1960: Rosetti Solid 7: Not a solid body but a sunburst (black to red) semi-acoustic made in Holland by Egmond and renamed by the Rosetti firm, which imported them into the UK and sold them for about £20, which included the Royal pickup/scratchplate kit.
"We went to play in Hamburg," McCartney says in the Bacon interview, "and I'd bought a Rosetti Solid 7 electric guitar in Liverpool [at Hessy's Music] before we went. It was a terrible guitar. It was really just a good-looking piece of wood. It had a nice paint job, but it was a disastrous, cheap guitar."
(It looked pretty impressive in the advert.)
Back in Liverpool, after temporary bassist Chas Newby left, McCartney restrung the Rosetti with three or four bass strings reportedly "borrowed" from a piano (photo below) and used it until Sutcliffe returned with his President bass. The Rosetti, once again with a full complement of strings, then played a return engagement in Hamburg, where it met its ignoble end.
McCartney recalled in a 1964 interview that he "didn't want to get rid of it, but I had to, because it got smashed when I dropped it one day. It wasn't a complete write-off, but I didn't think it was worth repairing, so all of us . . . had a great time smashing it to bits by jumping up and down on it! Bit mad, I suppose, but we had to get rid of our pent-up energy sometimes and it seemed the 'obvious' thing to do at the time!"
The Rosetti Solid 7 as a makeshift bass
Like many of the young rockers of the 60s the most affordable guitar was an Egmond Lucky Seven (Also called a Rosetti Solid 7 ed.) and this is what he played but because he was left handed, it was played upside down.
The pickups on the Lucky Seven were extremely weak and the tone sounded dreadful ,a muffled muddy sound with no treble at all. It was found out a few years ago that this was because there wasn’t enough coils on the pickups and as the pickups were mounted in a ‘floating’ scratch plate there was no body contact hence no sustain.
Paul was not happy with this plus he really wanted to play Bass guitar so being clever guy he thought it through and came up with a ‘cunning plan’!
Firstly he took the scratch plate off, the pickups and electrics that enabled him to play it left handed easily and to go the whole hog he made it into a bass.
As it was almost impossible to get bass guitar strings he ‘borrowed’ some piano strings from the piano at home.
So far so good but what about a pick up?
Again none was available so a small Selmer microphone was fitted by the bridge.
This fitted the bill for a while until he discovered the Holy Grail...the Hofner 500/1 Violin bass that made, both him and it famous. But it just shows, if you have the sound in your head, with a bit of magic you have the Beat!