories in newspapers and magazines regarding this event. Surely this would be a major story for any newspaper or tabloid simply based on the money to be made on increased sales.

Listening to "Every Little Thing" reveals John playing not only the 325/12 but also his '58 325. It can best be heard in the solo playing the "bass-figures". That John is playing the solo part on his twelvestring is easy to recognize. He is "rushing" through the arpeggio part of it in a way that George, with his more laid back style, never would do.

John Lennon's second Model 325

John Lennon's second 325.


John Lennon's 325 with "playlist".


John Lennon´s Rickenbacker 325/12 Will be added....



Paul McCartney´s Rickenbacker 4001S

Paul received his Rickenbacker 4001S during the Hollywood Bowl concert in August 1964. The bass had been shown to him in February of the same year, but Paul was not particularly interested. The fact that noone at RIC had noticed that Paul was Left-handed may explain his previous lack of enthusiasm. The Rickenbacker bass was also heavier than his light-weight Hofner which may have added to his reluctance to accept the bass earlier..
In Bass Player magazine, a couple of years back, Paul explained that he was presented with the bass in February 1964, but didn't accept the offer until it was presented to him for free. Apparently RIC had asked for a small fee during this initial meeting with. He said in the article that the only reason he took the bass was because he was always on the look out for 'freebies'.
In another interview from May 1980 he said:
".... - Back in the midsixties Mr Rickenbacker (!) gave me a special left-handed bass. It was the first left-handed bass I´d ever had, ´cause the Hofner was a converted right-hand. It was a freebie and I loved it; I started getting into it on "Sgt Pepper". And now I´m playing Yamaha, because they gave me one - I´m anybody´s for a free guitar....."

I have sent a number of letters to MPL Communications (and Paul) to try to get some answers about the 4001S LH and the very many changes it´s gone through during the years. This is the latest answer:

Dear Bjorn:

I've repeatedly forwarded your letters to my London office for a
response. To date if you haven't received any, I'm afraid it's due to
the enormous amount of letters and requests Paul receives on a daily
basis (thousands). It's possible that the information you are
requesting could be difficult to research at this time due to 2 album
releases (back to back) and Paul's work/personal schedule.

I believe from discussing your request with seasoned office staff
members here that Paul may shy away from answering these types of
questions or supplying photos of any kind as they may be seen as an
endorsement of the guitar brand itself. That's just one way that I see
as why you haven't received any information at this time. The best I
can do is try again and get some kind of difinitive response even if
it's a quiet, sorry but no kind of answer.

J. Mlecz
MPL Inc.

As you can see I have yet to receive information from Paul regarding his 4001S. I will tell you, however, what I have managed to learn to date.

Let's start from the beginning:

According to the people at Rickenbacker the S/N of Paul's 4001S starts with a DA indicating that it was built in January of 1964, or at least started by then. Paul's 4001S is only one of two lefties made in 1964. Seeing as his was made or started in Jan. '64 it is most likely that his was the first one made that year.
The bass was a very dark Fireglo (almost Autumnglo) model 4001S LH that was given to Paul in August 1964, probably during the Hollywood Bowl concerts. It looked very much like the one pictured below, except that the nut was black at first, and later replaced with a white one. The model 4001V63 PMC is a reissue model of Paul´s bass.

Model 4001V63 "PMC"

The reissue model 4001V63 "PMC" Courtesy of Dan Ealey


There are no pictures (at least that I know of) of Paul with the 4001S until 1965 when work on Rubber Soul began. George Harrison has said that Paul played his 4001S on the song 'Think For Yourself', but other than that, there's no documentation of his Ric being used on the album.
AT the end of 1965 and the beginning of 1966, the 4001S was used as a back up bass at live performances. (I have a photo of Paul with it backstage during the Beatles Japanese tour in spring/summer 1966. I hope to find the owner of this photo to obtain the permission for posting it here.)
Paul continued to use his Ric as a backup bass for the last Beatles tour in '66.

