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Beatles Epiphone Casinos

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I am looking for some info...What I want to know is why, during the 1960s, with all of the gear the Beatles could have gotten for free (Fender and Gibson and everyone else) why they chose, and paid for with their own cash, the Epiphone Casinos? Why they had their road manager go out and buy them when they could have had

anything free of charge for artists endorsement etc...

I know the general background as far as Paul being first then George and John...and unique sound etc... Just curious if anyone has any inside info such as comments or statements they might have made concerning this...

 

Thanks!

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The only companies that ever gave The Beatles anything were Rickenbacker, Fender, and Vox.

 

Vox was a no-name company before The Beatles became famous using their amps. Most of the models Vox made were to suit the band's need - they started with AC15s, and when they weren't loud enough, Vox made the AC30. Same story when the AC50 and AC100 came around. You'll notice, however, that after Brian Epstein died, they no longer used Vox amps. The deal was that the band would use Vox amps exclusively until Epstein was no longer their manager. Once they were no longer bound to that, they started using amps they actually wanted to use.

 

John, apparently, was never entirely happy with the sound of his Rickenbackers. He got his first 325 in Hamburg because he could afford it and it was American. When they got famous with him using it, he kept using it, and Rickenbacker gave them a few more.

 

Fender tried to give them amps throughout the mid-60s, but they were bound to Vox. When they weren't anymore, they accepted Fender's package, including a few guitars.

 

 

It's my understanding that the band didn't entirely know what they wanted in guitars. They knew what they wanted to sound like, but they didn't know how to get that sound. Many of their instruments were arranged by Brian Epstein, who was very concerned with them looking good - which is why George and John had matching Strats instead of just two Strats.

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If I remember correctly, at that time Epiphone was still USA-made and still very close to Gibson in terms of quality and cost -- even though Gibson had already bought Epiphone back in the 50s. It wasn't until the 70s and 80s that production was moved overseas to produce less expensive versions of Gibson models.

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Andy Babiuk's book "Beatles Gear" will clear up most of your questions, as well as give

you a wealth of information, on ALL their gear.

 

Epiphone, was moved to Asia (Japan, first), in 1970. The Beatles Casino's were all USA, Kalamazoo era, versions.

Paul's being the earlier version, with the more Gibson like, headstock. He has often stated, that if he was limited to

just one guitar, it would be his Casino. So...I think he (for one) loved (and still does) the sound and playability,

more than anything. John & George must have like them, a lot, too...because they used them, at various points,

from then on...especially John. And, they certainly didn't "Have" to...if they didn't want to. The "Vox" exclusivity,

WAS an early deal, that Brian had put together, when they desperately needed good (and louder) amps. Plus,

it was an "English" company, so seemed a natural direction, for them, at the time.

 

The closest thing Fender had, to a USA (Thomas Organ Co. solid state) "Super Beatle," or UK (all Tube) AC-100,

was the (all Tube) Dual Showman....which are GREAT amps, by the way. Fender did (much later) come up with a "Stack" to try to compete with Marshall. But, it was pretty short lived, and, was introduced after

the Beatles had disbanded, much less stopped performing "live."

 

But, check out Andy Babiuk's book! It'a a great read!

 

CB

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I am looking for some info... I know the general background as far as Paul being first then George and John...and unique sound etc... Just curious if anyone has any inside info such as comments or statements they might have made concerning this...

 

Thanks!

 

John Mayall used to play blues records for Paul, and Paul would ask him about getting that bluesy guitar tone. Mayall suggested a hollow body, and showed Paul the one he used. PM also wanted a guitar with a Bigsby, and the only guitar that Rosetti imported into the UK at the time that was both hollow and had a Bigsby was the Casino.

 

John & George got theirs because they liked Paul's. You'll note a lot of British invasion guitarist used Epiphones instead of Gibsons because new Gibson were hard to come by in the UK at that time. In general, Gibsons were only sold through Gibson's #1 retailer in each US market, the Epiphone brand was for everyone else, including foreign markets. To get a Gibson dealership was extremely difficult.

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Yeah, and a "Left handed" Gibson, Epiphone, or ANY guitar was quite rare, it not impossible to find,

in England, at that time...seemingly....(I wasn't there, so I can't say for sure). ;>) So, Paul got a

"righty," and strung it "lefty," and played it upside down, like his Texan. I'm sure, if he'd have only

requested it, Epiphone would have (gladly) made him a left handed version...of both! So..???

