If you’re into guitars, you’re aware that they may be rather pricey. Better quality wood, pick-ups, and strings, as well as construction quality and workmanship, all add up as you progress up the guitar ladder. In this post, we have compiled a list of the most expensive guitars in the world.
However, you won’t be able to locate any of these guitars in your local guitar shop, since they are among the most sought-after on the planet. From guitars used by rock and roll icons like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton to one-of-a-kind custom-designed guitars for Jerry Garcia, here is a list of the world’s ten most costly guitars.
Table of Contents
Let’s dive into the list of 10 Most Expensive Guitars in the World-
1. “REACH OUT TO ASIA” FENDER STRATOCASTER – $2.7 Million
The “Reach Out To Asia” Fender Stratocaster, which sold for $2.7 million in 2015, is the most expensive guitar in the world.
This guitar was created as part of Bryan Adams’ “Reach Out To Asia” project, which was established to assist victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 230,000 individuals across 14 nations.
The guitar is one-of-a-kind since it bears the autographs of some of rock’s most famous musicians all over its body. It was autographed by Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Brian May, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Liam Gallagher, Angus and Malcolm Young, and Brian Adams, among others.
“Reach Out To Asia” was auctioned off by Sotheby’s in 2015 for $2.7 million, making it the most expensive guitar ever sold.
2. JOHN LENNON’S 1962 GIBSON J- 160E ACOUSTIC ELECTRIC – $2.41 Million
The only acoustic guitar to make our list of the world’s most costly guitars has to be something exceptional, and boy, is it spectacular!
John Lennon’s 1962 Gibson J-160E electric acoustic was one of a pair of almost similar acoustic guitars purchased in London in 1962 by John Lennon and George Harrison.
It was used to co-compose Beatles songs like “I Saw Her Standing There” and “She Loves You” with Paul McCartney.
After the Beatles played a show in 1963, the guitar mysteriously vanished and was considered lost, only to emerge some years later. The acoustic guitar went on to sell at auction in 2014 for a jaw-dropping $2.41 million dollars, up from its initial purchase price of £161 in 1962.
3. JIMI HENDRIX’S 1964 FENDER STRATOCASTER – $2 Million
When compared to the other guitars on the list, the standard, right-handed Stratocaster with Olympic white finish is nothing noteworthy. It was, however, played by Jimi Hendrix during the 1969 Woodstock music festival, when he gave his renowned rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, paid around $2 million for the guitar in 1998 because of its unusual history. It’s one of those things where you’d do it if you could
4. JERRY GARCIA’S “WOLF” – $2 Million
Jerry Garcia’s second guitar on our list of the world’s most costly guitars is a bespoke Doug Irwin called “Wolf.”
Its moniker, like that of his bespoke Doug Irwin, “Tiger,” is derived 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” sold at auction for about $2 million dollars in 2002. Depending on its condition, “Wolf” might be worth significantly more now.
5. BOB MARLEY’S WASHBURN 22- SERIES HAWK – $1.2 – $2 Million
Bob Marley’s Washburn 22-Series Hawk is ranked fifth on our list of the most expensive guitars in the world. It is possible that the most famous Reggae musician to have ever lived only had seven guitars during his life. One of those guitars was this 22-Series Hawk Washburn, which he donated as a gift to Gary Clausen, his guitar technician. The Jamaican government, which named the instrument a national treasure, is said to have acquired the guitar at auction for between $1.2 and $2 million. However, the exact location of the instrument is still unclear to this day.
6. 1958 GIBSON KORINA EXPLORER – $1.1 Million
The worth of this 1958 Gibson Korina Explorers can be due to the fact that it was played by three of the world’s finest guitarists. This guitar has been played by Slash, Kirk Hammett, and Rick Neilson at various points in their careers, which is rather unusual to say the least.
Only around 10 of these guitars were ever built, so it’s easy to see why it fetched $1.1 million at auction when you combine its rarity and odd design with its player history.
7. KEITH RICHARDS 1959 LES PAUL – $1 Million
Keith Richards, born in 1959 Les Paul is the world’s eighth most costly guitar. Standard 1959 Les Pauls are worth more than six figures without the aid of a renowned name, and there aren’t that many available anymore.
However, Keith Richards performed it during the Rolling Stones’ initial appearance on the Ed Sullivan programme, which was a pivotal milestone in Rock & Roll history. Many prominent bands and singers owe some of their success to appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, and collectors and memorabilia investors realise how occurrences like these increase the value of artefacts like Keith Richards’ 1959 Les Paul. With that in mind, the instrument fetched a cool $1 million at auction in 2003.
8. BOB DYLAN’S “NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL” 1964 – $965K
It goes without saying that this instrument has historical significance because it was the first electric guitar ever used by Bob Dylan during a live concert.
It was the first time in history when his own supporters booed him on stage because they were dissatisfied with his choice of guitar.
They were used to hearing acoustic versions of all of his songs, and when he appeared on stage at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, they made sure to let him know. Dylan’s performance and selection of a guitar highlighted his move into employing more electronic instruments. The 1964 Fender Stratocaster sold at auction for an astonishing $965,000 due to who had it and the narrative behind it.
9. ERIC CLAPTON’S “BLACKIE” – $959K
“Blackie,” Eric Clapton’s renowned mix of parts from three different guitars, comes next on the list.
According to legend, Eric Clapton purchased six guitars and gave one to each of Pete Townsend, George Harrison, and Steve Winwood.
Clapton then spliced elements from the remaining three guitars together to produce “Blackie.” It became his most renowned guitar, and he used it in the studio and in many live concerts. Clapton retired “Blackie” in 1985 after a successful career, and sold it at auction in 2004 for $959,000.
10. JERRY GARCIA’S CUSTOM DOUG IRWIN “TIGER” – $957K
Jerry Garcia was the Grateful Dead’s lead guitarist. From 1979 until 1989, he played his custom-made Doug Irwin guitar for a whole decade.
The moniker “Tiger” stemmed from the custom painted tiger head Jerry had commissioned for the guitar’s body.
Jerry’s custom Doug Irwin was the final guitar he ever played in public, which is why it got so much at auction. Jerry Garcia’s Custom Doug Irwin “Tiger” was auctioned off to Jim Irsay, owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts, in 2002 for $957,500 by Guernsey’s auctioneers.
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