By Andrew Catania
The average guitar ranges from $100-$400. Add in an electric guitar which is primarily defined by the quality of the amplifier, and your average cost can run into $1000 and above. For the regular Joe, these prices seem to make one’s purchase an investment. However, once you learn just how expensive the world’s most expensive guitars truly are, you’ll consider your purchase to be a cheap steal!
Here are the world’s top 5 most expensive guitars!
5) $847,500: Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson ES-335
Eric Clapton is one of the most revered musicians of this century. He also happens to be the only player in the history of the world to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. Once, as an individual artist, once as a member of the Yardbirds and the third time around for being a member of Cream. He also ranked 2nd in the coveted Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” It comes as little to no surprise that the very same guitar Clapton played during his stint with the Yardbirds and Cream sold for a whopping $847,500 at Christie’s in 2004. The guitar also happened to be 40 years old at the point of sale!
4) $959,000: Eric Clapton’s Blackie Strat
With all the accomplishments under his belt, it’s befitting for two of Clapton’s guitars to belong on the world’s top 5 most expensive guitars list. Clapton’s Fender Stratocaster was lovingly called “Blackie” which led to it being sold as Blackie Strat. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix as well as his bandmember Steve Winwood from Blind Faith, Clapton decided to take the plunge from Gibson to Fender. He bought six Fender Stratocasters during the 1950’s and gave away three while dismantling the remaining three. The three scrapped guitars were redesigned to include the best components by the luthier Ted Jones to create the legendary Blackie Strat. Blackie stuck by Clapton’s side for numerous years before being sold for almost a million dollars in 2004 at Christie’s to support a drug and addiction rehabilitation center started by Clapton himself! As of 2004, the Blackie Strat was the most expensive guitar to be sold in the world.
3) $1,200,000: Bob Marley’s Washburn
Although the exact number is unknown but estimated to be around 7, Bob Marley owned an insufficient number of guitars. The custom-made Washburn 22 series hawk he purchased is said to be one of the first Washburn’s ever to be sold, and it was reportedly used by his guitar technician Gary Carlsen. Bob Marley’s reggae style of music inspired by his roots in Jamaica gained worldwide attention and till date, are considered classics. His Washburn is said to be a national treasure by the Jamaican government, and it’s no wonder that is valued at $1.2 million and is currently owned by the Jamaican Government which has placed it in a museum.
2) $2,000,000: Jimi Hendrix’s Fender Strat
Combine one of the greatest musicians in the world with the most iconic music festival, and you’ve got yourself a best seller. Jimi Hendrix, the iconic guitarist, singer, and songwriter who was once called “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music” by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame played his Fender Strat at Woodstock. His guitar was bought by none other than Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, for the fortune of 2 million dollars. Now, that’s saying something.
- $2,700,000: Reach out to Asia Strat
The world’s most expensive guitar was one that not only made history but also changed lives. The horrific Tsunami of 2004 which originated in the Indian Ocean caused havoc in numerous South-Asian nations. Thousands of lives were lost, and millions were displaced as their homes were destroyed. To help those affected by the tragedy, a star-signed Fender Strat was auctioned off by Reach out to Asia – a charity formed to help the victims of the Tsunami. With stars such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Malcolm Young, Sting and other brilliant musicians that signed the guitar – the steep $2.7 million dollars that it was sold for seems fit for the cause