Serial no. 150B - Paul McCartney's first AC100

Paul's first AC80/100 - serial number 150B, the "B" to indicate "Bass" - arrived in company with John and George's new thin-edged AC50s in late December 1963, in time for the Christmas concerts at the Finsbury Park Astoria.

Below a shot of one of those concerts, John's AC50 turned back to front on the step:

Astoria

Finsbury Park, Astoria, late December, 1963.

It is clear from pictures recently emerged (autumn 2015), that the amp remained in use not only throughout most of 1964, but most of 1965 too, having been revamped with a new thin-edged box originally belonging to one of the amps consigned to John and George in August 1964, V O X in individual letters. On these amps, . Later on the amp was given a new grey control panel.

Pictures taken at Versailles on 14th January, 1964, show that Paul's amp had three unusual features: (1) a Belling Lee fuseholder on the back panel, something not found in standard production amps, (2) a horizontally rather than vertically mounted Cannon mains socket, and (3) white input jacks.

Features (1) and (2) were also present on John and George's new AC50s.

A detail of Paul's amp on stage, Versailles, 14th January 1964. The AC80/100 had been issued to him in late December 1963.

The speaker connector on Paul's amp was a Cannon XLR-3-13, as above.

Australia, early summer, 1964 - to show the brown grille cloth. On Paul's bass speaker cabinet, .

Paul used the amp through to the beginning of August, at which point a new AC80/100 was provided by Jennings for the forthcoming tour of America:

Abbey Road

Backstage at Scarborough, 9th August 1964, with Cherry Rowlands. One of the last sightings of the amp in its original box. Note the Cannon XLR-3-13 speaker socket.

Abbey Road, early August, 1964. The amp with its cover.

The first amp rehoused

Below pictures of Paul's amp along with its backboard (which was of course umbilically connected to the chassis) rehoused in the box originally containing one of the AC80/100s issued to John and George. The newly rehoused amp was used by George during the rehearsals for the Christmas Show at the Finsbury Park, Astoria, late 1964:

Rehearsals for the Christmas Show, Finsbury Park Astoria, December 1964. Picture courtesy The Beatles Book Photo Archive.

A general detail from the picture above, Paul's first AC80/100 being used by George.

A detail, inverted and slightly enlarged, from the high resolution file - 150 B on the plate.

Note that the serial number plate is of the early type, and that the designation "B" is also found on the plates of early single channel, two input AC50s that were paired with Foundation Bass cabs. See on the AC50 website.

Christmas 1964

The front of the amp at the Christmas Show rehearsals, late 1964.

John and George's first AC80/100s also went back to JMI for refitting - which may be a reason why AC50s were used at the Pollwinner's concert of April in that year.

1965 - revamped

At various points on the European and American tour, one sees Paul's first amp in a thin-edged box with black cloth and a logo made up of individual letters - V O X. The box clearly is one of those that formerly housed the amps given to John and George in August 1964.

Below, two pictures taken at Milan, 24th June, 1965, showing the back and front of the amp. Note that the top edge of the back panel now has two screws:

George Harrison's Vox AC100 SDL, New Orleans, 16 September, 1964

Above, the black-fronted amp used by George, New Orleans, 16 Sept. 1964. Paul's old chassis was slipped into this box. Compare the arrangement of the diamonds on the cloth and the position of the logo with the picture above. From a shot by Ted Rozumalski.

The white jack plug sockets can be seen in shots taken at Genoa from a gantry above the stage:

Genoa, 25th June, 1965.

It is clear too that the control panels of all three amps on stage are grey. They are certainly not black, or copper (which comes out very dark in black and white).

On the left, a copper-panelled amp; on the right, grey panel.

Stepping back a little in time, ten days earlier at Paris (16th June), George had the amp:

Paris, 16th June, 1965.

And stepping back again, the amp probably features too, albeit briefly, in the film "Help!", in particular the scenes shot at Twickenham Studios in March/April 1965:

"Help!", Twickenham Studios. In the second shot, one can just about see the connectors.

Interesting to note in the pics above is the thin-edged brown-fronted AC50 sitting on Paul's bass cab, evidently brought out of retirement for the film.

And stepping forward now, the same thin-edged black-fronted AC80/100 - Paul's first amp revamped - is seen later at Shea, 16 August 1965, where John has it:

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