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Author Topic: 12-String Electric Guitar on Beach Boys Records  (Read 1768 times)
c-man
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« on: March 08, 2020, 05:45:11 PM »

Here's a new thread on an old topic, 'cause I don't think we as yet have one consolidated place to look for established and newly discovered facts related to what we know about the use of 12-string electrics on Beach Boys records.

So, in the world of 12-string electrics used by Beach Boys studio guitarists, can we now say this much (subject to change as new info presents itself)?:

- Carol Kaye owned the first, by virtue of modifying either her Guild 12-string acoustic into an electric, or her Guild 6-string electric into a 12-string, or both - do we know for sure which? She definitely states the latter in at least one interview (for Vintage Guitar). Her earliest known, confirmed appearance on a Brian session would be that for Sharon Marie's "Runaround Lover" (aka "Black Wednesday") and the 1963 version of "Back Home", both cut on June 14, 1963 - and for the intro part on the second of these titles, she seems to have used the Guild 12-string acoustic?

- Tedesco and other studio pros owned Bellzoukis, but there's no evidence of them using that on a Beach Boys session prior to 1965.

- Carl Wilson acquired his first Rickenbacker 12-string electric after seeing "A Hard Day's Night" in August of '64, and apparently used it for the first time in the studio on "All Dressed Up For School" (recorded September 16), as well as onstage. Again, I'm now convinced that his guitar intro on "Don't Hurt My Little Sister", recorded back in June and assumed by many to be a 12-string, is just a 6-string electric double-tracked. If it WAS a 12-string, it was NOT a Rickenbacker (he didn't have one yet), nor a Fender or Mosrite (since neither were in production yet), and would therefore HAVE to be a Bellzouki (or, even less likely, the rarer Vox Tempest XII or Burns Double Six - neither of which was common in the U.S. at the time) - but again, I don't think so. Carl obviously fall in love with the Rick 12, and used it on the demo session for "Dance, Dance, Dance" at Columbia Studio Nashville on September 22, the Ed Sullivan Show taping on September 27, studio sessions for "Dance, Dance, Dance" on October 9 and "Guess I'm Dumb" on October 14, onstage for the TAMI Shows October 28 and 29, and throughout that fall on the band's U.S. and European tours (as well as the "Kiss Me Baby" tracking session and Shindig! TV appearance, both in mid-December). That is, until it was stolen right here in Omaha, Nebraska, circa December 27...at that point, he was given one of the first Fender XII electrics as a substitute (did we decide this was a prototype, or an early production model?). This is apparently the instrument Carl played on such January '65 tracks as "Please Let Me Wonder" and "In The Back Of My Mind". By early April, though, he had his replacement Rickenbacker 12-string, and certainly used this for the "California Girls" tracking session on the 6th of that month, as well as "Girl Don't Tell Me" on the 30th, and eventually "The Girl From New York City" in late May. It would seem that his Fender XII was permanently retired at that point?

- Also in early 1965, Billy Strange played electric 12-string on the single version of "Help Me, Rhonda" (February 24), as did Jerry Cole on "Sherry She Needs Me" (March 29) and "California Girls" (April 6). One or the other of these two guys - or both - likely played 12-string electric on "Amusement Parks U.S.A." (April 14). Certainly, both Strange and Cole played electric 12s on the basic track of "Sloop John B." in July '65. I assume these would be either Fender XIIs or the newly-marketed Mosrite 12-string, correct?

- In mid-October and early November '65, Brian began a series of tracking sessions that continued this "two 12-string electrics" approach, on "The Little Girl I Once Knew" (Billy Strange, and - apparently for the first time on a Beach Boys recording - Barney Kessel), "My Childhood"/"You Still Believe In Me" (Barney and Glen Campbell), and "Trombone Dixie" (Billy and Barney again). The detective work of aeijtzsche points toward the Bellzouki as the likely instrument in Barney's hands. Then in December, Brian had Billy return to "Sloop John B." for a pair of 12-string electric overdubs. Have we ever determined if Billy used a Mosrite or a Fender XII on this session?

