Did you know that John Lennon’s first guitar was a Gallotone Champion acoustic that he ordered from a catalog? Or that George Harrison played a Framus Hootenanny 12-string on “Help? Or that Ringo started playing a Ludwig Downbeat drum kit in 1963? You would if you read Andy Babiuk’s book, “Beatles Gear, The Ultimate Edition,” which chronicles the band’s history through the lens of the instruments and gear they used onstage and in the studio. Babiuk sat down with Audiofanzine recently to talk about the book, the Fab Four and their gear.
It's true that the J-160e didn't sound like a classic Gibson dreadnought, but the sound it did make became indispensable. The feedback at the beginning of "I Feel Fine" is not likely to have happened if John had been playing one of his other guitars. (And dig its chunky sound - rather like an electric piano, really.) I recently had a bit of a disagreement with Paul Reed Smith about sustain - he insisted that every guitarist wants every guitar to sustain as long as possible. I countered that the scratchy tone of certain Gibson acoustics is a viable alternative. (The second to last chord of "Long Long Long" leaps to mind.) Sometimes less is more.
t's true that the J-160e didn't sound like a classic Gibson dreadnought, but the sound it did make became indispensable.
Good point. Babiuk's story was more to show that John and George ordered those guitars accidentally, thinking they were ES-175s. Presumably, if they'd gotten those instead, it would have changed the instrumental sound somewhat of the early recordings.
It would have had a bizarre effect on their visual appeal, I'm sure! 175s are great guitars, but more rockabilly-looking than fab. I can't wait to buy Babiuk's new book (I've had the first edition for a long time, and learned much I'd been unable to find out on my own.)