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Lot 0029
From "Let It Be" and The Apple Rooftop Performance! There are instruments, and there are legendary instruments which have become mythical in proportion.The lot we present here represents the latter rather than the former, and this particular instrument is surely one of the most important offered in any venue in the world at any time. In 1969 the Beatles were at a crossroads. The band had enjoyed success far exceeding that of any band in history. The records, the concerts and the international notoriety had propelled the four lads into the spotlight and beyond, and, like all good things, the union was about to end. There was nothing more to achieve that hadn't already been achieved, and time had taken its toll on both the band's creativity and interpersonal relationships. Since the band had quit performing concerts, they decided on a last hurrah---the group would be filmed rehearsing, recording and jamming together for what would become the album titled "Let It Be" with a film released by the same name. The culmination would be the band doing a final live performance together in a location which turned out to be the rooftop of the legendary Apple headquarters in London. In the midst of recording and from "Let It Be" and The Apple Rooftop Performance!filming, George Harrison acquired a new instrument---a beautiful Fender Rosewood Telecaster, custom made for him. Fender's marketing department wanted to add new solid body rosewood Telecasters and Stratocasters to its line, and felt that a good way to jump start the instruments' popularity would be to present the prototype of the Telecaster to Harrison and the prototype of the Stratocaster to Jimi Hendrix. According to the book Beatles Gear, (Andy Babiuk, Backbeat Books, 2002) in 1968, Phillip Kubicki, a young, talented guitar maker, was told by his boss, Roger Rossmeisl, that Fender would be making the guitars. Recalls Kubicki: "For me, this was about as exciting as things could get. The Beatles and Hendrix were at their peak and were a big part of the times." According to the book, "Rossmeisl decided that a safe course would be to produce two prototypes each of the Rosewood Telecaster and the Rosewood Stratocaster and then select the best to give to the star musicians. The bodies for the guitars were made with a thin layer of maple sandwiched between a solid rosewood top and back. "I spent hours sanding the bodies to perfection," recalls a misty eyed Kubicki. "Eventually, a clear polyurethane finish was applied and allowed to dry, and we selected the two best bodies and necks for Harrison and Hendrix." Kubicki says that Harrison's telecaster became a priority because Fender knew it was required for an album that The Beatles were working on. The guitar was carefully and painstakingly finished, set up, checked and carefully rubbed with a fine cloth until it became highlighted. The second body and neck were stored in Fender's R & D department. Kubikci followed the guitar's history and, according to the book reported that "Harrison's guitar was flown to England-in its own seat-accompanied by a courier, and hand-delivered to the Apple offices in December 1968. "I remember when I saw the guitar for the first time in the Let It Be film," smiles Kubicki. "I was so thrilled I almost jumped out of my seat." Also, according to Beatles Gear, "A myth has circulated for years that Harrison and John Lennon each received a Rosewood Telecaster, but Lennon certainly never had one. Harrison's Telecaster bore the serial number 235594. The guitar was used almost exclusively by Harrison in the Get Back recording sessions and was chosen by him to play the rooftop final performance on January 30, 1969. This performance was the film's final climax---the band's celebrated final live public performance atop Apple's roof. The group played 'Get Back', 'Don't Let Me Down', 'I've Got A Feeling', 'The One After 909' and 'Dig A Pony'. The next day, another performance was staged, this time in the Apple basement studio. With the cameras rolling, they performed and recorded 'The Long And Winding Road', and 'Let It Be', with Harrison using his Rosewood Telecaster. Shortly thereafter, the band would go their separate ways forever. By the end of 1969, each of the Beatles had designs on solo projects and began their own respective journeys to that end. On December 1, 1969, George Harrison, along with Ringo Starr, attended Delaney & Bonnie's performance at London's Royal Albert Hall. Eric Clapton was on the bill that night and following the show asked Harrison if he would join the group for a few shows throughout Britain and Denmark. The next day, Harrison joined the tour and presented Delaney with a wonderful gift-his Fender Rosewood Telecaster. Harrison told Delaney "This is for what you did for me last night." Delaney recalls that during the tour the various band mates would sometimes switch guitars, although he primarily used his newly acquired Rosewood Telecaster. Since that special day in 1969, Delaney has cherished the 'early Christmas gift' bestowed upon him by Harrison. Guitar collectors and historians have long known the whereabouts of the instrument, but few have had the privilege of seeing it in person. The closest they have been able to come to admiring the Rosewood Telecaster has been via the two-page spread in which it is illustrated in Beatles Gear. Delaney Bramlett has counted the guitar among his very dearest possessions and hopes that its new home will be with a collector who will treat it with the same respect and dignity he has for the nearly three decades it has been in his possession. The guitar is in fine condition and is accompanied by the hard shell case used by Bramlett to transport it as he toured with his Delaney Bramlett and Friends road show, of which Harrison and Eric Clapton were a part. An unprecedented opportunity to acquire a truly world-class and historically significant instrument. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity written by Delaney Bramlett himself. Presented in association with JulienEntertainment.com

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George Harrison's Let It Be Fender Telecaster

Estimate $250,000 - $300,000Sep 13, 2003