Mixing desk used on The Beatles’ Abbey Road set to be auctioned

The mixing desk was also used across various solo projects from the four members.

The Beatles clustered together in front of a black and white background. Paul, George and John hold their guitars and Ringo sits at his drum kit.

Image: David Farrell / Getty

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A mixing desk used during the recording of The BeatlesAbbey Road album will be auctioned off this December. The EMI TG12345 Mk I was used at Abbey Road Studios from 1968 to 1971.

The story of how the mixing desk arrived at this point is a peculiar one too – it was deconstructed after its studio life and parts were given to a school in London. Eventually, these were thrown out.

Thankfully, the discarded parts were rescued by the school’s tape machine maintenance engineer, as Music Radar reports. But the reason why he decided to save it is perhaps the most amusing element of the mixing desk’s history.

Unaware of its value, the engineer saved it as he “liked the look of the knobs.” According to Abbey Road, he eventually swapped the parts for an ADAT recorder.

The desk is a solid state transistor-based console, which hosts limiters and compressors on each channel. The missing parts were given by songwriter Terri Britten to sound engineer Mike Hedges, who had the rest of the console stored away. Now ready for auction, it is said to be around 70 percent original and in fully working order.

After the fab four split up in April 1970, it was used across varying solo projects from the members – John Lennon’s Instant Karma, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Ringo Starr’s Sentimental Journey and also on some tracks of Paul McCartney’s self-titled album.

The auction is being handled by Bonhams in London, and it will kick off on 14 December. It is estimated to sell for a seven-figure sum, and will be on public preview at Bonhams Knightsbridge from 8-14 December.

Claire Tole-Moir, Head of Bonhams Popular Culture department, says, “Abbey Road was unlike any of The Beatles’ previous albums. This TG console allowed the Beatles to realise their creative ambitions for what would be their final album recorded together.”

She later adds, “This console is an incredibly important piece of Beatles history, and of music history overall – and Bonhams is honoured to bring it to auction.”

The sale will also include a collection of artefacts relating to The Beatles and Abbey Road. Find out more at Bonhams.


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