Guitar Aficionado

John Lennon Guitar Expected to Fetch $1 Million

The early Sixties Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 was used for the recording of "Paperback Writer."
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By Christopher Scapelliti

John Lennon's Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 goes on the auction block this November, and is expected to fetch as much as $1 million.

Lennon appears to have used the guitar only briefly. Photographs show him playing it for the recording of the Beatles track "Paperback Writer," on April 13 and 14, 1966. It's not known if he used the guitar for other recordings.

Lennon's 6120, serial number 53940, was of early Sixties vintage and featured a orange finish and gold-plated hardware, except for its aluminum Bigsby.

The guitar has been in the possession of Lennon's cousin David Birch since November 1967, a year after "Paperback Writer" was recorded. At the time, Birch wanted to start his own pop group and asked Lennon if he could provide him with a guitar.

“I was just cheeky enough to ask John for one of his spare guitars,” Birch says. “I had my eye on a blue Fender Stratocaster lying in the studio, but John suggested the Gretsch and gave it to me.”

As a result,, the U.K.-based Beatles auction house offering the guitar, says Birch is in possession of one of the most significant Lennon guitars to come on the market in the past 30 years

Online bidding begins November 14. Go to for more information and to bid.