10 Most Expensive Guitars Ever (So Far!)
10. Brownie Strat, Eric Clapton, $450,000
It’s the “Layla” guitar. Enough said. This ’56 Strat was with Clapton during Cream (briefly) and Derek & the Dominoes and now resides at Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project in Seattle, WA.
9. Gold Leaf Strat, Eric Clapton, $455,000
Another Clapton guitar on the list (it won’t be the last, or even second to last!) – this gold leaf Strat was built for Clapton by Fender master builder Mark Kendrick, purportedly because Clapton wanted a guitar he could “hang in a museum.” EC used it on the Legends tour in ’97 and again in 2001 on the One More Car, One More rider tour, after which it was sold to Christie’s Auction House.
8. Gibson SG, George Harrison and John Lennon, $570,000
This guitar was used by both Beatles between 1966 and 1969, making appearances on Revolver and the White album.
7. Fender Strat, Stevie Ray Vaughan $623,500
SRV’s Strat “Lenny” was named after his wife, who bought him this circa ’65 composite Strat for his birthday in 1980. After SRV died tragically in a helicopter crash in 1990, Vaughan’s brother Jimmy donated the guitar, which was auctioned off and sold to Guitar Center.
6. 1939 CF Martin, Eric Clapton, $791,500
Clapton’s career experienced a resurgence in ’92 after the release of the hit acoustic ballad, “Tears in Heaven.” Clapton even performed an all-acoustic set on MTV Unplugged using this guitar, which he later auctioned off to raise money for his Crossroads Rehabilitation Center.
5. 1964 Gibson ES-335, Eric Clapton $847,500
Clapton used this guitar during his time with the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. It was auctioned off at Christie’s in 2004 and at the time was the 3rd highest price paid for a guitar at time of sale.
4. Blackie Strat, Eric Clapton, $959,000
Blackie is probably Clapton’s most iconic guitar. As the story goes, Clapton bought six Strats in a guitar shop in Texas. He gave three away (to Harrison, Townshend, and Winwood) and parted the other three out to build Blackie, a guitar he used faithfully for 15 years. Like many of his iconic guitars, Clapton auctioned this instrument off to raise money for the Crossroads Rehab Center.
3. Washburn, Bob Marley, valued at 1.2 million
Somewhat infamously, Bob Marley didn’t own very many guitars. Though an exact number is not officially known, this Washburn became a somewhat infamous instrument. Supposedly one of the first Washburn guitars ever made, Marley rarely played this Washburn and gave it to his guitar tech, Gary Carlsen. The guitar has been classified by the Jamaican government as a national treasure.
2. 1968 Fender Strat, Jimi Hendrix $2,000,000
Hopefully no explanation is needed when we say that this guitar was one that Hendrix played at Woodstock (um, for example, on the “Star Spangled Banner”) and Paul Allen paid $2m for it to be housed at Experience Music Project in Seattle, Hendrix’s hometown.
1. Reach Out to Asia Strat. $2,700,000
In 2004, tragedy struck in the form of a fiercely destructive tsunami, affecting several nations in the Indian Ocean. To help raise money for relief efforts, a signed Fender Strat was auctioned off—and it wasn’t signed by just anybody. This guitar features the signatures of sheer legends: Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Brian May, David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler, Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Sting, Ritchie Blackmore, the members of Def Leppard, Bryan Adams, Liam Gallagher, and Paul McCartney. The guitar raised ALMOST $3m for Reach Out to Asia, a charity formed to help victims of the tsunami.