McCartney's Guitars, Part 6

1965: 1964 Rickenbacker 4001S-LH bass (Fire-glo): When he gave Harrison a new 360-12 model in February '64, F.C. Hall, the head of Rickenbacker, also brought along a new 4001 bass to show McCartney.  McCartney liked it, but as Hall had brought  a right-handed model, he had to wait more than a year for a proper left-handed one.  During the band's U.S. tour, Hall's son John had the honor of giving it to McCartney. " I presented the bass personally to Paul at the home they had leased for the Hollywood Bowl show (30 August '65), not at the show," Hall recalls.  "This home was up on Curzon Terrace, which I guess would be in the Hollywood Hills. [In fact, it was Burt Lancaster's house.] Also present besides the Beatles and their keepers were Roger McGuinn,  Peter Fonda and Joan Baez."  Harrison recalls its first use on "Think For Yourself" (8 November '65).  It served as a backup for live dates in late '65, and for the '66 tours, but in terms of recording, by the time the band made "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" in the spring of '66, the Rickenbacker had become McCartney's bass of choice.  He used it liberally on Revolver, and, late that year, for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever," and for the rest of the Sgt. Pepper sessions. For the release of that album, McCartney gave the bass a psychedelic paint job (as did Harrison and Lennon to their guitars), and used it that way on record and in videos until late '68.  McCartney resurrected his Hofners for Let It Be but returned to the Rick -- now sanded back to a natural finish -- for Abbey Road, and in his solo career has played it on numerous albums and tours.  In 1975 McCartney shipped it back to Rickenbacker to replace a pickup, but to read about what was done to it -- and what shape it arrived in -- check out the report of former Rickenbacker finishing shop lead man Mark Arnquist.


Rickenbacker plans to produce a mostly faithful reissue within the next year or so.  Look for a slightly slimmed-down model, reflecting the "over-zealous" sanding McCartney performed on his instrument.

Onward to Part 7

(c)2000 - 2015  John F. Crowley