Many Beatles fans will remember the sound of the Indian sitar in the band's famous song, “Norwegian Wood.” This was the first sitar owned by George Harrison and on Thursday was sold on auction by Nate D. Sanders Auctions in the U.S. for $62,500. While the buyer has not been identified, the sitar was purchased by Harrison in Oxford Street in London back in 1965.

According to a report by, while Harrison’s sitar was purchased from the Indiacraft store in London, it had been produced by a well-known music shop in Kolkata, India - Kanai Lal & Brother.

Harrison found the instrument in the London store in 1965 while working on the set of “Help,” the Beatles’ second film.

Sitar sound in Beatles song ‘Norwegian Wood’

Before Harrison bought the sitar, he was introduced to the instrument by musician David Crosby. The band first used the Indian instrument in the John Lennon song “Norwegian Wood," along with muted bass and acoustic guitar. The BBC quotes Harrison as saying in “The Beatles Anthologies” that they were recording the backing track of “Norwegian Wood” and that the song “needed something.” They started looking around for something different to make a new sound and Harrison picked up the sitar that had just been lying around. He said at the time he hadn’t yet figured out what he was going to do with it.

The sitar was later given to his first wife Patty Boyd’s friend, George Drummond, after Harrison got his hands on a better instrument. Readers can listen to Harrison playing the sitar in one of the acoustic takes of "Norwegian Wood" included here.

Sitar maestro not impressed with Harrison’s playing

Harrison had visited India to study the instrument under maestro Ravi Shankar, who told the BBC in 2000 that he was not impressed when he heard the Beatles member play the instrument.

He said it sounded very strange and asked the interviewer to imagine an Indian villager attempting to play a violin, saying that would give an idea of what it sounded like to him.

Harrison reportedly agreed with Shankar, saying the use of the instrument on “Norwegian Wood” was “very rudimentary.” He added that he didn’t know how to correctly tune the sitar and that it was a cheap instrument, to begin with, but said that was how the band was - very open to new ideas.

Despite Harrison’s misgivings about the sitar’s sound quality, the auction house described it as a “stunning display of craftsmanship," adding that when purchased it was around 10 years old, having been crafted in the late 1940s or 1950s. Harrison’s owning of the sitar is said to have increased his ties to Indian culture and music so prevalent in much of the Beatles’ later music.

Now the sitar is in new hands. Bidding started on September 28 at $50,000, with the proud new owner paying $62,500 for a piece of Beatles history.