The first time a real presence of the Ric bass is felt is during the recording of "Paperback Writer" and Rain, the first two songs recorded for their upcoming album "Revolver". According the book "Revolution in the Head", he played the bass through a compressor for the two songs.

He picked up the bass again in November of '66 and used it on the recordings of 'Penny Lane' and 'Strawberry Fields'. There is a picture of him using the bass during these sessions in the book "The Summer Of Love: 1967". He continued to use the bass through the Sgt. Pepper recordings. In the TV special, "The making of Sgt. Pepper" he said that he would usually play the bass last as an overdub so that he could think of a good bass line, or at least more complex ones than he had initially used.

At this point changes in the appearance of his Rickenbacker bass become evident. It was either in "Bass Player" or some other interview with Tony Bacon when Paul mentioned why he painted up his Ric. It seems that there was a get together for the four Beatles to celebrate the completion of The Sgt. Pepper album and they brought their instruments. Paul said that they would see performers at the "Bag O'Nails" Club in London who had painted up their guitars to fit the psychedelic era and wanted to do the same. George brought his Fender Strat, John his Gibson J-160, Paul his Rickenbacker 4001S and Ringo brought his bass drum. Now I'm quoting Paul:
" - We got together at George's place, had some beers, smoked a couple of joints, then came out the aerosols and that's it". That's how his bass got the way it did.

For the next while he used his Ric bass incessantly in videos and in the studio, until the end of 1968. Earlier in '68, Fender gave the Beatles a some FREE equipment but not as much as the rumours say.

Phil Kubicki did make 2 rosewood teles prototypes and at least 1 rosewood strat, the better parts (neck and body) of the two telecaster were incorporated into the Telecaster given to George Harrison and is seen in Let it Be. This Tele was flown in its own passenger seat on an airliner for delivery to the late Mr. Harrison.The other Tele was kept in a vault at Fender in their R & D department. This is also corraborated by an article in the 1990's on Fender Prototypes with a picture of the "other" Rosewood Strat and in the bood Beatles Gear.Also in regards to the rosewood stratocaster, Jimi Hendrix died in August of 1970 before the guitar could be presented to him by Fender. This Strat was completed in April 1970, however Fender must have had some marketing ploy that delayed its delivery. This guitars whereabouts currently are unknown. (Fender could also have rushed the Strat to Jimi the same way as above, but chose not to do so.)

 In the summer of '68, Don Randall gave the Beatles one silverface Deluxe, a silverface Twin, and a suitcase model Rhodes piano. There were no guitars given away. Mal Evans purchased two Sonic Blue strats in Sheffield for John and George during the Help! sessions. Epstein agreed to pay as long as the guitars were identical. Paul bought an Esquire (tele with no neck pickup) during the Revolver sessions. He also purchased a RH Fender Jazz bass and Fender piggyback Bassman in '66. The amp saw service on some of the Pepper cuts and was used as late as the recording of Abbey Road. The Jazz bass was used on many of the White Album cuts. George favored this bass - restrung for to normal on the Abbey Road cuts where he played bass. Paul also used this bass in Nigeria when he recorded Band on the Run. George purchased a white tolex piggyback bandmaster during the Rubber Soul sessions which was used on various recordings through 1968. The only other Fender was the Bass VI purchased in London in '68 for George and John to use while Paul played keyboards. Eric Clapton suggested it, as Jack Bruce used to play one. Feeling that the summer of love was far over and the pschedelic movement moving on, John decided to have the his paint job stripped from the top of his J-160. He liked it so much that he did the same to his Epiphone Casino. Paul following John's lead did the same to his Ric bass. That's why we don't see his bass in the "Revolution" video because he doesn't have it. If you've ever seen photos from behind the scenes at the 'Revolution' video shoot you can see his Fender Jazz Bass is present along with his old Hofner Cavern bass.

The Rickenbacker 4001S bass doesn't show up again until the Beatles move into there new studio at Apple Corp. It can be seen in the background of the 'Two Of Us' video looking exactly as it did when he got it but in mapleglo now. There seems to be no photographic or video evidence of Paul using this bass during the "Let It Be" sessions.

