John Lennon’s 1962 Gibson “jumbo” J160E guitar
|John’s (actually originally George’s) Gibson J160E|
Andy Babiuk (of Beatles Gear book fame), recently discovered John Lennon’s long lost 1962 Gibson J160E guitar. It was the guitar’s current owner, John McCaw’s close friend and guitar instructor, Marc Intravaia, who had suspicions about the guitar’s origin and contacted Babiuk. Babiuk’s instincts told him there was something about McCaw’s story that was intriguing and warranted further investigation.
After Babiuk personally examined the guitar, he was able to match the wood grain in the spruce top to photos of Lennon playing the guitar with The Beatles in the early 60’s. Wood grain is like a fingerprint, no two are the same, and without a doubt it is a match. Lost for over 50 years, John Lennon’s beloved Gibson J-160E was finally found. The guitar went missing in late 1963 during the Beatles’ Finsbury Park Christmas Show. 50 years later, in 2013 John McCaw bought it in a U.S. second-hand goods shop. If only guitars could talk…
|Staged reception of the two guitars at Rushworth’s in Liverpool.|
John and George both ordered this particular guitar model after they learned that they had gotten a recording contract, and it was delivered to them by the instrument shop Rushworth’s in Liverpool. A staged after-the-fact publicity photo shoot show John and George with their guitars in the shop. (More photos at the excellent Beatlesource site.) Some time after the boys had started to use their guitars, the two were mixed up, and the guitar now in possession of the Harrison estate actually sports the serial number assigned to John’s guitar.
This particular guitar can be heard on the UK singles “Please Please Me/Ask Me Why” and “From Me to You/Thank You Girl.” It can be seen in the mimed november 1963 Granada TV performances of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “This Boy” and in countless 1962-1963 studio and stage performance photographs. Looking like an acoustic guitar, it is actually electric.
|The two guitars in action in the Granada TV show.|
The guitar has never been modified in any way. It has never been refinished and has had no hardware or electronic changes. In viewing the 1963 Granada TV performances of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “This Boy,” tell tale marks on the guitar further confirm its identity.
Naturally, as a true Beatles fan, Babiuk took the opportunity to play a number of Beatles songs on the instrument. The guitar will be featured on the cover of the new Beatles Gear-The Ultimate Edition book with a scheduled release date of October 27, 2015.
Read more about the history of Lennon’s and George Harrison’s 1962 Gibson J160E’s here.
|The guitar at a BBC radio session. Note the plug and electrical cord.|
Lennon’s 1962 J160E is slated to be offered for sale by the current owner at Julien’s Auctions Icons & Idols Rock n’ Roll Auction event to be held on November 6th & 7th, 2015.
They are estimating bids of around $600,000 and $800,000, but Darren Julien, owner of Julien’s Auctions, is hoping its sale will top the $965,000 auction record set in 2013 for an electric guitar owned by Bob Dylan.
The guitar will first will go on display prior to the auction at The LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, from June 13-29 for the opening of The GRAMMY Museum® and Fab Four Exhibits Ladies & Gentlemen…The Beatles Exhibition! It will then be displayed at the GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles from July 2-September 7, 2015 and at Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills from November 2-6, 2015.
|The Granada TV performance of “This Boy” with both guitars.|