- As for Glen Campbell, who became quite well-known in studio circles for his 12-string playing:  I can't say for sure what his first 12-string electric was, or when he acquired it,  but there is black-and-white footage of him playing a Rickenbacker 12 on a performance of the instrumental "White Silver Sands", reportedly from 1965 (looks like Shindig?), as well as still photos of him with the Mosrite XII at a 1965 P.N.E. Dance Party in Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, Washington. His first electric 12-string work for The Beach Boys would seem to be on the Pet Sounds sessions.

- Barney, Glen, Jerry, Billy, Carl, and Carol are all known to play 12-string electrics at various points on Pet Sounds - meaning, a dazzling display of Bellzouki, Mosrite, Fender, Rickenbacker, and Guild likely comes into play on that one album!

Comments are welcome, and I can easily edit the above with corrections or additional info, so that we always have a handy reference for this topic!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2020, 09:08:04 PM by c-man » Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2020, 11:33:39 AM »

I can't speak for the historical implications, but Carl's totally playing an electric 12-string on The Man With All the Toys, Santa's Beard, Merry Christmas Baby and Christmas Day, all in June '64.

Are we going beyond just the session players? There was Carl's Epiphone Riviera and that red Baldwin 712 Al can be seen with in the Hawaii rehearsal photos.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2020, 11:35:21 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
c-man
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2020, 11:41:32 AM »

Yeah, good point on those Christmas Album tracks - haven't listened to those in awhile! Oh well...
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DeanEntwistle
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2020, 03:08:54 PM »

Yeah, good point on those Christmas Album tracks - haven't listened to those in awhile! Oh well...
hi C-Man, do you have any idea of when did Al started using 12 string electric guitars?
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2020, 06:15:54 PM »

Not exactly pertinent to the specific use on BB's records, but perhaps more to the influence on a folk music fan like Al: The 12-string itself probably hit its earlier peak with Leadbelly and the early bluesmen like Blind Willie McTell, whose use of the 12-string was probably the most famous (in Leadbelly's case at least, outside blues circles and 'race records'). All the folkies who were doing Leadbelly's songs I'd guess either had or wanted a 12-string. Then the instrument fell off the map. In the 50's there was actually an electric 12-string called the "Stratosphere", but the strings were tuned in thirds, not octaves, so a solo player could duplicate the twin guitar leads popular in Western Swing and country music in the 50's (and Les Paul's overdubbed harmonies too, of course).

But I'd say the one record, that big hit which got everyone wanting a 12-string, was this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDUMImLjYss

The Rooftop Singers covering an old Gus Cannon banjo tune, using dual 12-string leads. Maybe some of Pete Seeger's folk recordings had an impact too, but when that Walk Right In record hit the charts, the 12-string became in demand again. Reminds me of how Cry Baby wah-wah pedals were dead in the water until Slash used one on Sweet Child, and how mandolins weren't selling at all in the mainstream until Peter Buck's playing on "Losing My Religion". It just takes one hit record to put a sound and instrument back in demand.

All this before George Harrison of course, which literally created a market for electric 12's, followed by McGuinn...but I'd think Al as a diehard folk fan who later recorded Leadbelly's music may have had an acoustic 12 earlier than we might think - or maybe not. Surely not on any BB's records until after Harrison's boom. There simply were no electric 12's, except oddities like the Stratosphere and the Bellzouki, minus the guys like McGuinn who stuck a D'Armond pickup on their acoustic 12 and amplified it.

But at that time specifically after the Rooftop Singers had that hit record, the acoustic 12 strings started appearing again, and you'll see records by Glen Campbell and others specifically featuring 12-string guitars. It's all a snowball effect when someone has a hit record with a different sound.
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c-man
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2020, 09:15:41 AM »

Yeah, good point on those Christmas Album tracks - haven't listened to those in awhile! Oh well...
hi C-Man, do you have any idea of when did Al started using 12 string electric guitars?

