GEORGE HARRISON    part 1

 

GEORGE THE GITARIST

At the very mention of the name George Harrison, a number of different images may come to Jour mind. Bangladesh, Hare Krishna, peacemaker, the quiet Beatle, philosopher, believer... We do not hear a lot about his role as The Beatles' lead guitarist and in fact we hear or read too little about him as a solo artist. Stubborn, overrated, a poor guitarist, etcetera.

Words George often had to put up with, throughout his career as a Beatle and as a solo artist.

 

He had to swallow a lot, but then again, he was not unprepared. In spite of everything, but thanks to his perserverance 

and specific outlook on I life, it has to be said he got very far as a guitarist, songwriter, producer, musician and let's not forget... as a human being.

At the age of thirteen, George Harrison was given his first guitar by his parents. After a three months hesitation period, 

he started learning how to play. At first he had some dificulty, but at his mother's

insistence he practiced until his fingers bled, so to speak. All this practicing got him quite farniliarised with the instrument. 

He developed areasonable insight into chord schemes and started knowing a lot of chords by heart. This had not gone unnoticed by his school friend Paul McCartney and one dar Paul invited him to see the Quarrymen, the band in which 

he played. Joho Lennon, the Quarrymen's founder, showed a lot of respect for young George and so it came, that on 

the 6th of February 1958, George officially joined the forerunners of The Beatles. George thought his chord knowledge 

to the other guitarists John and Paul. John played in a specific style with selfmade chords and others derived from banjo 

ones. George, on the other hand, had always used the right chords. George's development as a guitarist only started 

seriously in Hamburg, where the boys played a lot in their formative years.

For days and weeks they gigged for hours on end, but tbis situation gave George the opportunity to practice his hithereto

rather stiff solo's and rhythm arts over and over. Accordingly to themselves, The Beatles' cradle was Hamburg. 

It was there they started making a good team, and growing more and more accustomed to their instruments. George developed a distinctive and recognisable playing style. His solo's were clear, not fast, but melodious. 

His rhythm guitar beat was steady. His style was more or less comparable with that of Carl Perkins, whom George 

saw as one of his idols. The Beatles would eventually play a lot of Carl Perkins songs: 'Honey don't', 'Match box',

'Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby'.

John Lennon's rhythm guitar playing was rough and heavier, thus resulting in an wonderful blend with George's. In his

Beatles period George quickly became famous for being one of the best lead guitarists in England. George's choice of 

a variety of guitars was based on class and sound. He mostly preferred Arnerican products, keeping in mind his idols 

Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran and Cliff Gallup.

 

ASELECTION FROM TUE GUITAR COLLECTION 1960-1970

 

MATON MS 500 MASTERSOUND

An Australian-made electric guitar. George used it around 1960 and later gave it to Tony Hicks of The Hollies.

 

NEOTON GRAZIOSO

This Czech-made electric guitar had the looks of a Fender Stratocaster. George used it during bis '61-'62 Hamburg-

period, along with his famous black Gretsch Duo Jet. '

 

GRETSCH

During his Beatles-period George played a lot of  Gretsch guitars. His penchant for them especially showed in the early

period. George knew the Arnerican brand from people he admired and also played a Gretsch, like Carl Perkins. 

Accordingly, we will fo over George's three most important Gretsch guitars from 1960 to 1996.

 

GRETSCH DUO JET

George bought this widely renowned (black) electric guitar in early 1961 from a Liverpudlian fisherman who brought it

in from the United States. George used the Gretsch Duo Jet as his standard instrument until mid-june 1963. On his

1987 solo-album CLOUD NINE, we got a glimpse of George with his old jewel once again.

 

GRETSCH COUNTRY GENTLEMAN

When The Beatles started getting more and more famous, George switched to this splendid guitar. According to 

hirnself, you can hear George playing on it for the first time on 'She Loves you'. In 1965, sadly enough, the instrument 

feIl to pieces on one of the band's tours.

On February the 91h, 1964, the group played in the famous Ed Sullivan Show.  

Especially for that show, George received his second Country Gentleman from the factory. The manufacturers saw it all 

very cleverly, judging by the considerable production-increase of the Gretsch Count Gentleman that followed: up to a 

hundred a copies a day. The Country Gentleman was a curious guitar with a large, closed body.

The guitar's f-holes were painted on.

 

GRETSCH TENNESEAN

George used this classy cherry-red guitar for the recording of the album BEATLES FOR SALE. In 1965 he used it on 

the world tour. Both Tennesean and Country Gentleman's designs came about with the help of the famous finger-picking guitarist Chet Atkins. So far the Gretsch guitars.

 

RICKENBACKER

Like so many other trade-names, Rickenbacker and Gretsch owe a lot to The Beatles. As trom their Hamburg days,

john Lennon was fond of these classy guitars. George used to experiment a lot with his instruments and played different

Rickenbackers during his Beatles-period. Perhaps we mention George's most famous Rickenbacker guitar.

 

RICKEBACKER 360/12 DE LUX

George acquired this tlamed electric 12- string trom the factory manager in February 1964. you can hear him playing

the guitar for the first time on 'You Can't Do That'. In 1964 and 1965

George used it a lot tor his rhythm-parts. He also look the guitar on tours in 1964/1965. In 1965 George obtianed a

second 12-string 360 Rickenbacker, modified completely, with brand-new pick-ups.

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