1957 Gallotone Champion

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For Beatle observers, it can be argued that this is the guitar model that started it all!
A teenage John Lennon bought this 3/4-size steel string flat-top guitar model by mail for about £10 after seeing an advert in Reveille magazine.
The Gallotone Champion was a cheaply made acoustic guitar manufactured in South Africa during the 1950’s and 60’s by the country's largest record company, Gallo Africa. It was made from laminated woods, and was “Guaranteed Not to Split.”
The Champion was intended for the beginner guitar player market and was exported to many countries. Lennon had learned how to play some five-string Banjo cords from his mother, Julia, and at first played his Champion with the sixth string left slack!
With new guitar in hand, an eager Lennon formed his first group, The Black Jacks, with his best mate from school, Pete Shotton. Quickly adding a few more mates, and instruments, the now “skiffle” band was renamed The Quarrymen, after their grammar school named Quarry Bank.
On July 6, 1957, The Quarrymen would perform at Liverpool’s St. Peter’s Parish Fete in Woolton Village. The group played on the back of an old flat-bed truck.
One of members of the audience that afternoon was a young Paul McCartney. He was quite impressed by the image portrayed by group’s leader, John Lennon, singing and thrashing about on his Gallotone Champion guitar. Soon, McCartney would join Lennon and together they would start a musical dynasty.
Lennon’s Champion would fall apart a year later and the guitar player would move on to other gear. In 1999, Sotheby’s auctioned a Gallotone Champion guitar purported to be Lennon’s. While some documentation was provided at the time to support that the guitar was Lennon’s, more recent photographic analysis casts doubt on this claim.
We are very pleased to present the 1957 Gallotone Champion in our collection. It is identical to Lennon’s original, including the correct “Gallotone” decal at the tip of the headstock.
John Lennon on stage with his Gallotone Champion performing with The Quarrymen on July 6, 1957. This is the day that John Lennon met Paul McCartney.

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