Sunday, November 11, 2012

Electric 12-String: Ticket To Ride

It’s the second week of the month and time for our Second Week Special – this week’s feature is the 12-string electric guitar. When most people think of the 12-string electric guitar, their minds drift back to Roger McGuinn and his use of his Rickenbacker model and numerous recordings by The Byrds. His usage inspired Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to adopt a similar jangling sound – but who influenced Roger McGuinn – the answer – George Harrison and The Beatles.

The Byrds happened to see “A Hard Day’s Night” and could not figure out how Harrison got the sound out of his Rickenbacker 360/12 because the headstock made it appear to be a 6-string. The Rickenbacker 12-string had six standard tuners and six slotted tuners.

There were a couple of songs in “A Hard Day’s Night” that utilized a 12-string guitar: “I Should Have Known Better” and “Any Time at All”; however, we are going to feature a 12-string song from The Beatles’ second movie, “Help.”

“Ticket to Ride” features two Rickenbacker 12-string electrics. John Lennon is playing his black (jetglo) 325/12 model while Harrison is playing his fireglo 360/12 style instrument.  George's 12-string was the second electric 12 production guitar built by Rickenbacker.

The single, which was primarily written by Lennon, was released prior to the finish of “Help” and the writing of the title song. If you look closely at the label, you’ll notice the working title for the movie: “Eight Arms to Hold You.” I like “Help” so much better for a title.

This week, we’ll explore songs that feature 12-string electric guitars and will have songs by The Byrds, The Hollies, The Animals, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and others. Enjoy the jangling sounds that will emanate from “Reading Between the Grooves.”

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