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Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four's Instruments from Stage to Studio (Book) Hardcover – December 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Babiuk takes a unique approach to the Beatles' story by documenting the history of their music equipment. The Beatles are forever associated with particular instruments, and thoughts of them immediately conjure images of John's Rickenbacker, George's large, hollow-bodied Gretch, Paul's signature custom Hofner violin bass (the first left-handed bass the company ever produced), and Ringo on a Ludwig drum kit. Babiuk begins with Lennon's first guitar in 1956 and follows through to the band's final 1969 sessions at the Abbey Road studios. As he shows, their choice of instruments were outlets for their personalities and creativity, and they selected a particular make and model for its individual sound, used that sound to its fullest, and then progressed to the next. Though dubbed "the quiet one," Harrison proved the maverick, continually experimenting with guitars and instruments from other nationalities, leading to the important Eastern influence on the Beatles' music. Babiuk provides marvelous technical detail on all of the Fab Four's gear, with numerous photos of either their own instruments or identical models. A fresh perspective on the group's well-documented history will appeal to hardcore fans and interested lay readers alike. Michael Rogers, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A big, slick, exhaustively researched exploration of what made The Beatles sound like The Beatles." -- Rochester Democrat and Chonicle

"A fresh, highly readable perspective on the group's well-documented history...will appeal to hardcore fans and interested laymen. Recommended." -- Library Journal

"A lavish celebration of every known piece of musical equipment [The Beatles] used...large and colorful...well-researched..." -- Tower Records' Pulse! magazine

"A sure bet to be a 'must-have' under the Christmas tree for any rabid Beatles fan." -- Mondo Gordo

"An authoritative guide to The Beatles' equipment...Babiuk shows himself to be a persistent researcher and a writer of clarity." -- Mark Lewisohn, renowned Beatles expert, author of The Beatles Recording Sessions and of the Beatles Gear foreword

"May be the ultimate specialized study of The Beatles...the sheer mass of information is impressive...the pictures...are fab." -- Chicago Tribune

"The 'gift book'...a luxury be held and admired.... Beatles Gear provides a history of their sound." -- Boston Globe

"The folks at Backbeat Books have a well-earned reputation...this year, they've got more 'must-have' additions, [including] Beatles Gear." -- The Ithaca Journal

"The ultimate Beatles fanatic book." -- San Jose Mercury News

"To make sure [your gift books] end up on's our guide to the best, [including] Beatles Gear..." --Playboy

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books; 3rd Revised edition (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879309563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879309565
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.9 x 12.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andy Babiuk is a musician, writer, producer, founding member of the Chesterfield Kings, has been a professional in the music industry for more than 30 years and is the owner of a boutique music shop Andy Babiuk's Fab Gear He is currently in the band The Empty Hearts featuring Elliot Easton from The Cars on lead guitar, Clem Burke from Blondie on drums, and Wally Palmar from The Romantics on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. The Empty Hearts LP release, August 5th, 2014. He is a staff consultant to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and consultant to major auction houses in London and New York. Andy is a respected expert on vintage guitars and the foremost authority on the equipment used by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Andy perceived the need for a book about The Beatles' gear when he tried to emulate some of their recorded sounds for his own band, The Chesterfield Kings. Andy then embarked on six years of research for Beatles Gear, during which time he interviewed over 400 people who worked with or were closely associated with The Beatles, listened to hundreds of recordings, watched miles of film, and amassed a vast library of documents and photographic evidence of The Beatles using their instruments and equipment. The result is this most detailed account of The Beatles and the tools that they used, on-stage and in the studio. As a follow up to his first book Beatles Gear, Babiuk worked nine years resurching and writing Rolling Stones Gear - a history of the equipment used by The Rolling Stones. Andy worked directly with memebers of the Stones and photographed The Rolling Stones actual guitars and equipment. His critically acclaimed books Beatles Gear (2001) and Rolling Stones Gear (2014) are books that manage to be both historical documents and an entertaining read. Andy is also the author of the book The Story of Paul Bigsby: Father Of The Modern Electric Solidbody Guitar, published in February 2009. He has worked as the technical consultant and associate music supervisor of Davis Chase's feature film Not Fade Away released by Paramount Pictures in the fall of 2012. He lives in Rochester, New York, with his wife, six children and a very large collection of guitars and music memorabilia. He can be contacted at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By J.Clarke on July 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My favorite book on The Beatles has always been "The Recording Sessions" by Mark Lewisohn. It has been relaced, now - however remaining a close 2nd - by "Beatles Gear"!
This book is for those like me who are not only Beatles enthusiasts, but also musicians who want to know every little bit of info (or, as much info as they can get) on all the instruments, and amps, and drums, etc. that the Beatles used during their career. Being a huge Beatle fan (and musician, as stated already), I thought I had a pretty decent knowledge of their guitars they used. Well..... how little I actually DID know! I learned a few things, already, after only skimming through the book for the first time...... like that George had TWO Gretsch Country Gents that look similar but are different in their switch configurations. Look at the photos provided of George onstage at different shows, and lo and behold! Two different Country Gents! Cool!
Other invaluable bits of info for the Beatle fan who must know "everything".... Ringo had three different Ludwig drum sets - with which five different "The Beatles" logo drum heads were used on the kick drum over the few years they toured. Amazing!
We all know Paul has had two Hofner violin basses - a '61 and a '63 - of which the '63 model became his main axe..... and we know John had two Rick 325's, the first of which he had painted black, and the second that was black from the start. But, I didn't know he had a 12-string version of his famous black 325!
The book is full of great photos of the actual guitars bought and used by John, Paul, and George... and, where an actual guitar could not be located for photographing, an exact model is provided.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on January 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Get this book with Mark Lewisohn's "The Recording Sessions" for a glimpse behind the Beatle curtain at their recording instruments.

