The Most Expensive Maton ever sold
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It shows up in photos from shows at the Grafton Rooms, Liverpool, on 12 June and the Winter Gardens, Margate, in early July. After that, Harrison reportedly returned the guitar to the shop, where, according to a recent story in the Liverpool Echo, “a few weeks later, Roy Barber, rhythm guitarist for Dave Berry’s backing band The Cruisers, swapped his Fender Stratocaster for a Maton at Barratt’s store and was told by the owner it was the one recently used by Harrison.
A Maton MS-500 Mastersound guitar with natural finish, tobacco sunburst, two volume and two tone controls, three-way selector switch and Bigsby tremolo. In original case. George borrowed this guitar from Barretts Music Shop in Manchester around the time The Beatles appeared at the Odeon in Manchester on 30th May 1963 whilst his Gretsch Country Gentleman was undergoing repairs. The then Manager of the shop, Brian Higham, is documented as having confirmed that Neil Aspinall brought the Country Gentleman to the shop for repair and that the Maton was given to him as George's temporary replacement - he recalls it was the first Country Gentleman he had seen and he carried out the repairs on it himself.
The Maton was then returned to Barretts when The Beatles next performed in Manchester, possibly during their August performance at the Playhouse Theatre. Later Roy Barber, guitarist with Dave Berry's band The Cruisers, swapped his Fender Stratocaster for the Maton and was told by Barretts that it was the same one Harrison had used, photographs from the period included in a copy of a 1983 Record Collector article which accompanies this lot about Dave Berry featuring images of Ron with both his Strat and the Maton (in 1964) which accompanies this lot corroborate this story. For 20 years it lay abandoned in its case in the attic of his home in Totley, Sheffield. Roy Barber owned the guitar until 2000.
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