Andy Babiuk talks Beatles Gear with AudioFanzine!

Author of Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition, Andy Babiuk, was interviewed by AudioFanzine, an online magazine with content and services in the fields of audio and musical instruments.   Here’s a sample of the interview.  Click on the link at the bottom to read the entire interview at AudioFanzine!


00333744Babiuk’s book, published by Backbeat Books, is a coffee-table style tome full of information, anecdotes, and tons of photos. This is the second edition of the book, significantly expanded from the original, which was published in Britain in 2001.

“I worked directly with Olivia Harrison and with Ringo,” says Babiuk about his research for the new edition, “and McCartney’s been really cool, and Yoko was great.” His other sources included the late George Martin, Geoff Emerick the late Neil Aspinall, and many others.

Babiuk owns a boutique guitar store called Fab Gear in Rochester, NY, and has played for a long time in The Chesterfield Kings, which he says was largely inspired by bands of the British Invasion era.

I really liked the way that the book weaves in the band’s history along with the gear info.

Thank you. I wanted it to be a story about the Beatles from their perspective as musicians. You’ve got to tell the story of the band, you can’t just make it a list of things. And also, I was very happy that we were able to put the album covers in. Because it’s another way to give perspective of what was happening and what was being used during different phases of the band. We all remember those records and the covers, and that helps tell the timeline of where you’re at.

Some of the band’s early instrument choices were influenced by how difficult it was to get American brands in England, right? For instance, Paul’s choice of the Hofner bass.

Well the Hofner was more because they were in Germany. You’ve got to remember the mentality and the age of these guys when this was happening. McCartney was a teenager. He was either going to be out of high school and into some sort of art college or something, or he was going to go with his buddies and drink beer and pick up chicks and play music all day in Germany for months at a time. “Screw it, man, let’s go have a party!” That was the mentality. But along with that, they didn’t have any money. They were all living in a room together with a candle. It was wacky. Hofner was a German company. They were in the center of Hamburg. There were a lot of music stores there. So the Beatles were actually able to access and look at instruments that were available. The “violin” bass was unique because it was symmetrical. And McCartney said this himself. Most basses, like Fenders and others, are asymmetrical.

Oh right, because he needed to flip it over to play it lefty.

He saw it and said, “Gee, you could flip this over it would be the same.” I’ll guarantee you this, and everybody from that time period told me this, you could never, ever walk into a music store and see a left-handed instrument. It was just never going to happen. So McCartney was thinking, “Hmm, I’m in Germany, this is a German company. Can they build one and put the electronics on the other side?” The guy said “sure.” He was just trying to make a sale. He called up Hofner, “Hey, we’ve got a sale for a lefty, can you build one” “Sure.” And there you go, it’s as simple as that. And plus, it wasn’t expensive. It was a German-made bass, and they weren’t really sought after. Nobody played them.

And yet Paul ended up sticking with the Hofner for the most part, right?

Yeah, he did. And I think a lot of it has to do with that it was lightweight. He told me that. It doesn’t weigh anything. You can have it on your shoulder for two or three hours and it’s not pulling on you, it doesn’t weigh anything. And the other thing, too, if you’re a guitarist you’ll relate to this, when you have an instrument that you’re really familiar with, you tend to like to play it, because you know everything about it. You don’t have to look at the neck and you know exactly where the fifth fret is. You can just feel it.


Read the whole article HERE.

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About HLPAPG

Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on April 20, 2016, in Pop Culture, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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