The Ultimate Lennon 325/58 Photo

The short-scale model that changed history

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The Ultimate Lennon 325/58 Photo

Postby (NickD) » Mon May 07, 2001 7:30 pm

Hello all

Here's a request to Lennon 328/58 enthusiasts out there, and especially to Larry Wassgren, Peter McCormack, Tuck Hersey and Nick Thiel, masters of the subject.

Would anyone be interested in posting to this forum the absolute highest quality, highest resolution TIFF file possible of the clearest, most detailed photograph of John Lennon's 325/58 known to exist? I'm sure one of you guys knows what that photograph is, and that one of you could make such a scan or image. It could be put on an FTP site, and accessed through a link.

Such a picture would make thousands of 358 scholars extremely happy, because it would be the next best thing to holding the guitar in ones hands, or staring at it person for as long as one likes, and it would make an indespensible aid for those doing Lennon conversions.

This picture:

posted by "Tomcat" in one of the other forums, comes close, but it is still, at about 300K, a limited resolution jpeg which becomes obvious as you zoom it in.

If it is possible to get an even higher quality, higher resolution picture, even if it weighed in at 7 megs, I would certainly download it, even if it took a couple of hours, and I'm sure thousands of others would too.

Actually, I have three or four things on my wish list:

1 The highest quality highest resolution scan of the picture at the link above.

2 The same for the 3/4 picture shot from below, recently issued by the John Lennon museum, and posted on one of these forums by Tuck Hersey. It seems that you could probably read the serial # on the jackplate in this picture, if there was enough resolution.

3 If there is an even better modern photo of the guitar, or details of the guitar, I'd want that too.

4 And, Nick Thiel, you mentioned having once posted a tracing of John's pickguard. That would be great to add to the menagerie.

I think that posting the really definitive scans of John's guitar would be a great adjunct to these forums, and that all active participants would want to have it, so that they could refer to "The Picture". It's too bad that the best pictures we have of John's guitar are post-DeMarino, because the really interesting details are from long ago. But that's the way it is, so let's make the best of what we have today.

What do you think?



Postby (glen_l) » Tue May 08, 2001 1:58 am

I'm not in a position to scan it at the moment, but I believe the picture on page 19 of the "John Lennon Museum" book is the best I've seen. The lighting is just right, and it's taken from an angle where details like the full jackplate and serial number, burns knobs, Bigsby/Selmer B5 and bridge, can be seen. Even details like the exact wear on the pickups, and every screw head, are clearly visible. It's also certainly the most recent photograph. I'm lucky to have a copy of this book that was hand carried from Japan to Sydney by a close friend who visited the museum. I don't know if it's available by post.
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Postby (Nick_Thiel) » Tue May 08, 2001 9:02 am

The problem that you are going to run into is that you are limited to what ever line screen the page was produced at in the off-set priting process. So even if you scan it a 2000 dpi, it's still only going to be a couple hundred dpi at best. The ideal thing to do is scan a very large real photo taken from the neg, that will give you real high resolution. John Hall told me that the museum had forwarded to high-res cops of the pic in the program, perhaps they are real photos? Here is one that was scanned off of a real photo, the photo was rather small to start with, but you can get the idea though as to how this is a better way to do things.

Postby (admin) » Tue May 08, 2001 9:15 am

Thanks so much Nick. This is a great photo and makes your point very well.
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Postby (NickD) » Tue May 08, 2001 9:26 am

Oh my god, Nick, what an unbelievably gorgeous photograph! It's such good quality that you can actually SEE that the pickguard is mounted on rubber bushings, except for the top of it which is screwed flat to the body! I never realized these pictures were that good; isn't this a detail from the Albert Marrion session?

Of course, this is absolutely the way to do things. Scans from magazine pictures will never really do the job because of the limited line screen res of the page.

