George Harrison/The Beatles: a rare Vox UL730 amplifier and cabinet, used for 'Revolver' and 'Sgt. Pepper' recording sessions,
The full history behind this amplifier and cabinet was only discovered in early 2011. It had been lent by the vendor to bassist Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order) when Hook required a vintage amp for his guitarist at a recording session at Blueprint Studios, Salford, in February of that year. The amp developed a fault at the end of the session and in order to fix the problem it was taken to a specialist amp engineer. When the amp chassis was removed from its case by the engineer he noticed that, if viewed from a certain angle, the name of 'George Harrison' scratched on the chassis under the tarnishing became apparent. After further inspection the label on the inside of the speaker cabinet was also found. Subsequent research led to a photograph of George and the Beatles in the studio with a UL730, with visible chalk markings similar to those seen in the cabinet offered here. A copy of 'The Beatles Book' magazine, June 1987, in which this photograph is reproduced, is included with the lot. A member of The Merseybeats (another Epstein-managed group) who used to write the 'Beatles Gear' pages for the monthly 'Beatles Book' magazine, and who attended many Abbey Road Beatles' sessions as a guest, has also identified this as George Harrison's UL730.
Developed by JMI Vox lead amp engineer Dick Denney and introduced in 1966, the UL730 represented a revolutionary new design, incorporating a solid state pre-amp section with a tube output amplifier. The UL (Ultra Linear) was produced for both lead (700 series) and bass guitar (400 series). The initial 7 series models given to the Beatles by the manufacturers were 730s, to replace their Vox AC30 amps, and it is thought about six of these went to the band early in 1966. John and Paul moved to higher-powered models in the series later in the year but George continued using the preferred 730, playing it for both 'Revolver' and 'Sgt. Pepper' sessions. There are photographs of John in the 'Pepper' sessions with the bigger 7120 model, with a taller cabinet containing 2 x 12inch speakers and two small horns, and a slightly longer amp with different rear venting.
The 730, and all other 7 series models built by Triumph for Vox, were only in the Vox catalogue for less than a year and were virtually withdrawn from commercial sale almost immediately after release as Vox decided to dispense with valve amplifiers altogether and manufacture transistor models exclusively. This decision ultimately proved disastrous for the company. Some 76 UL730s went back to the factory to be destroyed, leaving just 26 that had already been distributed. Most of the other models in the 7 and 4 series suffered the same fate, being destroyed or having speakers removed for use in other cabinets.
The amp/cabinet come with a modern flight case, mains and speaker leads, and the vendor has stated that all are in full working order.