List of the Beatles' instruments

List of the Beatles' instruments

The Beatles started out like most other rock and roll bands, employing a standard guitars/bass/drums instrumentation. As their touring days wound down, they became a full-time studio band. Their scope of experimentation grew, as did the palette of sounds. This article attempts to list the instruments used to achieve those results.

Not listed are instruments played by the Beatles’ session players such as cello, violin, saxophone, trumpet, French horn or the 41-piece orchestra heard on "A Day in the Life".

Contents

  • Guitars 1
  • Basses 2
  • Keyboards 3
  • Microphones 4
  • Drums 5
  • Instruments specific to Rubber Soul sessions 6
    • Lennon 6.1
    • McCartney 6.2
    • Harrison 6.3
    • Starr 6.4
    • Amplifiers 6.5
    • Keyboards 6.6
  • Miscellaneous 7
  • Pop culture references 8
  • The Beatles as a four-piece live and in the studio, 1961–1966 9
  • The Beatles as a five-piece 10
  • See also 11
  • Notes 12

Guitars

Both Gibson J-160E, an acoustic guitar with an electric pickup at the base of the fretboard. The resonant character of the full acoustic body, combined with the electric pickup, meant that this guitar was susceptible to feedback, employed to great effect on the intro to "I Feel Fine". Lennon also used a Framus Hootenanny twelve-string acoustic, which can be seen in the movie Help! and heard on the title song and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away". This twelve-string guitar accounted for audibly richer rhythm guitar parts on songs like these, in comparison to the six-string Gibsons. After Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Lennon moved on to a D-28 from C. F. Martin & Company (alternating between the J-160E and the D-28 for The White Album) while Harrison upgraded to a Gibson J-200 Jumbo (which Lennon used on "Two of Us" and other acoustic tracks on Let It Be).

Lennon primarily used a

Harrison started off in the Cavern Club days playing a black Cloud Nine. In mid 1963 he switched to a Gretsch Country Gentleman and a Gretsch Tennessean, both of which he played until around 1965. His second Country Gentleman was given away to a friend (Harrison was an avid sharer of instruments) and is now retained by Ringo Starr, while his first Country Gentleman fell off The Beatles' van in 1965 and was crushed by a lorry. In 1964 Harrison introduced the electric twelve-string guitar into mainstream pop. His Rickenbacker 360/12 twelve-string was a prototype. Only the second twelve-string guitar Rickenbacker ever made, it was delivered specially to him during their first visit to New York City. Harrison's use of the 12-string inspired Roger McGuinn of The Byrds to start using one too. He also used a Ramirez Classical Guitar which can be heard in "And I Love Her" and seen used throughout the film "A Hard Day's Night". Harrison used a Gibson SG around 1966; these can be seen in the promotional videos for "Paperback Writer" and "Rain", in addition to film of the recording session for "Hey Bulldog". He eventually gave this guitar to Pete Ham of Badfinger. Harrison's most prominent guitar from 1967 until early 1969 was a Fender Stratocaster. Obtained and used during the Rubber Soul sessions, first used on "Nowhere Man", it was originally Sonic Blue in colour until Harrison gave it a psychedelic paint job, using, among other substances, his wife's sparkly green nail polish. This psychedelic Strat, dubbed "Rocky", is seen in the "I Am the Walrus" segment of Magical Mystery Tour, and in the "All You Need Is Love" broadcast.[2] Around this time Harrison also used a 1957 Les Paul model, which was given to him by Eric Clapton and was once in the possession of, among other musicians, John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful. Originally a "gold top" model, the guitar was refinished with a dark red stain before it got to Harrison. The guitar can be seen in the "Revolution" promo video and the Let It Be film—in addition to a rosewood Telecaster specially flown to him by Fender.

Lennon and Harrison both purchased Epiphone Casinos in 1965 after Paul McCartney acquired an Epiphone Casino. They were used extensively in the recording of the Revolver album. Although they purchased the guitars with sunburst finishes, both Harrison and Lennon later stripped the finishes off the guitars, claiming it allowed the guitars to "breathe" better. Lennon's stripped-down Casino can be seen in video footage of the famous "Rooftop Concert". Lennon used an Epiphone Casino almost exclusively from 1966 until the group's break-up and is even seen with it during the sessions for his Imagine album.

