His credentials are impeccable, but you've got to be a bit obsessive to do this sort of thing surely?
Andy Babiuk worked in the House of Guitars for over 20 years and is staff consultant to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Six years of research, interviews with over 400 people, listening to thousands of recordings and watching reel upon reel of film . . . I'd say he was obsessive alright - but was it worth it?
Well, if you're a Beatles fan, you need look no further and buy no other book than this one. I doubt any of the band themselves had even half as much of an idea about what they were using than he does. From 1956 to 1970, the pictures alone make Beatles Gear an invaluable history of the era. Featuring both live and studio shots, Beatles Gear would work on its own as a photographic journal, but with the words to beef it up, Beatles Gear is more than worth its cover price.
One thing strikes you as you stroll through the pages, and that is, there is nothing The Beatles didn't use in their quest to conquer the world. No, I really don't think there is. It's all here: Early Zeniths, Gretsch, Gibson - right up to that famous Rickenbacker. It's hard to judge how much work has really gone into the book, but I'll wager it's a lot more than it appears, and I tip my hat to Babiuk for the sheer bravado of the idea in the first place.
There are some great quotes dotted about the book, which lend themselves to it being as much a coffee table book as one for obsessives to drool over. Not being a Beatles fan of any standing, that helps a lot, but for one such as I to sit down and read it cover to cover, Babiuk must have done something right.
At the end of the day though, you're not going to go anywhere near this if you're not a fan. But if you are, prepare for a treat as rare as finding a copy of Sgt. Pepper with the cut out sleeve still intact. Quite remarkable.
:: Sion Smith