The Rock & Roll Pop Culture Winter Auction 2023
Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/16/2023
The Beatles Hofner 5140 Lap Steel Guitar Attributed to John Lennon & Paul McCartney, and George Harrison on “For You Blue” and the Complete "Let It Be / Get Back" Studio Sessions.

Offered here is the iconic Hofner 5140 Lap Steel Guitar which is attributed to being used by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison on the “Let it Be” sessions. The Lap Steel guitar featured in the sessions was acquired by John on behalf of George, John can be seen on camera stating “we bought this for George, it was the cheapest one available, we’ll get him a better one if he gets any good at it", ultimately the guitar was deemed abandoned and liquidated by Abbey Road Studios in Late 1981.

The guitar has never surfaced again until now. The current consignor of the guitar acquired the guitar from a friend who owned a guitar store in London. One day in 1981, an individual who bought the guitar from Abbey Road for one hundred British pounds sold the guitar the same day to the guitar store owner for two hundred pounds. The store owner retired to Spain, and took the guitar with him. Abbey Road made no mention of the guitar being bought and used by The Beatles, the individual who bought the guitar did not know what he had just acquired, and neither did the guitar store owner.

The Lap Steel guitar that the three Beatles played has a very distinct grain on the fingerboard, the grain, which is a multitude of light and dark tones, runs at an 85 degree angle from treble to bass for the entire length of the fingerboard. There are a number of exact grain match points, a set of fingerprints if you will, that are clearly visible on the guitar today that also exist and are visible on the guitar in vintage images from 1969 and can be described as a “photo match”. We have found around 20 grain matches and a body pattern match. The solid dark grain you see on the Lap Steel Guitar in the video runs from the 11th fret to 7th fret, specifically it passes under the position dot marker at the 9th fret, critically it passes through the 8th fret and just pokes out under the 7th fret line. This guitar has the exact same grain positions.

In the Lennon pic you can identify a large narrow triangle of dark/different toned wood with its apex at the 7th fret and the base of the triangle running perpendicular to the 12th fret. On the guitar today, the triangle of dark tone wood can be clearly seen with the same fret positions as anchor points. There is a wide, dark grain line that runs for almost the entire range of 24 frets, uniquely, it takes a turn from treble to bass (left to right) at the 11th fret, it then separates and runs all the way to the 24th fret surrounding the remaining position dot markers along the way. This same extraordinary aspect of the grain exists on the guitar today and is the same length with the same 11th fret turn as the Lennon guitar in the vintage image. There is another key grain match which has largely been hidden from view since the guitar was last played by Joey Molland in 1971, on the guitar today, a clear, distinct solid dark grain line is visible on the treble side dot, at the double dot 12th fret, this grain line is very difficult to see due to the fact that in nearly all vintage images, Johns left hand is located at the 12th fret position. This being said, an image was located with John’s left hand in a raised position exposing the 12th fret dot markers and sure enough, the exact same grain line is visible in the same location.

Additionally, the consignor met with Joey Molland of Badfinger who remembered the guitar. He used it in 1971 for the song “No Matter What”, produced by Mal Evans. It was the same peculiar 85 degree flow of the woodgrain that the consignor remembered from seeing the guitar in the original 1970 "Let It Be" movie that attracted Joey from across an aisle at a Beatlefest event where he was performing. Joey was visibly shaken upon seeing the guitar and he recognized it immediately. Interestingly, Joey recounted the story of Badfinger struggling to find the right tone and playing style for the middle 8 solo on the song, Mal Evans stepped in and said “I have an idea”, Mal located the lap steel and handed it to Joey. stating “The last time I did this, I handed the guitar to John Lennon” a moment that was preserved forever in the Get Back trilogy.

The guitar is also visible at the Beatles final show on the Apple rooftop Jan 30th, 1969, it is plugged in ready to go with a spare Fender amp standing by and also a chair for John. The chair and lap steel are adjacent to Ringo and legend has it that George did not want to play any of his songs that day, however, the stage was set for the guitar to be used. Only the arrival of the police officer Ray Dagg prevented the guitar from being used in the final Beatle show. it was played on camera by 3 Beatles, fundamentally, everyone other than Ringo.

It was always assumed that the guitar was a one trick pony having only being played on “For You Blue”, when it was used on more compositions.

Condition: Good. Important to note the original pick-up on the guitar has been changed

Authentication: Letter of Provenance and a Gotta Have Rock and Roll Certificate of Authenticity.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $200,000
Final Bid: $200,000
Estimate: $500,000 - $750,000
Number of Bids:1
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
 I Have One To Sell