22 Of The Most Expensive Guitars In Rock History

22 Of The Most Expensive Guitars In Rock History | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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When it comes to the world of rock and roll, the allure of a legendary guitar transcends mere strings and frets. Some of the most iconic instruments in rock history have fetched jaw-dropping prices at auctions, becoming not just musical instruments but veritable pieces of history. In this article, we’ll take a journey through 22 of the most expensive guitars ever sold at auction, each with a story that resonates far beyond the stage.

Eric Clapton’s 1939 Martin Acoustic – $791,500

Eric Clapton’s philanthropic efforts led to the auction of his 1939 C.F. Martin & Company Style 000-42 acoustic guitar, fetching a hefty $791,500. The proceeds benefited Clapton’s Crossroads Centre rehab facility, showcasing the power of music to make a positive impact.

Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson ES-335 – $847,500

Clapton’s electric prowess is well-documented, and his 1964 Gibson ES-335 TDC proved its worth by going for $847,500 at a charity auction. Used throughout his career, this guitar witnessed the evolution of Clapton’s sound across various legendary bands.

Jerry Garcia’s Tiger Guitar – $957,500

A custom creation from the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, the ‘Tiger’ guitar designed by Doug Irwin sold for $957,500. A crucial part of Garcia’s gear, it adds a colorful note to the spectrum of rock history.

Eric Clapton’s Blackie Strat – $959,500

Among Clapton’s extensive collection, ‘Blackie’ stands out as the piece de resistance, a Fender Stratocaster crafted from the parts of three different guitars. Sold for $959,500, it’s a testament to Clapton’s artistry.

Bob Dylan’s Newport Strat – $965,000

Bob Dylan’s sunburst Stratocaster from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival shattered records with a $965,000 sale in 2013. This instrument symbolizes the moment when Dylan made history by going electric.

Keith Richards’ 1959 Les Paul – $1 Million

The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards added to the list with his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, a guitar that earned its million-dollar price tag thanks to its iconic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

David Gilmour’s 1969 Martin D-35 Acoustic – $1.09 Million

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour contributed to the lineup with his vintage 1969 Martin D-35 acoustic, fetching $1.09 million. Gilmour’s attachment to this guitar adds an emotional layer to its impressive price tag.

1958 Gibson Korina Explorer – $1.1 Million

The 1958 Gibson Explorer made from korina wood, a rare find with only 10 ever manufactured, sold for $1.1 million. Its scarcity and historical significance make it a prized possession.

Bob Marley’s Custom Washburn Hawk – $1.2 Million

Bob Marley’s Custom Washburn Hawk, valued at $1.2 million, is a cherished gift from his technician. While not his main concert guitar, its sentimental value adds to its allure.

Duane Allman’s 1957 Gibson Les Paul – $1.2 Million

Duane Allman’s Gibson Les Paul from the classic “Layla” era fetched over a million at auction, providing a glimpse into the golden age of rock.

Eric Clapton’s 1964 ‘The Fool’ Gibson SG – $1.27 Million

The legendary Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson SG, famously known as “The Fool,” was sold for $1.27 million in November 2023. This psychedelic masterpiece, painted by the Dutch art collective of the same name, played a significant role during Clapton’s time with Cream.

Kurt Cobain’s Skystang 1 – $1.587,500

Kurt Cobain’s Skystang 1, a 1993 Fender MG-69 Mustang, fetched $1,587,500 in an auction. This guitar, with its Sonic Blue finish, was one of Cobain’s favorites and saw extensive use during Nirvana’s In Utero tour.

David Gilmour’s 1964 Fender Stratocaster – $1.8 Million

David Gilmour’s white 1954 Fender Stratocaster sold for $1.8 million in 2019. Previously owned by country star Rex Gallion and later Seymour Duncan, this guitar played a crucial role in iconic Pink Floyd recordings.

Jerry Garcia’s Wolf Guitar – $1.9 Million

Another gem from Jerry Garcia, the ‘Wolf’ guitar, sold for $1.9 million in 2017. Crafted by Doug Irwin, the ‘Wolf’ shared the spotlight with Garcia’s ‘Tiger,’ showcasing the intricate craftsmanship of Irwin.

Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Strat – $2 Million

The white 1968 Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix played at the Woodstock festival achieved iconic status. Paul Allen reportedly purchased it for around $2 million in the early 2000s, solidifying its place as a cultural artifact.

Peter Green + Gary Moore’s 1959 Les Paul – $2 Million

The 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, previously owned by Peter Green and Gary Moore, sold for $2 million. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, now its custodian, expressed awe at holding a guitar with such a storied history.

John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E Acoustic-Electric – $2.4 Million

John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E, which went for $2.4 million in 2015, had a unique journey. Separated from Lennon, it ended up in a San Diego guitar shop before being reunited with its rightful place in rock history.

‘Reach Out to Asia’ Charity Fender Stratocaster – $2.7 Million

Autographed by a plethora of music legends, this Fender Stratocaster fetched $2.7 million in a charity auction supporting the ‘Reach Out to Asia’ initiative. The stars’ signatures added to its value, making it one of the most expensive guitars ever sold.

David Gilmour’s Black Strat – $3.9 Million

David Gilmour’s acclaimed ‘Black Strat’ became a symbol of his Pink Floyd legacy. Sold for nearly $4 million, it was part of an auction featuring 126 of Gilmour’s guitars, raising $21 million for climate change causes.

Eddie Van Halen’s ‘Hot For Teacher’ Guitar – $3.9 Million

Eddie Van Halen’s custom Kramer guitar, featured in the “Hot for Teacher” video, fetched an impressive $3,932,000 in 2023. The guitar, crafted by luthier Paul Unkert, played a significant role in Van Halen’s iconic sound.

Kurt Cobain’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Fender Mustang – $4.6 Million

The 1969 Fender Mustang used by Kurt Cobain in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video sold for a staggering $4.6 million in 2022. The price exceeded expectations, underlining the lasting influence of Cobain’s legacy.

Kurt Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ Guitar – $6 Million

The pinnacle of our list goes to Kurt Cobain’s left-handed, acoustic-electric guitar used on MTV Unplugged. This iconic instrument made history by selling for an astonishing $6.01 million in June at Julien’s Auctions, making it the most expensive guitar ever sold.