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The Most Expensive Guitar in the World

the most expensive guitar in the world

Is the Reach Out To Asia Stratocaster, sold in 2005 to raise funds for victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, the most expensive guitar in the world?

What is the most expensive guitars in the world is it a Fender Stratocaster or a Gibson Les Paul?  When talking about the most expensive guitar in the world the make is important but more crucial is the background of the instrument.  In essence the person who strummed it is critical if you want to achieve top dollar for a guitar.

You wouldn’t normally look at the humble guitar as a solid investment opportunity but some collectors are willing to pay top dollar for the right guitars.  Of course it is not your run of the mill Strat or Les Paul that they are after, although rare models can go for a princely sum.  What is more important is that the guitar has to have a certain provenance to command the top prices.  Therefore if you happen to have in your possession a guitar owned by a dead rock legend then you could be sitting on a fortune.  So what are the most expensive guitars in the world and in the battle of the guitars who wins in the most expensive guitar in the world?

Doing a quick bit of research into the most expensive guitar in the world shows that 6 of the ten most expensive guitars are Fenders, five are strats and the sixth is an early Fender Broadcaster prototype.  Rather surprisingly there are only three Gibsons in the top ten and even more surprisingly none of the three are Les Pauls.  The biggest surprise is that the final guitar in the top ten is a Washburn!

Number 10 in the countdown to the most expensive guitar in the world is a 1949 Fender Broadcaster prototype.  The prototype was Leo Fender’s first design for the most popular guitar ever made the Fender Telecaster.  The Fender Broadcaster sold for $375,000.

At number 9 there is Eric Clapton’s rather garish gold leaf Fender Stratocaster.  Ordered by Clapton in 1996 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fender this guitar is a custom Fender Stratocaster plated in 23 carat gold.  The Eric Clapton Gold Leaf Fender Stratocaster sold for $455,550.

Next up is the Gibson SG used by George Harrison and John Lennon between 1966 and 1969.  The Beatles used the Gibson SG before switching to Rickenbackers.  George used the SG on the Revolver album and John Lennon used the same instrument during the recording of the White album.  The Gibson SG used by George Harrison and John Lennon sold for $570,000.

At number seven in the countdown to the most expensive guitar in the world is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 1965 Fender Stratocaster.  He received the guitar as a present from his wife Lenny for his 26th birthday and used it regularly for recording and touring.  Sadly the untimely death of Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1990 is perhaps the reason why this is such a sought after guitar.  Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 1965 Fender Stratocaster sold for $623,500.

Obviously if you have a guitar that was once owned by Eric Clapton then get it insured as the 6th most expensive guitar in the world is his CF Martin & Co. acoustic guitar.  He sold this to raise money for his Crossroads Rehabilitation Centre.  Eric Clapton’s CF Martin acoustic guitar sold for $791,500.

Another Eric Clapton guitar is at number 5.  His 1964 Gibson ESO335 TDC sold for $847,500.

Would you believe it our old mate Eric Clapton also once owned the 4th most expensive guitar in the world. In 1970 Eric Clapton switched from using Gibson to Stratocaster guitars.  He bought six vintage “Strats” from a guitar shop for $100 each.  He gave one each to George Harrison, Pete Townshend and Steve Winwood, and took apart the remaining three to make one guitar.  This guitar became the legend that is known as Blackie!  To own Blackie you would have to have $959,500.

So we have reached the top 3 in our countdown to the most expensive guitar in the world.  To own any of these guitars you need to fork out a million plus or you can forget ever owning one.

So at number 3 we have for me what is the surprise on the list.  Bob Marley’s custom made Washburn 22 Series Hawk shows the importance of Bob Marley in the world of music.  This instrument is classified as a national asset by the Jamaican government and is one of the only seven guitars owned by the reggae icon.  Undoubtedly a beautiful guitar but it will set you back an estimated $1.2 to $2 million.

Unsurprisingly a guitar owned by Jimi Hendrix had to feature on the list somewhere.  Perhaps due to his desire to destroy his guitars at the end of a show the guitar commands a hefty price tag simply due to its rarity value.  This 1968 Stratocaster was played by Jimi Hendrix at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and was reportedly purchased in 1998 by Microsoft’s Paul Allen for $2 million.

So what is the most expensive guitar in the world?  Well it is a Fender Stratocaster but rather surprisingly it was not once owned by a famous guitarist either dead or alive.  No the title of the most expensive guitar in the world goes to the Reach Out to Asia Stratocaster.  Auctioned in Qatar in 2005 to raise funds for the Reach Out To Asia Charity which was formed to help the victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004.  The guitars value came from the fact that it was signed by more than 20 rock musicians including Eric Clapton, Brian May and Jimmy Page.  The Reach Out to Asia Stratocaster is the most expensive guitar in the world when it raised $2.8 million when it was auctioned in 2005.

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