The 1963 Fender Telecaster Mike Bloomfield played on Bob Dylan’s 1965 anthem “Like a Rolling Stone” and at his infamous Newport Folk Festival performance that same year is up for auction.
Heritage Auction is selling the instrument, which it describes as “Mike Bloomfield's 1963 Fender Telecaster Blonde Solid Body Electric Guitar, Serial # L11155.”
A previous owner “modified” the guitar for left-handed playing by making a cutaway on the guitar’s upper bass bout. One would imagine this would severely affect the value of the instrument. As of this post, bidding is at $30,000. The guitar has a presale estimate of $60,000, and the auction concludes on Saturday, October 24.
Bloomfield was a member of the Butterfield Blues Band as well as a session musician, and he was one of the main artists Dylan worked with as he transitioned from acoustic folk to electric rock in 1965.
Though he played a number of different guitars, including a Les Paul Standard and a Fender Stratocaster, it was with the Telecaster that Bloomfield secured his place in one of rock’s most infamous moments. He played the instrument when he supported Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, the gig at which the folk singer “went electric,” much to the dismay of his hardcore folk followers. The incident has earned Bloomfield’s Tele the title of “the guitar that killed folk,” but that could more fittingly be applied to the 1964 Fender Stratocaster that Dylan played at the show. That instrument sold for $965,000 through Christie’s in December 2013, setting a world record for a guitar sold at auction.
In the videos below, you can see Dan Erlewine giving Bloomfield’s Tele a thorough examination and G.E. Smith taking the guitar through its paces.