Guitars have been a staple of music for centuries, evolving from simple stringed instruments to complex electric guitars. But some guitars go beyond just being instruments – they become works of art, symbols of culture, and even investments. These guitars are the most expensive in the world, commanding prices that would make any collector’s head spin.
These guitars are not just expensive because of their materials or craftsmanship, but also because of their history, their connections to legendary musicians, and their ability to create truly magical sounds. The value of these instruments is determined by a variety of factors, including their rarity, the story behind them, and the quality of their sound.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the world of music’s most valuable instruments, exploring the top 10 most expensive guitars in the world. From the breathtaking artistry of the “Reach Out to Asia” Fender Stratocaster to the legendary Gibson SG that belonged to George Harrison, we’ll take a closer look at what makes these guitars so valuable, and the stories behind them.
Top 10 Most Expensive Guitars in the World
1. “Reach Out to Asia” Fender Stratocaster – $2.7 Million
It was just a guitar, or so it seemed at first. But the “Reach Out to Asia” Fender Stratocaster was so much more than that – it was a symbol of hope, of generosity, and the power of music to make a difference in the world.
The story of the “Reach Out to Asia” Fender Stratocaster began in the aftermath of one of the most devastating natural disasters in history – the earthquake and tsunami that struck Asia in 2004. Amidst the chaos and destruction, a group of musicians came together with a single mission in mind: to raise funds and awareness for the rebuilding efforts that were so desperately needed.
Enter the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, California, where a team of master craftsmen set to work on a very special project. The guitar they created was a thing of beauty, with a sleek black finish and intricate designs that seemed to leap off the surface. But it was the names and signatures etched into the body of the guitar that made it truly remarkable – over 70 celebrities had lent their support, including rock legends like Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards.
The “Reach Out to Asia” Fender Stratocaster was destined for greatness, but no one could have predicted just how much it would eventually sell for. At a charity auction in Qatar, bids flew fast and furious until finally, the hammer came down and the guitar was sold for an astonishing $2.7 million. It was a world record for the most expensive guitar ever sold, and a fitting tribute to the incredible generosity of the winning bidder and all those who had contributed to the cause.
But the true significance of the “Reach Out to Asia” Fender Stratocaster lies not in its price tag or its celebrity signatures, but in the way, it brought people together for a common cause. It was a symbol of hope for those who had lost everything, a reminder that even in the darkest of times, the power of music can still shine through.
Today, the guitar still stands as a testament to the enduring power of music and the human spirit. It may be just a guitar, but it’s a guitar that changed lives, and that’s something truly special.
2. 1968 Fender Stratocaster – $2 Million
As I gaze upon this exquisite instrument, I am struck by the aura of history that emanates from it. This guitar, a 1968 Fender Stratocaster, has a significance that goes far beyond its stunning beauty and intricate craftsmanship.
With a glance at its sleek body, I can feel the powerful energy that has flowed through this guitar over the years. Its unique features, including the maple neck and black finish, are symbols of the innovation and creativity that have defined Fender guitars for generations.
As I examine the guitar’s delicate fretwork and precise tuning, I can almost hear the sweet melodies that have been coaxed from its strings by master musicians. Its sound has been personified by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, whose talent and passion have been immortalized in the notes that this guitar has produced.
And then there is its previous owner, the legendary David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. The guitar’s ownership by Gilmour adds another layer of depth and significance to its history. The irony of a guitar that was once wielded by a member of one of the most iconic bands in music history, now sitting in the hands of a collector, is not lost on me.
As I contemplate the $2 million price tag that was attached to this guitar, I am struck by the hyperbole of its value. Yet, at the same time, I can see the logic in such a price, given the craftsmanship, history, and unique features of this instrument.
In the end, this guitar is more than just a collection of wood, metal, and strings. It is a symbol of the power of music to transcend time and space, connect us to our past, and inspire us to create something new and beautiful in the future.
3. Gibson “Eden of Coronet” Les Paul – $2 Million
In the world of guitars, few stand out as much as the Gibson “Eden of Coronet” Les Paul. This guitar, priced at a staggering $2 million, has a rich history and unique features that make it one of a kind.
At first glance, the guitar’s design may seem understated, but upon closer inspection, its beauty and intricacy become apparent. The stunning golden finish seems to glow in the light, while the ornate floral engravings on the body and neck create a sense of elegance and refinement.
But the guitar’s true value lies in its association with Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Slash. The instrument has been owned and played by Slash throughout his career, and it is rumored to have been his favorite guitar. Its strings have been strummed in some of the world’s most famous arenas, from Madison Square Garden to Wembley Stadium.
The “Eden of Coronet” Les Paul is more than just a guitar, it is a symbol of rock and roll history. Its unique design and association with Slash make it a highly sought-after item for collectors and fans alike. It’s no wonder that this guitar has reached such an incredible price point.
4. Washburn “Kaskowtiz” Dimebag Darrell Southern Cross – $1.3 Million
As music enthusiasts, we all know that guitars have been the heart and soul of the rock and roll culture. However, some guitars hold a special place in the music industry, not just because of their intricate design but because of their historical significance. The Washburn “Kaskowtiz” Dimebag Darrell Southern Cross is one such guitar that has transcended time and has become a symbol of rock music.