Paul McCartney's electric guitar parts (solos on "Ticket to Ride", "Another Girl", "Taxman", "Helter Skelter", "Drive My Car", "Carry That Weight" and "Good Morning Good Morning"[3] to name a few)[4] were chiefly performed on his own Epiphone Casino or sunburst Fender Esquire. For recordings with acoustic parts played by McCartney ("Yesterday"), he favoured a 1964 Epiphone Texan FT-79.[5] In 1968, he started using a D-28 from C. F. Martin & Company.

Basses

McCartney custom-ordered a left-handed Höfner model 500/1 "violin" bass during one of the group's early residences in Hamburg. This model, with two pickups very close to the neck and almost touching each other, was replaced in 1963 by a newer model, whose pickups were spaced much farther apart, in a more conventional manner. McCartney continued to use his early model, although very rarely, until the Let It Be sessions, when it was stolen from Twickenham Film Studios; he continues to use his second Höfner today. In October 1965 he switched to a Rickenbacker model 4001S, during the recording of Rubber Soul (as seen in pictures from those sessions),[6] but certainly by the recording of "Paperback Writer". It would be his principal choice for the remainder of The Beatles' career. He briefly used a left-handed Fender Jazz Bass during sessions for The Beatles (The White Album) and again for Abbey Road.[7] He returned to the Höfner during rehearsals and recording of Let It Be and played it during the rooftop concert. He also used his original Höfner, refinished in three-tone sunburst and with upgraded electronics. It can be seen in footage from Let It Be and in the "Revolution" promo video.

George Harrison and John Lennon both played a Burns Nu-Sonic Bass during the "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" recording sessions. Harrison also played a right-handed Fender Jazz Bass on two songs from Abbey Road.

Keyboards

Steinway grand piano (left),
Schiedmayer Celeste (right)
Hammond RT-3 organ (left),
Challen piano (right)

All four Beatles contributed keyboard parts to their catalogue, supplemented by Mal Evans, John Oedry, Chris Thomas, Nicky Hopkins and Billy Preston.

Microphones

Although microphone usage varied somewhat according to the requirements of each song, the group's recordings at Abbey Road most often employed Neumann U47 or U67 microphones for electric guitars and one or more Neumann U47s (unidirectional); U48's "figure eight" (bidirectional) pickup pattern for vocals and most other instruments. The AKG C-12 was used as well, particularly on the bass (speaker) amplifier. Early in their recording career the drums usually were recorded with only two microphones: one overhead (an AKG D19 or STC 4038) and one for the bass drum (such as an AKG D20). Later, more microphones were used on the drums.

The AKG C28 is visible in the Let It Be film. Available studio documentation and interviews with their former recording engineers indicate that this microphone was not used for recording in the studio.[9]

With the group's encouragement, recording engineer Here Comes the Sun" was another incidence of close miking.

He also used a speaker as a microphone to increase the bass level whereas a microphone would overload from the air pressure.

Drums

Ringo Starr bought a set of Premier drums in 1960, but in June 1963 made the switch to a 4-piece Ludwig set. The American-made drums were newly available in England, but the clincher for Starr was the Black Oyster Pearl finish of the Ludwig kit. He used four similar kits altogether, including two that he kept at Abbey Road. The first two Ludwig kits were 20", 12", 14", plus 14" snare and the second two 22",13",16", 14" snare. Ringo played a 20" kit on the Ed Sullivan debut, Feb ’64. He changed to the bigger 22" kit from the end of May 1964. For the Let It Be and Abbey Road sessions, he obtained a natural-tone, 5-piece Ludwig set, used on the "rooftop concert" and in his drum solo in "The End". Starr experimented with various muffling techniques. He used Ludwig and Remo drum heads. He started his career playing Paiste cymbals, but switched to Zildjian. He has used Paiste occasionally, most likely due to their easier availability in Europe.[12]

Instruments specific to Rubber Soul sessions

Photographs of these sessions reveal the following gear:

Lennon

McCartney

Harrison

  • 1962–63 Gretsch Tennessean Chet Atkins electric guitar (purchased the previous year)
  • 1962 Gibson J-160E[13] sunburst finish acoustic-electric guitar (purchased on hire purchase from Rushworths, Liverpool in June 1962. Brian Epstein settled the bill a year later[22]). As with Lennon's J-160E, this guitar was modified for the Rubber Soul sessions by moving the pick-up to the bridge side of the sound hole)[16]
  • 1965 Rickenbacker 360/12[13] fireglo (red sunburst) finish electric 12-string guitar (custom built and presented to Harrison on 21 August 1965 at a press conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by radio station WDGY in association with local music store B-Sharp Music[23]))
  • 1961 Fender Stratocaster[13] in Sonic Blue finish (purchased by Mal Evans at the same time as Lennon's)[17]
  • Sitar (a cheap model purchased by Harrison from India Craft in London in 1965)[24]
  • 1964 Ramirez Classical Guitar