 

CB

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One story I've heard, though it may be urban myth, is that they really wanted to incorporate feedback - like the opening tones in "I Feel Fine" - and heard through other musicians that Casinos would give them that sound. That supposedly from a Guitar Player magazine interview with Sir Paul circa 1990.

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why they chose' date=' and paid for with their own cash, the Epiphone Casinos? Why they had their road manager go out and buy them

 

[/quote']

 

I don't have a better answer then what I've read in this thread but from what I've read in books they seemed like prisoners. They spent whatever money and used whatever equipment someone slipped through their bars.

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One story I've heard' date=' though it may be urban myth, is that they really wanted to incorporate feedback - like the opening tones in "I Feel Fine" - and heard through other musicians that Casinos would give them that sound. That supposedly from a Guitar Player magazine interview with Sir Paul circa 1990.[/quote']

 

Here's a quote from that interview:

 

I was very inspired by Jimi Hendrix. It was really my first voyage into feedback...

 

My first Epiphone was one of them, where I just went down to a guitar shop after having heard B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix, and I wanted something that fed back. He said, This Epiphone will do because it's semi-acoustic. And he was right. The only reason I don't use it onstage is because it's a little too hot. It's great in the studio. You've got to stand in the right position for it not to feed back - we always had to do that in the studio, but nowadays guitars don't do this.

 

The problem is Paul purchased the Casino in December 1964, way before Hendrix hit the UK and while Clapton was still in the Yardbirds. Clapton only joined Mayall in 1965. And if I remember the chronology correctly, they recorded I Feel Fine before Paul got the Casino. From the same interview:

 

I had this friend in London, John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, who used to play me a lot of records late at night - he was a kind of DJ-type guy. You'd go back to his place, and he'd sit you down, give you a drink and say, 'Just check this out'. He'd go over to his deck, and for hours he'd blast you with B.B. King, Eric Clapton - he was sort of showing me where all of Eric's stuff was from, you know. He gave me a little evening's education in that. I was turned on after that, and I went and bought an Epiphone.

 

Here's Mayall's version:

I showed him a hollow-body guitar that I bought when I was in the Army, in Japan in 1955... He got a hollow-body after to get that tone...

 

In a BBC radio interview in 1996, McCartney said that the Casino was the only Epiphone of its type offered by UK importer Rosetti with the vibrato arm.

 

So here's my take, late in 1964 Paul wanted / planned to assume the role of guitarist on some of the Beatles recordings. And he did play some of the solos for the Help sessions, and later songs like Taxman & Drive My Car.

It was probably a pretty good move on his part, I think the general consensus was that George's soloing wasn't keeping up with the music. I think McCartney had a specific idea of what sound he wanted on his records, hollow body with a vibrato. And yes feedback would be a part of it, but very controlled. Listen to the end of Another Girl, it almost seems that he brings the guitar to to point of feeding back but then reigns it in at the last moment. But Hendrix wasn't the source of his inspiration, the Beatles' own I Feel Fine was!!!

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Plus George, as he himself admitted in an interview, that he was hardly playing guitars by 66 because he was so deep into the sitar. Thus letting Paul move into do more lead work.

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The problem is Paul.....

The problem is Paul has difficulty being truthful. He gives stories that fit the moment, that sound cool to him. Sadly he is the last of The Beatles with the full knowledge of the band and his constant desire to re-write history really hurts an accurate account of The Beatles.

 

I once saw Paul in an interview say that when he and John first started writing songs, they had a checklist of dream things to do:

1. write a song for Sinatra.

2. write a song for a Bond film.

Thing is Bond films weren't even around when John and Paul first started writing songs.

A Paul interview is never to be taken as fact.

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The problem is Paul has difficulty being truthful. He gives stories that fit the moment' date=' that sound cool to him. Sadly he is the last of The Beatles with the full knowledge of the band and his constant desire to re-write history really hurts an accurate account of The Beatles.

 

I once saw Paul in an interview say that when he and John first started writing songs, they had a checklist of dream things to do:

1. write a song for Sinatra.

2. write a song for a Bond film.

Thing is Bond films weren't even around when John and Paul first started writing songs.

