George Harrison’s Guitars in the Beatles

This article will show you which guitars George Harrison was using with the Beatles. Some of the most legendary guitar solos came from Harrison, not to mention the great tone he had. So lets take a closer look starting with the early Beatles.

Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman

A huge guitar it is, but probably my favorite of them all. The Country Gent was on most of the early Beatles recordings. It can be heard on tracks like Please Please Me and She Loves You. Also this was his main live instrument in the early days and can be seen at their performances on The Ed Sullivan Show, and the Royal Variety Show among many others. Harrison used the Country Gentleman til sometime in 1965.

Gretsch Country Gentleman – Til There Was You solo (live)

Gretsch 6119 Tennessean

The Tennessean started to makes its way into the spotlight sometime in 1965, though its said that he used it on Beatles for Sale and live here and there in ’63 and ’64. The Tennessean was the guitar he used at the famous Shea Stadium concert. This guitar gave that great twang that Harrison was known for in the early/mid Beatles period. The Tennessean can also be seen in the Beatles’ film Help.

Rickenbacker 360-12

Perhaps one of the most legendary of George’s guitars, this 12 stringer made its way on stage around ’65. It was used most notably on tracks like If I Needed Someone and A Hard Days Night. The sound the 360-12 gets is like no other, due to to the 12-string aspect of high and low octaves. This is best illustrated in the solo of A Hard Days Night in the sound clip below.

A Hard Days Night solo

Fender Stratocaster

Harrison aquired a ’61 Strat, which he first used on Rubber Soul. It was in 1967 when his strat made its appearance on TV in a live satellite broadcast of All You Need is Love. For the occasion, he painted the strat himself using day-glo colors, and gave it the name ‘Rocky’. One of the cool stories I’ve heard of this strat is that he used it in the ’90s for the recording of Free as a Bird.


Gibson Les Paul

George got a ’57 Les Paul in 1968, which was finished in cherry red along with a rosewood fretboard. This guitar was actually given to Harrison by Eric Clapton, which is interesting as it could have been the very Les Paul Clapton used on While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Harrison used this Les Paul on the Let it Be and Abbey Road sessions and it can be heard on the hit song, Something. He also used the Les Paul on a television performance of Revolution.

Gibson Les Paul – Something solo
Fender Telecaster

George’s ’68 Tele is quite famous as he used it in the Rooftop concert atop the Apple building in 1969. This tele was also used extensively in the Let it Be sessions. Shortly after the Beatles breakup, Harrison gave this guitar away.  In 2003, it went to auction and his wife, Olivia Harrison acquired it for $470,000 and it remains to this day with the Harrison estate.

Other guitars Harrison used with the Beatles: 1957 Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet, 1962 Gibson J-160E, Gretsch 6131 Jet Fire Bird, Maton Mastersound MS-500, Jose Ramirez Guitarra de Estudio Classical Guitar, 1962 Rickenbacker 425, Gibson ES-345-TD, Epiphone E230TD(V) Casino, Gibson SG Standard, and Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar.

One thought on “George Harrison’s Guitars in the Beatles”

  1. George Harrison once showed me a Rickenbacker 12/6 string which he had been given by the company to try out. It had a mechanism by the bridge which allowed you to pull the high octave strings down out of the way enabling the guitar to be played as a 6 string. He was not all that impressed with it I don’t think. He let me play it for a while and I found the 6 string part I little difficult to get used to, because, while you were playing the 6 strings with the right hand, you were fingering the 12 strings with the left hand. This happened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London where Brian Epstein produced a series of six shows, featuring several of the Liverpool groups in addition to some American stars including Gene Pitney.

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