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

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 - serial no. 150B

Below, an overview. For further pictures and details, .

Beatles at the Washington Coliseum, rear view of Paul's AC100
Beatles, Sydney, June 1964, view of Paul's AC80/100

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).

The Beatles, Blokker, Holland, June 1964

Blokker (Holland), 6th June 1964. 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.

The amp in Abbey Road Studios, August 1964.

Note that on the back panel, underneath the mains socket, which is placed horizontally instead of vertically, there is a Belling Lee fuse-holder.

A detail of Paul's amp on stage, Versailles, 14th January 1964.

Paul used his first AC80/100 through to the end of July 1964. Below, Stockholm, 28th July. Although the amp is at some distance away in the picture, one can nevertheless see that its power socket is high up on the back, and that there is no white warning plaque on the back board:

Stockholm, Johanneshovs Isstadion.

In December 1964 the amp was rehoused in a thin-edged black-fronted box - for details, and a photo taken at this time shows the serial number - 150B.

Paul's second thin-edged amp - August 1964

The second amp, another brown-fronted unit (to match the speaker cab), had a white warning plaque and BASS logo. The arrangement of its back panel matched those of the amps issued to John and George in July (see further below). Immediately below, Paul's second amp at Las Vegas, 20th August, from front and rear of stage.

Las Vegas
Las Vegas

Above, Paul and George's amps seen from rear of stage at Las Vegas.

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 ). 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.

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

Early Vox cover, probably for Paul's AC80/100, Abbey Road

Paul's first amp in Abbey Road studios. Note the logo VOX in large cursive letters on the cover. A page on related Vox covers .

July - October 1964

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

Blackpool Night Out

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).

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 early large-box 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.

The Beatles, Stockholm, July 1964, with new Vox AC100s

The Beatles in Stockholm, 28th July 1964.

Colour pictures of the concert, taken by a fan in the audience, have also come to light. See for the set as a whole:

The Beatles, Stockholm, July 1964, with new Vox AC100s

Below, screen grabs from the old "Vox Talks" website, where the use of AC80/100s with early large-box AC50s was first recognised.

  • Vox Talks
  • Vox Talks

Click for larger images.

Great shots of the front of the amps taken at New Orleans, 16 September, 1964. Note the logos in single letters V O X, and the alignment of the diamonds of the grille cloth (this will become important later):

John Lennon's Vox AC100 SDL, New Orleans, 16 September, 1964

From a picture by Ted Rozumalski.

George Harrison's Vox AC100 SDL, New Orleans, 16 September, 1964

The box of this second amp was later used to re-house Paul's first AC80/100.

One of these amps, probably the one immediately above, was serial number 180. Its chassis and serial number plate were transferred to a new box in late 64 - .

Click as ever to enlarge. The serial number plate has 9 lines of text and long panels for the details.

Las Vegas Convention Center, 20th August 1964.

John Lennon's Vox AC100 SDL, Las Vegas, 20 August, 1964

Lennon's amp, Milwaukee, 4th September, 1964.

Schema of the back panel of the AC80/100s used by John and George

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

The Super DeLuxe (SDL) speaker cabinets

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 .

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 , and for more on the trolleys, .

Lennon mucking about on the set of one of the Christmas Shows, 1964; in the studio.

A SPARE AMP ON STAGE (August and September '64)

The spare amp is often seen on the US tour to the left or right of the drum riser. In a rare colour picture from Toronto, its grille cloth can be seen to be brown.

Beatles, Toronto, 7th September, 1964

Toronto, 7th September. Click as ever for a larger image. The grille cloth of the spare amp is brown.

Indianapolis

Indianapolis, 3rd September.

  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles

Left, San Francisco, 19 August '64, the spare off to the side. Right, Hollywood Bowl, 23rd August 1964 (screen grab from unreleased footage).

  • 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

Beatles for Sale sessions

An early day in the session = late September. Note what Ringo is wearing. One of the amps still has a air-shipment label "LON". One of the thin-edged AC50s is on the floor.

In the pictures below, the new amps:

The Beatles AC80/100s in October and November 1964

Pictures taken on the Beatles' tour of the UK in late 1964 - 9th October to 4th November - show that the group travelled with four thin-edged AC80/100s with black grille cloth.

1) A new amp, delivered to Paul in early October 1964, with a BASS logo.

2) One of the amps given to John and George in early August '64, its logo composed of single letters V O X.

3 & 4) Two new thin-edged amps with conventional logos (bars through the letters).

A fifth amp, the twin of no. 2, does not appear. Its box, however, was used a little later to rehouse Paul's first AC80/100 - see below, entry for 8th September (2).

A series of illustrative details:

Leicester, De Montfort Hall, 10th October 1964. Paul's amp at left (1), and the amp with a single letter logo (2).

Belfast, King's Hall, 2nd November 1964. The amp at left has no bass flag (3). The alignment of the diamonds on its grille cloth is similar to the amp with a BASS flag, but the two are not the same. George's amp is the same as above (2).

Belfast again. The amp used by John (4). Logo of the standard type.

In terms of serial numbers, we have only one definitively fixed point at the moment. The twin of (2), delivered to John and George in August 1964, was serial no. 180.

It seems likely that the three new amps provided for the tour, made up specially with black grille cloth (brown was the norm), had numbers in the low 200s, or possibly 190s (no known survivors at present).

Brighton, 25th October 1964. Picture from the Beatles Book Photo Library. Paul's amp is (1), with a BASS logo at front and central screw on the top edge of the back board.

Brighton again - the amp used by John.

The two earlier amps with single letter logos V O X - (2) and (5) - had no screws on the top edges of their respective back boards. Below, Lennon's amp, Milwaukee, 4th September, 1964:

For more on the early thin-edged amps, three of which were reboxed in time for the Christmas Shows at the Finsbury Park Astoria, .

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