As a ’60s band we endeavour to play period-correct instruments where possible.
Mathew predominantly plays Hofner 500/1 violin basses, made famous by Paul McCartney. Mathew has two variants of this iconic instrument; the “Cavern” model as used by McCartney during the Beatles’ Hamburg days and on their early records, and the ’63 model, which has been McCartney’s bass of choice for almost sixty years.
Patrick and Mathew sometimes play a Squier Bass VI. Originally produced by Fender from 1961 to 1975 it is a sort of guitar/bass hybrid and was favoured by many session musicians of the era. Famous players include Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce of Cream, and country star Glen Campbell who recorded one of his most enduring records, “Witchita Lineman”, on a VI.
Barry and Patrick (and sometimes Mathew) play a selection of period appropriate guitars.
Fender Stratocaster – a double cutaway guitar that has been continuously manufactured since 1954, the Strat is one of the most iconic electric guitar models of all time. Strats have been played by many great artists, such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton.
The Fender Telecaster (or Tele) was the world’s first mass-produced solid-body electric guitar, first introduced in 1950. Its simple yet effective design and revolutionary sound broke ground and set trends in electric guitar manufacturing and popular music. The Telecaster quickly became a popular model, has remained in continuous production and has remained mostly unchanged since the 1950s. The telecaster has been played by the likes of Jeff Beck, Albert Collins, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, David Gilmore, George Harrison, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend and Muddy Waters
Epiphone Casino – originally created as a budget version of the more prestigious Gibson 330 semi-acoustic, the Casino was popularised in the mid-’60s by the Beatles. Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and John Lennon all used Casinos extensively in the studio and on tour during this period, and their endorsement led to the humble instrument outselling its Gibson counterpart.
Fender Coronado – a double-cutaway thin-line hollow-body electric guitar, announced in 1965. The aesthetic design embodied in the Coronado was a departure from previous Fender instruments, and the design remains an uncharacteristic piece of Fender history.
Danelectro DC59-12 is a 12 string electric guitar based on the original 6 string 1958-1969 period Danelectro Model 3021 (later known as the DC59) double cut-away “shorthorn” style guitar as used by Jimmy Page. The guitar body is still made using Masonite fibre board, and it has a distinctive “jangly” tone. Danelectros have also been used by Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Elvis Presley.
Martin Dreadnought – originally developed in 1916, Martin guitars have been played by many artists including Johnny Cash, Elvis, Hank Williams and Willie Nelson.
The Fender Jaguar is a short-scale (24″) offset-body electric guitar introduced in 1962 as Fender’s feature-laden top-of-the-line model, designed to lure players from Gibson, and achieved its most noticeable popularity in the surf music scene; notable players include Johnny Marr and Carl Wilson.
The Riviera is one of Epiphone’s most enduring electric guitar models. First introduced in the early ’60s, the instrument has spanned multiple musical generations and transcended various genres – finding favour with the likes of Robben Ford, Otis Rush, Lou Reed and Nick Valensi (The Strokes). The Riviera’s signature design elements include an ES semi-hollow body, a punchy mini humbucker pairing, an elegant Frequensator tailpiece and a unique 3-layer pickguard.
Gibson SG – first introduced in 1961, the SG has gone on to become one of the world’s most iconic models, associated with many renowned guitarists such as Pete Townshend, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Angus Young, Frank Zappa, and Tommy Iommi. The very first SG model was branded as a “Les Paul” before Gibson later dropped the designation; some SGs come fitted with Gibson’s unique “sideways” vibrola system.
Epiphone EJ-160E Electroacoustic – this model is a faithful reproduction of John Lennon’s iconic Gibson original. Lennon’s EJ-160E was a central pillar of The Beatles’ sound on records from Please Please Me to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and beyond. The first ever use of guitar feedback on a record (the introduction to I Feel Fine, 1964) was the result of Lennon’s EJ-160E reverberating to a note played by Paul McCartney on his Hofner bass.
The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical musical instrument developed in Birmingham in 1963. It is played by pressing its keys, which trigger pre-recorded lengths magnetic tape to be pulled across playback heads. Original mellotrons are heavy to transport and prone to mechanical failure if not looked after. Gig-friendly digital versions of the mellotron have been developed in recent times, both software and hardware instruments. The Mellotron was adopted by rock and pop groups in the mid to late 1960s, including Manfred Mann, The Moody Blues, The Beatles and The Kinks.
Barry plays a digital Mellotron, and also digital emulations of a Hammond B3 organ, piano and harpsichord on a Roland V-Combo Organ.
Barry plays Seydel 1847 harmonicas, which are 10-hole diatonic harmonicas with wooden combs and stainless steel reeds. They are handmade in the oldest harmonica factory in the world, in Klingenthal, Saxony. Notable Seydel harmonica players include James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, and Peter “Madcat” Ruth. Barry plays both standard Richter and Wilde tuned 1847s.
Mark plays a limited edition 2020 Vox Telstar drum kit. This rare, glistening beast comes with an unusual elliptically shaped bass drum, and is coated in a silver crocodile-skin wrap, so you can only play it wearing dark glasses. The design is based upon an earlier vintage kit known as the ‘Speedfire’, manufactured by Trixon in the late ‘60s. The best thing about the Telstar is that it looks like it has just melted, probably out of sheer ecstasy. It sounds great and is terrifically boomy. Mark uses Istanbul cymbals and Remo drum heads, and an old cowbell he found in a car-boot sale in Crawley.
The Hurdy Gurdies use Vox amplifiers, which are famous for their chimey “British” sound. Vox released the AC15 in 1958, and the AC30 in 1959; their amplifiers helped to produce the sound of the British Invasion, being used by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and The Yardbirds, among others.
Why Hurdy Gurdies?
“Hurdy Gurdy Man” is a 1968 song by the Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. Donovan wrote “Hurdy Gurdy Man” while in Rishikesh in India, where he was studying Transcendental Meditation with the Beatles. It also features an Indian influence with the use of a tambura, a gift to Donovan from George Harrison, who also helped write the lyrics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurdy_Gurdy_Man
The hurdy-gurdy is a mechanical string instrument that produces sound by a hand-crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin. Melodies are played on a keyboard that presses tangents—small wedges, typically made of wood—against one or more of the strings to change their pitch. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurdy-gurdy