A Paul interview is never to be taken as fact. [/quote']

 

Yes, which is why I gave my take based on time line and logic. He tends to embellish.

 

I once saw Paul in an interview say that when he and John first started writing songs' date=' they had a checklist of dream things to do:

1. write a song for Sinatra.

2. write a song for a Bond film.

Thing is Bond films weren't even around when John and Paul first started writing songs.[/quote']

 

It's nice that he eventually got to write a Bond song, and don't forget Sinatra did a version of Something, his "...favorite Lennon/McCartney song."

 

You stick around, Jack, she might show - The Chairman of the Board

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It's nice that he eventually got to write a Bond song' date=' and don't forget Sinatra did a version of [i']Something[/i], his "...favorite Lennon/McCartney song."

Have to give Paul his proper due: he did pen thee best Bond tune. Paul perfectly captured the excitement of a Bond film.

As for a Sinatra song, yeah, too bad for Paul that Sinatra's best Beatle cover is George's "Something." But I do hear that Sinatra did a great versioin of Paul's "Wild Honey Pie."

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Yes' date=' which is why I gave my take based on time line and logic. He tends to embellish.

[/quote']

 

To be fair to the guy, he is looking back to events of 40+ years ago. Because of the importance of the Beatles to modern music these events are of huge interest to musicologists, who scrutinize them to the nth degree. Worse still, to Beatles fans these events have now become tantamount to legend, part of Beatles lore, so to speak. But to Sir Paul, well...it's just his life, isn't it? He bought a Casino in the 1960s. It's probably more important to Beatles students whether he bought it in 1964 / 1965 or whatever than it is to him.

 

To be honest, I sometimes have difficult properly recalling details of my own life from the 1990s...and I'm only in my 30s. For a man of nearly 70 to sometimes make errors in recalling his life in the 1960s doesn't necessarily indicate "embellishment"...

 

That said, thanks for your account about John Mayall and Paul McCartney. Most interesting...

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Plus...WE weren't there, anyway! How do we know, aside from a memory lapse or two, that what he

says, DIDN'T happen? Time line, or not. Hell, you ask two eyewitnesses, to a traffic accident, or a crime...

and they'll give wildly different accounts, of the same exact event, that happened minutes ago...never

mind 40+ years ago. He an Mayall may have listened to records. And, One evening, they had the guitar

conversation. That could account for the difference, in Mayall's version, and Paul's. Besides...people

"embellish" all the time, for fun, or to make things seem more interesting, than they really are/were. He's

human...even though, we do our best to make him something other than that. LOL! I'd rather hear his

version, embellished or not, than some "historian" or fan, that wasn't even there, or even born, yet! ;>b

 

CB

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Have to give Paul his proper due: he did pen thee best Bond tune. Paul perfectly captured the excitement of a Bond film.

As for a Sinatra song' date=' yeah, too bad for Paul that Sinatra's best Beatle cover is George's "Something." But I do hear that Sinatra did a great versioin of Paul's "Wild Honey Pie."

[/quote']

 

The legend is that Sinatra originally introduced Something as the "the greatest love song ever written." Then one night he introduced it as his "favorite Lennon/McCartney song." Who was going to correct him??? No one, so Frank went out on stage night after night giving John & Paul credit for George's masterpiece. George didn't get upset, instead found it amusing, and as a nod to the Chairman, George added Jack to the lyrics when he did it live.

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CB' date='

 

If you haven't seen the "True History of the Traveling Wilbury's" (iTunes), you'd enjoy it.[/quote']

 

 

Hi Dennis,

 

Is it different, than the documentary (DVD), that was included in the box set, of the Wilbury's CD's?

Loved that one!

 

CB

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As to George's "Lead work,"....I loved it! The economy, and tastefulness. It was never

"too much" or over the top, but always right, for the song! No one can doubt Paul's

bass or guitar playing ability. After all, he was a guitar player, first! And, played bass,

more like a "lead guitar," in phrasing, and his runs. But, I've always loved George's leads.

Even enjoyed John's "primitive leads" (his words), as well. They were all "just right," for

that "group" as a whole. Paul always was the more accomplished "musician," and multi-

instrumentalist. But, I can't imagine they would have done as well, as a group, without

any one of them. They were, a "Perfect (musical) Storm!" At least, in my opinion.

