I’ve never been a huge fan of The Byrds. I think it’s the heavy use of Roger McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbacker. It’s funny that whenever you play a 12-string guitar – electric or acoustic – no matter what you play, it immediately sounds like you are playing something by The Byrds. Play a song written by Phil Collins and it sounds like The Byrds’ covering a Phil Collins song. Play a song by Lady Gaga…and so on.
I remember buying this record on CD first – and playing it over and over again – probably looking for a substitute Beatles, and I suppose they’re the closest thing to an American version of The Beatles, or at least the two bands’ sounds are very similar through the mix-sixties period (Lennon and Harrison would play 12-string Rickenbackers on many songs throughout 1964 and 1965).
I like the way 12-string Rickenbackers are designed. The machine heads for the twelve strings are offset, so six are facing forwards, and the other six are facing backwards. Essentially it looks to the untrained eye like a standard 6-string guitar, as you can usually only see six machine-heads at a time. I think I read somewhere that this confused George Harrison when he originally saw The Byrds play live – how could McGuinn get such a rich jangly sound out of only six strings?
Hit: Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)
Hidden Gem: So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star