Never miss a great news story!
Get instant notifications from Economic Times
AllowNot now

You can switch off notifications anytime using browser settings.
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

Clapton's Blackie, Marley's Washburn - guitars and their pricey stories

Some iconic guitars have got better, and more expensive with age.

, ET Bureau|
Mar 30, 2018, 08.09 AM IST
Eric Clapton (L) and Bob Dylan (R).
In the last 50 years, we’ve seen technology grow in leaps and bounds. Phones have become compact. Computers are smarter and smaller. But guitars, well, they’ve stayed the same, as Deepak Ravindran, CEO of Innoz Technologies, pointed out with an Instagram post.

Take a look at some of these iconic guitars and how they’ve just gotten better (and more expensive) with age:


In 1970, Clapton brought multiple Stratocasters and created his own custom guitar, which he nicknamed Blackie, from the best three. Clapton was so attached to the guitar that he often would turn down other guitars simply because he knew Blackie was at the back. Clapton was quoted saying, “I feel that that guitar has become part of me.”

STRING STORY: While Clapton bought the instruments for a few hundred dollars each, Blackie was auctioned by Christie’s for a then-record breaking $959,500 in 2004.


This guitar has a significant spot in rock and roll history as Dylan played it at his first electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 — often referred to as one of the most defining musical performances of all time. Leading members of the folk movement had criticised Dylan for moving away from political song writing and for performing with an electric band.

STRING STORY: The guitar, which also included the original leather strap and hardshell case, was auctioned off in 2013 by Christie’s for $965,000.


25th November 1963: A group shot of the Beatles, Ringo Starr (in the background), George Harrison (1943 - 2001), Paul McCartney and John Lennon (1940 - 1980), pictured during a performance on Granada TV's Late Scene Extra television show filmed in Manchester, England.

The Gibson J-160-E acoustic-electric was bought by Lennon in 1962 and is considered to be one of the most prestigious pieces of Beatles memorabilia. It has quite a history too. During Christmas 1963, the guitar went missing and it surfaced over 50 years later with a rookie musician, who had no idea of its value.

STRING STORY: This guitar is one of the new additions to the most expensive list, after it was sold in 2015 for $2.4 million.


Reggae legend Bob Marley lived a relatively modest life and owned only seven guitars, with a 22 fret double cutaway Washburn guitar as his favourites. After Marley’s untimely death, the Jamaican government declared most of the singer/songwriter’s assets as national treasures, including the Washburn.

STRING STORY: Marley’s guitar was rumoured to have been purchased for nearly $2 million.


The Rolling Stones guitarist loved his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, which is considered to be the Holy Grail of electric guitars. Other greats have got their hands on it too, namely Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. Richards used his beloved Les Paul during the band’s famous US tour of 1964. While the guitar changed many hands over the years, it’s final owner was said to be Whitesnake’s Bernie Marsden.

STRING STORY: Marsden, it was reported, sold the guitar to a UK-based collector, who then sold it to a Swedish collector in 2006 for $1 million.
Want stories like this in your inbox? Sign up for the daily ET Panache newsletter.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Also Read

No GST on sitar, but tax string on guitar

Music titan Quincy Jones vouches for investor Paul Allen's skills on guitar

Pulling strings: Isuzu Motors India’s Ken Takashima plays the guitar to bust stress

George Harrison's Maton Master Sound guitar may fetch up to $520K at auction

Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.
Download The Economic Times Business News App for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.

Popular Categories

Other useful Links

Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service