Friday, August 5, 2011

Sound Reinforcement

August 5-12, 1961

Cavern Club, Cavern Club, Cavern Club!  The Beatles play here six days out of seven this week.  There is a special all night show at the Cavern on the 5th, where the Beatles share the bill with a popular dixieland jazz trumpeter named Kenny Ball.  (I couldn't keep from tapping my foot to that youtube.  Be sure to listen for that hollered "Yeah!" going into the last verse, which makes the song for me.)  Must have been quite a diverse audience at that one.  Obviously, the Liverpool Cavern hasn't let go of its jazz music past.

On Monday, the 7th, they also appear at Litherland Town Hall.

I haven't really said much about how the Beatles amplified their electric instruments, so here's some info on that topic.  They must have been spending some of their hard earned cash on equipment because they are using some relatively good stuff.  Of course by today's standards, it is pretty marginal, unless you are into the vintage sound, but at the time, I'm sure it was adequate to knock the socks off the kids at their shows.

John, as always in the lead, is using what has become a classic (like his famous Rickenbacker), a tube (there was no solid state yet) Fender Deluxe amp, also called a "Tweed".  George is using a Gibson GA-40  Both of these amps are rated at about 15 watts, but they can really make some noise when cranked up..  These amps were put out by their respective guitar makers who understood that they wouldn't sell many new-fangled electric guitars without something to play them through.  In 1961, there are no amplifiers designed for bass amplification so, McCartney is playing through a barely adequate (for bass) Selmer Truvoice Stadium amp, which had been previously owned and used by George Harrison.  It is also rated at 15 watts.

If you are interested in this kind of thing, all of the above links are worth exploring.  But highly recommended is, a very fine site where you can research the equipment the Beatles are using at any point in their entire career.  Really well done.

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