and their Rickenbacker
John Lennonґs 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 Acґcent vibrato tailpiece. John quickly adopted this
guitar to his main instrument.
This brings us to an interesting and widely
discussed subject through the years. Itґs been said that John Lennonґs 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. Itґs 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
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 325.
John Lennon's 325 with "playlist".
John Lennonґs Rickenbacker 325/12 Will be
Paul McCartneyґs 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 Iґd ever had, ґcause 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 Iґm playing Yamaha, because they gave me one - Iґm anybodyґs 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 itґs gone through during the years.
This is the latest answer:
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.
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 Paulґs bass.
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 canґt 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 McCartneyґs 4001S with the Red Rose Speedway
sticker. © 1999
by Rickenbacker Int'l Corp. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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 Paulґs 4001S will continue soon........hold on!
George Harrisonґs 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
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 Iґm glad to say that the one that went missing -
I got a lot of stuff stolen or lost - wasnґt 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.Georgeґs 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).
"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 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