The guitar Paul McCartney “fell in love all over again with”

It’s not hard to find the guitars that Paul McCartney favours the most. Onstage, he can often be seen wielding a Gibson Les Paul. In the studio, a wide variety of instruments come into play. But if one six-string has lasted him the longest, it’s been the Epiphone Casino. Originally bought by McCartney in the mid-1960s, the Casino has appeared on nearly all of his albums since, including some notable work with the Beatles.

McCartney had started to gravitate away from the instrument in the early 2000s, but while working with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich on his 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, he was inspired to pick the guitar back up. “Well, what happened was that we fell in love all over again with my Epiphone Casino, which I played on a lot of Beatles records – the ‘Paperback Writer’ riff, the solo on ‘Taxman,’ and so on,” McCartney told Guitar Player in 2005. “It also feeds back nicely. Nigel always kept going back to it, saying, ‘That is my favourite guitar in the world!’”

“I’d just get a little variation in the colour by using either the treble or bass pickup, and then I’d stick it into my Vox AC30 – so it’s really the old Beatles sound,” McCartney explained. “Thank goodness for my Epiphone Casino. Where would I be on this record without it?”

Godrich was so taken by the sound of the Casino that he didn’t want McCartney to use any other guitar. “Occasionally, I’d pull out my goldtop Les Paul to do something a little bit more thrashing, and Nigel would say, ‘Uh, it’s a bit heavy rock.’ I’d say, ‘Yeah, I think that will work.’ Well, he’d have none of that,” McCartney explained. “I mean, it got to be a bit of a joke, because every time I’d pull out the heavy rock, he’d say ‘no.’”

“It got to the point where I started to feel like some teenager trying to thrash in my bedroom, and daddy not letting me do it,” he added. “But Nigel was right. The guitar sounds we recorded have a continuity that makes the album sound sort of holistic. You don’t feel like you’re going out of one room and into another. You just feel like you’re at Paul’s house.“

McCartney’s love for his Epiphone Casino has remained with him in the years following Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. He continues to use the guitar in the studio and on tour to this day, giving it a unique place among his most famous instruments. But when it came to possibly making a signature model from the instrument, McCartney baulked.

“A few years ago Gibson wanted him to do a signature version of his ’64 Epiphone Casino,” McCartney’s technical manager Keith Smith told MusicRadar. “We ummed and ahhed, and it didn’t really take off. We saw that everyone sort of has a signature model, and to Paul it didn’t really seem that important.”

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