Identical to the Club 40 that John Lennon bought from Hessy’s music store in Liverpool on 28th August 1959. His Aunt Mimi paid a £17 deposit there and then, and the balance of £13/9/- in irregular installments, the last one being on July 31st, 1960. It was this guitar that John took with him for The Beatles’ first engagement in Hamburg, in August 1960, the formative period that saw them becoming a force to be reckoned with.
This instrument was bought in Ellesmere Port, near Liverpool, still with its original case. In fact, the guitar is 100% original, right down to the “dog lead” strap clips and leather fittings. The single, black bar pickup is more than enough to provide the driving R&B sound that would have been so familiar to regulars of Hamburg’s Kaiserkeller club in 1960.
This Vox Teardrop 12-string guitar was rescued from destruction by Pete, who was at a friend’s house when he noticed the body in the fireplace. On asking, he was told that the owner was going to chop it up for firewood! Needless to say Pete left the house with the piece of ex-firewood...
A few days later a mutual acquaintance tapped him on the shoulder and said that he knew where the neck was if he was interested! Along with the neck, Pete acquired a box of parts which were enough to get the guitar into playing shape, and, since the addition of a vintage pickup, it forms an integral part of Flashback’s set, sounding exactly like the 12-string Rickenbackers owned by the Byrds and The Beatles.
Late in 1959 Stuart Sutcliffe, an Art College friend of John Lennon’s, sold one of his paintings for £65. Instead of using the money to further his career in art, he was persuaded to buy a bass to use with The Quarrymen. On January 21st 1960, at Frank Hessy’s music store he put a £15 deposit on a Hofner 500/5 bass, serial number 199, and his place in the newly re-named Beatals was secure.
For many years the 500/5 bass used by Flashback was serial number 272, placing it firmly in the exact same period as Sutcliffe’s. But early in 2016 a message from a Merseybeat friend alerted Kev to another instrument which was identical to Stuart’s, with a very early serial number of 134 - since confirmed by Steve Russell as the earliest 500/5 known to have survived. Needless to say, he just had to have the bass, and this is the one he now uses regularly.
Just to add a little more interest to the story, the man he bought the guitar from was John Askey, who was Sandie Shaw’s bassist in the ‘60s - what a pedigree!
If you want to re-create the sound of the ‘sixties, what else are you going to use but the ubiquitous Vox AC30? This particular amp is one of over twenty that Pete has owned over the years, and is certainly well-used and battle scarred!
Many people can’t believe that this English-made amp is only 30 Watts, it’s all that is needed to produce the raw Mersey Beat sound guaranteed to evoke nostalgia in anyone old enough to remember those times.
Although this bass amplifier is the more reliable, transistor version made in 1969, the 18” speaker cabinet is from 1965, and was reputedly owned by flower power band The Move.
Put them together and you have the ingredients for the solid bass beat which was such an important part of that Cavern Sound which so many of our more “mature” Liverpudlian friends have said Flashback reproduce so well.
The vocal microphones and stands complete the vintage effect, and are often the items of equipment that people comment on the most. Although the Stagg is a modern reproduction of a 1950s original, the Reslo is completely authentic, the most commonly used microphone on stage throughout the early ‘sixties, and a real piece of beat nostalgia!
Hooray for the anoraks of the world!
Well, after months of refurbishment Steve has finally unveiled his 1965 Ludwig Super - Classic drum kit, just like the one Ringo had. Bought new by him - er, in 1965 - and used on the road for about thirty years, it features a 22”x14” bass drum, 13”x9” and 16”x16” tom toms, and Ludwig 400 chrome snare. Among the cymbals is a rare 1960s 20” Super Zyn 5 star ride crash. We are informed that all that means something to drum freaks...
Whatever the details, the kit adds that authentic Beat sound to the band - just like it was in Liverpool!