In 1957, a merchant seaman from Liverpool named Ivan Hayward bought a 1957 Gretsch Duo Jet in New York. A while later, Hayward had a Bigsby B6 vibrato unit installed on the guitar.
Hayward kept the Duo Jet until the summer of 1961, when he decided he had to part with it. Word quickly spread around Liverpool that an American guitar was for sale.
Soon, Hayward received a telephone call and visit from a very young George Harrison. Harrison took to the black Gretsch and payment arrangements were made. Suddenly, he was the proud owner of his very first American guitar.
Until then, Harrison had been playing Beatles gigs on a cheap Grazioso Futurama Resonet electric guitar. The Gretsch was a big step up for the guitarist and it immediately became his main guitar up to and including the bands first recordings.
In early 1963, Harrison had some maintenance work performed on his Duo Jet.  There was a crack in the neck, and in addition to the repair, the original dark stained Mahogany back and neck of the Gretsch was painted black.  The Beatles fame was on the rise and the group had started to dress in smart black suits and boots while on stage. Around this time John Lennon also had his Rickenbacker 325 Capri painted black.
Sometime in l963/64, Harrison gave the Duo Jet to long time Beatles friend, Klaus Voormann. Folklore has it that Harrison might have traded the Gretsch for Voormann’s new José Ramírez Instrumentos Para Rondalla classical guitar.
Voormann kept the Duo Jet for some 20 years, changing only the neck pick-up and some switches. In the mid-1980’s, Harrison asked Voormann if it would be possible to get the guitar back due to it’s sentimental value. Voormann, ever a wonderful friend, readily complied. Soon afterwards, Harrison had the Gretsch restored to its former glory.
Harrison can be seen holding his old black Gretsch on the cover of his 1987 album, Cloud Nine. More recently, the guitar can be seen in The Guitar Collection: George Harrison iPad App.
The original 1957 Gretsch PX6128 Duo Jet in our collection also has the period correct Bigsby B6 and is identical to the one George Harrison played in Hamburg and The Cavern all those years ago.futurama.htmlfuturama.html1958_325.htmlramirez.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3

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George Harrison with his 1957 Gretsch PX6128 Duo Jet. Note the addition of a Bigsby B6 vibrato, which was not originally on the guitar when it left the factory.

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