I think the August '67 Lei'd In Hawaii concerts are the first documented case of Al playing an electric 12-string (the red Baldwin). After that, he can be seen playing the Epiphone 12 in live shots from '68 and '69.
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2020, 09:50:51 AM »

I can't speak for the historical implications, but Carl's totally playing an electric 12-string on The Man With All the Toys, Santa's Beard, Merry Christmas Baby and Christmas Day, all in June '64.

Are we going beyond just the session players? There was Carl's Epiphone Riviera and that red Baldwin 712 Al can be seen with in the Hawaii rehearsal photos.

Is he?
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2020, 09:52:18 AM »

Here's a new thread on an old topic, 'cause I don't think we as yet have one consolidated place to look for established and newly discovered facts related to what we know about the use of 12-string electrics on Beach Boys records.

So, in the world of 12-string electrics used by Beach Boys studio guitarists, can we now say this much (subject to change as new info presents itself)?:

- Carol Kaye owned the first, by virtue of modifying either her Guild 12-string acoustic into an electric, or her Guild 6-string electric into a 12-string, or both - do we know for sure which? She definitely states the latter in at least one interview (for Vintage Guitar). Her earliest known, confirmed appearance on a Brian session would be that for Sharon Marie's "Runaround Lover" (aka "Black Wednesday") and the 1963 version of "Back Home", both cut on June 14, 1963 - and for the intro part on the second of these titles, she seems to have used the Guild 12-string acoustic?

- Tedesco and other studio pros owned Bellzoukis, but there's no evidence of them using that on a Beach Boys session prior to 1965.

- Carl Wilson acquired his first Rickenbacker 12-string electric after seeing "A Hard Day's Night" in August of '64, and apparently used it for the first time in the studio on "All Dressed Up For School" (recorded September 16), as well as onstage. Again, I'm now convinced that his guitar intro on "Don't Hurt My Little Sister", recorded back in June and assumed by many to be a 12-string, is just a 6-string electric double-tracked. If it WAS a 12-string, it was NOT a Rickenbacker (he didn't have one yet), nor a Fender or Mosrite (since neither were in production yet), and would therefore HAVE to be a Bellzouki (or, even less likely, the rarer Vox Tempest XII or Burns Double Six - neither of which was common in the U.S. at the time) - but again, I don't think so. Carl obviously fall in love with the Rick 12, and used it on the demo session for "Dance, Dance, Dance" at Columbia Studio Nashville on September 22, the Ed Sullivan Show taping on September 27, studio sessions for "Dance, Dance, Dance" on October 9 and "Guess I'm Dumb" on October 14, onstage for the TAMI Shows October 28 and 29, and throughout that fall on the band's U.S. and European tours (as well as the "Kiss Me Baby" tracking session and Shindig! TV appearance, both in mid-December). That is, until it was stolen right here in Omaha, Nebraska, circa December 27...at that point, he was given one of the first Fender XII electrics as a substitute (did we decide this was a prototype, or an early production model?). This is apparently the instrument Carl played on such January '65 tracks as "Please Let Me Wonder" and "In The Back Of My Mind". By early April, though, he had his replacement Rickenbacker 12-string, and certainly used this for the "California Girls" tracking session on the 6th of that month, as well as "Girl Don't Tell Me" on the 30th, and eventually "The Girl From New York City" in late May. It would seem that his Fender XII was permanently retired at that point?

- Also in early 1965, Billy Strange played electric 12-string on the single version of "Help Me, Rhonda" (February 24), as did Jerry Cole on "Sherry She Needs Me" (March 29) and "California Girls" (April 6). One or the other of these two guys - or both - likely played 12-string electric on "Amusement Parks U.S.A." (April 14). Certainly, both Strange and Cole played electric 12s on the basic track of "Sloop John B." in July '65. I assume these would be either Fender XIIs or the newly-marketed Mosrite 12-string, correct?

