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Alex Lifeson Details the "Emotionally Difficult" Process of Putting Some of His Most Beloved Guitars Up for Auction

Rush's Alex Lifeson – pictured backstage with his guitar collection
(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

Back in March, Rush electric guitar hero Alex Lifeson announced that he was putting a number of electric and acoustic guitars from his extensive collection up for auction (opens in new tab).

The extensive auction – the proceeds from which will be donated (opens in new tab) to charity – includes some of Lifeson's favorite, most oft-used guitars, including the snow-white Gibson ES-355TD he used on almost every Rush album and for countless Rush performances.

In a new interview with Guitar Magazine (opens in new tab), Lifeson went into detail about the process of saying goodbye to some of his most beloved guitars, calling it "probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life."

"My wife and I, we’re at a stage in our life where we just feel like we have too much stuff and we’re trying to get a little leaner," Lifeson explained (opens in new tab). "I’m auctioning off the bulk of my guitar collection for charity. I’m looking forward to that. 

"It was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life; it was so emotionally difficult packing those guitars up. I cleaned them, polished them, did string changes. I made sure every single one was in tune when it went back in the case, and then I kissed it goodbye."

The ES-355TD, Lifeson added, was particularly hard to bid farewell to. 

"That [the ES-355TD] was the last one that was left," Lifeson said (opens in new tab). "I was sitting in our mudroom, just off our garage, while the removal truck was waiting. I sat there with that case in between my legs and, maybe it sounds a little corny, but I was talking to it. 

"I was reminiscing about gigs that we did together and kissing the bubble wrap. But I know that, with the funds I’m hoping to raise, it gives it all another life and helps other people, and in some cases gives people another chance at life. Why wouldn’t you do that?"

Alex Lifeson holds his beloved Gibson ES-355TD guitar

(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

Lifeson has been looking to the future in other ways of late, too.

Last year, he released a new, lower-cost version of his signature Les Paul with Epiphone, while last month saw the release of the self-titled debut album from Envy of None, the band he recently formed with bassist Andy Curran, vocalist Maiah Wynne, and guitarist Alfio Annibalini.

Jackson Maxwell
Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.