Have you ever found yourself poring over images of your favourite musicians, idolising them and the instruments they play, and wondering just how they got their start in the world of music? Well, now the instrument with which The Beatles’ George Harrison began his musical journey is about to go under the hammer, with his first electric guitar going up for auction.
As Billboard notes, the guitar which George Harrison used as a member of The Quarrymen is going up for sale, with the Hofner Club 40 expecting to reach between $200,000 to $300,000 USD.
The guitar was in use by Harrison while the band performed around Liverpool in the late ’50s, before they evolved into The Beatles in 1960. The guitar was reportedly obtained by Harrison after trading his acoustic guitar to Ray Ennis, the guitarist of The Swinging Blue Jeans, who would later see success with their track ‘The Hippy Hippy Shake’.
“I got what they call a cello-style, f-hole, single-cutaway called a Hofner, which is like the German version of a Gibson. I got a pickup and stuck it on.” Harrison once explained. “I soon got fed up with it and did a straight swap for a Club 40. I thought it was the most fantastic guitar ever.”
Donated to a band competition by George Harrison in 1965, the guitar was won by Frank Dostal, a member of the German band Faces, who passed away just last year. Dostal’s widow, Mary Dostal, a former member of the Liverpool girl group The Liverbirds, is reportedly the one putting the guitar up for auction.
“Most of the actual instruments that The Beatles used they still own but there are a few instruments still out there,” explained Andy Babiuk, the author of Beatles Gear: The Ultimate Edition, in a press release. “One of them is George Harrison’s very first electric guitar, the Hofner Club 40.”
“George Harrison considered the Hofner as one of his favorite guitars [as it] was the third guitar he ever owned,” he continued. “It is one of the most historically important guitars as it marks the chapter in music history when The Beatles transitioned to a rock and roll band playing electric guitars.”
George Harrison’s guitar is set to go under the hammer thanks to Julien’s Auctions, which will oversee the sale of the instrument at New York’s Hard Rock Cafe on May 19th.
Other items up for sale on the day also include a 1965 Fender Telecaster which was owned by The Band’s Robbie Robertson. Reportedly played by George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan during his infamous “electric” tour in 1966, this one is expected to sell for between $400,000 and $600,000 USD, so make sure you’re cashed up before you decide to throw down a bid on these items.