I can´t say for sure if he used this bass during the recording of "Abbey Road". All the pictures I have and have seen of Paul during that time show him with his Casino, Fender Jazz, Martin D-28, or playing the piano so it's a mystery as to whether or not he used his 4001S on the album.
In late '68 (shortly after Paul got his Fender Jazz) before the filming of "Let It Be" Paul had decided that the Beatles had outgrown the psychedelic phase and sent it back to the Ric factory to get the paint stripped off and the handrest removed.

His Rick bass pretty much stayed the same until he started to work on the "Red Rose Speedway" album. One, but clearly visible, change was that Paul had the horns on his bass shaved down somewhere between 1970 and the release of the RRS album. He also got the bridge pick-up replaced and the metal surrounding changed to a more rectangular one. A Red Rose Speedway sticker was also put on the bass at this point. See photo below.

Paul McCarney´s 4001S LH

Paul McCartney´s 4001S with the Red Rose Speedway sticker. © 1999 by Rickenbacker Int'l Corp. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Paul McCartney with his 4001S LH

Paul McCartney with his 4001S during the 1976 "Summer Tour" in the USA. ©1999 Corbis Pictures. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The story about Paul´s 4001S will continue soon........hold on!


George Harrison´s second Rickenbacker 360/12

The Beatles second American Tour began in August 1965. It started on August 15 at Shea Stadium in New York City. With 55 600 in attendance, this was, at the time, the largest crowd ever assembled for a concert in the USA. The show was filmed for a TV documentary, which was first broadcasted on March 1, 1966.  

During this tour George Harrison was presented his second Rickenbacker 360/12. The event took place while The Beatles were at a press conference in Minneapolis on August 21 1965. The instrument was delivered from B-Sharp Music in Minneapolis by Mr. Randy Resnick. Mr Resnick told me this: " -  The gift was my idea and Bill Diehl (WDGY now KFAN) helped me out by letting me do this at the press conference."

George Harrison receiving his second 360/12 in Minneapolis on August 21 1965. Courtesy of Randy Resnick. Used by permission.

There was a television documentary produced by KSTP TV in Minneapolis about 2 years ago documenting this event. As I mentioned earlier does George seem a little confused about how his Rickenbacker twelvestrings were acquired.  

This is what George said to Dan Forte in an interview for Guitar Player published in November 1987.  

Dan: "...Did Rickenbacker give you a 12-string?..."  

George: "...Yeah, I got number two. This friend of mine in England who takes care of guitars, Alan Rogan, just found out that that Rickenbacker 12-string of mine is the second one they made. The first one they gave to a woman, and the second one is the one I got. I got another one from them with the rounded cutaways, but I´m glad to say that the one that went missing - I got a lot of stuff stolen or lost - wasn´t the original one.."

It is not clear whether George appreciates the true origins of his two twelve strings. Hopefully this will be revealed by further research.George´s second Rickenbacker twelvestring got lost shortly after the Candlestick Park concert on August 29 1966.The exact date of its disappearance and its current whereabouts remains unknown.

This new model 360/12 had rounded cutaways and checked binding on the back. Five chrome-top control knobs and an "R" tailpiece. When George received this guitar he "retired" his first from stage performances. The first recording in which this guitar was used was "If I Needed Someone", recorded on October 16 1965 (first take).

George Harrison with his 360/12 New Style

"If I Needed Someone..."  August 21 1966. George Harrison with his 360/12 New Style at Crosley Field, Cincinatti Ohio. The Beatles made an afternoon performance. In the evening they performed at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. ©1966 Gordon Baer / Cincinnati USA. All rights reserved. Used by permission  

George Harrison playing his 360/12 New Style for the last time.......

George Harrison playing the last Beatles' concert in Candlestick Park Aug 29th 1966. This guitar was stolen shortly after this performance. It has not been found yet....... © 2000 Televideos. All rights reserved. Used by permission

Here the story will continue........

©1999 Björn Eriksson

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