George Harrison and Eric Clapton Guitars Head for the Auction Block in May

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Guitars owned by musical pals George Harrison and Eric Clapton will be coming up for auction in May.

Julien’s Auctions has announced that two guitars owned and played by the musicians will be in its Music Icons Auction event to be held at Hard Rock Cafe New York on May 15 and 16, beginning at 10 a.m. The auction also includes memorabilia from the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, AC/DC and others, as well as guitars owned by Vinnie Vincent.

The George Harrison guitar is his 1963 Maton Mastersound electric. Harrison used the guitar in the summer of 1963 when he had it on loan from Barratt’s Music Store, in Manchester, England. According to Beatles gear expert Andy Babiuk, Harrison's Gretsch Country Gentleman was experiencing problems and was taken to Barratt's for repair. He received the Maton to use while the repairs were performed.

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The Country Gent was returned to him the same day, but Harrison held onto the Maton and played it at Beatles' concert in Margate (July 8 to 13) and Liverpool (August 2), at a photo call at the Liverpool Cavern (August 3) and when the Beatles played Guernsey, Channel Island (August 6–10).

The Australian solid-body guitar has a flame-maple natural finish top, dark sides, a sunburst back, a mahogany neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays, two pickups, a three-way pickup selector switch, two volume and two-tone knobs, and an input jack mounted on a black pickguard. The guitar is fitted with a Bigsby vibrato and bridge. The instrument carries an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.

Eric Clapton’s guitars have made for some of the auction world’s biggest musical instrument sales. His “Blackie” Stratocaster sold for $949,500 at Christie’s Crossroads Centre auction in 2004, and many of his guitars have commanded top prices in their day.

The Julien’s auction features his circa-1962 Gibson SG Les Paul Standard. Clapton purchased it to replace his 1964 SG that he used for most of Cream’s post–Fresh Cream recordings. That guitar was dubbed “The Fool” for the psychedelic paint job it received from the Dutch artist collective known as The Fool.

By the time he’d purchased the replacement SG, Clapton had grown accustomed to Fender guitars and disliked the SG’s tremolo. The guitar features a Heritage cherry finish, trapezoid inlays and two humbucking pickups, and is accompanied by a black hardshell case. The guitar carries an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.

The Vinnie Vincent guitars include a Vinnie Vincent model "Double V" guitar manufactured and gifted to Vincent by Pear Guitars in 1990 (estimated $10,000 to $20,000), a Jackson Randy Rhoads electric guitar in white finish that Vincent used on tour as a member of Kiss during the band’s “Creatures of the Night” tour in 1982 ( $10,000 to $20,000) and Vincent’s double-neck Carvin DN612 with pearl silver finish ($10,000 to $20,000).

Memorabilia include John Lennon’s bathrobe ($9,000-$10,000), Jimi Hendrix’s ring presented in a carved wooden box ($8,000-$10,000), an original oil-on-burlap painting by Frank Zappa ($2,000-$4,000) and AC/DC-worn shorts ($2,000-$4,000).

All lots can be viewed at www.juliensauctions.com and catalogs may be purchased online.

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