When you finally decided to get yourself a really nice guitar, and wowed by the high price, have you ever wondered how expensive a guitar can be? Now, let’s take a look of the most 15 expensive guitars ever sold.
1. Fender “Reach Out To Asia” Stratocaster
The Fender “Reach Out To Asia” Stratocaster, rumored to cost Fender between $15,000-25,000 to produce, was the result of the Reach Out to Asia project, conceived by Bryan Adams. Adams organized the venture to raise funds for victims of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The guitar, signed by 19 artists, including such heavyweights as Clapton, Page, Gilmour, and Iommi, sold for a staggering $2.7 million at auction—making it the most expensive guitar sold to date.
2. John Lennon’s Gibson 1962 J-160E
This acoustic was one of a pair of identical guitars purchased at the same time by John Lennon and George Harrison in 1962. The guitar was previously thought lost after it went missing during a Beatles gig in 1963. After surfacing again over fifty years later, it sold in November 2015 for a staggering $2.41 million dollars, making it the most expensive guitar sold in a single private transaction to date.
3. Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Fender Stratocaster
On its own, this guitar, a stock, right-handed Strat with Olympic white finish, is nothing spectacular. However, this is an axe that every guitar aficionado has heard. Hendrix played this one at Woodstock, notable for his now-legendary rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, reportedly bought it in 1998 for an estimated $2 million.
4. Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf” (Increased Ranking)
The famous “Wolf” was recently sold at an auction for 1.9 million in 2017, ranking it the 4th place at the list, it is built by Doug Irwin, when Wolf was sold at the same auction as Tiger in 2002, and collected $789,500 after commission, but now, it has almost tripled its value.
5. Bob Marley’s Washburn 22-series Hawk
Reggae legend Bob Marley only owned seven guitars, including this 22 fret, double cutaway Washburn. He gave this guitar as a gift to his guitar tech, Gary Clausen, though its whereabouts today are secret. The Jamaican government, which declared the instrument a national treasure, is rumored to have purchased it for $1.2-2 million.
6. Gibson 1958 Explorer
London-based guitar shop announced the sale of an original 1958 Gibson Explorer for the sum of $1,100,000 in 2016. According to a press release issued by the store, this amount is believed to be the highest priced transaction ever for a single, non-artist-affiliated guitar.
7. Keith Richards’ 1959 Les Paul Standard
Known as the “holy grail” of electric guitars, Keith played this Gibson during the Rolling Stones’ debut performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. The guitar sold for $1 million at auction in 2003.
8. Bob Dylan’s 1964 Fender Stratocaster
Bob Dylan played this Strat, to not a few boos, incidentally, at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, marking his transition to electric instruments and incurring the wrath of folk purists everywhere. It sold for $965,000.
9. Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”
After buying six guitars and giving one each to Pete Townshend, George Harrison, and Steve Winwood, he cobbled together the best parts of the remaining three to create Blackie, his famous Fender Strat. Clapton retired Blackie in 1985, and sold it at auction in 2004 for $959,000 to benefit Crossroads, his recovery center.
10. Jerry Garcia’s “Tiger”
This Doug Irwin custom guitar was Jerry Garcia’s main axe from 1979-1989. Due to a problem with Rosebud, Tiger’s successor, Tiger was the last guitar Jerry Garcia played in public. Tiger was auctioned in 2002 for $957,500, including commission.
11. Eric Clapton’s Gibson 1964 ES335 TDC
The second of three Clapton axes to appear on this list, Eric primarily played this Gibson during his tenure with the Yardbirds in 1964. However, this guitar featured prominently in a couple key Cream moments, as Clapton played it during the final Cream show in November of 1968, as well as on the track, “Badge,” cut in December of that year. Like Blackie, it was auctioned in 2004 for $847,500.
12. Eric Clapton’s Martin 1939 000-42 Acoustic
The only acoustic guitar to make the most espensive guitars list, Eric Clapton played this Martin on his 90s smash hit, “Tears in Heaven,” and also during it during his now-famous MTV Unplugged session. In 2004, it netted the highest price ever for an acoustic guitar at $791,500.
13. George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 1962 425
The black-and-white 1962 Rickenbacker 425 electric guitar was played by George Harrison for The Beatles first appearance on the television program Ready Steady Go! in October of 1963 and on the program Thank Your Lucky Stars in December of 1963. It was sold to an anonymous bidder on May 17th 2014 at the price of $657,000.
14. Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Fender ‘Lenny’ 1965 Stratocaster
Blues maestro Stevie Ray Vaughan was given this guitar as a birthday present from his wife, Lenny. SRV used this famous axe extensively until his untimely death in 1990 at the age of only 35. Guitar Center, the world’s largest musical instrument retailer, purchased the original guitar for $623,500 at a 2004 Christie’s auction.
15. Paul McCartney’s Rex Acoustic
Paul McCartney learned his first chords on the Rex acoustic guitar and it helped Paul persuade John Lennon to let him join his band, The Quarrymen, in 1957. Paul’s first ever guitar was sold for £330,000 at an auction at London in July 2006.
Each of the guitar is a witness of history, they tell the stories how a young guitar lover turn out to be the greatest guitarist/musician in human history. If you are still new to the world of guitars, don’t be discouraged, keep practicing and one day maybe your guitar will enter this list!