Top 10: Guitars
10) Jimi Hendrix’s Red Fender Mustang
Although famous for his love of Stratocasters, Hendrix was also partial to a Mustang and used a red 1966 model extensively during the recording of the albums ‘Axis Bold as Love’ and ‘Electric Ladyland’.
In 2007 this guitar brought $480,000 at the Music Rising "Icons of Music" charity auction in New York, which was organized to raise funds for New Orleans musicians who lost their instruments during Hurricane Katrina.
9) Jimi Hendrix’s Burnt Fender Stratocaster
Jimi’s fondness for Strats never got in the way of his showmanship, with several models ending up in flames during performances. A 1965 Fender Stratocaster was the first to be sacrificed to the spirits of rock and roll in 1967 at the Finsbury Astoria in North London.
The burnt remnants of this guitar were later sold at a Fame Bureau auction in September 2007 for a price of $495,292 (£280,000).
8) Eric Clapton’s ‘Brownie’ Fender Stratocaster
One of Clapton’s favourite guitars, this 1956 Fender model nicknamed ‘Brownie’ was used during the entire recording of the classic 1970 Derek and the Dominos album ‘Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs’.
It was sold during an auction held by Christies in New York in June 1999 to raise funds for Clapton’s Crossroads Centre charity, for a price of $497,500.
7) George Harrison’s Gibson SG
This Cherry 1964 Gibson SG Standard guitar was owned and played extensively by Harrison from 1966 until 1969, including the Beatles’ last official British gig at the NME Poll Winners Concert.
It was also played by both Harrison and John Lennon during the recording of The White Album and Revolver, and sold at a Christie’s auction in December 2004 for a price of $567,500.
6) Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Lenny’ Fender Stratocaster
The only guitar of Vaughan’s to ever appear for sale after his tragic death in 1990, this 1965 Composite Fender Stratocaster was one of his favourite models.
Named ‘Lenny’ after his first wife, and marked with the ‘SRV’ sticker which graced all of Vaughan’s guitars, this model sold at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Charity Auction at Christie’s in New York in June 2004 for a price of $623,500.
5) Eric Clapton’s 1939 Martin acoustic guitar
Clapton’s 1992 album ‘Eric Clapton: Unplugged’ remains one of the most iconic and best-selling records of his career, with sales of over 10 million copies. Recorded for the MTV Unplugged series, the performance heavily featured Clapton’s pre-war 1939 Martin OOO-42 guitar.
In June 2004 this guitar was sold at the same Crossroads Guitar Auction in New York for a price of $791,500.
4) Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson
This 1964, ES-335 TDC Gibson guitar is the most expensive Gibson ever sold at auction. Unsurprising, given that Clapton owned and played it for over 30 years during his career with The Yardbirds, Cream, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Blind Faith and as a solo artist.
Ever-present with Clapton at recording sessions for more than 25 years, the guitar was also reserved for classic blues numbers on stage. It was sold at the 2004 Crossroads Charity Guitar Auction for a price of $847,500.
3) Eric Clapton’s ‘Blackie’ Stratocaster
‘Blackie’ is Clapton’s most famous guitar, which he used for both live performances and recording sessions from 1973 until 1985. Claiming “I feel that that guitar has become part of me”, Clapton eventually retired the model in 1985 in favour of the newly-designed Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster.
This legendary instrument is one of the few guitars to be known by its nickname alone, and was sold at the Crossroads Charity Guitar Auction at Christies in 2004 for a price of $959,500.
2) Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Stratocaster
Hendrix’s most iconic appearance came at Woodstock in August 1969, when he performed an incendiary version of the Star Spangled Banner using his white 1968 Fender Stratocaster.
The guitar was first sold during a Sotheby’s auction in 1990, for a then-record price of £198,000 to the Italian collector Gabriele Ansaloni. Ansaloni then later sold the guitar to the Microsoft co-founder and renowned Hendrix collector Paul Allen in 1993, in a private sale believed to be worth $1.3 million. Today the guitar takes the pride of place at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
1) Reach out to Asia Signed Fender Stratocaster
The world’s most expensive guitar may not have a famous history, but it probably has the most signatures. The Fender Stratocaster was donated to the Reach Out to Asia charity auction held in 2005 to help victims of the Asian Tsunami.
Featuring the signatures of rock ‘n’ roll royalty including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Paul McCartney and many others, it was eventually sold for a price of $2.7 million.
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