Starr

Ringo played a Premier kit in 1963 on Please Please Me

Amplifiers

  • 3 1964 Vox AC-100 amps[13] (prototypes given to The Beatles by Vox at The Futurist Theatre, Scarborough on 9 August 1964)[26]
  • 1962 Vox AC-15 Twin amp[27]
  • 2 1963 Vox AC-30 amps[13]
  • 2 1965 Vox AC-100 guitar amps[21]
  • 1965 Vox AC-100 bass amp[21]
  • 1963/4 Fender Bassman amp[27][28]
  • 1968 Fender Bassman Amplifier (Let It Be sessions & Rooftop Concert)
  • 3 1968 Fender Twin Reverb Amplifiers (Let It Be sessions & Rooftop Concert)

Keyboards[27]

Miscellaneous

George Harrison owned many Indian instruments, including tambouras, a swarmandel (or Indian harp) and at least three sitars. All the Beatles kept pianos, guitars and other instruments at their homes to work on songs and demos. Most of these pieces never made their way into the studio with the well-known exception of Harrison's Moog synthesizer. John Lennon's home Mellotron was never brought into the studio, though a Mellotron was rented for use during the Sgt. Pepper sessions and an Abbey Road Studios-owned Mellotron was used for the White Album. Both George and John were given Coral electric sitars. Other instruments were recorder, harmonica, banjo, trumpet, saxophone, oboe, glockenspiel, vibraphone, accordion,[29][30] kazoo (made out of comb and paper), and assorted percussion (congas, bongos, Arabian loose-skin bongo, African drum, timpani, anvil, package case, maracas, tambourine, zill, güiro).

Pop culture references

The "Beatle" style instruments have been used many times in pop culture. In Agent Cody Banks 2 during the fight scene, there is a display of the original instruments and Agent Banks uses Paul McCartney's violin bass to hit the villain. The instruments have also been replicated into plastic game controllers for the game The Beatles Rock Band.

The Beatles as a four-piece live and in the studio, 1961–1966

+ Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best in August 1962

The Beatles as a five-piece

+ Chas Newby (December 1960 only), deputising for Sutcliffe ++ Tommy Moore (January–June 1960), Norman Chapman (July 1960), Pete Best (August 1960)

See also

Notes


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ Lennon's 1958 325 Rickenbacker
  2. ^ lennon1
  3. ^ mccartney1
  4. ^ George Harrison Interview: Crawdaddy Magazine, February 1977
  5. ^ mccartney5
  6. ^ The Beatles Anthology
  7. ^ :: Fender.com ::
  8. ^ Babiuk, Andy (2002)Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four's Instruments, from Stage to Studio.Backbeat Books ISBN 0-87930-662-9
  9. ^ Shooting to Thrill
  10. ^ Book Review: "HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE-My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles" By Geoff Emerick, Howard Massey
  11. ^ Emerick, Geoff, with Howard Massey (2006). Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles. ISBN 1-59240-179-1.
  12. ^ Ringo Starr Drumming History
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Babiuk 2002, p. 170.
  14. ^ Babiuk 2002, pp. 116–117.
  15. ^ Babiuk 2002, p. 143.
  16. ^ a b Babiuk 2002, p. 172.
  17. ^ a b Babiuk 2002, p. 157.
  18. ^ Babiuk 2002, p. 160.
  19. ^ Babiuk 2002, pp. 98–99.
  20. ^ a b Babiuk 2002, p. 152.
  21. ^ a b c Babiuk 2002, p. 173.
  22. ^ Babiuk 2002, p. 72.
  23. ^ Babiuk 2002, pp. 166-167.
  24. ^ Babiuk 2002, p. 169.
  25. ^ Babiuk 2002, p. 165.
  26. ^ Babiuk 2002, p. 133.
  27. ^ a b c Babiuk 2002, p. 171.
  28. ^ The Beatles 1968 Twin Reverbs - AC568 not AB763 circuits.
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ Anthony Fawcett, John Lennon: One Day At A Time (Grove Press: New York, 1976/1981), 155-156.