This guitar is a masterpiece that represents the culmination of the creative minds of Washburn and the legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrell. The unique features of the guitar and its design embody the spirit of Southern rock, blending the powerful sound of metal with the intricate melodies of country music.
The Washburn “Kaskowtiz” Dimebag Darrell Southern Cross is worth $1.3 million and has a rich history. It was owned by Dimebag Darrell, who was a founding member of the influential heavy metal band Pantera. The guitar has been custom-designed with intricate artwork and features that are specific to Dimebag Darrell’s playing style, including a Floyd Rose locking tremolo system, a Seymour Duncan humbucker pickup, and a Bill Lawrence single-coil pickup.
This guitar has become an iconic symbol of Dimebag Darrell’s contribution to the world of rock music, and owning it is every guitarist’s dream. It’s the epitome of creativity and musical genius, and it’s no wonder why it holds such immense value.
The Washburn “Kaskowtiz” Dimebag Darrell Southern Cross is a guitar that symbolizes the journey of rock and roll, and owning it is akin to owning a piece of history. It’s a reminder of the sheer talent and creative prowess that Dimebag Darrell brought to the music industry and is a testament to the fact that a guitar is more than just an instrument – it’s a work of art.
5. 1949 Gibson “Flood” Les Paul – $1.2 Million
Today, we’re going to talk about the legendary 1949 Gibson “Flood” Les Paul, which recently sold for a whopping $1.2 million. This baby has a long and fascinating history, so let’s dive right in.
First of all, let’s talk about the guitar’s unique design and features. The “Flood” Les Paul was named after the Nashville flood of 2010, which caused significant damage to the Gibson factory. Despite being submerged in water for several days, this guitar miraculously survived, thanks to its sturdy mahogany and maple construction.
Now, let’s talk about the guitar’s previous owner – none other than the legendary Eric Clapton himself. Clapton played this guitar during his famous “Unplugged” performance in 1992, where he gave us unforgettable renditions of “Tears in Heaven” and “Layla.” It’s no wonder that this guitar is so highly valued among collectors and music fans alike.
But what really sets this guitar apart is its history and significance. The “Flood” Les Paul is a symbol of resilience and perseverance, having survived one of the worst natural disasters in recent history. It’s a testament to the power of music and the enduring legacy of legendary musicians like Eric Clapton.
In conclusion, the 1949 Gibson “Flood” Les Paul is not just a guitar – it’s a piece of history. Its unique design, previous ownership by Eric Clapton, and remarkable survival story make it a true treasure for collectors and music fans around the world.
6. 1958 Gibson Korina Explorer – $1.1 Million
Holy smokes, music lovers, have you heard about the 1958 Gibson Korina Explorer that sold for a whopping $1.1 million? This bad boy has got some serious history and significance in the world of guitars.
Let me tell you, this guitar’s design and features are absolutely unique. The Korina wood that was used to construct it gives it an incredible tone that just can’t be replicated. The striking angular design of the body, with its sharp edges and clean lines, makes it a real standout in any collection. And let’s not forget about those gorgeous gold hardware accents that really pop against the natural wood finish.
What’s even more impressive is that this guitar has been previously owned by not one, but two legendary musicians. Eric Clapton and U2’s The Edge have both had their hands on this baby, leaving their mark and adding to its already storied history.
But what really makes this guitar special is the way it’s been able to captivate guitar enthusiasts and collectors alike. It’s a symbol of the pinnacle of guitar craftsmanship and design, and its value is a reflection of that.
All in all, the 1958 Gibson Korina Explorer is a true masterpiece that will continue to be revered and admired for generations to come. And with owners like Clapton and The Edge, its story is only just beginning.
7. 1936 Martin OM-45 Deluxe – $1 Million
In the world of vintage guitars, the 1936 Martin OM-45 Deluxe is a treasure trove of history and significance. This guitar is not just a piece of wood and strings, but an embodiment of the passion and craftsmanship of its creators. The intricate design and features of this guitar are like a symphony, each component working together in perfect harmony to create a truly unique and awe-inspiring instrument.
This guitar has seen many owners over the years, but its most notable one was the singing cowboy himself, Gene Autry. It’s as if the guitar was made to be in his hands, its smooth curves and delicate details reflecting the gentle and soulful qualities of his music. With each strum of the strings, the guitar seems to come alive, its sound echoing the emotions and stories of its past owners.
The OM-45 Deluxe is not just a guitar, but a time capsule of the past, containing within its structure the memories and experiences of those who have played it. The guitar’s significance lies not just in its craftsmanship, but in the connections it has forged between people and generations. It’s like a bridge, connecting the past to the present and the present to the future.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the OM-45 Deluxe is its ability to evoke emotions in those who behold it. Its design is like a work of art, each line and curve telling a story and sparking the imagination. Its sound is like a song, each note a journey through time and space. The guitar is like a portal, transporting the listener to a different world and a different time.
