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Top 10 Most Expensive And Famous Guitars In The World. Photo KnowInsiders

There are not many collectables in the world that are as cool as guitars. They’re flawless and practical works of art that inspire players and music fans all around the world. I’m sure you’re already acutely aware of the guitar’s signature status as a cultural icon, but beyond good memories of The Beatles or Hendrix at Woodstock, some guitars are investments. Can you guess how much someone is willing to pay for a famous guitar? We’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Most Expensive and Famous Guitars Sold At Auction.

Top 10 Most Expensive And Famous Guitars In The World

10. Eric Clapton's "Blackie" Fender Stratocaster

9. Bob Dylan's 1964 Fender Stratocaster

Sold: New York, 2013

8. David Gilmour's Martin D-35

7. Duane Allman's 1957 Gibson Les Paul

6. David Gilmour's 1954 Fender Stratocaster

5. Jerry Garcia's "Wolf"

4. John Lennon's Gibson J160E

3. Reach Out to Asia Fender Stratocaster

2. David Gilmour's Black Fender Stratocaster

1. Kurt Cobain's Martin D-18E

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What Are The Most Expensive And Famous Guitars In The World?

10. Eric Clapton's "Blackie" Fender Stratocaster

Photo Music Radar
Photo Music Radar

Sold: New York, 2004

Price: $959,000

Blackie is probably Clapton’s most iconic guitar. As his story goes, Clapton bought six Stratocaster’s in a guitar shop in Texas. He then gave three away (to Harrison, Townshend, and Winwood) and pull apart the other three out to build Blackie, a guitar he used for the next 15 years. Like many of his guitars, Clapton auctioned this instrument to raise money for the Crossroads Rehab Centre.

Blackie is widely known as being a hybrid since it was carefully crafted using the different parts of three separate guitars. Think of it as a ‘superguitar’. This ‘superguitar’ belonged to Eric Clapton – founder of the super group ‘Cream’, a successful solo artist and a three-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

Blackie has an interesting origin story. After purchasing six guitars and giving one each to fellow guitarists Pete Townshend, George Harrison and Steve Winwood, Clapton came up with the idea to create his very own signature guitar by cobbling together the best parts of the remaining three guitars. The famous Blackie appeared in thousands of shows and elevated Clapton’s sound. Clapton stopped using Blackie in 1985 – and decided to auction it as a way to raise funds for Crossroads, his recovery centre. It was an excellent fundraiser idea since it sold for $959K! This Frankenstein-like guitar also shows how Clapton wasn’t just an excellent guitarist, but also an exceptional luthier.

9. Bob Dylan's 1964 Fender Stratocaster

Photo American Songwriter
Photo American Songwriter

Sold: New York, 2013

Price: $965,000

This guitar marked Bob Dylan’s transition to electric instruments. He first played this guitar at the Newport Folk Festival – an act that was seen as almost blasphemous at the time. Folk purists were shocked that someone was tainting their genre by using an electric guitar! It’s one of the most revolutionary guitars in history since it challenged the status quo and expanded the horizons of the folk genre.

Almost 50 years after the festival, the instrument was sold for nearly 1 million U.S. dollars. The pre-sale estimate was between $300,000 and $500,000. However, all expectations were exceeded when an absentee buyer agreed to pay a cool $965,000 for Dylan’s sunburst-finish strat.

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8. David Gilmour's Martin D-35

Photo Martin Guitar
Photo Martin Guitar

Sold: New York, 2019

Price: $1,095,000

In 2003, David Gilmour told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs his Martin D-35 was the one luxury item he’d want if he were stranded at sea. “It’s the best guitar I own,” he said. “It’s the guitar that’s always by my side. I’ve written just about every piece of music using that guitar. My ideas come through that guitar.”

Most prominently heard on Wish You Were Here, it was used on every Pink Floyd album from Dark Side of the Moon (1973) to The Final Cut (1983). The 1969 D-35 proved not to be entirely indispensable, however, as Gilmour auctioned it to benefit the charity ClimateEarth.

7. Duane Allman's 1957 Gibson Les Paul

Photo Live For Live Music
Photo Live For Live Music

Sold: Dallas, 2019

Price: $1,250,000

Duane Allman’s iconic 1957 goldtop Les Paul sold at auction for $1.25 Million as per Guitar.com. The huge haul came in the same month a 1961/1962 Gibson SG used by Duane scored $591K.

