THE BEATLES' THIN-EDGED AC80/100s in 1964

For the Beatles on stage and in film in 1964 see the wonderful Beatles Archives.

Abbey Road Studio 1

Above, The Beatles in Studio One, Abbey Road, 25th Feb. 1964. Paul's AC80/100 is on the floor beside John's small-box AC50. Note that the AC80/100 is just a fraction taller.

Paul's first thin-edged amp

24th Dec. 2013 - now see this page too.

Washington
Sydney

Left, rear of Paul's first AC80/100 during the Washington Concert, 11th February. There is no warning plate on the back panel, only a strip of white tape. Right, the front of the amp, photographed on the Australian tour (12-30 June, 1964).


Blokker
Blokker

Blokker (Holland), 6th June 1964. Note that in the first picture one can see the settings of the amp: volume is at 12 o' clock, treble is right down, and bass is at about 12 o' clock. In early AC80/100s the bass control often works back-to-front - clockwise turns bass down, anti-clockwise turns it up. Paul is plugged into the second (low-gain) of the two. The input sockets of this amp were white.

Note that underneath the mains socket on the back panel (placed horizontally instead of vertically) is a Belling Lee fuse-holder - taking the place of the internal fuse. The pic. with George was taken during a rehearsal for the Christmas Concerts, 1964.

Christmas 1964
Beatles Christmas Show 1964

The first amp reboxed in 1965

Paris
Paris
Paris

That Paul's first amp was later reboxed is clear from the Paris concert of 20th June 1965. On the left, note the white jacks on George's amp (indicated by an arrow). John's amp, visible on the left in the centre picture, had black sockets. In the right-hand picture, note the backboard of George's amp - mains input socket turned at 90 degrees to the norm, and below it, a shadow of an input blocked up. Compare George's amp to the picture of Paul's amp at Blokker, above.

Paul's second thin-edged amp
Las Vegas
Las Vegas

The second amp, another brown-fronted unit (to match the speaker cab) but with a white warning plaque and BASS logo, seen at Las Vegas, 20th August, above, from front and rear of stage.


Above, a schema of the back panel - much the same as the black-grilled amps used by John and George.


Paul's second amp is likely to have delivered by Denney in early August at Scarborough (see below, and page 7). Pictures taken from the back of stage at Stockholm - also below on this page - show that Paul was still using his first amp in July, ie. the one he had acquired in December 1963 (without a white warning plate). Paul's second amp was given brown grille cloth to match his speaker cabinet. John and George's amps had black cloth.

Paul's third thin-edged amp (?) - probably simply the first amp reboxed
Belfast

Black grille cloth and BASS logo, on stage at Belfast, 2nd November.

Paul's third amp arrived with a new cab (black grille cloth) and trolley during or shortly after the "Beatles for Sale" recording sessions at Abbey Road in early October.

Chrome Trolleys

Prince of Wales Theatre
Forest Hills Stadium

Left, the first trolley just visible on the left, at the Prince of Wales Theatre. John and George still have their AC50s. Right, the second brown-fronted amp and first trolley at New York, Forest Hills Stadium, 28th August.

Blokker
Edinburgh
Nice

The first trolley, seen from the back, at the concert at Blokker, Holland, 1964, with the chrome frame tight around the hand-screw. Centre right and far right, the second trolley, which arrived in early October 1964, with a higher loop around the screw. Centre, Edinburgh ABC Theatre, 19 October '64 (with two other AC80/100 Foundation bass rigs). Right, Nice, Palais des Fetes, 30 June '65.

Covers
Studio

Paul's first amp in Abbey Road studios. Note the logo VOX in large cursive letters on the cover.

Coda: a brown-fronted AC50 in 1965

Help
Help
Help

Previously, it seemed that the brown-fronted thin-edged amp on Paul's bass trolley must be an AC80/100. However, closer scrutiny, thanks to the new bluray edition of "Help", shows that the amp is actually one of the old thin-edged AC50s - the front is 2 1/2 grille-cloth diamonds tall, rather than the 3 of AC80/100s.

John and George's AC80/100s (and the spare)


July - December 1964


As various commentators have indicated, John and Paul received their first AC80/100s in July 1964. These can be seen in the pictures from Stockholm below, atop AC50 cabs. For some time the amps were thought to be small-box AC50s, but if one looks closely one can see that the grilles are 3 diamonds high, ie. the height of AC80/100s, rather than AC50s, which had grilles of 2 1/2 diamonds.