In the world of music and guitar enthusiasts, the 1936 Martin OM-45 Deluxe is a true legend. It’s not just a guitar, but a symbol of the power and beauty of music, and a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of human beings. Its value is not just in its price, but in the stories and experiences it holds within its wooden frame. The OM-45 Deluxe is a masterpiece, a work of art, and a treasure that will endure for generations to come.
8. “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster – $959,500
The “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster has been a legendary instrument in the world of rock and roll. It was named after its dark and sleek appearance, which symbolized the edginess and intensity of its sound. The guitar was created by piecing together parts from different Stratocasters, resulting in a unique hybrid instrument that had never been seen before.
The guitar’s design was not only unique, but it also featured some interesting and practical features. For instance, it had a 25.5-inch scale length and a rosewood fretboard, which made it easier for Eric Clapton to play fast and intricate solos. The guitar also had three single-coil pickups, which allowed Clapton to achieve a wide range of tones, from smooth and mellow to biting and aggressive.
Eric Clapton’s ownership of the “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster added to its significance. Clapton was known for his passionate and emotive playing style, which he often used to express his deepest emotions. The guitar was his go-to instrument during the 1970s and 1980s, and he played it on some of his most iconic songs, including “Layla” and “Cocaine”.
The guitar’s history is also a testament to the power of perseverance and determination. Clapton spent many years searching for the perfect guitar, and he ultimately found it in the form of the “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster. He pieced it together himself, and the guitar became a symbol of his passion and dedication to music.
In the end, the “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster became much more than just a guitar. It was a symbol of creativity, innovation, and perseverance, and it continues to inspire musicians around the world. Its unique design and features, combined with its previous ownership by Eric Clapton, make it a truly priceless piece of musical history.
9. Gibson ES-335 – $847,500
The Gibson ES-335 is a guitar that has left an indelible mark on music history. It is not just an instrument, but a work of art that embodies the spirit of blues and rock n’ roll. The guitar’s sleek and elegant design is a testament to the masterful craftsmanship of the Gibson company.
The ES-335’s unique semi-hollow body design was first introduced in 1958 and has since become an iconic symbol of the blues and rock n’ roll era. Its thin body is made of laminated maple with a solid center block, allowing for a unique blend of acoustic and electric tones. The guitar’s distinctive f-holes and bound rosewood fingerboard are a nod to its jazz roots.
However, it was B.B. King who truly brought the ES-335 to the forefront of music history. The legendary blues guitarist’s signature “Lucille” model was based on the ES-335 and helped to solidify its place in blues and rock n’ roll lore. King’s melodic and soulful playing style perfectly complemented the guitar’s warm and rich tones.
The ES-335’s value as a musical instrument is only heightened by its previous ownership by B.B. King. The guitar’s legacy as the backbone of the blues has cemented its place in music history, and its ownership by one of the greatest blues musicians of all time only adds to its significance.
This guitar is not just a piece of equipment, but an extension of the artist who wields it. It has been the catalyst for countless blues and rock n’ roll hits and has inspired generations of musicians. The ES-335’s enduring legacy is a testament to the power of music and the importance of preserving its history.
10. 1939 CF Martin & Co. Acoustic – $791,500
In the world of guitars, few carry the historical significance and emotional weight of the 1939 CF Martin & Co. Acoustic. This instrument is a true masterpiece of craftsmanship, with unique features and design that make it stand out from the crowd.
But what really sets this guitar apart is its previous ownership by the legendary musician Stephen Stills. Known for his work with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stills has been a driving force in American music for decades. And this guitar played a key role in shaping his sound and style.
The Martin Acoustic is a true symbol of the beauty and power of music. Its warm and rich tones have captivated audiences for generations, and its simple yet elegant design is a testament to the timeless appeal of acoustic guitars. Whether played softly in a quiet room or belted out in front of a roaring crowd, this guitar has a voice that cannot be ignored.
Its unique features and design are a testament to the skill and creativity of the craftsmen who created it. From the intricate detailing on the headstock to the delicate curves of the body, every aspect of this guitar is a work of art. And when combined with the soulful playing of a musician like Stephen Stills, the result is truly transcendent.
This guitar is more than just an instrument – it is a living, breathing entity that has been touched by the hands of greatness. It has seen the highs and lows of the music industry and has helped to shape the sound of a generation. And as it continues to make its way through the world, it serves as a reminder of the power of music to bring people together, inspire change, and create something truly beautiful.
In conclusion, guitars have played a significant role in music history, and the most expensive guitars in the world are a testament to the value and craftsmanship that goes into creating a high-quality instrument. Whether you’re a collector, musician, or investor, the world of expensive guitars offers a unique opportunity to own a piece of music history and potentially make a sound investment. While the cost of these guitars may seem exorbitant, their value is often justified by their exceptional sound quality, unique features, and rarity. So, whether you’re a fan of classic rock, blues, or country music, there is undoubtedly an expensive guitar out there that will capture your imagination and inspire your creativity.