 

CB

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To be fair to the guy' date=' he is looking back to events of 40+ years ago...[/quote']

 

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't criticizing him. You're being interviewed, you want to make the story interesting, you embellish it a bit. Nothing wrong with that.

 

Plus...WE weren't there' date=' anyway! How do we know, aside from a memory lapse or two, that what he

says, DIDN'T happen? Time line, or not. Hell, you ask two eyewitnesses, to a traffic accident, or a crime...

and they'll give wildly different accounts, of the same exact event, that happened minutes ago...never

mind 40+ years ago. He an Mayall may have listened to records. And, One evening, they had the guitar

conversation. That could account for the difference, in Mayall's version, and Paul's. Besides...people

"embellish" all the time, for fun, or to make things seem more interesting, than they really are/were. He's

human...even though, we do our best to make him something other than that. LOL! I'd rather hear his

version, embellished or not, than some "historian" or fan, that wasn't even there, or even born, yet![/quote']

 

No, I believe the McCartney / Mayall story. I also believe that he wanted a guitar that would feedback. I believe the Bigsby part. All the elements make sense, except the Hendrix part. But it made a more interesting story than he played Mayall's hollow body while listening to blues records. Hendrix trumps Mayall any day of the week.

 

The ironic thing about the story is that Paul is giving Hendrix credit for something he and John did first!!! No doubt in my mind, McCartney was intrigued with feedback after I Feel Fine. A couple of month later he got the Casino, and right after that, he started playing leads on some of the records. I'm actually giving Paul credit for advancing the music.

 

I'll meet you at your George post.

 

This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

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I think that it's probably correct that Epiphone was more available in England. You just have to to look at the number of British Invasion bands using Rivoli basses and Casinos. I know in Canada in the 60's you usually couldn't get Gibson and Epiphone in the same cities. Also, guitar knowledge wasn't what it is today. Most people did't know there was much difference between a Gibson 330 and a 335.

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As to George's "Lead work' date='"....I loved it! The economy, and tastefulness. It was never

"too much" or over the top, but always right, for the song! No one can doubt Paul's

bass or guitar playing ability. After all, he was a guitar player, first! And, played bass,

more like a "lead guitar," in phrasing, and his runs. But, I've always loved George's leads.

Even enjoyed John's "primitive leads" (his words), as well. They were all "just right," for

that "group" as a whole. Paul always was the more accomplished "musician," and multi-

instrumentalist. But, I can't imagine they would have done as well, as a group, without

any one of them. They were, a "Perfect (musical) Storm!" At least, in my opinion.

 

CB[/quote']

 

I agree. I love George's playing, probably the major influence on my playing.

 

Geoff Emerick was really tough on George in his book, but I got the feeling Emerick wasn't personally fond of Harrison. George Martin has claimed that he wrote the Michelle solo for Harrison to play. I remember hearing a story that John complained that Harrison's solo on one song sounded like he was playing rubber bands.

 

I think '65 was the beginning of a new period for them. They were beginning to transition from a working band to a band that was spending more and more time in the studio. Paul knew what he wanted, and he probably felt it was easier for him to play the leads than teach them to George. I'm not that certain that George was that well suited for hanging around waiting to play his lead, and from what I've read, every time he did a new take it was different. Another reason for Paul the perfectionist to play his own leads. And you can see that tension manifested in Let It Be.

 

George's early work was brilliant, Till There Was You, And I Love Her, All My Loving for example. The 12 string work really defined the sound for that period. The Rock-a-Billy and Country songs. And then you jump ahead to the solo work, his distinctive slide playing. He had style.

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"Style" indeed! His Slide work, later, was brilliant! So melodic, and as always, tasty!

And, quite often, in standard tuning! I liked his songs, even "Don't Bother Me," and

on! "All Things Must Pass," was an amazing LP set. Plus, his songs/recordings never

sounded like anyone else! It was always "George!" Very distinctive, that way. I miss

that, and him.

 

CB

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Hi Dennis' date='

 

Is it different, than the documentary (DVD), that was included in the box set, of the Wilbury's CD's?

Loved that one!

 

CB[/quote']

Same one. I just watched it again the other night. Fun look back, and what I really enjoy about it is that it's just a bunch of friends getting together to just have some fun (not to mention the guitar porn!)

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