The “Guitar Center Legends Collection” consists of four classic guitars made famous by music legends Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and U2’s The Edge. Guitar Center purchased Clapton’s “BLACKIE” Fender Stratocaster, his vintage Gibson “ES-335,” and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny” Stratocaster for over $2.4 million from the Clapton Crossroads Centre charity auction at Christies New York in 2004. They added The Edge’s Gibson Les Paul after purchasing it for $240,000 at the Music Rising Charity Auction last year. Since then, the collection has been exhibited in one-of-a-kind, newly created “Legends’ Collection” display cases, which provide high level protection and climate control as the instruments tour prestigious musical events and key Guitar Center locations.
Clapton personally built “BLACKIE” in 1973, and it became synonymous with him as he played it on stage and in the studio from 1974-1985, recording hits such as “Cocaine,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “Further on up the Road,” “Lay Down Sally” and various live versions of “Layla.” It was also featured on several album covers and videos. “BLACKIE” was subsequently purchased by Guitar Center for $959,500. Clapton’s Cherry Red Gibson “335,” purchased for $847,500, was used to record Cream’s versions of “Badge” and “Crossroads,” as well as many other historical performances, during his 40 years of ownership. Steve Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny,” which was purchased for $623,500, was used to record his classic love songs including “Lenny” and “Riviera Paradise.” All of the proceeds from these three guitars purchased by Guitar Center were for the benefit of Clapton’s Crossroads Centre charity.
The cream colored 1975 Les Paul Custom (faded from its original white) found fame with The Edge as a go-to guitar for stage and studio on many of U2’s most famous recordings and performances. In 2005, The Edge partnered with producer Bob Ezrin, Gibson and the Guitar Center Music Foundation to establish Music Rising, a charity founded to benefit musicians whose lives were torn apart by Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, he donated this prized guitar to be auctioned for the cause. The winning bid was $240,000 from Guitar Center ($288,000 including Buyers Premium).
Aside from displaying the original instruments themselves, Guitar Center also commissioned Gibson and Fender to make exact replicas of Clapton’s “335” and “BLACKIE,” as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny” guitars. These limited edition re-creations are among the most esteemed and valuable guitars of their type ever offered.
“Guitar Center is delighted to make these iconic guitars available for everyone to enjoy,” stated Michael Doyle, Guitar Center’s Vice President of Product Marketing. “They are legends in their own right while symbolically representing the artists who are idolized by millions of fans and music lovers worldwide. Guitar Center is proud to share this rich and inspiring musical legacy with our customers.”
For more information about the Legends Collection, please visit http://www.guitarcenter.com/legends.
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