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Old Feb 25, 2003, 07:59 AM   #1
Rocky Raccoon
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Default Back where it belongs: A historic 3 10s guitar

Back where it belongs: A historic 3 10s guitar Feb 25 2003

by Laura Davis Daily Post Staff

A GUITAR that helped forge rock 'n' roll was returned to its home city yesterday by a mystery benefactor.

George Harrison's first instrument was donated to The Beatles Story museum where it goes on public display today.

This is the first time the Egmond acoustic guitar, valued at 500,000, has been exhibited in the UK.

If it had not been played by Harrison, it would be worth only 45.

The former Beatle, who would have celebrated his 60th birthday today, bought the instrument for 3 10s (3.50) in the mid-1950s with money from his mother.

He made his show business debut with it the following year, playing with skiffle group The Rebels at the Speke British Legion Club.

Sandra Quayle, curator of The Beatles Story, Albert Dock, said: "The guitar is so beautiful because it is from the birth of George's musical legacy.

"You can imagine him back at that time, when he found school such a drag and had just found something to believe in.

"You can imagine him being inspired by the guitar. It captures the promise of what was to become a legend for millions of fans all over the world."

The present owner of the steel-strung guitar is a private collector who shuns publicity.

He bought the instrument from the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and has given it to The Beatles Story on permanent loan.

Jerry Goldman, a director of The Beatles Story, said: "We are thrilled that the owner chose our museum to display the guitar for the fans as a tribute to the late George Harrison.

"We are proud and honoured to comply with his wishes."

The guitar forms part of the revamped early years section of The Beatles Story exhibition which now includes information on skiffle music.

Harrison bought the guitar at the age of 13 from a friend, Raymond Hughes, whom he met as a pupil at Dovedale Primary School.

The former Beatle decided he wanted to learn to play during a sixweek stay in Alder Hey Hospital for a kidney infection.

In the Beatles Anthology, he described how he broke the guitar when first playing it.

He said: "I saw that it had a bolt in the back of the neck.

"Being inquisitive, I got a screwdriver and unscrewed it and the whole neck fell off.

"I couldn't get it back on properly so I put it in the cupboard in two pieces and left it there.

"Finally, it seemed like a year later, my brother fixed it back together for me.

"Now it had a concave neck, so the most you could get out of it was a couple of chords."


GEORGE Harrison bought his second guitar, a handsome Hofner President with a sunburst finish, for just 30.

He swapped it the following year for a Hofner Club 40 which belonged to Ray Ennis of Liverpool band the Swinging Blue Jeans.

Before he could afford an amplifier, he used to play it with its head against the wardrobe.

In 1958, Harrison was ready for an electric guitar, a Futurama, which he is thought to have bought in Rushworth and Dreapers music shop for 55.

In The Beatles Anthology, he remembered going to buy it with Sir Paul McCartney: "It was on the wall with all the other guitars and Paul plugged it into the amp but he couldn't get any sound out of it, so he turned the sound right up.

"The guitar had three rocker switches and I just hit one and there was an almighty boom through the amplifier and all the other guitars fell off the wall."

For sessions at The Cavern Club and the Casbah, the former Beatle played a Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet guitar, also used on the band's early singles.

He bought it for 75 in 1961 by answering an advert in the Daily Post's sister paper, the Liverpool Echo, from a sailor who had bought it in America.
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