The Beatles: Guitar Heroes 22 – George Harrison’s 58′ Resonet Futurama

Share My Guitar is proud to release a special series of guest posts by John F. Crowley about guitars owned by members of the Beatles. Each week we will unleash another article covering the history and impact of these fab guitars.

George Harrison live in action strummin’ on his 1958 Rosonet Futurama!

When Harrison went to Hessy’s Music in Liverpool on 20 November looking for a new guitar, he was thinking “Stratocaster,” but the closest Frank Hessy could come was this sleek three-pickup Futurama.

Originally called a Grazioso Resonet, manufactured by the Delicia company in Czechoslovakia, and renamed by Selmer, who imported them into the U.K. The price was a whopping £55, a small fortune in those days. Its advert bragged it was “made from the finest selected timbers” and was “practically indestructible.”

Harrison is seen playing it in pictures of the Larry Parnes audition and the Scotland tour (May-June 1960), and brought it along on the Beatles’ first trip to Hamburg later that year. During their second Hamburg trip he used it on their first proper recording session (for Bert Kaempfert, June 1961), which produced, among other tunes, “Cry For a Shadow.” A month later the band was back in Liverpool, and the rapidly improving Harrison went looking for a better guitar.

The Futurama “was a dog to play,” he recalled in the Guitar Player interview (November ’87).

“It had the worst action. It had a great sound, though, and a real good way of switching in the three pickups and all the combinations.”

In the Anthology book, Harrison recalls the day he found this instrument in Rushworth and Dreaper’s shop in Liverpool.

“Paul came with me when I bought the Futurama. It was on the wall with all the other guitars, and Paul plugged it into the amp but he couldn’t get any sound out of it, so he turned the sound right up. The guitar had three rocker switches, and I just hit one and there was an almighty boom through the amplifier, and all the other guitars fell off the wall. My mother signed the hire-purchase agreement for me . . . “

Records show that Brian Epstein eventually paid off the account on this guitar. What happened to the Futurama? In ’64 Harrison gave it to Beat Instrumental magazine to raffle off, but the winner decided he’d rather have the money, so publisher Sean O’Mahoney paid the man and kept the Futurama, and he still has it.

A photo of a similar vintage Rosonet Futurama shows more clearly the push-button pickup switches and the Stratocaster styling that appealed to young Harrison.

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