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John Entwistle’s Gear: 1968–1971

Overview of John Entwistle’s bass gear, from late 1968 to 1971, including use of the famous Hiwatt rig and the Frankenstein Fender Precision Bass.

Bass guitars

  • Vox Violin Bass
    • Used on Magic Bus

      I played that on a Vox violin bass. Absolutely revolting thing that looked like a mint humbug. Vox gave us two guitars each.

  • 1965 sunburst (later refinished salmon pink) “Frankenstein” Fender Precision Bass (see 1967).
  • Sunburst Fender Precision Bass with rosewood fretboard.
  • Late ’60s black Fender Precision Bass with rosewood fingerboard (1970).
  • 1967 Rickenbacker 4005 (“Model 31”) bass in natural Mapleglo

    • Serial no. GE 2208.
    • Round-top body with chequer binding, “slash” soundhole, bound fingerboard with triangular markers.
    • Acquired late 1968/early 1969.
    • Used in studio, including The Seeker
    • Used in television promos, including Beat Club, 1969 (for Tommy) and I Can See For Miles (on Pop Goes the Sixties, 1969)
    • Sold in Sotheby’s auction, 2003. Estimated £1,200–£1,800. Sold for £7,200.
    • Now featured on Björn Eriksson’s Rickenbacker Info.

Amplification

  • Sound City:

    • Two Sound City L100 amps customized to the CP103 spec, unbadged or badged as Hiwatt.
    • Two or four Sound City 4x12 cabinets with 50-watt Fane speakers.
  • Hiwatt

    • Three Hiwatt DR103 100-watt amps customized to the CP103 spec (i.e., no “The Who” faceplate).
    • Beginning early 1970: three Hiwatt CP103 100-watt amps. Two Hiwatt DR201 200-watt amps and one customized Hiwatt DR103 100-watt amp.
    • Four Hiwatt SE4123 4x12 cabinets.
    • Two Hiwatt SE4151 4x15 cabinets and two Hiwatt SE4123 4x12 cabinets.

Frankenstein

December 1968, from the Rolling Stones Rock&Roll Circus, closeup of John’s Sound City L100 badged as Hiwatt, showing CP103-style four-channel volume control.

December 1968, from the Rolling Stones Rock&Roll Circus, closeup of John’s Sound City L100 amp badged as Hiwatt, showing CP103-style four-channel volume control. Speakers are Fane-loaded Hiwatt SE4122 4x12 or Sound City 4x12 badged as Hiwatt. Bass is “Frankenstein,” with chrome Fender Jazz pickup cover.

December 1968, from the Rolling Stones Rock&Roll Circus, closeup of John’s Sound City L100 badged as Hiwatt, showing CP103-style four-channel volume control.

December 1968, from the Rolling Stones Rock&Roll Circus, John’s Sound City L100 amp badged as Hiwatt, through Hiwatt SE4122 4x12 or Sound City 4x12 badged as Hiwatt. Bass is “Frankenstein,” with chrome Fender Jazz pickup cover.

Ca. 1969, showing Hiwatt rig. Courtesy The Who Netherlands Photo Gallery. ©Henk Hulstkamp.

Sept. 29, 1969, Amsterdam, Concertgebouw. Showing Hiwatt rig: top, customized Sound City L100 amp badged as Hiwatt (unused, as backup); bottom two, customized Hiwatt DR103, customized to the CP103 four-channel specification (i.e., no “The Who” faceplate). Top cabinets are Hiwatt SE4123 4x12s; bottom two are Hiwatt SE4122 4x12 or Sound City 4x12 badged as Hiwatt. Courtesy The Who Netherlands Photo Gallery (offline). ©Henk Hulstkamp.

Ca. 1970, showing Hiwatt rig.

Ca. 1970, showing Hiwatt rig, as well as the “Frankenstein” Fender Precision bass. Top and bottom amps are Hiwatt CP103; middle amp is Hiwatt DR103 customized to the CP103 spec (i.e., no “The Who” faceplate). Top cabinets are Hiwatt SE4123 4x12s; bottom two are Hiwatt SE4151 4x15s. Three other Hiwatt 4x12s are providing foldback from Pete’s rig.

On stage, ca. 1969, with the “Frankenstein” Fender Precision bass.

On stage, ca. 1969, with the “Frankenstein” Fender Precision bass.

On stage, August 1969, with the “Frankenstein” Fender Precision bass.

On stage, August 1969, second Isle of Wight festival, with the “Frankenstein” Fender Precision bass.

14 February 1970, at Leeds University Refectory, with “Frankenstein” and Hiwatts.

14 Feb. 1970, at Leeds University Refectory, with “Frankenstein” and Hiwatts.

14 February 1970, at Leeds University Refectory, with “Frankenstein” and Hiwatts.

14 Feb. 1970, at Leeds University Refectory, with “Frankenstein” and Hiwatts.

Ca. 1969 or 1970, tuning up in the dressing room with the “Frankenstein” Fender Precision bass.

Ca. 1969 or 1970, tuning up in the dressing room with the “Frankenstein” Fender Precision bass.

