George Harrison’s Vox UL730 Up For Auction

George Harrison amp-pic

An extremely rare Vox UL730 amp, used by Beatles guitarist, George Harrison during the recording sessions for two of the bands classic albums, ‘Revolver’ and ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band,’ will be put up for auction on December 15 at Bonhams in London, England.

 

After decades of remaining unaccounted for, the Vox, was only connected with Harrison in February of this year, when Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook was lent the amp for a recording session. When Hook found the amp to be faulty, he sent it into to a specialist, who subsequently discovered the name ‘George Harrison’ etched into the chassis and speaker cabinet.

 
Since then, further research has been undertaken into confirming that the Vox is the real deal, and it seems it is. A photograph featuring Harrison and The Beatles in the studio with a UL730, with visible chalk markings, similar to those seen in the cabinet, has been recovered and will appear at the auction.

 
A member of The Merseybeats who used to write the ‘Beatles Gear’ pages for the monthly Beatles Book magazine, and who attended many Abbey Road Beatles’ sessions as a guest, has also identified this as Harrison’s UL730.

 
Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia consultant, Stephan Maycock has issued the following statement, “Very few amps used by the Beatles have come to auction before, and to find one that was used on two such significant albums is truly rare and exciting…Beatles fans all over the world will be eager to own such an important piece of music history.”

 
The UL700 series – early hybrid models with transistor pre-amps and valve power amps – were released in in the UK in 1966, as a replacement of the flagship AC30s. However, after failing to sell, the series was pulled from the market in 1967.

 
There are now thought to be as few as 26 UL730s in existence, so when you combine that with the fact that the one going up for auction on Dec 15, was once owned by one of the most famous rockstars in history, there is little wonder why it is expected to fetch at least £50,000, or around $78,100 USD.

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One Response to George Harrison’s Vox UL730 Up For Auction

  1. beatlesgear says:

    The following comments are my opinion only, take them for what they are and use your own powers of deduction to determine what your opinion my be on this matter. And, for the record, I have no dog in this race/fight.

    Let me start by saying that anytime a cool vintage amp like this shows up, it’s a real find no matter what. A complete vintage UL730 with matching speaker cab is about as rare as it can get.

    First off, just to straighten out some Beatles usage facts. The first time a UL730 or UL430 (the bass version) can be seen in use by the Beatles is the beginning week of February 1967, they are last seen a year later the first week of February 1968. Most of the studio photos available show either Lennon or McCartney using a 730. So the article here in my opinion is somewhat misleading in nature by saying that Harrison preferred this amp during this time period. However, you do see a 730 positioned near George Harrison during the television taping of “All You Need Is Love”, so at least for on day we know for certain he sat beside one.

    If you’re hunting through your copy of the book known as “Beatles Gear” for your own reference, you might as well forget it because the author completely missed this amp’s existence while doing his research. He unknowingly refers to it as a 7120, likely because he didn’t know the difference between the two, which is primarily an easy spot due to the tube size difference and layout between a 7120 and 730. I can only assume this is why this article lists the Beatles as receiving 730s in early 1966, this is far from accurate going on reliable photographic, by at least 12 months. No 730s on “Revolver”, they are clearly identifiable as 7120s due to the massive KT88 tubes seen in the rear of these.

    The first thing anyone should likely do if they are going to bid on this amp, is to look at all the available scientific data for comparison, namely photographs or film.

    Start from the ground up.

    The speaker cab.

    Best front photos of the Beatles using these is in the “Hello Goodbye” promo clip seen in the film “Magical Mystery Tour”. The Beatles are seen using these speaker cabs with Vox Conqueror Heads (misidentified as Defiant heads in the Beatles Gear Book). Best rear/side photos come from the beginning of Feb ’67. So, look closely at the casters, a match. So that’s one down. Two pin plastic corner protectors, a match. So another one down. T1088 speakers, a match. So another good sign, things are looking decent. Then look at the grille cloth placement and also Vox logo placement, not a match, not even close in fact. Which of course is a biggie to consider. Then we have alleged chalk markings, a tough sell for anyone that may be considering dropping a large sum of money at auction.

    Then we have the UL730 head.

    The thing to consider here is that the UL730s seen being used by The Beatles are standard production units, meaning, they are exactly like those anyone could have purchased new from any UK Vox dealer back in ’67-’68. Single handle, 4 vents, 2 pin corner protectors, wooden skid feet, etc. This a biggie because unlike the UL7120s that The Beatles used in 1966, there are no clear visible distinguishable differences between those they used and any other that where sold to the public at the time. One additional thing here to note is that this can’t be the head McCartney is seen being used for bass (thought to be a 430) because that headcab had 1 pin corner protectors.

    Other available resources?

    A scratched in “George Harrison” on the top of the chassis, obviously this is absolutely unverifiable in my opinion. Then we have an eyewitness account from a member of the Merseybeats stating that this is the amp he saw Harrison using back in the day, 45 years ago. Again, in my opinion, this really is unverifiable.

    So in the end, if it’s your wallet, what would you do?

    Cheers!

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