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Harrison's Mad Guitar

The best and original resource for Bartell Guitars can be found at the excellent Bartell Fan site




The discovery of this guitar started the journey for Finding Fretless back in 2019, when Dr Raymond Russel posted on Facebook an image of him holding the guitar with a message in memory of his friend and coworker George Harrison. The unusual style and Bartell branding intrigued many who wanted to know more about the instrument. Ray recalled receiving the guitar from George whilst recording for the film Water but admitted he didn't know much about the company or where it was made. 


Paul Brett a now retired BT project manager and  acquaintance of Ray,  took it upon himself to do a brief search into the company. From the search Paul discovered that the guitar was very rare, an already existing fret-less community had been speculating about its existence and usage by the Beatles for many years. In addition the company Bartell  was established in California in 1960? run by Ted Peckels and Paul Barth. Two unsung heroes of the electric guitar world.  Excited by the mystery of this guitars rock and roll history Ray encouraged Paul to research further and a strong friendship formed between them both. 

Through labours investigation and by establishing communication with the Peckles and Barth family and workers Paul was able to  start forming a timeline for the guitar. With manufacture taking place possibly in 1964? and speculation to wether the prototype was gifted in 1965 to George Harrison, John Lennon or intended as a group it for all The Beatles.  The John Lennon theory was further supported by a recording at Abby Road Studios in a BBC interview where Kenny Evert enquires as to what type of guitar John is strumming, Johns clear response "It's a fret-less guitar".


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