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Let’s move on the mid-period – how do things change in your set up when you get to those songs?
In the mid-period, obviously you’re just getting towards the end of the 12-string Rickenbacker which is just a brilliant guitar. He had the second one, the prototype which didn’t have an R on it, it sort of had that trapeze tailpiece on it which I actually prefer the look of.
His one must have been amazing. There’s a program called Around The Beatles where he plays live the whole repertoire that they’re doing, and he plays Roll Over Beethoven on a 12-string Rickenbacker. Now I’ve played quite a few, that is really hard because those strings are so tight. It sounds so effortless, so that guitar must have been brilliantly set up.
And then, going on from the 12-string Rickenbacker he used a Gretsch Tennessean in ‘65. I’ve got one of those, which I use for Shea Stadium/Help type period, and that’s brilliant for country licks which of course he maximised on Beatles For Sale.
If you look at a song like Baby’s In Black, he’s not got a lot of space to make himself felt through that, and he does is so beautifully. Brilliantly picked, and the solo is really just so inventive. In that period they’re the guitars that he’s mainly using. And then he gets on to the SG of course.
And he starts bringing in volume pedals and things like.
He uses volume pedals on about four or five songs, Ticket To Ride, I Need You, Yes It Is, and in fact he said that he couldn’t get the co-ordination. So on some of those, I read that John Lennon is doing the foot bit while he’s doing the fingering.
And then of course the SG, which is on Revolver, the kind of signature sound is Paperback Writer, although they’re all playing electric guitar on that. I think that guitar sounds great. It’s my favourite guitar of his to play.
I really love the SG, I think it’s got such an amazing sound and when it’s driven, it just has that She Said She Said sound, there’s no other guitar that can play that riff. I’ve never known how far he continued using the SG, but it was definitely his favourite in ’66.
In the live show, are you swapping guitars but keeping the same amps all the way through?
Yep, amps we keep the same. We don’t go on to Fenders. I used to have varying pedals and stuff, and now we have this multi-fx it’s really great for refining the sound and changing EQ. So I can get more of a Fender sound for later on, when they’re using Fender Twin Reverbs.
They’re very different types of distortion or overdrive on various things, say on Sergeant Pepper, so it’s great to be able to get that subtly out of one unit.
At this stage of The Beatles career George was writing and singing lead more. How does that affect you in the show?
I always get three or four solo songs a night, and obviously one’s doing harmony constantly with George. He was singing an awful lot, and he sings a lot more than people give him credit for in the backing vocals. I can pretty much reach anything that George sang, so apart from the Indian instrumentals which we don’t do, we do pretty much anything buy George.