- In mid-October and early November '65, Brian began a series of tracking sessions that continued this "two 12-string electrics" approach, on "The Little Girl I Once Knew" (Billy Strange, and - apparently for the first time on a Beach Boys recording - Barney Kessel), "My Childhood"/"You Still Believe In Me" (Barney and Glen Campbell), and "Trombone Dixie" (Billy and Barney again). The detective work of aeijtzsche points toward the Bellzouki as the likely instrument in Barney's hands. Then in December, Brian had Billy return to "Sloop John B." for a pair of 12-string electric overdubs. Have we ever determined if Billy used a Mosrite or a Fender XII on this session?

- As for Glen Campbell, who became quite well-known in studio circles for his 12-string playing:  I can't say for sure what his first 12-string electric was, or when he acquired it,  but there is black-and-white footage of him playing a Rickenbacker 12 on a performance of the instrumental "White Silver Sands", reportedly from 1965 (looks like Shindig?), as well as still photos of him with the Mosrite XII at a 1965 P.N.E. Dance Party in Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, Washington. His first electric 12-string work for The Beach Boys would seem to be on the Pet Sounds sessions.

- Barney, Glen, Jerry, Billy, Carl, and Carol are all known to play 12-string electrics at various points on Pet Sounds - meaning, a dazzling display of Bellzouki, Mosrite, Fender, Rickenbacker, and Guild likely comes into play on that one album!

Comments are welcome, and I can easily edit the above with corrections or additional info, so that we always have a handy reference for this topic!



So many thoughts on all this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2020, 12:27:09 PM »

I can't speak for the historical implications, but Carl's totally playing an electric 12-string on The Man With All the Toys, Santa's Beard, Merry Christmas Baby and Christmas Day, all in June '64.

Are we going beyond just the session players? There was Carl's Epiphone Riviera and that red Baldwin 712 Al can be seen with in the Hawaii rehearsal photos.

Is he?
He is.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2020, 12:50:03 PM »

Where do you hear 12-string on those?  All the basic track stuff I just hear the Jaguar into the board, and the Overdub on Man With All The Toys is a 6 string with some slap.
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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2020, 01:33:14 PM »

Where do you hear 12-string on those?  All the basic track stuff I just hear the Jaguar into the board, and the Overdub on Man With All The Toys is a 6 string with some slap.
Uh... Correction then... He isn't.  LOL
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2020, 01:35:35 PM »

Where do you hear 12-string on those?  All the basic track stuff I just hear the Jaguar into the board, and the Overdub on Man With All The Toys is a 6 string with some slap.
Uh... Correction then... He isn't.  LOL

Aha!

By the way--this thread is basically the bulk of a lot of my planned videos--so I'm going to be fairly quiet about it here until after the vids.
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DeanEntwistle
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2020, 02:24:11 PM »

Yeah, good point on those Christmas Album tracks - haven't listened to those in awhile! Oh well...
hi C-Man, do you have any idea of when did Al started using 12 string electric guitars?

I think the August '67 Lei'd In Hawaii concerts are the first documented case of Al playing an electric 12-string (the red Baldwin). After that, he can be seen playing the Epiphone 12 in live shots from '68 and '69.

ohh cool, thanks!
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2020, 03:23:53 PM »

Because pictures are nice, here's the Boy's red Baldwin 12.

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DeanEntwistle
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2020, 05:28:03 PM »

Because pictures are nice, here's the Boy's red Baldwin 12.


Baldwin gave them the guitar and the organ at the same time?
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2020, 06:28:45 AM »

I think that there is some footage of the Baldwin in the 1966 in the TILT Tv appearance being used by Carl. Also he switched 6 string guitar and 12 string guitar in 1966 during onstage.
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