In the mid 1950s, John Lennon got the Elvis bug and went out and bought a guitar. But it wasn’t the first instrument he learned to play. His mother, Julia, had taught him to strum the banjo first. In fact, Lennon originally learned to play his guitar like a banjo, with the sixth string slack. The gifted instrumentalist also played the harmonica, the piano and flute.
Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Beatles
In honor of the long-awaited The Beatles: Rock Band release and the band's digitally remastered studio albums, TIME explores some of the lesser-known facts about the Fab Four