One of Lennon’s greatest songs, Nowhere Man has a distinctive guitar sound thanks to a pair of Sonic Blue Fender Stratocasters.
John recorded the rhythm part on his Gibson J-160E electro-acoustic before he and George played the solo in unison on their matching Fenders. The guys were still recording with their usual Vox AC30 30-watt valve amps although they had actually taken delivery of two Vox AC100 amps by this time and may have used them on the track.
The Nowhere Man solo isn’t difficult to play. The hard bit is coming up with something so melodically beautiful and not being tempted to overplay.
Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney – who never really had any time for George Harrison’s songwriting – loved Something.
While George felt that McCartney had overplayed the bassline for the song, listening to it now confirms what a fantastic bassist Macca is. George’s solo is everything a great solo should be: melodic, tasteful, lyrical and respectful to the feel of the song.
George apparently played the solo on a refinished red Gibson Les Paul he called Lucy, which was given to him by Eric Clapton. This is probably the same guitar Eric used for the solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps on The White Album.
With The Beatles about to head their separate ways, it’s poignant that one of the best tracks on their penultimate album Abbey Road was a guitar solo featuring John, Paul and George duelling it out.
Ringo added a drum solo to The End but it was very much under protest, bless him. On the recording of this track, Lennon used his stripped Epiphone Casino, Harrison played his Gibson Les Paul and McCartney headed for his sunburst Fender Esquire (a single pickup Telecaster).
After the solo reaches its climax McCartney sings, ‘And in the end / The love you take / Is equal to the love / You make’. Now that’s what you call signing off in style!
Let It Be
As we’ve seen, The Beatles could produce amazing records even in the midst of the bad atmosphere hanging around the studio during the Let It Be sessions.
The album’s title track features a beautiful solo from George, that was most likely played on his Fender ‘Rosewood’ Telecaster (featuring, you’ve guessed it, a rosewood body and neck). Three versions of Let It Be with different guitar solos exist.
In our humble opinion the version on the Past Masters collection is the best. Don’t just take our word for it though: the other two versions are on the Let It Be album (1970) and the remixed Let It Be... Naked record released in 2003.