George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 425The Beatles had Rickenbacker guitars and Rickenbacker guitars had the Beatles. In addition to John Lennon, George Harrison had used Rickenbacker guitars, such as his Rickenbacker 425 and 1963 Rickenbacker 360/12.
George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 425
George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 425 was purchased at the Fenton Music Store located at 601 South 10th Street, Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 425
Just days after his return to England in September 1963 Harrison performed with his new 425 during The Beatles' first appearance on the "Ready Steady Go" television show. The guitar was, however, no longer in its pristine factory Fireglo finish but had been refinished to black. He briefly discussed his new purchase and in an interesting comment made to Dusty about its finish quipped "I made it myself." This of course, raised the suspicion of some that he had been involved in the refinishing. Fortunately the comments of the Four Vests have been most helpful in getting to the bottom of such speculation.
Harrison liked the 425 very much but preferred to have it in black similar to the one owned by John Lennon. George had said that "all the other guys had black instruments" and that the color fit in best with the band.
George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 360/12
Although the last thing the red-hot Beatles needed in early 1964 was a “secret weapon,” that’s exactly what they got when George Harrison received his first Rickenbacker 12-string, in a beautiful Fireglo finish, in February of that year, during the Beatles’ first U.S. tour. The guitar was given to him by Francis C. Hall, owner and president of the California-based Rickenbacker company, which is now celebrating its 80th anniversary.
Hall spoke to Brian Epstein before the Beatles arrived in the U.S. and arranged a meeting with the group. On February 8 at the Savoy Hilton in New York City, he showed the band several different models. Lennon tried out the 360/12 but thought it would be better for Harrison, who was sick in bed at the Plaza Hotel. When Harrison finally got to see it, he loved it immediately. “Straight away I liked that you knew exactly which string was which,” Harrison said, referring to how the guitar’s 12 tuners are grouped in top- and side-mounted pairs on the headstock. “12-strings, you spend hours trying to tune it.”
Harrison’s first 360/12 was the second Rickenbacker 12-string ever made; its serial number — CM107 — dates it to December 1963. The main difference between it and the prototype is how they are strung. The first model had a conventional 12-string setup, in which the octave string is the first to be struck in each string pair. On Harrison’s model and subsequent Rickenbacker 12-strings, the octave strings occur second in the string pairs and the lower-pitched string is struck first.
Harrison’s guitar has a trapeze tailpiece, triangle inlays, double white pickguards, black control knobs and mono and stereo (Rick-O-Sound) outputs mounted on a chrome plate on the side of the guitar.
George Harrison's Rickenbacker 360/12
The guitar, with its unique, chiming sound, can be heard on the bulk of the A Hard Day’s Night album, “I Call Your Name,” “What You’re Doing” — and several other songs, up to and including “Ticket to Ride.” His second 360/12, a 1965 model with rounded cutaways, is heard on “If I Needed Someone.”
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