John's Electric Guitars

John's Fab Gear Part II

 Electric Guitars

were to dominate John's choices

1st was the

325 Capri

a short scale (20 3/4"), semi-hollow body

sporting 3 toaster top pick-ups,

gold single ply headstock logo & pick-guard,

radio style knobs, with a honey blonde finish.

The model shown below is a reproduction

to include a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece,

one of John's first modifications.

this one shows a double decked pick guard

not typical of John's 1958 Model

This would be more or less the way it appeared during the historic 1st sessions in the Abbey Road EMI studios in London.

Seen below is an early photo in Hamburg before his Bigsby modification

 says that this guitar is one of only three made!

The fact that it didn't have sound holes

 (after all it is a semi-hollow body)

combined with it's color and the use of radio style knobs made this guitar so rare.

Add that to the eventual fame of its user, the odds begin to mount to staggering proportions, that these two, would ever be a part of

the Beatles progression to fame.

John had this one refinished in Black. I'm not sure of his reason for the color change, but John once said that guitars are like women, and that he preferred them either Blonde or Brunette

none the less the original finish was gone, melted away, no doubt to the perspiration of many long hours of playing in the smokey bars of Hamburg. Paul says that one rather cheap guitar of his actually fell apart due to this sort of constant playing.

Seen below was the condition of John's guitar after the paint job. The addition of the Bigsby tailpiece was done right on the counter at Hessey's Music store

(where the boys bought much of their gear) with the aid of salesman

Jim Gretty.

There was a bit of trouble with the electronics after the paint job, but soon those troubles were sorted out, by various friends and such.

Seen below is a reproduction model of the guitar presented to John by the owner of

F.C.Hall, Feb'64 just prior to the 1st Ed Sullivan appearance.

This one features a double-decked pick-guard and the original ac'cent vibrato tailpiece.

For the commemorative model seen above, a silk screened signature and caricature of

John  (drawn by John) were added.

There was an improvement added to the electronics,

a 5th knob (smaller) a "blender", supposedly to blend the sound of the pick-ups. There is a small toggle switch to select which pick-up(s) is (are) being used, but it's not clear what this 5th knob actually does. George has said that with his 360-12 he would fiddle with the knobs until he got the brightest sound he could.

There was a one-off 12 string model

made for John (this one is a commemorative model) that he used for the lead lines in

Every Little Thing,

Part of the

Beatles For Sale sessions.

Even though this one was less the vibrato,

tuning became next to impossible due to intonation problems.

Seen below is the condition of John's original

1958- 325 today

The goal of the restoration was mainly to repair it.

The pick-guard is curiously white, it's said that the original gold one was cracked?? the original honey blonde finish is back and likely new knobs.

Sean Lennon has this one.

It was on display in the Tokyo Museum for a while.


The 2nd Guitar to capture John's fancy was the


Three Beatles owned this model guitar.

George & Paul added Bigsby Vibrato tailpieces to theirs.

At a time when they could have any guitar in the world

they chose this one!

At first glance it looks like a Gibson ES-335 but those pick-ups are P-90s, not humbuckers, another not so evident difference is that it is a hollow body and not the semi-hollow(solid wood thru the center from the neck through the tailas in the ES-335. During the Sgt. Pepper sessions John sprayed the back of his Casino

In keeping with the psychedelic era.


This photo is often offered as a definitive portrait of the man, certainly a lovely image.

As can be evidenced by the above photo, this guitar was to go through a transformation of removing the pick-guard and undergoing a refinishing process. John (and George agrees)the the original finish was too heavy. He had all the finish removed and just a thin coat of nitro-cellulose lacquer applied. He said that the wood could breathe and that the sound of the guitar was noticeably better.


This version has come to be known as the

Revolution Casino

is offering reproductions of both models.

Authentic right down to the serial, you know, you know my name... (thanks to Yoko for allowing access to the original for photos, and precise measurements to be taken in order to faithfully reproduce them) The major differences between a modern Casino and John's is the angle of tilt on the headstock (17degrees as opposed to 14 now) and that the neck joins the body at the 16th fret rather that the 17th fret as on a modern Casino. Somehow through this change of tension, the sound is altered.

although most often associated with Paul, was a brand that John had used as well. Seen below are the

5140 Hawaiian Std. Steel

used in George's song For You Blue during the

Get Back sessions

As well John owned 2 other  guitars. They were never used in any formal recording sessions, but none the less, here they are...

the 1958 Senator

the Club 40


seen here is the commemorative model, named after the Star Club 40 where they played in Hamburg in the pre-Ringo days. This photo is courtesy of Pittsburgh Music, where they are offering a limited number of this model for slightly under $3900.


John's gear



Make a Free Website with Yola.