Guitars have not only become the iconic symbols of generations of music lovers the world over, but have also become highly prized collectable items due to their high quality, rarity and those who played them. Most modern guitars are a range of cheap mass-produced items, high quality top of the line hand-crafted custom pieces and branded guitars that have a certain feel, look and charm whilst keeping quality right up there with the best of them.
Some people are surprised to find a very old Martin or Fender hidden away in their loft space every now and then and not realise how much its worth, but those instances are rare now a days. The really big bucks go to some of the most famous guitars in the world, and the guitars that iconic musicians have played, so here is a list of the top ten most expensive guitars in the world in 2015.
This prototype of the classic design that went on to be renamed the Telecaster is evidence that the older guitars with a history are sure to make the big time. Leo Fender’s first ever prototype is the most popular amongst axe heads, and when this guitar went up for auction, it was sold for $375,000. Holy plectrums!
This guitar is not only iconic because of the Fender name, but also for its gold leaf finish. To top it all, the previous owner just happens to be one of the biggest names in the music industry. This is pedigree enough to ask for a high price tag, but when you factor in that some of the great songs by Clapton were written on this axe, you can see why it achieved an astronomical $455,000 at auction!
Whilst you can go to your local music shop and order your very own Gibson SG variant for well under $1,000 and get a high quality musical instrument, it is the previous owners of this particular SG that warrant such a high price tag. Both John Lennon and George Harrison of the Beatles both used this guitar to play and record music, which is why this particular, very special SG reached a stunning $570,000 at auction.
This iconic guitar has gone through many years of hard graft and work to get to its condition today, so what sets it apart from any other second hand guitar on the market? Well, its previous owner was none other than Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Strat was lovingly given to Stevie on his 26th birthday as a present from his wife and soon turned into one of his favourite instruments to play and record with, which after his death in 1990 sold for an astounding $623,000!
6. 1939 Martin Acoustic
This guitar was another favourite of its previous owner, Eric Clapton. Being one of the most used instruments by the guitar legend, many songs, concerts and records were made using this guitar, so with that kind of heritage, you can fully understand why when it went for auction it made $791,000 - money that went towards the guitarists Crossroads Rehabilitation Centre. Good job Eric!
Another Gibson on this list stands itself apart from the crowd by being owned by none other than Eric Clapton. Going at auction for a record price at the time of $847,000, the guitar was used extensively by Clapton during 1964, but was used less as the years went on. In almost perfect condition, the idea of owning one of the instruments that influenced one of the best guitarists in the world is enough for some to fork out this immense price.
Another guitar previously owned by Eric Clapton went on sale at auction and again achieved an astronomical price. This hybrid guitar was born when Eric bought six vintage strats at a local guitar shop, sending one to George Harrison, Steve Winwood, and Pete Townsend, and used the remaining three guitars to create a hybrid with the parts and named it Blackie. The guitar sold for a record $959,000 at auction. An incredible return on the original $300!
This classic, iconic guitar is one of only seven guitars that Bob Marley used throughout his entire musical career, making it extra special for those who enjoyed the music of Bob Marley. It has an estimated price tag of around $1.5 - $3m but we aren’t likely to see this axe go up for sale anytime soon, as it is considered a national asset to Jamaica, and is likely to be displayed in museums around the country instead of being sold off.
Fender has made the top two in this list of the top ten most expensive guitars in the world, but who was the previous owner? A hint is that it was made an icon at the 1969 Woodstock festival but wasn’t burnt onstage might let on that this guitar was previously owned by Jimi Hendrix. Considered by many as the world’s greatest guitarist to ever live, this guitar was thought to be bought by a Microsoft executive in 1998 for a cool $2m.
This guitar, although having no real heritage considering the previous players, was put up for auction in Qatar to raise money for the Tsunami victims in 2005. What makes it different is that it has been signed by some of the most influential guitarists and musicians on the 201st century. Names like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour, Pete Townsend, Jimmy Page, Brian May, Paul McCartney and many others. It sold for an astounding $2.7m making a great present or collector item in years to come.