Other Precisions

In the studio, ca. 1969, with Fender Precision bass with rosewood fretboard.

In the studio, ca. 1969, with Fender Precision bass with rosewood fretboard.

In the studio, ca.1969, with Fender Precision bass with rosewood fretboard.

In the studio, ca. 1969, with Fender Precision bass with rosewood fretboard.

Ca. February–March 1969, recording sessions for Tommy, with both Pete and John using unlabeled customized Sound City L100 amplifier heads, with Hiwatt-style chicken head knobs, with each amp driving one Sound City 4x12. John’s bass is the Fender Precision bass with rosewood fretboard.

Ca. February–March 1969, recording sessions for Tommy, with both Pete and John using unlabeled customized Sound City L100 amplifier heads, with Hiwatt-style chicken head knobs, with each amp driving one Sound City 4x12. John’s bass is the Fender Precision bass with rosewood fretboard.

Ca. August 1970, third Isle of Wight festival, with two Hiwatt SE4123 4x12s and two Hiwatt SE4151 4x15 cabinets.

29 Aug. 1970, third Isle of Wight festival, with two Hiwatt SE4123 4x12s and two Hiwatt SE4151 4x15 cabinets, playing late ’60s black Fender Precision Bass with rosewood fingerboard.

Rickenbacker 4005

Ca. August 1969, from the Beat Club Tommy promo, John’s Rickenbacker 4005.

Ca. August 1969, from the Beat Club Tommy promo, with 1967 Rickenbacker 4005.

Ca. August 1969, from the Beat Club Tommy promo, John’s Rickenbacker 4005.

19 Jan. 1970, IBC Studios, recording the Seeker with 1967 Rickenbacker 4005.

Ca. August 1969, from the Beat Club Tommy promo, John’s Rickenbacker 4005.

Click to view larger version. 1967 Rickenbacker 4005, from 2003 Sotheby’s auction. Estimated £1,200–£1,800. Sold for £7,200

John Entwistle’s 1971 Hiwatt CP103 amp (serial no. 1705)

Hiwatt DR103 modified to CP103 specification that originally belonged to John Entwistle. Sold for £2,900 (approximately U.S.$4,800) via auction by Cooper Owen on 25 September 2003. Courtesy Hiwatt Story (dcsbulldog.tripod.com)

John Entwistle’s Hiwatt CP103, courtesy Cooper Owen and the Hiwatt Story – no 1
John Entwistle’s Hiwatt CP103, courtesy Cooper Owen and the Hiwatt Story – no. 2
John Entwistle’s Hiwatt CP103, courtesy Cooper Owen and the Hiwatt Story – no. 3
John Entwistle’s Hiwatt CP103, courtesy Cooper Owen and the Hiwatt Story – no. 4
John Entwistle’s Hiwatt CP103, courtesy Cooper Owen and the Hiwatt Story no. 5
John Entwistle’s Hiwatt CP103, courtesy Cooper Owen and the Hiwatt Story – no. 6

Click images to view larger versions. Courtesy Cooper Owen and the Hiwatt Story ( dcsbulldog.tripod.com)

Ca. Spring 1971, Young Vic, with last uses of the Hiwatt rig, and first uses of the 1965–69 sunburst Gibson Thunderbird IV (“Non-Reverse”-style).

Ca. Spring 1971, Young Vic, with last uses of the Hiwatt rig, and first uses of the 1965–69 sunburst Gibson Thunderbird IV (“Non-Reverse”-style).

Ca. Spring 1971, Young Vic, with last uses of the Hiwatt rig, and first uses of the 1965–69 sunburst Gibson Thunderbird IV (“Non-Reverse”-style).

Ca. Spring 1971, Young Vic, with last uses of the Hiwatt rig, and first uses of the 1965–69 sunburst Gibson Thunderbird IV (“Non-Reverse”-style).

1970/71 Hiwatt Custom Slave amp (serial no. 1319)

A Hiwatt Custom Slave amp featuring Who stencilling on the bottom, though there is no confirmation this was ever a Who-owned item, nor whether the Who employed this model in John’s bass rig or the PA. Item has seen considerable modification over the years, but the WHO stencilling is still visible at bottom of unit. Model STA200. Photos courtesy Christian A., Germany

Hiwatt Custom Slave amp with Who stencilling, courtesy Christian A. – serial number plate
Hiwatt Custom Slave amp with Who stencilling, courtesy Christian A. – side view
Hiwatt Custom Slave amp with Who stencilling, courtesy Christian A. – internals no 1
Hiwatt Custom Slave amp with Who stencilling, courtesy Christian A. – internals no 2
Hiwatt Custom Slave amp with Who stencilling, courtesy Christian A. – internals no 3
Hiwatt Custom Slave amp with Who stencilling, courtesy Christian A. – front
Hiwatt Custom Slave amp with Who stencilling, courtesy Christian A. – rear
Hiwatt Custom Slave amp with Who stencilling, courtesy Christian A. – bottom

Click images to view larger versions. Courtesy Christian A., Germany

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