Vox Talks
Vox Talks

The Beatles in Stockholm, 28th July 1964.


The point was well made on the old Voxtalks website (see the screen-grabs below), and reviewed by Jim Elyea in his Vox Amplifiers. The JMI Years, pp. 586-587. See also the photo towards the top of this page, showing Paul's AC80/100 next to John's small-box AC50.

Vox Talks
Vox Talks

Two screen grabs from the old VoxTalks site. Click for larger images.


Blackpool Night Out
Stockholm
Chicago
Toronto

Left, the last public sighting of the AC50s, Blackpool Night Out, 19th July 1964. Picture from Andy Neill's excellent, The Beatles: Across the Universe (Yeovil, 2009). Centre left, Stockholm, 28th July, the first outing for John and George's AC80/100s, seen from stage rear, sitting atop large-box AC50 cabinets. See also this page. Centre right, Chicago, 20 August 1964. Right, Toronto, 7 September. In the last two pictures one can see that both John and George's amps had white warning plaques.

Layout of the back panels of the AC80/100s used by John and George, and occasionally Paul.


From later colour shots taken at the Los Angeles Convention Center in August, we can see that grilles of John and George's amps were black with matching cloth for their new speaker cabinets, which arrived on August 9th in Scarborough of all places. Dick Denney, Alan Harding (the chief engineer at Vox) and his wife, drove up from Dartford to hand them over, a van making a separate journey with the equipment.

Denney and Evans
Scarborough, Futurist Theatre

On the left, Dick Denney and Mal Evans at Scarborough - a record of the handing over of the new Vox equipment. On the right, the Futurist Theatre, still with its 1960s sign. A nice site (with much potential) showing the theatres at which the Beatles played in 1964 is available here.


No photos of the Scarborough concert have come to light to date, but the amps were photographed soon after - on 11th August at EMI Studios during the recording of "Baby's in Black". The pictures were published in "The Beatles Monthly" magazine - the amps a sort of special feature:

EMI Studios
EMI Studios
EMI Studios

John in the studio in 1964 with his thin-edged AC80/100.


The trolleys given to the Beatles by Denney at Scarborough, as photographs indicate, were not quite the same as later ones: they had a rectangular basket for the amps to sit in, rather than parallel bars. For more on the cabinets, see this page.

Flyer
Vox AC100, no. 169

On the left, an original ad showing the Mk 1 trolley. On the right, the early AC80/100 discovered by Mitch Colby in Denver.

THE SPARE AMP ON STAGE

San Francisco
Los Angeles
Indianapolis

Left, San Francisco, 19 August '64, the spare off to the side. Centre, Hollywood Bowl, 23rd August 1964 (screen grab from unreleased footage) - the spare amp is just by Paul's spare bass. Right, Indianapolis, 3rd September (new larger pic).

Indianapolis
Toronto
Baltimore

Left, Indianapolis. Centre, Toronto, 7th September, the spare amp just visible on the left hand edge, behind the (foldback?) horn. Right, Baltimore, 13 September.

BACK IN ENGLAND - October 1964
Studio 2
Studio 2
Studio 2
Studio 2
Studio 2
Studio 2

The Beatles in Studio 2, Abbey Road, in early October 1964 recording "Beatles for Sale". Note that in the pics of the recording session, neither of the cabs has a logo.

Below, general views of the Christmas Show, 24th December, at the Odeon, Hammersmith. The cabs may be new (or at least refurbished) - the VOX logos are complete again.

Christmas Show 1964
Christmas Show 1964
Christmas Show 1964
Christmas Show 1964

Left and centre, John and George's amps, both in basket-topped trolleys. Right, a collection of postcards from the series of concerts, one with a different stage design, amps just visible. The basket-topped trolleys were used through to the NME Pollwinner's Concert, on 11th April 1965. For further details of the 1964 Christmas concerts, see here, here and here.

1965
Help
TV Performance, 1965

Left, John with a black-fronted thin-edged amp in "Help". Right, John and Paul in front of the same one (used by George) in early to mid 1965. Note that George is plugged into the low gain input.

This amp is seen throughout the summer 1965 tours, and made its way to October (in the studio) for the Rubber Soul sessions - see also the page on The Beatles' AC100s in 1965.

Rubber Soul sessions

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