For people who are interested in the amps, musical instruments, recording devices and technology of that era, then you want to read this book. You also develop a heightened awareness of the Beatles' musical instruments such as the differences in both of George Harrison's Country Gents guitar. ("Before He Was Fab," a book co-authored by George's only sister describes a Rickenbacker the youngest Beatle bought in September of 1963 during his visit to Benton, Illinois). You also get some interesting detailed information on the different drum kits Ringo used; Paul McCartney's famous 1961 and 1963 Hofner bass guitars; John's famous acoustics and you even get the scoop on the Beatles' logo and how it changed on the drum kits! That was new to me and I've been an inveterate Beatle fan and Beatle expert for most of my life!

Readers are treated to photographs of the Beatles' instruments and other technical devices, e.g. recording equipment. I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Babiuk speak at a Beatles' convention and the man is truly a scholar. This is a book well worth having!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have to say, I bought this book primarily for the photographs. The large, glossy, color photos of every guitar, bass, and drum kit ever used by the Beatles. It was an absolute dream come true. But, to tell you the truth, I got a lot more than just a lot of fantastic pictures. I decided, when I bought this book, that I would read it cover to cover, no matter what, automatically assuming that paragraphs about amps and microphones would bore me to death. Not so. The way Babiuk wrote sparked an interest inside me so that I was eating up the information on amps and microphones as fast as I was eating up the information on guitar strings and bass pick ups. This book puts everything in such an interesting light, that I have become re-inspired, and I now look for more than just a great color when buying a guitar.
Of course, if you are just buying it for the photos, you won't be dissappointed. An absolute plethora of pictures adorn the huge pages of this book, making it a real sight for guitar-starved eyes.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark Janovec on March 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There have been Beatles books written by nearly everyone who ever came within a mile of the group. And many have been written by people who never even came that close!
However, Beatles Gear fills a void that previous books rarely touched on: the instruments the Beatles used. While this subject may only appeal to instrument enthusiasts and the most fervent Beatles fan, it does add something valuable to the history of the group. One feels Andy Babiuk really did his research and made an attempt to fully cover every instrument the band owned or played.
This book makes a nice suppliment to the "bible" that is Lewisohn's "Recording Sessions." The pictures are (mostly) beautifully rendered and many have not been seen before.
While this book is not for everyone, it makes the distinction of being a rare Beatles book that adds to wealth of knowledge already out there.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Carl F. Day on November 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I became a Beatles' fan on that 1st night of Ed Sullivan in February 1964. I was mesmerized by the music which became a driving force in my life-to this day. Naturally I had to pick up a guitar and try it for myself. Over the years I stared at pictures of the boys with their various pieces of equipment. As a musician and a fan I had to know every instrument they played. This book is a diehard Beatle fan's dream. In fact I wish that the book was longer. It tells the story of practically every instrument the boys played-what make/model, where it came from, what happened to it---you get the picture. Couple this book with Mark Lewisohn's Recording Sessions and you get an almost complete picture of the Beatles in the studio and on stage. As John said, "Ya shoulda been there!" Well, with this book, I am a little closer. Thank you, Andy.
(P.S. I am writing this in the shadow of my Epiphone Casino, my Beatle bass, and my Fender Twin Reverb Amplifier.)
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