The Les Paul, which had been on display in Macon, Georgia at the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House in recent years was acquired by Duane in 1968 as per Auctioneers Gotta Have Rock & Roll. The late guitarist used the axe during the sessions that yielded The Allman Brothers Band’s first two studio albums and was also the instrument Duane utilized to record “Layla” with Eric Clapton in 1970 for Derek & The Dominos’ Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs.

6. David Gilmour's 1954 Fender Stratocaster

Photo Produce Like A Pro
Photo Produce Like A Pro

Sold: New York, 2019

Price: $1,815,000

Here’s a guitar that would have been collectible even without the Pink Floyd provenance. Its serial number, #0001, makes it confusingly not the very first Strat (that was #0100) but nevertheless among the first pre-production Strats given to Fender endorsees.

The first owner was country star Rex Gallion, and en route to Gilmour it was owned by Seymour Duncan. The fact that it was also used to record the Nile Rodgers-esque rhythm parts on Another Brick in the Wall was just a bonus. Auctioneer Christie’s guide price of $100-150k proved unnecessarily pessimistic.

5. Jerry Garcia's "Wolf"

Photo Gear Patrol
Photo Gear Patrol

Sold: New York, 2017

Jerry Garcia’s second guitar to be featured on our list of the world most expensive guitars is yet another custom Doug Irwin, nicknamed, “Wolf”.

Similar to his custom Doug Irwin, “Tiger”, its name derives from the custom wolf artwork on the body of the guitar.

The sale of “Wolf” was part of a fundraiser for the Southern Poverty Law Centre, and “Wolf” managed to sell at auction in 2002 for almost $2 million dollars.

Today, “Wolf” could be worth even more, depending on its condition.

4. John Lennon's Gibson J160E

Photo Getty
Photo Getty

Sold: Los Angeles, 2015

Price: $2,410,000

Regarded by many as the greatest songwriter ever, John Lennon played several guitars through his career. This 1962 J -160 E Acoustic is said to be involved in the making of immortal songs like "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand". This guitar was sold to a bidder for $ 2,410,000, making it one of the most expensive ever. Before it reached this staggering price point, this Gibson guitar was lost after a 1963 Beatles concert. It was only until 2014 that the then-owner discovered whom did it belong to by reading an article. John Lennon allegedly paid 161 Pounds for this guitar when he first bought it. That's quite the price increase.

3. Reach Out to Asia Fender Stratocaster

Photo Lefty Fretz
Photo Lefty Fretz

Sold: Qatar, 2005

Price: $2,700,000

The title of the most expensive guitar in the world goes to the “Reach Out To Asia” Fender Stratocaster, which soldfor $2.7 million in 2015.

This guitar was the result of Bryan Adams “Reach Out To Asia” project; which was set up to help the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Which killed an estimated 230,000 people across 14 countries.

The guitar is unique because it has some of the most famous rock stars signatures inscribed all over its body.

It was signed by a total of nineteen artists and features signatures from Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Brian May, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Liam Gallagher, Angus and Malcolm Young and Brian Adams.

2. David Gilmour's Black Fender Stratocaster

Photo HurrieYet Daily News
Photo HurrieYet Daily News

Sold: New York, 2019

Price: $3,975,000

You could buy quite a few Strats for four million bucks, but perhaps none quite as special as this one. Your local vintage dealer might tell you modified guitars are worth less, but the Black Strat went for the price of a Beverly Hills mansion despite having been thoroughly messed about.

It came with a sales receipt for the three custom pickups wound by Seymour Duncan for Gilmour, and of course, the famous shortened whammy bar. This is the guitar from the Comfortably Numb solo, Gilmour’s number one from 1970-1986. Journalists gasped at the price, but guitarists knew we’d have bought it if we had the money.

1. Kurt Cobain's Martin D-18E

Photo The Guitar Head
Photo The Guitar Head

Sold: Los Angeles, 2020

Price: $6,010,000

Nirvana single-handedly changed popular music in the early nineties. So much so that the epicenter of music moved from Los Angeles to Seattle, capital of Grunge. Kurt Cobain, leader and songwriter of the group, died in 1994 at the young age of 27. In 1993 Nirvana performed a legendary MTV Unplugged, right before Cobain's tragic death. The guitar used in that iconic concert was a Martin D-18E acoustic. It sold at a recent auction for over six million dollars.

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