7 Most Expensive & Lavish Guitars in the World

This article is written by Stephen Zhang from NextStrings who is an avid listener of acoustic music as well as writing reviews about acoustic guitars on his blog.

UPDATE: Kurt Cobain’s 1959 Martin D-18E Acoustic sells for $US6million.
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Guitar companies are dedicated to build quality guitars, creating many without knowing that one of them will be touched by a legend, their history, or their unrepeatable character can turn them into real treasures, and they would make a duet that will go down in posterity.

We have selected some particularly curious, and we have left out others (in particular, there are many guitars used by The Beatles that monopolize positions in this type of compilation). Still, we put others that are equally important.

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7. Fender Stratocaster “Brownie” ($ 450,000). Briefly used during Cream and turned into a stable guitar in the Derek & The Dominos era, this Eric Clapton Fender is today part of the Experience Music Project, the museum of contemporary popular culture created by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.

6. Fender Stratocaster Gold Leaf ($ 455,000). In the early 1990s, Clapton (yes, again) asked the brand’s luthier to make him a guitar “worthy of being hung in a museum.” And in part it did: After using it on two world tours in 1997 and 2001, this Strat sold to Sotheby’s auction house for nearly half a million dollars.

5. Gibson SG 1966 ($ 570,000). In the Revolver era, the company founded by Orville Gibson sent the Beatles a sample of their then-brand new SG. It was used randomly by George Harrison and John Lennon until the recording of The White Album, and an anonymous auctioneer bought it in 2004.

4. Fender Stratocaster “Lenny” ($ 623,500). When he turned 35, Stevie Ray Vaughan received this 1965 Strat as a gift from his wife. The Texas violent named him after his wife and made her his lead guitar. After his death, his brother Jimmy donated it, and it was purchased by the Guitar Center instrument house at auction.

3. 1939 CF Martin ($ 791,500). Eric Clapton’s unplugged revived his career in the early 1990s. Throughout most of the concert, the English musician used this acoustic guitar, until he finished it off to raise funds for Crossroads, his rehabilitation center.

2. Gibson ES 335 ($ 847,500). Yes, you know who. The instrument Clapton used most during his early years as a guitarist (Bluesbreakers, Yardbirds, Cream, and Blind Faith). In 2004, an anonymous buyer made it the third most expensive viola until then.

1. Fender Stratocaster “Blackie” ($ 959,000). Slowhand’s last appearance on this list. According to legend, Clapton was so in love with the Stratocasters that he bought six in Texas. Three, he gave them to his friends (George Harrison, Steve Winwood, and Pete Townshend), and with the remaining three, he sent to make a hybrid that accompanied him for fifteen years. As with Martin’s acoustics, proceeds from the sale of this guitar were also donated to Crossroads.

Fender the most expensive guitar in history

The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Doha hosted on November 17, 2005, an auction that would go down in posterity for awarding the most expensive guitar in history. A simple white Fender Stratocaster that didn’t even have the honor of being part of any renowned artist’s collection. Of course, it was signed by rock stars who have made a career stroking the ropes of this emblem, such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, or Brian May, among many others. In total, $ 2.7 million that went entirely to the victims of the tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia a few months earlier.

This is not the only Fender on the list of most expensive guitars in history. The second in this ranking is the ’68 Stratocaster with which Hendrix burned Woodstock ($ 2 million), the sixth in the ’64 Stratocaster that Bob Dylan used at the Newport Folk Festival ($ 965,000), and the seventh the Stratocaster Eric Clapton’s historical, known as Blackie and sold for $959,000. Fender is a legendary brand that changed the history of music and has remained an emblem of rock. A company founded by the first guitar hero in history, Leo Fender, who, ironically, did not play the guitar.

The hero who never played the guitar

Leo Fender was born in Anaheim in 1909, and, in the beginning, his career is more related to electronics than not to music. It is his uncle, John West, who gives him broken electrical installations of the cars he had in his workshop. Fascinated by these objects, Fender finally visits his uncle’s place and is left to discover when the car radio works.

With the times, Fender would open its radio repair shop to Fullerton, but the location of its business will offer a defining turn in his career. This southern California city was a crossing point for dozens of jazz bands that toured the area. Since the 1920s, with the appearance of the amplifier, these bands begin to incorporate guitarists who, thanks to the apparatus, can sound above the rest of the instruments.

Unintentionally, Fender is leveraging its electronic skills in radio repair and manufacturing to repair amplifiers for musicians stopping at its premises and to design new ones. His success is so remarkable that, in a short time, the business of amplifiers surpasses that of radios, and, naturally, the same artists begin to ask him also to repair their guitars.

Leo Fender had never played the guitar, but thanks to these first repairs, he began to understand how it works and how to apply his knowledge of electronics to modify that instrument. Without being very conscious, he had entered the course to create the first electric guitar in history.

The rock silhouette

This career is started by the engineer of the Gibson brand, Lloyd Loar, who applies some pickups on the classical guitars to amplify their sound through the new speakers. It will be the same Gibson who in 20 and ’30 make the most important advances, with the coupling of new microphones to the box to improve and amplify the sound, but they would never be considered electric guitars.

It will be Leo Fender, who advances Gibson on the right. Years before, brands like Rickenbacker and Paul created the first guitars with integrated electronic systems, but it will be Fender who launched the first electric guitar model in history in 1950. The Fender Broadcaster is the predecessor to the iconic Fender Telecaster and was the first solid, six-string electric instrument with a detachable neck and built with few parts for easy repair.

A work of art that changed the history of music overnight. So much so that, just four years later, Fender comes onto the market with a second model: the Fender Stratocaster. The silhouette of rock.

In the era of synthesizers, Fender maintains a workforce of close to a thousand workers and a turnover of over 500 million euros annually. His creations have made possible the career of icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or Bruce Springsteen. But, before all of them, history recognizes Leo Fender. The hero of the six strings did not know how to play the guitar.

This article is written by Stephen Zhang from NextStrings who is an avid listener of acoustic music as well as writing reviews about acoustic guitars on his blog.

Bonus Video:

In this video we’ll try to answer the following questions:

Which are the most expensive guitars?

Who owns the most expensive guitars?

How did guitars became expensive?

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What brand usually makes the most expensive guitars?

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