Ramirez Guitarra de Estudio acoustic (vintage unknown): One of the
first specialty items added to Harrison's collection; this Spanish
guitar was miked and used for his delicate lead work on "Til There Was
You" and "And I Love Her." This mid-priced model features an
fingerboard on the first three strings. I'm guessing that
still has it.
Note: This is not the
in that little run preceding "The Continuing Story of Bungalow
In fact, it's a Mellotron MKII providing that Segovian touch.
Rickenbacker 425 Fire-glo solidbody. Serial No. BH-439.
Harrison picked this up
for $400 in September '63 at Fenton's Music Store in Mount Vernon,
during a two-week trip with his brother Peter to visit their sister
who was living a few miles away in Benton. It is not possible to
do a more comprehensive report on this guitar than that already done by
Peter McCormack, so I will but summarize and recommend a visit to his
piece titled "You
Won't See Me." In Benton Harrison met Gabe McCarty of
the Four Vests, a local musical group that played popular standards,
when the young Englishman mentioned he'd like to buy a Rickenbacker
in the States, McCarty drove him up the road a piece to Mount Vernon
introduced him to Lester "Red" Fenton. Red did have a Rick on hand -- a
single-pickup 425 in Fire-glo. Harrison admired the "cresting
solidbody but wanted one in black to match Lennon's now-painted 325, so
the accommodating shopkeeper refinished the 425 in black polyester and
had it ready for the guitarist by the time he flew home the next
A few days after his return, on 4 October, Harrison debuted the 425 on
Britain's "Ready, Steady, Go!" TV show, telling an admiring Dusty
"I made it myself." A couple weeks later it's seen again on the
Your Lucky Stars" program. After that Harrison used it for the Swedish
tour (late October) and the British tour (November and December).
Interestingly, while the band's van was parked outside a Glascow
some miscreant broke into it and stole the 425, but it was quickly
Back in London the guitar played a return engagement on "Thank Your
Stars" on 15 December. When he got his next Rick a few weeks
in New York, this one was summarily retired but apparently not
for at some point he added a second "toaster top" pickup and another
and replaced the control knobs. In
1971, Harrison gave this guitar to George Peckham, a mate from
(he played in Earl Royce and the Olympics, and later as rhythm
for the Fourmost) who had become cutting engineer for Apple and rhythm
guitarist for a new band, Matchbox. Harrison learned the band was
about to appear on "Top of the Pops" but Peckham had no guitar, so
loaned him "Rocky," his psychedelic-painted Fender Stratocaster.
When Peckham returned it, Harrison asked him if he wanted a guitar, and
offered him the 425, calling it a "great rhythm player."
kept it until September 1999, when he put it up for auction it at
Although the auction was posted as completed, for some reason the high
bidder rescinded his bid, and the auction house brokered a sale to
party for £56,500 (about $90,000). Christie's records
are confidential, but soon after the sale, the Rock and Roll Hall of
received this guitar on indefinite loan from one Sharon Mineroff, who
was apprehensive about keeping it in the house. So there it sits
in Cleveland, not that far from where Harrison found it.
Note: When Rickenbacker
the 425 in 1958 it had no vibrato; in 1965 Rickenbacker added a
unit to the 425 and designated the vibrato-less 425 as model 420.
John F. Crowley