The Beatles

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George Harrison's first sitar auctioned

George Harrison’s first sitar, almost certainly the one used during the recording of The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood, was auctioned for $62,500 in the United States. The auction began on Thursday (Sept. 28) with $50,000 as the opening bid. The name of the successful bidder hasn’t been disclosed by the auctioneers.

Video Reuters report:

George Harrison bought the sitar in 1965, after being introduced to it by David Crosby. Although he didn’t know yet how to play the instrument, he used it to record ''Norwegian Wood'' on 12 October 1965. Harrison later stated that the sitar on Norwegian Wood was "very rudimentary".
It was a real crummy-quality one, actually, but I bought it and mucked about with it a bit. Anyway, we were at the point where we'd recorded the Norwegian Wood backing track and it needed something. We would usually start looking through the cupboard to see if we could come up with something, a new sound, and I picked the sitar up - it was just lying around; I hadn't really figured out what to do with it. It was quite spontaneous: I found the notes that played the lick. It fitted and it worked.

George Harrison

The Beatles was the first Western rock band to use the sitar on a commercial recording, which led to a enormous but temporary popularity of the instrument in the mid-sixties. George Harrison later learnt how to play the sitar properly and got lessons from Ravi Shankar in India.

Video Norwegian Wood (Early Take)

The sitar is “almost certainly the one he used to record Norwegian Wood,” a statement by the auction house said. To confirm the authenticity, the Indian instrument is accompanied by two letters; One from Pattie Boyd and one from George Drummond, to whom George Harrison gave the sitar as a gift. Pattie not only confirms the authenticity of the sitar, but also wrote that George used it to play ''Norwegian Wood'' to her on their honeymoon.

George Harrison's first sitar

André Homan

André Homan is a Dutch writer and journalist.

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