George Harrison displaying both of his Gretsch Country Gentleman guitars
Photo: Popperfoto/Getty Images
Since George was a big fan of Atkins (he wrote the sleeve note for Atkins’ album Chet Atkins Picks On The Beatles), as is written in Beatles Gear: “[George] was no doubt pleased to have a new guitar which had been designed by Gretsch in collaboration with Chet Atkins, the American country guitarist whom Harrison admired.”
This guitar was also the one that was accidentally destroyed. On 2 December 1965, The Beatles and their equipment were on the road during the UK tour, with one guitar - one of George’s Gretsch Country Gentleman guitars - falling off the back of the Austin Princess, into the road and oncoming traffic.
George is quoted on the incident in NME from 10 December 1965:
“About 13 lorries went over it before our chauffeur [Alf Bicknell] could get near it. Then one of the lorries stopped and the driver came up with the dangling remains of it and said: ‘Oy, is this ‘ere banjo anyfink to do wiv you?’
Some people would say I shouldn’t worry because I could buy as many replacement guitars as I wanted, but you know how it is. I kind of got attached to it.”