There is a New York City-based photographer named David Behl. I believe he was contracted by Yoko to photograph John's guitars and various other things; I know that he photographed his Epiphone Casino (as it appeared in the book Fuzz & Feedback by Tony Bacon), and the 325/64 Rick, and I believe he took the 325/58 photo on the link in my first post of this thread. His photo of the Casino looks pretty spectacular - it's a flat on, well lit picture which seems to show every scratch. I wish I could see it life-size.

Mr Behl would obviously be a great source of high-res definitive images of John's guitars; how we would go about getting them, I have no idea.

What do you think of this idea in general; would not such images be a boon to these forums?



Postby (NickD) » Tue May 08, 2001 11:13 am

Hello all

I have taken the liberty of monkeying around a little with the photo that Nick Thiel posted, using Photoshop. I hope nobody minds.

The result is here:

This is such an interesting picture.

Highlights include:

1 Some kind of damage, probably impact or scrape damage, to the lower horn of the guitar. Does any of this damage remain on the supposed guitar in the JL Museum?

2 The lower portion of the pickguard on grommets, the upper portion screwed flat to the body

3 The end of his vintage strap (maybe an old Fender strap) hooked onto the strap button.

4 The paint around the Bigsby logo

5 It doesn't look like particularly heavy strings, maybe 11s or 12s

6 The old gold-top knobs, which few modern 325 conversions ever have. (I don't think I've ever seen one.)

7 This is obviously before he cracked his pickguard.

8 The middle pickup is still unscathed.

9 The brushed-aluminum look of the Bigsby unit.

10 The end of the long jackplate is just visible.

11 The "tiger stripe" grain on the top of the body is visible as always.

Well, I think this proves that great pictures leaves the enthusiast a great deal more satisfied about what the real deal was, whatever the subject. Thanks again Nick.


Postby (Mike) » Tue May 08, 2001 4:45 pm

You guys should hang around Vox Talks, Nick Thiel is always posting pics like that over there. I thought I had a pretty good handle on what was what when it comes to Beatles guitars, but I don't know jack compared to guys like Nick Thiel, he is literally a walking encyclopedia when it comes to these things. I was reading a post on Vox Talks a few weeks ago where somebody made reference to Nick just being able to pick up the phone and call John Hall any time he wants, I wish. Mr. Hall would be screening his calls after a few from me, I would drive him nuts asking questions.

Postby (Nick_Thiel) » Wed May 09, 2001 3:12 am

Part of doing effective research on guitar like this comes down to knowing whom to call to find things out, a prime example of this would be the specs for the roller-bridge being issued on the 325C58.

Throughout the entire "C" project there was no real attention paid to the bridge that was issued with Lennon's guitar because we were working on specs for guitars that were being issued with a bow-tie. So when the decision was made at the last minute to issue the guitar with a roller-bridge there was a bit of a scramble to nail it down to what exactly he had. None of the early Lennon pics before it was modified were clear enough to determine exactly what type of bridge was on there. Then I recalled a posting of Larry Wassgren's where he was talking about visiting with "Johnny Guitar" many years ago. "Johnny Guitar" who played with Rory Storm was given Lennon's Kauffman and bridge, he then installed them on the guitar that he was using at the time while playing with the Hurricanes. Knowing that Larry was a real nut for this stuff I figured that he would have specific details about the bridge if he had the opportunity to inspect it, as it turns out he did. That is a classic example of a piece in the puzzle falling into place and I think this is why Mr. Hall put together team of individuals that would have access to specific information regarding the Beatle Rickenbackers. If you look at who was involved in the project you will realize that there are some real heavies listed in there as advisors, so naturally I was very honored to be made a part of it too considering the other members qualifications.

Postby (NickD) » Wed May 09, 2001 5:57 am

Mike -

John Hall is a truly considerate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic member of the guitar community, and if you have a good, well thought-out question for him and send it to him by email, he will almost certainly answer it. Recently I bugged him with a question concerning the use of maple / alder in making 325 guitars, something he's probably been asked more than 2 billion times.., and damned if he didn't email me back, twice!

Like I say, he's such an asset to the guitar & music community, and a nice guy to boot. Us vintage Rick nuts are so lucky to have him at the head of Rickenbacker.


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