The Beatles: Guitar Heroes 7

Share My Guitar is pleased to announce a new 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.


1962 Gibson J-160E acoustic/electric, sunburst finish

Lennon and Harrison each bought one of these “jumbo” models (price: £161) in Rushworth’s Music House in Liverpool on 10 September 1962 (shown at above with guitar/amp department manager Bob Hobbs). Mersey Beat, in the caption from its photo commemorating the event, noted the guitars were “the only ones of their type in the country — which were specially flown to England by jet from America.” This was probably hyperbole, as they’d taken two months to arrive after being special-ordered. Additionally, these photos may have been taken a few days after the sale, for they already sport straps and smudges.

These Gibsons were used on the 11 September recordings of “Love Me Do,” but those tracks sound nearly identical to the earlier takes of those songs, which tends to confirm an earlier purchase date. Lennon’s J-160 E was used through the Please, Please Me sessions, then stolen during the ’63 Christmas show at the Finsbury Park Astoria Theatre, London. (Pity poor Malcolm Evans, who had to break the news to Lennon.) By this time, however, Lennon and Harrison had gotten their identical guitars mixed up, so it was the one registered to Harrison that disappeared.

Note: How rich were the Beatles at this point? Well, Brian Epstein had to co-sign for this guitar, and wound up paying it off after a year. Gibson is offering a vintage re-issue in a limited edition of 250. Sale price: about $3,000.

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